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Amoghapasa Lokeshvara - The Multi Armed form of Avalokiteshvara

Amoghapasa Lokeshvara is a multi-armed form of Avalokiteshvara that seems to have been popular in Nepal since the middle ages. The name suggests that he is the Lord of the world with infallible noose which leads suffering sentient beings to enlightenment.

According to the Amoghapasa Hrdaya Dharani Sutra, ninety-one aeons ago Avalokiteshvara received the transmission of this Dharani from Lokeshvararaja Tathagata. Since then he used that Dharani to teach limitless sentient beings. As Avalokiteshvara manifests transformed body (Nirmana-Kaya) and uses this Dharani to ferry over sentient beings, he is then addressed as Amoghapasa. Amoghapasa is popular not only in Nepal but in all countries where Mahayana Buddhism has spread. The images of Amoghapasa can be found in Java, China and Japan. According to Dr. Luciano Petech, the image of Amoghapasa in its earliest form can be found in the Arya Amoghapasa Sutra preserved in Kaisar Library, Kathmandu.

Amoghapasa has one face and wears a saffron dress. Amoghapasa Lokeshvara has eight hands with the right hands showing the gesture of fearlessness, the boon granting gesture, the noose and holding the string of beads while the left hands holding a trident, a scripture, a white lotus and a water pot.

Amoghapasa Lokeshvara has three divine eyes looking on the triple world. His first right hand in Abhaya Mudra symbolizes that one who practices Astami Brata sincerely protects them from falling into lower realms. The second right hand displaying Varada Mudra shows that those who practice and generate compassion and Bodhichitta receive all desirable objects. The third hand holding Amoghapasa or infallible noose symbolizes that he has infallible skill in means to convert ignorant sentient beings into the path of liberation. The fourth right hand holding a rosary signifies that by the recitation of the six syllable mantras of Avalokiteshvara, one frees oneself from the bondage of samsara.

Again among four left hands, one holding a water pot signifies that he has the capacity of empowering all the sentient beings into Buddhahood. The second left hand holding a lotus signifies that he frees the sentient beings residing in hell realms from the suffering of intense heat and cold just like a lotus emerges from muddy water. The third left hand holding a trident signifies that he purifies three poisons of sentient beings i.e. lust, ill will and stupidity. The fourth left hand holding a scripture signifies that he imparts wisdom to the devotees and thereby they attain liberation from cyclic existence.

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