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Padmapani Lokeshvara

Padmapani Lokeshvara is also a form of Avalokiteshvara. Padmapani Lokeshvara is generally seen standing at the right side of Buddha Amitabha in Sukhavati Heaven. Padmapani Lokeshvara is depicted red in color. Padmapani Lokeshvara holds a lotus flower in his left hand and shows Varada Mudra with his right hand.

Padmapani Lokeshvara wears an antelope skin on the shoulders. Padmapani Lokeshvara wears all the ornaments typical of a bodhisattva symbolizing his enlightened experiences. Padmapani Lokeshvara wears a crown and his hair is bound to form a top knot. Sometimes it is eclipsed by an effigy of Amitabha Buddha. When there is no effigy of Amitabha Buddha in the crown of Padmapani, he is then white in color.

A legend says that once an elephant was going to pick up a lotus flower in a pond. Unfortunately he slipped into the mud. Padmapani Lokeshvara cried in agony and prayed for Narayana. In the mean time Arya Avalokiteshvara was in that jungle and he heard the prayer. Immediately he took the form of Narayana and rescued the elephant from the marshy pond. Then Avalokiteshvara took the lotus offered by the elephant and went to Jetavana grove where Buddha Shakyamuni was residing. Padmapani Lokeshvara in turn offered this lotus flower to Buddha Shakyamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni thanked Avalokiteshvara for his offer of the lotus flower and requested him to offer it to Lord Amitabha on his behalf. Avalokiteshvara told the whole story to Lord Amitabha Buddha. Appreciating the philanthropic deeds of Avalokiteshvara, Buddha Amitabha told him to keep that lotus flower for-ever and continue the act of benefiting all sentient beings. Later on Avalokiteshvara was known as Padmapani Lokeshvara.

In Kathmandu valley numerous images of Padmapani Bodhisattva or Lokeshvara are found. Padmapani Lokeshvara found in Shreegha Vihara in Kathmandu is believed to be of the fifth century of Christian era. According to Pandit Hem Raj Shakya 202 images or sculptures of Padmapani carved in stones are found in Patan city alone dating as early as the Lichchavi period.

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