The worship of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara venerated for his limitless compassion towards the laity and the ability to serve those suffering in multiple ways is one of the major cult practices in Mahayana Buddhism. One of the major features of the worship of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is the embodiment of the Buddha. Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is therefore as much venerated as the Buddha. He has been the prominent figure among the vast array of Bodhisattvas in many East Asian countries that follow Mahayana Buddhism. The concept is popular in India and Sri Lanka and has continued through the ages combined with local religious traditions. The iconographical symbolism of his adoration is mostly depicted in Sanskrit and other versions of Sutra literature and significant number of images. This has cultivated a strong relationship between religion and art. The attention of this paper is focused on identifying and analyzing the nature of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara visualized in Buddhist iconography through various aspects of religion and art.
Sri Lankan Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Vol.1(2) Oct 2009