The Dalai Lama is believed to be a manifestation/Reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara aka Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity…
In the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon of enlightened beings, Chenrezig is renowned as the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Avalokiteshvara aka Chenrezig is the earthly manifestation of the self born, eternal Buddha, Amitabha. He guards this world in the interval between the historical Sakyamuni Buddha, and the next Buddha of the Future Maitreya.
According to legend, Chenrezig made a a vow that he would not rest until he had liberated all the beings in all the realms of suffering. After working diligently at this task for a very long time, he looked out and realized the immense number of miserable beings yet to be saved. Seeing this, he became despondent and his head split into thousands of pieces. Amitabha Buddha put the pieces back together as a body with very many arms and many heads, so that Chenrezig could work with myriad beings all at the same time. Sometimes Chenrezig is visualized with eleven heads, and a thousand arms fanned out around him.
Chenrezig may be the most popular of all Buddhist deities, except for Buddha himself — he is beloved throughout the Buddhist world. He is known by different names in different lands: as Avalokiteshvara in the ancient Sanskrit language of India, as Kuan-yin in China, as Kannon in Japan.
As Chenrezig, he is considered the patron Bodhisattva of Tibet, and his meditation is practiced in all the great lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The beloved king Songtsen Gampo was believed to be an emanation of Chenrezig, and some of the most respected meditation masters (lamas), like the Dalai Lamas and Karmapas, who are considered living Buddhas, are also believed to be emanations of Chenrezig.
Whenever we are compassionate, or feel love for anyone, or for an animal or some part of the natural world, we experience a taste of our own natural connection with Chenrezig. Although we may not be as consistently compassionate as some of the great meditation masters, Tibetan Buddhists believe that we all share, in our basic nature, unconditional compassion and wisdom that is no different from what we see in Chenrezig and in these lamas.
We might have trouble believing that we are no different than Chenrezig — but learning about the nature of compassion, and learning about Chenrezig, repeating his mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and imagining that we would like to be like Chenrezig, pretending that we really are just like Chenrezig, we actually can become aware of increasing compassion in our lives, and ultimately, the lamas tell us, awaken as completely wise and compassionate buddhas.
Avalokiteshvara Mantra Long Version;
Namo Ratna Trayaya,
Namo Arya Jnana
Byuhara Jara Tathagataya,
Arahate, Samyaksam Buddhaya,
Namo Sarwa Tathagate Bhyay,
Samyaksam Buddhe Bhyah,
Namo Arya Avalokite
Tadyata, Om Dara Dara,
Diri Diri, Duru Duru
Itte We, Itte Chale Chale,
Kusume Kusuma Wa Re,
Ili Milli, Chiti Jvalam, Apanaye Shoha
Homage to the Three Jewels,
Homage to the Ocean of that Superior,
Exalted Transcendental Wisdom,
The Appointed King, Vairocana,
The Tathagata, the Arhat,
the Pure and Complete Buddha,
Homage to All the Tathagatas, the Arhats,
the Pure and Complete Buddhas,
Homage to the Supreme Avalokiteshvara,
the Bodhisattva, the Great Being,
that Great Compassion,
Thus, Om, Apprehending the Deity of Sound,
Apprehending the Deity of Form,
Apprehending the Deity of Sign,
and the Surrounding Entourage.
* Please note this is the long version, the more commonly known Avalokiteshvara Chenrezig Mantra is the short verison which is known as ” Om Mani Padme Hum”
Mantra of Avalokiteshvara by
Margot Reisinger, Lama Tenzin Sangpo
On the meaning of:
OM MANI PADME HUM The jewel is in the lotus or praise to the jewel in the lotus by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet It is very good to recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast.
The first, OM, is composed of three pure letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha. Can impure body, speech and mind be transformed into pure body, speech and mind, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of being who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure. How is this done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables.
MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factor of method- the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love. Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfills the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfills the wishes of sentient beings.
The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom. Just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non- contradiction where as there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom. There is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing that persons are empty of self-sufficient or substantial existence, wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality (that is to say, of difference of entity between subject and object), and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence. Though there are may different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.
Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable, HUM, which indicates indivisibility. According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to one consciousness in which there is a full form of both wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In the mantra, or tantra vehicle, it refers to one conciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one undifferentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the five conqueror Buddhas, HUM is the is the seed syllable of Akshobhya- the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.
Thus the six syllables, OM MANI PADME HUM, mean that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within.
As Maitreya says in his SUBLIME CONTINUUM OF GREAT VEHICLE (UTTARA TANTRA) all beings naturally have the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We have within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One Gone Thus (TATHAGATAGARBHA), that is to be transformed and full developed into Buddhahood.
(From a lecture given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet at the Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center, New Jersey.) Transcribed by Ngawang Tashi (Tsawa), Drepung Loseling, MUNGOD, INDIA