1 min read
Lokeshvara, the Compassionate Bodhisattva, also known as Avalokiteshvara. He is one of the five ‘Bodhisattvas of Wisdom’.
Lokeshvara is the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of compassion. He elected not to reach full buddhahood (the state of perfect enlightenment, the condition or rank of a buddha "awakened one") in order to assist beings who were suffering or struggling on their way to enlightenment, which gained him the name of Lord of Compassion.
Amitabha is said to have given Lokeshvara eleven heads to better hear the suffering of the humans, and a thousand arms so that he could reach and assist all of them.
Khmer worship of Lokeshvara reached a peak during the reign of Jayavarman VII. Entrusted with healing powers, the divinity was given a predominant position in the scenes carved on the chapels of the hospitals built by this king. Lokeshvara was also omnipresent at Neak Poan Temple, whose waters could cleanse the sins and diseases of the pilgrims. Jayavarman VII dedicated the temple of Preah Khan Temple to the memory of his father, deified in the likeness of Lokeshvara. The Bodhisattva is depicted with a thousand arms in Banteay Chhmar Temple.