Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Thousand-Armed Chenresi, a Cosmic Form of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara

Date:
14th century
Culture:
Tibet
Medium:
Distemper and gold on cloth
Dimensions:
Overall: 28 3/4 x 24 in. (73 x 61 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.18
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 253
Inscription: The inscription on the painting's reverse begins with a Tibetan transliteration of a Sanskrit dedicatory formula commonly used in India from an early period and seen, for example, in the colophons of Indian medieval manuscripts. The Sanskrit verse reads:

"Ye dharma hetu prabhava hetu tesham tathagatam...teshan...ye...nirodha he avadat mahasramana."

It may be translated as follows:
"Those things which have an origin in a cause, their cause the Tathagata has stated, and their cessation".

It thus summarizes the essential achievements of Sakyamuni Buddha. This is followed by a brief inscription composed in Tibetan:

"Patience, the most holy ascetic practice, is the best means of attaining nirvana (lit., going beyond suffering), thus the Buddha has said. In causing harm to another and in causing harm to another monk one does not acquire religious merit."
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