Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Avalokiteshvara in Sri Lanka (Natha)

Photographer Dennis Candy; LW; Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly
Avalokiteshvara  in Weligama, Sri Lanka, near Matara on south coast: this 10 foot (3 meter) tall bodhisattva is sculpted in bas-relief within a hillside niche, identified by iconographical details, including the seated Buddha in his crown. Signage dates figure to 6th century ACE; other proposed dates have run as late as 8th-9th century (art-and-archaeology.com).
Avalokiteshvara carved from gold-colored stone, Kelaniya Temple, Sri Lanka (Dennis Candy)
Devotees in one of the image house rooms, Kelaniya Temple near Colombo, Sri Lanka (DC).
The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
This large statue represents the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara [whom history transformed into the beloved Goddess Kwan Yin] at Kelaniya Temple, Sri Lanka.

Avalokitesvara ("the lord [deva] who looks down" from on high and hears the cries of the world) is an important bodhisattva from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition who has been to some extent incorporated in to Sri Lanka's Theravada Buddhist tradition by identification with the Sri Lankan deity Natha.
  • Natha deva in Tusita (LW)
    Natha: This virtuous deva lives in Tusita heaven and will become the next buddha Maitreya. He is the most powerful deva in [that] heaven and possesses ultimate powers of merit. He spends most of his time in meditation observing strict precepts. Sometimes he comes to the human plane and helps good people no matter what religion or path (dharma) they follow. This deva can hear mental requests by reading thoughts and can surely help. His main hangout or devala is in Kandy, at the famous Temple of the Tooth. Therefore, people identify him as Senkadagala Deva. More
The Buddha, Sri Lanka (Malka001)
The Kelaniya Great High Temple is one of Sri Lanka's most revered sacred Buddhist sites as it is believed to mark the location of a discourse given by the Buddha during what is believed to have been his third visit to the island or dipa in ancient times.

Kelaniya is one of 16 Solosmasthana sites on the island that Sinhalese Buddhists believed were visited by the Buddha during his three visits to the island. Most of the structures at the temple have been built or cut from a beautiful gold-colored stone, as seen here.

Female statue, not Avalokiteshvara but a devi, yakshi, or perhaps royal servant (DineshC).

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