Few in the west have heard of Chenrezig and yet he is the second most popular Buddha in Tibet after Guru Rinpoche. Maybe you know him as Avalokitesvara. Or maybe you know his mantra: “Om Mani Padme Hum.”
Chenrezig is the most revered of all the Bodhisattvas. He listens to the prayers of every sentient being. As a Bodhisattva, Chenrezig has vowed never to rest until he has helped free all people from samsara. The task is a daunting one, so as the story goes, in his effort to reach out to so many cries of suffering, his arms are shattered into pieces, making them many, to better reach out to those in need.
He has two hands folded in prayer while holding a brilliant sky-blue wish-fulfilling jewel at his heart. In this way, he holds close to his heart Bodhicitta or altruistic love for all sentient beings. The other arm on his right holds a crystal mala. The other hand holds a pristine lotus. This shows his promise to manifest continuously in a multitude of ways, to benefit us, like the steady momentum of counting prayer beads.