India, Dharamsala, September 1991; painting on cloth; image: 22 3/4 x 22 3/4 in., framed: 29 3/4 x 29 1/2 in.; Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, 92.11.1025.
Instead of appearing as a lotus, as in the work on the left, Shadakshari Lokeshvara takes bodily form in this mandala. The bodhisattva’s presence signals one of the mandala’s many applications: deity practice. This requires imagining oneself as an altruistic being at the center of a perfected universe, conceived as a mandala. From there, the practitioner seeks to emulate Avalokiteshvara’s wisdom and compassion.