This black Thangka shows the fourarmed Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Shadakshari holding rosary, lotus and the wishfulling gem in center.
Avalokiteshvara is the archangelic Bodhisattva of Great Compassion. His vast vows to save all beings are said by the texts to be inconceivable. With his special Mantra OM MANI PADME HUM" [Hail the jewel in the lotus"], he travels to all realms of the universe in his tireless quest to deliver beings from suffering.
In his of his special sutras, the Jewel-Casket Array [Karandavyuha], he actually descends to the hells of Yama. From the fingers of his thousand arms, magic waters flowed and cooled the flames of the molted iron realm.
The Tibetans believe that the White Lotus of Compassion Sutra [Karunapundarika] records how he took a special vow to free the Tibetans, to tame hem and turn them away from their violent ways, and so turn their land of barbaric savagery into a land bright with happiness.
Avalokiteshvara is soften grouped with Vajrapani and Manjushri. The three celestial Buddhas are thought of as archangelic protectors representing the power [Vajrapani, compasian [Avalokiteshvara] and Wisdom [Manjushri] of all the Buddhas past, present, and future.
The seventeen representations in the aura of Avalokiteshvara Lokeshvara are different manfestations of himself.
Source: "Wisdom and compassion - The sacred art of Tibet from Marylin M. Rhie and Robert A. F. Thurman in association with Harry N. Abrahams, Inc., Publisher", Page 34 and 136
Holy Number 108
There are different explantion for this background of this Holy Number:
In Buddhism, according to Bhante Gunaratana this number is reached by multiplying the senses smell, touch, taste, hearing, sight, and consciousness by whether they are painful, pleasant or neutral, and then again by whether these are internally generated or externally occurring, and yet again by past, present and future, finally we get 108 feelings. 6 × 3 × 2 × 3 = 108.
Tibetan Buddhist malas or rosaries are usually 108 beads, reflecting the words of the Buddha called in Tibetan the Kangyur in 108 volumes.
The Lankavatara Sutra has a section where the Bodhisattva Mahamati asks Buddha 108 questions
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