The Boddhisattvas play a unique role in Buddhism namely their boundless compassion for all sentient beings and their readiness to undergo any suffering for their benefit. They do not attain Nirvana until all beings have transcended the cycle of birth and death and are free from worldly bondage and delusion. There are eight important bodhisattvas who represent the Personification of Buddha’s qualities. They are the embodiments of virtue, compassion and mercy and irrespective of the crime of the individual they never forsake those who ask for their help and Sarva-Nivarana-Vishakhambin is one of the eight Boddhisattvas or Ashtamahabodhisattva, the others being Avalokiteshwara, Maitreya, Akashagarbha, Manjushri, Kshitigarbha, Samantabhadra and Vajrapani.
Meaning and Origin
Sarva-Nivarana-Vishakhambin means the effacer of all obstacles or hindrances. The term Nivarana refers to the five mental obstacles namely desire(kamachhanda), laziness(thinamiddha), doubt or confusion(vichikicha), hostility (vyapada) and suspicion or arrogance(uddhachcha or kukuchcha) towards the Three Jewels ie Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Unlike the other seven Boddhisattvas, Sarva-Nivarana is not a subject generally for individual worship and is best known to meditators.
His image is generally seen holding a Chintamani(jewel) and an ambrosia cup. He wears a garland of heads and a tiger skin around his waist. He is royal blue with a moon on his lotus.
Names in other countries
He is referred to as Dripa Namsal in Tibet, Chugai Zhang or Jingzhu Yezhang Pusa in China.
In the Lotus Sutra he is mentioned as paying homage to Avalokiteshwara whom he met in Varanasi and in the Mahavairochana Tantra.
In the Guna Karandavyuha Sutra, he effaces all the sins of the devotees.
In the Vairochana Sutra, the mantra of this Boddhisattva to remove all obstacles is Namah Samantabuddhanam! Ah! Sattva Hitabhyudgata,Tram Tram Ram Ram Svaha.
Sarva-Nivarana- Vishkhambin is one of the eight Boddhisattvas who helps all those who call upon him for aid. He is the remover of hindrances and never forsakes those who call on him for help. His aim is to redeem mankind and help them to transcend suffering and reach the goal of life ie self realisation.