But Târâ was not originally the same as Kuan-yin, though the fact that she accompanies Avalokita and shares his attributes may have made it easier to think of him in female form. The circumstances in which Avalokita became a goddess are obscure. The Indian images of him are not feminine, although his sex is hardly noticed before the tantric period.

The object is not to share Brahmâ's heaven but to become temporarily identified with a deity, and this is not a byway of religion but the high road. But there is a further stage of degradation. I have already mentioned that various Bodhisattvas are represented as accompanied by a female deity, particularly Avalokita by Târâ.

The tantric school counts eight of the first rank. Avalokita in many forms and in many ages has been one of the principal deities of Asia but his origin is obscure. His main attributes are plain. He is the personification of divine mercy and pity but even the meaning of his name is doubtful.

The twenty-fourth chapter which contains the praises of Avalokita is often printed separately. The Amitâbha sûtras take the place of the New Testament for the Jōdō and Shin sects and copies of them may also be found in almost every monastery throughout China and Annam. The Suvarṇa-prabhâsa is said to be specially popular among the Mongols.

He appears to contemplate chiefly the veneration of images of Sâkyamuni but figures of Bodhisattvas were also conspicuous features in temples, as we know not only from archæology but from the biography of Hsüan Chuang, where it is said that worshippers used to throw flowers and silk scarves at the image of Avalokita and draw auguries from the way they fell.

After Avalokita and Mañjuśrî the most important Bodhisattva is Maitreya, also called Ajita or unconquered, who is the only one recognized by the Pali Canon. This is because he does not stand on the same footing as the others.

He has much the same literary history as Avalokita, not being mentioned in the Pali Canon nor in the earlier Sanskrit works such as the Lalita-vistara and Divyâvadâna. But his name occurs in the Sukhâvatî-vyûha: he is the principal interlocutor in the Lankâvatâra sûtra and is extolled in the Ratna-karaṇḍaka-vyûha-sûtra.

Madhava thus describes to his friend Makaranda his first interview with Malati, and acknowledges himself deeply smitten: "One day, advised by Avalokita, I went to the temple of the god of love. I saw there a beauteous maid. I have become a victim to her glances. Her gait was stately. Her train bespoke a princely rank. Her garb was graced with youth's appropriate ornaments.

Kamandaki addresses her favourite disciple Avalokita thus: "Dear Avalokita! Oh how I wish for the marital union of Madhava, the son of Devarata, and Malati, the daughter of Bhurivasu! Auspicious signs forerun a happy fate. Even now my throbbing eyeball tells that propitious destiny shall crown my schemes." Avalokita replies: "Oh, here is a serious cause of anxiety. How strange!

In the three temples were large images representing the Buddha, Târâ and Avalokita. The great centres of Buddhist learning and monastic life, mentioned by both pilgrims, were Valabhî or Balabhi in Gujarat and Nalanda. The former was a district rather than a single locality and contained 100 monasteries with 6000 monks of the Sammitîya school. Nalanda was in Magadha not far from Gaya.