Sometimes he is depicted with emblems with eight arms only carrying rosary, disc, varada mudra and jewel with his right hands and lotus, bow, vase and clapping Ratna with his left hands. Sahasrabhuja lokeshvara wears antilope skin on his shoulders symbolizing compassionate nature. Sahasrabhuja lokeshvara wears all the bodhisattva ornaments like earrings, and so on. He has eleven heads. The eleventh one being his spritual sire Buddha Amitabha. It is said that Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara made the commitment in front of Buddha Amitabha to intentionally manifest into the three realms of samsara in order to liberate all sentient beings from samsara and to be their supreme guide. He also vowed that if by chance his compassion and courageous mind of mercy for sentient beings were to decrease, then let his head and body just completely crack and fall into one thousand pieces.Receiving blessings from Buddha Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara went through universal manifestations into the three realms of samsara.
Thereby he went to Hell and emancipated them from both the hot and cold hells by teaching Om mani pad me hung. He in turn went to ghost realm, human, Asura and Deva realms to free the sentient beings from their respective suffering. He absolutely emptied the ocean of suffering. Following which he went back to Buddha Amitabha and declared that the liberation had been effected. Buddha Amitabha said to him, “you should look again, look back again and again into the world.” And as he did, there he saw once again that sentient beings were in samsara and in sorrow, he became so disappointed when he saw the sight. Then his enlightened thought (Bodhicitta) decreased in the moment and he lost his courage. He became disappointed in the very presence of Buddha Amitabha.
He felt how could the time come to liberate all sentient beings for ever from this type of condition. And instantly when his mind felt with sorrow, his body and head just cracked and fell apart into one thousand pieces, and then he fainted.
Avalokiteshvara thus fainted, and Buddha Amitabha said to him, “My son where has your courage, your mental strength gone?” He picked up all the pieces of his body and the head. At the same time he said, “this happened because of your prayer. You deserve the praise of all Buddhas since your prayer was efficacious. However, noble son! Don’t worry.” Thereby he blessed
his broken heads into eleven faces and he sat upon those heads and his broken body into one thousand hands like one thousand petals of the lotus. Thereafter he said, “I bow to you because your thousand hands are the hands of the thousand universal emperors and those eyes in each of the palms of the hands are the eyes of one thousand Buddhas who will appear in this fortunate aeon. After that Avalokiteshvara appeared in many different forms in order to tame the suffering sentient beings and he successfully accomplished many events.
The image of 1,000 armed Avalokiteshvara in stone is rare in Kathmandu valley. The bronze images can be seen here and there. Basically a system of fasting ceremony called Nyune from Tibet came to Kathmandu too, through Tibetan Buddhists Masters. In this fasting ceremony the practice; or sadhana is usually devoted to this form of Avalokiteshvara.
Tousand armed Avalokiteshvara form of image can be found in China too. A giant image of 1,000 armed Avalokiteshvara (ht. 360 cm) is installed in the Maitreya temple in Tainan. It was carved out of wood and has aesthetical value.