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The implements of skillful means

The Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara, and sometimes other forms of the bodhisattva, holds tools and implements, including dharma wheels, lotuses, buddhas, jewels embodying the sun and moon, ropes, axes, swords, mirrors, rosaries, vases, conches, books, willow branches, bows, and arrows—all to assist beings by whatever methods would be effective. Avalokiteshvara will use whatever everyday implement comes to hand for the benefit of beings.

In the Zen tradition, the position of head cook is considered especially important. Mayumi Oda pictures Avalokiteshvara as a cook, her many hands holding a frying pan, a spatula, a whisk, a serving fork, and a lemon. As Western culture gradually adapts to bodhisattva iconography, will we perhaps see Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara holding electric light bulbs, video cameras, cell phones, guitars, stethoscopes, basketballs, compact discs, microscopes, skate boards, laptop computers, and palm pilots?