The Buddhist epitome of mercy and compassion. When Avalokitesvara attained to supreme consciousness, he chose not to pass into nirvana, but vowed to stay behind as the succor of the afflicted. He was filled with compassion, karuna, for the sufferings of the living, which he sought to bring to enlightenment. He was represented as a handsome young man holding a lotus flower in his hand who wore a picture of Amithaba in his hair. His female consort was Tara, also known as Pandaravasini, 'clad in white'.