Found this guy in one of the Buddhist temples in Singapore's Chinatown. There were lots of deities and images in the temple, but I took a particular interest in this one - Avalokiteśvara - because he (or she, they invariably portray this deity as male or female) is supposedly the protector of those born in the year of the Rat, my year.
So I did a little bit more research on him, love it!
Avalokiteśvara is also known as "the sovereign beholder of the world". The Mahayana says that he chose to delay his own Buddhahood until he assisted every suffering being on earth in achieving nirvana.
Notice how he has a lot of heads and arms? Here's the story from Wikipedia --
"One prominent Buddhist story tells of Avalokiteśvara vowing never to rest until he had freed all sentient beings from samsara. Despite strenuous effort, he realizes that still many unhappy beings were yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, his head splits into eleven pieces. Amitabha Buddha, seeing his plight, gives him eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokiteśvara attempts to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that his two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitabha comes to his aid and invests him with a thousand arms with which to aid the suffering multitudes."
Beholder of the world, and a workaholic with a desire to help others... I like this guy already :D Now where do I find my own Amitabha to give me my own thousand sets of arms?