Mahasthamaprapta the Holy Spirit
The Sanskrit title Mahāsthāmaprāpta (the coming of great spiritual power), is the common title of the third 'person' in the Trinity of heavenly helpers. Associated in literature and imagery with the moon (while Avalokiteshvara is associated with the sun) Mahasthamaprapta is a Yin force that operates subtly in the background, as opposed to the direct interventions that Avalokiteshvara, a Yang force, exercises. In Christian tradition Mahāsthāmaprāpta is associated with a dove, or pigeon--an imagery also prominent in Cambodia.
Mahasthamaprapta is known by some as the Helper, the Advocate (representative of Avalokiteshvara), Holy Spirit (only in Christianity), Wisdom, Vajrapani, and Sophia, etc.
This senior Bodhisattva is often represented as female in Chinese tradition. Wisdom has been associated with Yin (or female gender) in most cultures for thousands of years.
Mahasthamaprapta sits on a lotus seat but usually does not hold a lotus. H/she holds a vajra (thunderbolt), symbol of wisdom and sometimes a rice stalk, wheat stalk or lily in the other hand. This holy spirit sometimes has a vase of wisdom in his/her crown, but on occasion even an Amitabha can appear there. In the Angkor Temple City complex we see Mahasthamaprapta appear frequently with wheat or rice stalks, or small lilies, and infrequently with the vase of wisdom nectar.
Mahasthamaprapta together with Avalokiteshvara represent both the wisdom and the compassion of our Father in Heaven.
How do we know when Mahasthamaprapta is ministering to us?
It is not always possible to know these things. However, often during meditation or worship we suddenly become aware of a Divine Presence.
Awareness of this beautiful happening grows in the heart and fills the soul with so much beauty and peace that it sometimes becomes unbearable. For me, that is the sign of the presence of the holy spirit of wisdom. Wisdom is essentially humility, simplicity and compassion and those three combined creates so much beauty and happiness that it is sometimes unbearable for mere souls.
This mostly subtle, holy being is immensely powerful in interacting with our souls. The first instance of "spiritual gifts" we hear of bestowed on Wayists happened at about the time of Iesous' ascention to heaven. The holy spirit of wisdom bestowed upon a group of Wayist linguistic abilities to communicate in foreign languages. This happened to help them spread the good message that our Lord gave them.
Some scholars argue that Mahasthamaprapta is not an individual entity but a vehicle through which our heavenly Father interacts with us. We do not argue the point because in many ways one can say that the Saviour, too, is a vehicle through which the Father interacts with us. We dont really care to know the workings and mechganisms of Heaven because one day we will know first hand--it makes no difference to us now, just how things work in the spiritual realms.
East and West, we venerate our Trinity and we thank the Father for their presence among us.