Thangka paintings perform several different functions. Images of deities can be used as teaching tools when depicting the life (or lives) of the Buddha, describing historical events, or retelling myths associated with other deities or bodhisattva (an enlightened existence or being). Devotional images act as the centerpiece during a ritual or ceremony and are often used as mediums through which one can offer prayers or make requests. Most importantly, religious art is used as a meditation tool to help bring one further down the path of enlightenment. The Buddhist practitioner uses a Thangka image of their meditation deity as a guide to internalizing the Buddha qualities.
Originally, Thangka painting became popular among traveling monks because the scroll paintings were easily rolled and transported from monastery to monastery. These Thangka served as important teaching tools.
Is the earthly manifestation of the self-born, eternal Buddha, Amitabha. According to legend, Chenrezig made a vow that he would not rest until he had liberated all the beings in all the realms of suffering. After working diligently at this task for a very long time, he looked out and realized the immense number of miserable beings yet to be saved. Seeing this, he became despondent and his head split into thousands of pieces. Amitabha Buddha put the pieces back together as a body with very many arms and many heads, so that Chenrezig could work with myriad beings simultaneously. Sometimes Chenrezig is visualized with eleven heads, and a thousand arms fanned out around him. Chenrezig is the most popular of all Buddhist deities, except for Buddha himself. He is beloved throughout the Buddhist world.