Friday, September 13, 2013

Kuan Yin

Kuan Yin (also spelled Guan Yin, Kwan Yin) is the bodhisattva of compassion venerated by East Asian Buddhists. Commonly known as the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin is also revered by Chinese Taoists as an Immortal. The name Kuan Yin is short for Kuan Shih Yin (Guan Shi Yin) which means "Observing the Sounds of the World".

In Japanese, Kuan Yin is called Kannon or more formally Kanzeon; the spelling Kwannon, resulting from an obsolete system of romanization, is sometimes seen. In Korean, she is called Kwan-um or Kwan-se-um. In Vietnamese, she is called Quan Âm or Quan Thế Âm Bồ Tát.

Kuan Yin is the Chinese name for the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. However, folk traditions in China and other East Asian countries have added many distinctive characteristics and legends. Most notably, while Avalokitesvara can be depicted as either male or female, Kuan Yin is usually depicted as a woman, whereas Avalokitesvara in other countries is usually depicted as a man.

I always had a personal appreciation for Kwan Yin, for I believe she is the oldest goddess in the world. Her other names are Isis, Ishtar, Marie and Myriam, among others, and we have representations of her dating from way before humans could write...

The Venus of Brassempouy - 25,000 BP
This Satue of Kwan Yin moved to the Mokurai Garden last July. She greets me and I bow to her everymorning morning on my way to the Dojo.

John Blofeld wrote about her in a beautiful book :

She is the embodiment of selfless love, the supreme symbol of radical compassion, and, for more than a millennium throughout Asia, she has been revered as “The One Who Hearkens to the Cries of the World.”

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