Author Topic: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel  (Read 10478 times)

rossoneri

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Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« on: March 10, 2013, 08:52:09 AM »
Ever wonder why did Avalokiteshvara appeared to be a woman in certain country in Asia, example China. Why?


Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel

It is unfortunate that Buddhism's most enduring (and universal) contribution to the world has been insufficiently translated as compassion. The original Sanskrit word is 'karuna,' which holds within itself traces of the fragment 'ru,' meaning to weep. While the Oxford dictionary describes compassion as pity bordering on the merciful, karuna is actually our ability to relate to another in so intense a measure that the plight of the other affects us as much as if it had been our own.

The term karuna is central to the entire Buddhist tradition. It is frequently described as a love for all beings, equal in intensity to a mother's affection for her child. However, it is quite unlike conventional love (Sanskrit: priya, kama or trishna), which is rooted in dualistic thinking and is egoistic, possessive and exclusive, in contrast to the all-encompassing nature of compassion. The root meaning of karuna is said to be the anguished cry of deep sorrow and understanding that can only come from an unblemished sense of oneness with others.


In fact, the evolution of Buddhism in Asia and its spread throughout the world is, from a spiritual point of view, none other than the unfolding of karuna in history. Nowhere is this more explicitly exemplified than in the Chinese assimilation of Buddhism. Few would deny that the defining symbol of this integration is the goddess, who with her sweet and merciful disposition, has won the hearts of not only the Chinese, but also profoundly affected even those who, belonging to a foreign tradition, have only had a fleeting interaction with her. This divine female is none other than Kuan Yin, beloved goddess of over a billion people the world over. Her name too signifies her compassionate nature, literally meaning 'One who hears the cries of the world.'

 
It remains a historical fact that Kuan Yin is the Chinese version of the male god Avalokiteshvara, whom the ancient texts eulogize as the patron deity of compassion. It is fascinating however to observe that nowhere in India (where he originated) or Tibet (where he remains the most popular deity) is the latter ever deified as a female figure. In China too, his worship began as a male god, but over time, changed into a goddess and by the ninth century her popularity had prevailed over that of Avalokiteshvara's.

There are many reasons why this gender transformation took place. As Avalokiteshvara evolved into the supreme personality of the Buddhist pantheon, with this heightened pedestal came the inevitable elitism. Karuna, however, cannot be and is not (as it has become today under the pseudonym of compassion), the exclusive preserve of a charmed circle, but rather a symphonic identification with the masses, sharing their suffering and pleasure alike. No wonder then that Avalokiteshvara shed streams of tears observing the plight of his people. Now, any emanation from a divine form is bound to hold a dynamic potential within itself and indeed Indian mythology is replete with examples where fluids emerging from deities have led to enormous consequences. Tears similarly are a spontaneous emotional response to external stimuli and represent the outward flow of Avalokiteshvara's infinite karuna.

To read more: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/article/kuanyin


buddhalovely

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 10:05:51 AM »
Here’s one traditional Chinese story of Kwan Yin’s origins:

Back in Confucian China lived king, whose third and final daughter was so radiant that he named her Miao Shan (radiant goddess). The girl lived up to her name, preferring a life of contemplation, while renouncing fine food, clothing, and all other trappings of royal life. When it came time for her to marry, she adamantly refused. Where, she asked her father, was there a husband who could give her the gifts of the Buddha–freedom from the fear of sickness, old age and death? Miao Shan reminded her father that even a king had no protection from these things.

The king didn’t like that much. In fact, he was so enraged that he put her into a Buddhist nunnery, threatening the nuns with torture and death unless they subjected his daughter to the harshest of treatment. Miao Shan willingly worked at menial tasks and suffered privation, though she chastised the women for fearing her father’s threats. Next, the desperate king decided to kill her. But when he tried to have her beheaded, a blinding thunderstorm came, and a tiger rushed in at the last minute and carried the girl away.

The king decided to wait awhile before trying again, but before he could decide what to do, a terrible sickness came to him, reminding him of his daughter’s warnings about the things even kings fear. A passing beggar advised him that only a potion made from the willing sacrifice of two human arms and two human eyes could save him. Without much hope, he sent out his ministers in search of a person who would willingly give up arms and eyes. Miraculously (to them at least), they found such a person; the potion was made and the king saved. Of course, he was filled with remorse when he found out it was his daughter who’d been mutilated.

She comforted her father with prophetic words: “Do not worry, Father. Mortal eyes give way to diamond eyes, and mortal arms to arms of gold.” He ordered a statue made of her, and in her honor he commanded that it have no arms and no eyes. But the sculptor misunderstood his words, and gave the statue instead a thousand arms and a thousand eyes. The king knew then that Miao Shan could do anything with so many arms, could see anything with so many eyes. Her compassion comforted him, and now he was willing to extend this comfort to all people.

After she died and became the goddess Kwan Yin, she requested permission to come back to Earth, to be with us until the day when all suffering may cease.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 12:22:09 PM »
Kuan Shih Yin - Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva
The Bodhisattva of Great Compassion

The Sanskrit name "Avalokiteshvara" means "the lord who looks upon the world with compassion".

Translated into Chinese, the name is "Kuan Shih Yin"or Quan Yin.

Kuan: observe
Shih: the world / the region of sufferers
Yin: all the sounds of the world, in particular, the crying sounds of beings, verbal or mental, seeking help

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is the embodiment of great compassion. He has vowed to free all sentient beings from suffering.

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is has great powers and can help all sentient beings. His skilful means are limitless and he can appear in any form in all the six realms of existence to relieve the suffering of the sentient beings who live there. He vowed to rescue those who call on him when they are in suffering, for example, when caught in a fire, shipwrecked or facing an attack.

In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha said that if a suffering being hears the name of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and earnestly calls out to the bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara will hear the call and relieve that being from his suffering.

According to the Huayen Sutra, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into forms that suit the nature of those to be helped. His manifestations or transformation bodies are countless.

e.g. if a boy or girl is about to gain some enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into a boy or a girl to teach the child.

e.g. If a monk is about to attain some enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into a monk.

In short, he can appear as a monk, a nun, or a normal person like you and me. The purpose of such transformations is to make people feel close to him and willing to listen to his words.


In China, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is represented in female form and is known as Kuan Yin. Probably because of Kuan Yin's great compassion, a quality which is traditionally considered feminine, most of the bodhisattva's statues in China since the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 - 907) have appeared as female figures. In India, however, the bodhisattva is generally represented as a male figure.

In her hands, Kuan Yin may hold a willow branch, a vase with water or occasionally, a lotus flower.

The willow branch is used to heal people's illnesses or bring fulfillment to their requests.

The water ( the dew of compassion) has the quality of removing suffering, purifying the defilements of our body, speech and mind, and lengthening life.

In Buddhist art, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is sometimes shown with eleven heads, 1000 hands and eyes on the palms of each hand (Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva). The thousand eyes allow the bodhisattva to see the sufferings of sentient beings, and the thousand hands allow her to reach out to help them.

Sometimes, he is represented with one head and 4 arms. This is the Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, worshipped by all Tibetans as "Chenrezig", the Holder of the White Lotus. It is in the male form which has two hands in the praying gesture while the other two hands hold his symbols, the Crystal Rosary and the Lotus Flower.

There is a sacred place for the worship of Kuan Yin in China - the Putuo Mountain. It is actually an island located near the city of Ningpo, in Zhejiang Province. There are many stories of Kuan Yin's miraculous appearances at Putuo Mountain.

Actually, anyone can be like Kuan Yin. You may say that you don't have a thousand eyes or a thousand arms or that you lack skilful means, but it is your compassion that can transform you into a Kuan Yin. With your eyes and hands, you can help others. With your compassion, you can bring peace and tranquility to this world.

The Mani Mantra (The Mantra of Universal Protection) : OM MANI PADME HUM


Extracted from : http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/kuanyin

RedLantern

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 12:59:21 PM »
The Goddess Kuan Yin is a symbol, not only of the Chinese assimilation of Buddhism,but also of the many hued flavor of Karuna, expressed through the softer wisdom of a woman.She is the re-emergence of the goddess and gender transformation of Avolokiteshvara in China represents perhaps a universal imperative, which is similarly reflected in the Goddess Tara from the compassionate tears of the same Bodhisattva.Though often images are encountered which show her sporting a moustache ,emphasing masculinity,this is negated by the softness of her demeanour. Can anything be more subtly female than her graceful poise?Modest and inward looking,yet potent enough to generate and compassionately nourish the whole outside world?
In the words of Martin Palmer "The divine feminine cannot be suppressed for long.In China,it emerged by the transformation of the male into the female"
In China,Goddess Kuan Yin is known as the strong willed yet filial girl,who refused to get married and rebelled against stifling authority.

Big Uncle

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2013, 01:01:15 PM »
I think in China, they really appreciate and relate to the figure of a female figure for compassion versus the Indian model of usually portraying men as being compassionate. In the Indian tradition, female is always associated with wisdom. However, there is a universal appreciation of the kindness of our mothers. Almost everybody has known kindness first with our mother and in fact, the most potent figure of compassion in most people's lives is through our mothers. Therefore, it is no wonder that the Chinese have been quick to idolize Kuan Yin in the form of the compassionate mother/goddess.

So pervasive was this imagery that the Taoists of ancient China had also adopted her into their pantheon of immortals. Even when Christianity first infiltrated China, they often disguise the Virgin Mary in the guise of Kuan Yin holding a child. Whatever the image, the enduring image of a the compassionate goddess remains forever embedded in the psyche of the Chinese Buddhists.

Midakpa

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2013, 01:49:55 PM »
Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion in the Lotus Sutra became known as Kuan Yin in China. This is because the Chinese found it easier to think of compassion in terms of a loving and compassionate woman. The worship of Kuan Yin is very popular among the Chinese so much so that there is a popular saying, "Every household has a Kuan Yin." Why is Kuan Yin so popular among the Chinese? This is because of the Bodhisattva's great compassion. There are numerous books narrating stories of how Kuan Yin has helped people in removing hardships and avoiding calamities. The Chinese normally chant his/her name, "Namo Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa", but these days, due to the influence of Tibetan Buddhism, more and more Chinese are learning to chant the six syllable mantra or Mani mantra, "Om Mani Padme Hum" (Om Mani Peme Hung). "Padma" (lotus) is usually pronounced as "peme" by the Tibetans. Apparently, both mantras are equally powerful. Whether one recites the Bodhisattva's name or recites the Mani mantra, the same amount of merits and virtue will be obtained.

Klein

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2013, 05:27:40 PM »
Here’s one traditional Chinese story of Kwan Yin’s origins:

Back in Confucian China lived king, whose third and final daughter was so radiant that he named her Miao Shan (radiant goddess). The girl lived up to her name, preferring a life of contemplation, while renouncing fine food, clothing, and all other trappings of royal life. When it came time for her to marry, she adamantly refused. Where, she asked her father, was there a husband who could give her the gifts of the Buddha–freedom from the fear of sickness, old age and death? Miao Shan reminded her father that even a king had no protection from these things.

The king didn’t like that much. In fact, he was so enraged that he put her into a Buddhist nunnery, threatening the nuns with torture and death unless they subjected his daughter to the harshest of treatment. Miao Shan willingly worked at menial tasks and suffered privation, though she chastised the women for fearing her father’s threats. Next, the desperate king decided to kill her. But when he tried to have her beheaded, a blinding thunderstorm came, and a tiger rushed in at the last minute and carried the girl away.

The king decided to wait awhile before trying again, but before he could decide what to do, a terrible sickness came to him, reminding him of his daughter’s warnings about the things even kings fear. A passing beggar advised him that only a potion made from the willing sacrifice of two human arms and two human eyes could save him. Without much hope, he sent out his ministers in search of a person who would willingly give up arms and eyes. Miraculously (to them at least), they found such a person; the potion was made and the king saved. Of course, he was filled with remorse when he found out it was his daughter who’d been mutilated.

She comforted her father with prophetic words: “Do not worry, Father. Mortal eyes give way to diamond eyes, and mortal arms to arms of gold.” He ordered a statue made of her, and in her honor he commanded that it have no arms and no eyes. But the sculptor misunderstood his words, and gave the statue instead a thousand arms and a thousand eyes. The king knew then that Miao Shan could do anything with so many arms, could see anything with so many eyes. Her compassion comforted him, and now he was willing to extend this comfort to all people.

After she died and became the goddess Kwan Yin, she requested permission to come back to Earth, to be with us until the day when all suffering may cease.


What a beautiful story of Kuan Yin. She definitely exemplifies the compassionate heart of Chenresig is one with him. No wonder the Chinese love her so much so that even to this day, many huge outdoor statues of her are built in China.


This is in Putuoshan.


This is in Guangzhou.


This is in Foshan.


This is in Sanya, Hainan.


This is in Hunan.

diablo1974

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 09:14:16 AM »
Kuan-yin was introduced to China in the Three Kingdoms Period where Kuan-yin was painted with a pair of moustache but with generic gentle posture. The image of kuanyin changed to female form in the Southern and Northern Dynasty. According to the lotus sutra which there is a section about kuan-yin ability to transform himself into various forms of being as long as its dharmic. And he /she will be there to help with anyone who needed help or met with any mishaps with her name recited.

In china, i dont see many kuanyin statues on those business altar but i saw a lot of God of wealth on their altar. Maybe Kuan-yin are mostly propitiated in household than in businesses and shops.

Positive Change

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 04:48:36 PM »
I believe Buddha's manifest themselves in the forms that best suit the period of the times. Kuan Yin is the epitome of compassion and is revered by millions in and out of China.

Here is more on the this being some of us Tibetan Buddhist know to be Avalokiteshvara:

One of the deities most frequently seen on altars in China's temples is Quan Yin (also spelled Kwan Yin, Kuanyin; in pinyin,  Guanyin). In Sanskrit, her name is Padma-pâni, or "Born of the Lotus." Quan Yin, alone among Buddhist gods, is loved rather than feared and is the model of Chinese beauty. Regarded by the Chinese as the goddess of mercy, she was originally male until the early part of the 12th century and has evolved since that time from her prototype, Avalokiteshvara, "the merciful lord of utter enlightment," an Indian bodhisattva who chose to remain on earth to bring relief to the suffering rather than enjoy for himself the ecstasies of Nirvana. One of the several stories surrounding Quan Yin is that she was a Buddhist who through great love and sacrifice during life, had earned the right to enter Nirvana after death. However, like Avlokiteshvara, while standing before the gates of Paradise she heard a cry of anguish from the earth below. Turning back to earth, she renounced her reward of bliss eternal but in its place found immortality in the hearts of the suffering. In China she has many names and is also known as "great mercy, great pity; salvation from misery, salvation from woe; self-existent; thousand arms and thousand eyes," etc. In addition she is often referred to as the Goddess of the Southern Sea -- or Indian Archipelago -- and has been compared to the Virgin Mary. She is one of the San Ta Shih, or the Three Great Beings, renowned for their power over the animal kingdom or the forces of nature. These three Bodhisattvas or P'u Sa as they are know in China, are namely Manjusri (Skt.) or Wên Shu, Samantabhadra or P'u Hsien, and Avalokitesvara or Quan Yin.

Quan Yin is a shortened form of a name that means One Who Sees and Hears the Cry from the Human World. Her Chinese title signifies, "She who always observes or pays attention to sounds," i.e., she who hears prayers. Sometimes possessing eleven heads, she is surnamed Sung-Tzu-Niang-Niang, "lady who brings children." She is goddess of fecundity as well as of mercy. Worshipped especially by women, this goddess comforts the troubled, the sick, the lost, the senile and the unfortunate. Her popularity has grown such through the centuries that she is now also regarded as the protector of seafarers, farmers and travelers. She cares for souls in the underworld, and is invoked during post-burial rituals to free the soul of the deceased from the torments of purgatory. There are temples all over China dedicated to this goddess, and she is worshipped by women in South China more than in the North, on the 19th day of the 2nd, 6th and 9th moons. (For example, it is a prevalent birth custom in Foochow that when a family has a daughter married since the 15th day of the previous year, who has not yet given birth to a male infant, a present of several articles is sent to her by her relatives on a lucky day between the 5th and 14th of the first month. The articles sent are as follows: a paper lantern bearing a picture of the Goddess of Mercy, Quan Yin, with a child in her arms, and the inscription, "May Quan Yin present you with a son"; oysters in an earthenware vessel; rice-cakes; oranges; and garlic.) Worshippers ask for sons, wealth, and protection. She can bring children (generally sons, but if the mother asks for a daughter she will be beautiful), protect in sorrow, guide seamen and fishermen (thus we see her "crossing the waves" in many poses), and render harmless the spears of an enemy in battle. Her principal temple on the island of Putuoshan, in the Chusan Archipelago off the Zhejiang coast near Ningbo, is a major pilgrimage site sacred to the Buddhists, the worship of Quan Yin being its most prominent feature on account of the fact that the Goddess is said to have resided there for nine years, reigning as the Queen of the Southern Seas. The full name of the island is P'u t'o lo ka, from Mount Pataloka, whence the Goddess, in her transformation as Avalokiteshvara, looks down upon mankind. Miao Feng Shan (Mount of the Wondrous Peak) attracts large numbers of pilgrims, who use rattles and fireworks to emphasize their prayers and attract her attention. In 847, the first temple of Quan Yin was built on this island. By 1702, P'u Tuo had four hundred temples and three thousand monks, and was the destination of countless pilgrims. (By 1949, however, P'u Tuo was home to only 140 monasteries and temples.)

No other figure in the Chinese pantheon appears in a greater variety of images, of which there are said to be thousands of different incarnations or manifestations. Quan Yin is usually depicted as a barefoot, gracious woman dressed in beautiful, white flowing robes, with a white hood gracefully draped over the top of the head and carrying a small upturned vase of holy dew. (However, in the Lamaistic form, common in bronze from eighteenth-century China and Tibet, she is often entirely naked.) She stands tall and slender, a figure of infinite grace, her gently composed features conveying the sublime selflessness and compassion that have made her the favorite of  all deities. She may be seated on an elephant, standing on a fish, nursing a baby, holding a basket, having six arms or a thousand, and one head or eight, one atop the next, and four, eighteen, or forty hands, which which she strives to alleviate the sufferings of the unhappy. She is frequently depicted as riding a mythological animal known as the Hou, which somewhat resembles a Buddhist lion, and symbolises the divine supremacy exercised by Quan Yin over the forces of nature. Her bare feet are the consistent quality. On public altars, Quan Yin is frequently flanked by two acolytes, to her right a barefoot, shirtless youth with his hands clasped in prayer known as Shan-ts'ai (Golden Youth), and on her left a maid demurely holding her hands together inside her sleeves known as Lung-nü (Jade Maiden). Her principal feast occurs yearly on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month. However, she is fortunate in having three birthdays, the nineteenth of the second, sixth and ninth months. There are many metamorphoses of this goddess. She is the model of Chinese beauty, and to say a lady or a little girl is a Kwan Yin is the highest compliment that can be paid to grace and loveliness.

According to one ancient legend her name was Miao Shan, and she was the daughter of an Indian Prince. Youthful and serene, she chose to follow a path of self-sacrifice and virtue, and became a pious follower of Buddha, herself attaining the right to budddhahood but remaining on earth to help mankind. In order to convert her blind father, she visited him transfigured as a stranger, and informed him that were he to swallow an eyeball of one of his children, his sight would be restored. His children would not consent to the necessary sacrifice, whereupon the future goddess created an eye which her parent swallowed and he regained his sight. She then persuaded her father to join the Buddhist priesthood by pointing out the folly and vanity of a world in which children would not even sacrifice an eye for the sake of a parent.
Another Miao Shan legend was that the son of the dragon king had taken the form of a carp and was caught by a fisherman and displayed for sale in the market place. Miao Shan sent her servant to buy the fish and released it.

As related in yet another legend Quan Yin was said to be the daughter of a sovereign of the Chou dynasty, who strenously opposed her wish to be a nun, and was so irritated by her refusal to marry that he put her to humiliating tasks in the convent. This means of coercion failed, and her father then ordered her to be executed for disobedience to his wishes. But the executioner, a man of tender heart and some forethought, brought it about that the sword which was to descend upon her should break into a thousand pieces. Her father thereupon ordered her to be stifled. As the story goes, she forthwith went to Hell, but on her arrival the flames were quenched and flowers burst into bloom. Yama, the presiding officer, looked on in dismay at what seemed to be the summary abolition of his post, and in order to keep his position he sent her back to life again. Carried in the fragrant heart of a lotus flower she went to the island of Putuo, near Ningbo. One day her father fell ill and according to a Chinese custom, she cut the flesh from her arms that it might be made into medicine. A cure was effected, and in his gratitude her father ordered her statue to be made "with completely-formed arms and eyes." Owing to a misunderstanding of the orders the sculptor carved the statue with many heads and many arms, and so it remains to this day.

The image of this divinity is generally placed on a special altar at the back of the great Shakyamuni Buddha behind a screen, and facing the north door, in the second half of the Buddhist monastery. Quan Yin is also worshipped by the Taoists, and they imitate the Buddhists in their descriptions of this deity, speaking in the same manner of her various metamorphoses, her disposition to save the lost, her purity, wisdom, and marvel-working power.

From early Ch'ing times to the present, many thousands of statues of Quan Yin have been carved in jade. The Maternal Goddess, the Protectress of Children, the Observer of All Sounds, Quan Yin is a favorite figure in domestic shrines. As well, her image is carved on small jades which Chinese women offer faithfully at the temples dedicated to her. She also is the single most important figure crafted in blanc de Chine ware, with approximately nine out of every ten figures from Dehua representing that divinity in one or other of her manifestations. (The Quan Yins often were described to European purchasers as "white Santa Marias," so as to make them more desirable to a Christian market.)



Article from: http://www.holymtn.com/gods/kuanyin.htm

Midakpa

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2013, 12:10:52 PM »
Avalokiteshvara, the male bodhisattva who represents compassion, was first brought to China by travelling monks as early as the 1st century C.E., some 500 years after the Buddha’s death. The first indigenous Chinese form of Kuan Yin to appear was Water Moon Kuan Yin. Though some earlier forms of the bodhisattva had moustaches, Water Moon Kuan Yin had a smooth face and androgynous features. These subtle changes helped the bodhisattva transform from male to female form. Indeed from the 10th century onwards, Kuan Yin was increasingly depicted in China as a woman. The first feminine form to appear was White Robed Kuan Yin. Though similar to the male Water Moon Kuan Yin, this figure is clearly female. This iconographic change was supported by various legends and miracle tales of the time that mention a “woman in white”, who miraculously appeared to those in need of help. White Robed Kuan Yin wears her robe over her head in the hooded style of the Chinese women of that period, which reinforced her connection to the people and made her broadly accessible.

The sutras do not recount Kuan Yin’s transformation to female form. Though the texts do mention Avalokiteshvara/Kuan Yin as manifesting in various forms, male and female, to help sentient beings, the classical texts universally depict Kuan Yin as male. Because the feminine forms of Kuan Yin do not follow the scriptures, it seems clear that they developed alongside the traditional sutras, supported by later Chinese texts, legends, and miracle tales. Sometimes Kuan Yin devotees had spontaneous visions of the bodhisattva.

Avalokiteshvara became domesticated in China and became Kuan Yin. He/She was first mentioned in Buddhist scriptures eg. Lotus sutra which was translated into Chinese in 255,286, 290, 335, 406 and 601. The third, fifth and sixth versions still exist. His gender was male or androgynous. Early images depicted a male or androgynous figure.


Midakpa

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 12:21:16 PM »
There are many forms of Kuan Yin, generally divided into three types.

1.   Exoteric (general) – based on the Lotus sutra, Surangama sutra, Avatamsaka sutra, Sukhavativyuha sutra:
One head, 2 arms, wears a crown, adorned with a Buddha, holds a lotus, a willow branch, a water vase or rosary beads.
2.   Esoteric (secret) – Sutra of the 11-headed Kuan Yin, Sutra of the Thousand-armed Kuan Yin of Great Compassion.
Either one head and many hands or multiple heads and hands, often holding ritual objects of various kinds to relieve suffering and provide salvation
3.   Sinified (Chinese) – influenced by native stories and legends eg. White robed Kuan Yin, Clam-dwelling Kuan Yin, Fish-basket Kuan Yin, Child-giving Kuan Yin and Southern Ocean Kuan Yin.

During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), based on descriptions of the 25 Great Ones in the Surangama sutra and Lotus sutra, Kuan Yin appears in 32 or 33 forms to help people or teach them the dharma.

The number 33 arises from the belief that there are 11 deities in each of the 3 worlds (heaven, sky, earth) who protect it. This became a popular cult in the Sui dynasty (581-618) and Tang dynasty (618-907) .

White-robed Kuan Yin has its origins in Pandaravasini from the Mahavairocana sutra which was translated into Chinese in 725. The Blue-throat Kuan Yin is Nilakantha whose sutra was translated in the 7th century. The Leafy Clothing Kuan Yin is the goddess Parnasabari whose sutra was translated into Chinese in the 8th century. The Lapis Lazuli Kuan Yin from the Vaidurya-prabha-raja Sutra translated into Chinese in the 4th century.


Big Uncle

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2013, 12:44:10 PM »
Kuan Yin, Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig would be particularly popular Bodhisattva for our world because of a particular affinity that this Bodhisattva has with us at this time. In actually all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are equal in their realization and attainment. However, certain Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have closer affinity and engaging their worship and practice would bring quicker results because of this affinity.

In our world, we know Kuan Yin has perhaps the closest affinity to us due to our karma and the powerful affinity that the Bodhisattva has with us. I am not sure why but perhaps, many of these Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have emanated into our world either as great Lamas like the Dalai Lama or even as a student of the Buddha. Kuan Yin and other Bodhisattvas like Manjushri emanated as the student of the Buddha, not just to show an example but also to ask the right questions so the Buddha would turn the wheel of the Dharma.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2015, 06:33:57 AM »
Since I was engaged in Tibetan Buddhism, I have always wondered why there was a change of gender from male (Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig) to female as Kuan Yin.  Always inspired by the reverence Buddhists give to this deity I just accepted that Buddhas can be whatever necessary to appease our minds to emanate the inspirational quality of compassion or any other form of virtues.

From this article the legends are plentiful to explain the difference for the emanations of this Buddha but whatever it may signifies, the truth remains that the virtue of this practise will bring forth compassion in us to be of benefit to all sentient beings.

A great eye opener to most forms of Buddhist beliefs, in whatever method or form, the eventual essence never changes and the benefit is for the practitioner.  This is what I find so very engaging in Buddhism.  The Noble Truth prevails.