Date: Sat, 25 May 2013 07:17:13 +0200
- Good Morning Thinkers!
Thousand-Hand Guan Yin
There is a phenomenon sweeping through Asia which is still relatively unknown in the West. It is a stunning stage performance called Thousand-Hand Guan Yin.
About Guan Yin
Guan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion, revered by Buddhists as the Goddess of Mercy. Her name is short for Guan Shi Yin. Guan means to observe, watch, or monitor; Shi means the world; Yin means sounds, specifically sounds of those who suffer. Thus, Guan Yin is a compassionate being who watches for, and responds to, the people in the world who cry out for help.
Bodhi means wisdom or enlightenment; sattva means being or essence. Put the two together and you get bodhisattva, a being who is enlightened and ready to transcend the cycles of birth and death, but chooses to return to the material world in order to help other people reach the same level of enlightenment. This is the ultimate demonstration of pure compassion.
The thousand hands of this bodhisattva represent Guan Yin's many abilities to render assistance. There are a thousand eyes on these hands which give Guan Yin great powers to observe the world. Guan Yin also has many faces so she can become who people need her to be, not necessarily herself, because her help is given in a way that is literally selfless.
Due to the widespread influence of Chinese culture, Guan Yin has become arguably the most popular and well-known bodhisattva in the world. This can sometimes lead to confusion as people erroneously equate Guan Yin with bodhisattva. For instance, quite a few people have already mistranslated the Chinese name of the performance to Thousand-Hand Bodhisattva.
Also, the deification of Guan Yin can lead to a misconception at a fundamental level. A bodhisattva is not a deity but a human being - a spiritually advanced human being. Although Guan Yin is depicted as a beautiful Asian woman, anyone can be a bodhisattva regardless of appearance, race and gender. Whenever you act in accordance with a natural impulse of total compassion, you have taken another step toward becoming a bodhisattva yourself.