I am a lover of everything beautiful and pure. I love statues and I have a huge collection of Cherubs all around my Home (indoors and outdoors). When we were designing our backyard layout a couple of years ago, I knew I wanted to use a section of my backyard to create a Zen Garden. We started off by trying out two patterns with Yin Yang Symbols. Last year I bought three small Buddha Statues from the 99¢ Only Stores, which I displayed on my storage shed. Last month I bought a medium size Buddha from Pancho’s in Lucerne Valley, CA and today we picked up a life size torso of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, the Bodhisattva of Compassion (who promises to answer the cries and pleas of all sentient beings and to liberate them from their own karmic woes).
According to the website Taoism.net, a Bodhisattva is 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.
As much as I love beautiful things, I always make sure I do some research and talk to knowledgeable individuals before I bring anything (I don’t fully understand) into my Home. The first time I heard about the Bodhissatva of Compassion and actually saw a few pictures with her eleven heads and a thousand hands, I was freaked out and could not fathom such a transformation/sight until I read her story. From there I was on a quest to acquire more knowledge and more understanding. It’s so easy to judge someone or a culture without enough information.
Guanyin and the Thousand Arms (Wikipedia)
Despite strenuous effort, she realised that there were still many unhappy beings yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, her head split into eleven pieces. The buddha Amitabha, upon seeing her plight, gave her eleven heads to help her hear the cries of those who are suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokitesvara attempted to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that her two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitabha came to her aid and appointed her a thousand arms to let her reach out to those in need. Click here for additional information.
A few years ago, I watched a mesmerizing and breathtaking stage performance called Thousand-Hand Guan Yin by a group of hearing impaired females and males of the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe (CDPPAT). Below is the amazing video of the performance, I hope you enjoy it.
There are other stories about Guanyin’s origins as recorded in Buddhist sutras, which you can read here (the first 13 chapters) and here (the last 16 chapters). Looking for the PDF version? Simply download it here.