Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhism

Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhism

Postby ylee111 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:56 am

(FYI: shi and hir are gender neutral terms used instead of she/he and him/her)

In what sects of Asian Buddhism is Avalokiteśvara recognized in hir form as Guanyin/ Kanon Bozatsu?

As a kid, I visited Chinese Pureland and Chan Temples in New York City's Chinatown and observed many statues of hir. Ditto for one at Flushing's Fo Guang Shan. Likewise, I visited the Chogyesa Zen (Seon) Temple in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and was told a statue was in the inner chamber. I also thought I spotted a reclining Guanyin at Elmhurst's Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram.

However, when I visited Jodo Shinshu's New York Buddhist Church, I was shocked that the attendees of a Pure Land School did not know who shi was. The one person who did know told me that statues can be found in Chinatown. I just read that very few deities are recognized in Jodo Shinshu but I thought the exclusion was limited to Shinto ones. Thus my curiosity.
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:12 pm

ylee111 wrote:(FYI: shi and hir are gender neutral terms used instead of she/he and him/her)

In what sects of Asian Buddhism is Avalokiteśvara recognized in hir form as Guanyin/ Kanon Bozatsu?

As a kid, I visited Chinese Pureland and Chan Temples in New York City's Chinatown and observed many statues of hir. Ditto for one at Flushing's Fo Guang Shan. Likewise, I visited the Chogyesa Zen (Seon) Temple in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and was told a statue was in the inner chamber. I also thought I spotted a reclining Guanyin at Elmhurst's Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram.

However, when I visited Jodo Shinshu's New York Buddhist Church, I was shocked that the attendees of a Pure Land School did not know who shi was. The one person who did know told me that statues can be found in Chinatown. I just read that very few deities are recognized in Jodo Shinshu but I thought the exclusion was limited to Shinto ones. Thus my curiosity.


I am pretty sure that only in Vajrayana ("Tibetan" ...perhaps Shingon as well, I don't know)) Buddhism is Avalokiteshvara personified as a male.

The reason why you won't find Kwan Yin in a Jodo Shin temple is because they only have one practice, the recitation of the name of Amitabha ("Namo Amida Butsu"), trusting only in the power and compassion of Amitabha as being able to free beings from samsara and regard all other efforts to be liberated from samsara as essentially pointless because they all rely on 'self power' which means the samsaric or confused mind of the practicer. This was the teaching of the sect's founder, Shinran.
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby Huifeng » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:08 am

In India, Avalokiteśvāra is male. The very name itself is a masculine form. That’s irrespective of Mahāyāna Buddhism in general, or Tantric Buddhism. Likewise for South Asia, eg. in Śrī Lanka, a long time ago. This gradually shifts in China, from where it is exported elsewhere to Korea and Japan, etc. You can check out Prof. Yü Chün Fang’s book, which is all about this.

Yü, Chün-fang. Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby ylee111 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:00 am

Is Kanzeon present in Nichiren or Jodo-Shu?
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby Huifeng » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:17 am

All over East Asia...

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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby rory » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:42 am

I can speak for Japan to a degree, Jodo Shu & Jodo Shinshu concentrates on Amida, Nichiren for the most part concentrates on the Daimoku and Shakyamuni, though liberal Nichiren sects will have statues etc. Usually Pure Land worship in Japan focuses on Amida, while the non Pure Land sects then focus on Kannon, so with Hosso, Kegon, Tendai, Shingon etc you'll find Kannon mantras and worship.

As for shi/hir, why not use the easy to understand English word "one" . One has no difficulties getting your point. The feeling about the evolution of male Avalokitesvara to female Kwan Yin is that the Daoist Queen Mother of the West, Xi Wangmu 西王母 was extremely popular in China and this effected the transformation.
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Dharani of Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara:

Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby Lindama » Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:01 am

huh, I always thought that Avalokitesvara and Kwan Yin/Kanzeon were the same.... just that we could connect with diff aspects of each in our experience. So I think of them interchangeably...

First time that I encountered Kanzeon was in a chant on my first visit to a zendo... nobody told me about the chant or it's meaning. I didn't ask. The same night at 3am I awoke with a fire in my heart... nobody needed to explain.

it's about how we experience them....
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby yan kong » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:33 am

Lindama wrote:huh, I always thought that Avalokitesvara and Kwan Yin/Kanzeon were the same.... just that we could connect with diff aspects of each in our experience. So I think of them interchangeably


I agree. Kuan Yin appears in a multitude of forms to help beings, the Bodhisattva is neither male nor female.
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby Huifeng » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:33 am

A la the Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus sutra, etc.

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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby rory » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:40 am

We were discussing the scholarly history of Kannon's transformation, as I have studied Prof. Yü Chün Fang’s book, but of course she can and does transform into a female, male, god, hungry ghost, child, and animals to help beings. This was an issue I had with a previous sensei as I said my dog who died was like Kannon with his love and compassion and wanted a Buddhist name; he said not. Kannon visits all whereever they are to help them, she will take a insect form to help in the insect realm!
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Dharani of Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara:

Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby ylee111 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:19 am

Got the John Bloefield book. I hope its good.

I think the body Guan Yin is depending on one's perception. If perceived as male, is male. If perceived as female, is female. As so on for genderqueer, third gender, neuter, etc.
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby smcj » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:46 am

Got the John Bloefield book. I hope its good.

I love that book. I hope you like it too. It has "flavored" my practice in an indirect way. Let us know how you like it.
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby PorkChop » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:24 pm

Just a comment on Jodo Shu regarding Kannon Bosatsu.
The 3rd prayer in the daily service (Otsutome おつとめ) of Jodo Shu is the Four-fold Buddha Request (Shi Bu Jo 四奉請), which (according to the Jodo Shu North American Mission) is as follows:
A prayer to implore for Buddhas to enter the place where the service observed.
Image
HO ZEI SHI HO JO RAI JI TO CHO SAN KA RAKU
HO ZEI SE KYA JO RAI JI TO CHO SAN KA RAKU
HO ZEI BI TA JO RAI JI TO CHO SAN KA RAKU
HO ZEI KAN NIN SE SHI SHO TAI HO SA
JI TO CHO SAN KA RAKU

With this offering of lotus petals, may we call upon all Buddhas in the ten directions of the universe to enter?
With this offering of lotus petals, may we call upon Sakyamuni Buddha to enter?
With this offering of lotus petals, may we call upon Amida Buddha to enter?
With this offering of lotus petals, may we call upon Kan-non Bosatsu, Seishi Bosatsu, and other magnificent Bodhisattvas to enter?


Chion-in is the head temple of Jodo Shu and has treasured icons featuring Amida & Kannon Bosatsu (as well as Seishi Bosatsu & other Bodhisattvas).
Image

Zenkoji (Daihonzan Zenkoji Daihongan) is one of the head temples of Jodo Shu in Japan (co-maintained with Tendai).
Jodo.org wrote:Amida Nyorai is the object of worship at Zenkoji and is said to be the first Japanese "Ikko Sanzon" form of a Buddhist statue. Amida Nyorai is standing together with the Kannon Bosatsu statue and the Seishi Bosatsu statue, one large halo covering the back of Amida Nyorai and the other two statues appointed with a round or boat-shaped halo.
Image
The chief priest at this temple has always been a priestess, and there are many interesting temple customs. In one such ceremony, called "Receiving Juzu," the head priestess of the temple passes her own Juzu over the head of a believer.


Hasedera is currently a Jodo Shu temple (originally Tendai) and houses the following beautiful Kannon statues:
Image
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The following Nyoirin Kannon is found at Raikoji, founded by Ippen, a follower of Honen:
Image
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby rory » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:52 am

Pork Chop;
thank you for those beautiful photos and the information I'd love to go to Zenkoji! About Jodo Shu, oh yes the altar indeed has both Kannon and Seishi and you can as subsidiary practices do as you wish, mantras to Kannon etc but the main practice is Nenbutsu and the sutras are the Pure Land ones. Actually I'm still on the mailing list for Jodo Shu America and I think their subsidiary altar to Jizo is the big deal....

Here is a nice link to a page that explains the different forms of Kannon with names and pictures, it's very helpful to understand her iconography and also which forms are esoteric etc....
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/kannon.shtml

I also highly recommend Blofield's book on Kwan Yin, I read it years ago when I was struggling with concepts of the reality of bodhisattvas, faith, practices in Buddhism and that book helped me enormously. I developed my strong faith with the help of that little book.
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Dharani of Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara:

Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby ylee111 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:53 am

Thank you for the beautiful pictures PorkChop. :thanks:

Now can anyone tell me anything if Yuzu Nembetsu Shu and Jishu have iconography of Kuan Yin in their temples. I want to learn as much about the 10 Buddhist Schools of China and 13 Buddhist Schools of Japan as much as possible (some reason Yuzu, JIshu, Shinshu, and Jodo Shu were classified by Japanese academics as separate as was Obakau, Soto, and Rinzai whereas Nichiren Shu and Nichiren Shoshu were together).
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby PorkChop » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:44 am

ylee111 wrote:Now can anyone tell me anything if Yuzu Nembetsu Shu and Jishu have iconography of Kuan Yin in their temples.


The Jishu sect is the one founded by Ippen listed above, with the statue of Kannon at Raikoji.

Info about the Yuzu Nembutsu school can be found here:
http://www.dainenbutsuji.com/
They have a description of their 25 Bodhisattvas, #1 at the bottom is Kanzeon (Kwan Shi Yin):
http://www.dainenbutsuji.com/oneri/oneri_flash.html
This page has some film & photos of their live action Bodhisattva performances:
http://www.dainenbutsuji.com/oneri/

rory wrote:but the main practice is Nenbutsu and the sutras are the Pure Land ones.

That's where we differ; I don't see the 2 above as separate from any Kannon/Avalokitesvara practice (especially not when the 3rd prayer in the daily service is a direct supplication to Kannon). It's standard Pure Land doctrine that Avalokitesvara is one of the main Bodhisattvas to receive those newly born in the Pure Land & to do most of the teaching (according to the Visualization Sutra). Tao Chuo's Collection of Passages on the Land of Peace and Bliss; as well as Shan Tao's Hymns in Praise of Birth both say that bodhisattvas including Avalokitesvara & Mahasthamaprapta will protect those being mindful of Amitabha.

From the link you provided:
Kannon Bosatsu wrote:Kebutsu 化仏

A smaller image attached to a larger image. Found often with Kannon statuary, especially when Kannon is represented as one of the two main attendants of Amida Buddha in Amida Sanzon Artwork 阿弥陀三尊 (Amida Triad). In such artwork, a small image of Amida is often placed atop Kannon’s crown -- for Kannon is considered an active emanation (one who represents compassion) of Amida. The other attendant, Seishi Bosatsu, represents wisdom and is often depicted with a crown containing a small water bottle (suibyō 水瓶). A kebutsu of Amida is also found frequently inside the crown of statues of the 1000-Armed Kannon and the 11-Headed Kannon.


The story I'm most familiar with is this one, which further explains the close relationship between Amitabha and Avalokitesvara. My teacher (a Tiantai monk) related the same story and I've seen it elsewhere as well. There's also the Sūtra of the Prophecy Bestowed upon Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva that goes even further into the relationship.

(FWIW even Theravadans who "unofficially" venerate Avalokitesvara/Natha, include Amitabha/Amida in his/her crown).

According to the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra, Avalokitesvara is an emanation of the Adi Buddha (the primordial Buddha), probably referring to the same eternal Buddha mentioned in the Lotus Sutra from which all Buddhas emanate.

But hey, if none of that doctrine interests you, there's always the logic that a being of infinite compassion is not likely to ignore a being in need who is entrusting themselves to infinite compassion and the fourth Brahma Vihara of Mudita (Appreciative Joy) means that Avalokitesvara will be more than happy with whatever you practice as long as it's Dharma. Dharma is the best offering you can make any Buddha.

PS - I think you're mistaken about Jizo. It was a temporary table shrine set up for the Japanese holiday of Obon (roughly equivalent to Ullambana - a holiday about ancestors who've passed), and Jizo was being supplicated to help those ancestors that may have fallen into the hell realms.
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby ylee111 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:20 pm

Thank you PorkChop and everyone who has answered my thread thus far.
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:32 pm

I'm not sure if this is pure coincidence or a trivial manifestation of something deeper :tongue: but I picked up an old copy of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (October 1999) yesterday, one I haven't looked at for probably ten years, and in it I found "The Shrine for Lost Children" by Poul Anderson. It's a sweet little story which takes the American narrator to Kamakura, unaware of any real reasons. There at the jizo shrine she finds release for herself and the spirit of her sister who died at birth.
It has probably been anthologised and electronic versions may be available too.

:reading:
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby ylee111 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:38 pm

PorkChop, what is the Manbu Oneri of the Yuzu Nembutsu sect? Is it a dance or some sort of invocation ritual?

I hear Jishu has dances.
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Re: Guanyin/ Kanzeon Bozatsu in East/ Southeast Asian Buddhi

Postby PorkChop » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:40 pm

sorry for the late reply

from here, i found this (site has pics):
troutfactory wrote:The Manbu-Oneri (万部おねり) ceremony takes place at Dainenbutsuji temple in Osaka’s Hirano ward between May 1st and May 5th and depicts the ascension of Buddhist saints to paradise. The parade involves — in addition to hundreds of priests and community members — 25 monks who don golden Buddha costumes and walk slowly across a bridge that leads to the temple itself. The journey across the bridge represents the journey from this world to the next, the Buddhist nirvana. Dainenbutsuji is the head temple of the very interesting Yuzu-nenbutsu sect of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, founded by Ryōnin (良忍) in the early early 12th century. The ceremony at Dainenbutsuji — which lasts several hours and is accompanied by ritual chanting and music — dates from the 14th century.

Since May 5th is Children’s Day in Japan, a few elements related to this national holiday have been incorporated into the ceremonial parade, including a contingent of young children bearing golden crowns and lotus blossoms.


Here's a video clip:

This music really bothers my wife hehe
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