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Bodhisattva of Compassion

The Mystical Tradirion of l{uan Yirt


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John Blofeid

SHAMBFIALA
Boulder 1978

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S}JAMBHAI-A PUL]LICATIONS, NC I 3 1 4L ) a r t n r o u t hS t r e e t R o s t o n ,\ l a s s a c h u s e t t s 2 1 ( r 0 I i 1977John Illofelc'l shc'clLrl'arra rrgcnrcn t rr'ith I-'trLrli C e o r g eA l l e n & U r r u , i r L t d . , L o r r d o n . r I S I J N0 - S 7 7 7 3 - 1 2 ( r - E LCC 77-q:3i? D i s t r i l r u t c t li n t h c U r r i t e cS t a t e b v R i r n c l o n l l o u s c . r l s I ' ri r , t c c . l r t h e U n i t , : dS t . i t e o i A . n i c r i c a . ir s

A cknouledgemen ts

.}l r' * 'a r r n*s t r hank s a re c l u e ro s e ' e ra l p e o p l e w , ho w ent t o g r e a r r r o u b l e r c s u p p l v m e r v j t h v a i u a b l e m a r e r i a l si n E n g l i sh an' J Chir : es : a n d rv i rh i l l u s tra ti o n s , e s p e ci al l ythe \''ei:erg: : !{suan Hua andhis disciple at Gold Mountain s r\i l o n a :i c *' , S an F r an c i s c o ; a n d my g o o d fri e n d s shoj un Ba n ',i ', Hir of um i A n d o (rra n s ra ro r o f ttre to ur l i ttl e Ja p a n cs epilgr im s c ng s ), Ge ra l d y o rk c , D a v i d Ki dd and Ga:y Thomson. I am very grateful, also, to the British N l u scu m aur hor it ies a n d to M a j o r w . H . Ed mo nds for allorving me rc reprociuce photographs of paintings and st.i tu e s r n r heir c oll: c ti o n s . F ' i n a l l y , I a c k n o w l edge my d e b r ro r hos e r lv o outs ta n d i n g re fe re n c e rv o rk s , d.rty' s Gods ttf Narrhem Buddhism and, Edmunci s' pointers ind Cl u ;s to S ubjec t sir , Ch i n e s ea n d J a p a n e s eA rt.

Contems

FOREWORD I z 3 :| 5 5 Th e E nigm a Some ilanifestatlons Kuan Yin's Indian and Tibetan Genesis Mi a o S han and O th e r L e g e n d s So me B uddhis t Co n c e p rs o f K u a n Y i n Sa cr ed Rit es

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7 C o n t c m plat iv e Y o g i c M e d rta ti o n I D re am s , Rev er ies a n d Sp e c u l a ti o n s ' I ' he P r inc i p a l Ic o n o g ra p h i c F o rm s ATTp EN DI X of the Bodhisattva
GI.OSSARl'

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I llustratiotts

p b e tw e e n a g e s S e EI r Kuan Yin vo1'aging pon a giant lotus pctal ,author's u : ollec t ic . r t ) z W ooden im ag e o f K u a n Yi n fro m a fi s h eri :ran' s i unk ( c our t t : - ^, ' fK.E. S re z ,a i s ) o: S t a t u et r i K u a n Y i n , h e r r i g h t h a n d r a i s e di n b l e s s i n g 3 ( c our r ; : ^, of B ri r' i s h A4 u s e u n \ ' of 4 G ilded r r , ood e n s ta tu e o f A v a l o k i ta (c o z,rrri -\\' Mr Dauid Kidd anrl ,VIr Yasuvoshi hforimoio) 5 Nepaies e br o n z r- S ts tu c o f T a ra \c o u rte s),o_f B ri ti sh Musewtt) 6 P aint ing of t h e T h o u s a n d -Arme d A v a l o ki ta \courtes), o.f Brirish Museunt) of 7 M ongolian ima g e o f T a ra i n b ro n z e (c o urresT, Mr Wongchindorj) 8 ( a) K uan Y in a s g i v e r o f o ffs p ri n g ( b) S han T s ' a i , K u a n Yi n ' s m a l e a tte n d ant (c) $7'ooden image of female attendant, Lung Nu (.courtesT' K. E. Stet'ens) of g K uan Y in ho l d i n g th e v a s e o f ' s rv e e t d err' ' anci the wish-fulfilling gem (corffteg) of British Mu-reum) to Amitabha Buddha (courresyof British Museutn) I r AmitEbha Buddha as rhe Guide of Souls (courtesy of British Museutrt) rz K uan Y in bea ri n g th e v a s e o f ' s l l ' e e t d e w' (courtesyof British tlfuseuni; I3 K uan f in in t h e p o s eo f ' l o rd l y e a s e '(c o u rtesy B ri ti sh of Musetunl 14 Kuan Yin bearing a sy'mbol of fecundity (corrrtesyof K. E. Ste'u-ens) I5 S t at ue of K ua n Yi n fro m th e T ' a n g D y n a sq' (courtesy af British lvluseutn) r6 S t at ue of M an j u s ri , e mb o d i m e n t o f V i s d o m (courtesy of Brirish Aluseuni)

F-oreu,ord

Radianee, spotlessand effulgent, Itlighr-dispelling Sun of Wisdom! Lotus S[tra

This is in part the story of a quest, of gradual progress towards the heart of an enigma. Confronted some forty years ago by the charming figure of Kuan Yin, known to many as the Chinese Goddess of Love, I came to wonder whether it was rvholly symb o l i c or whet her K u a n Yi n c o u l d , i n s o me s e nse,be sai d to & e. The adventure started one night when, by the uncertain light of votive candles, I had made my way alone through the shadows to the back of a temple hall. Tbe fitful gleams playing a mi ds t t he dar k ne s sc o n j u re d u p a n a tmo s p h e reof mystery' A s IstoodgazingupatatallbronzeStaIueofKuanYin,odoor seemed to open in my mind and the goddess, so I could have sworn, deignedto addressmet lmagination ? That may well seem to have been so, but who under such romantic circumstances could resist the hope that she had really spoken? Thenceforth I was her devoted follower, which does not mean, however, that I quite believed in her. Drawn by a fascination having nothing to do rvith belief or its .onu..rl, I delved ever more deepll b e y ond t he guis e s h e w e a ri fo r s i mp l e fo l k a nd presentl )' camc to h av e s om e dim a p p re h e n s i o no f h e r s i g n i fi c anceas a cel esti al Bo dhis at t v a) a k in d o f b e i n g l e s sb e i n g re p re s enti ng cne of thc mo s t ex alt ed c onc e p ts o f M a h a y a n a B u d d h i s m . P ercei vi ng hcr to be much more than a graceful myth expressing the yearning o f th e poor and lon e l y fo r c o mp a s s i o n ,I h a d a l l the more reason fcr lov ing her ; y e t th i s n e w v i s i o n ' o f h e r a s the embodi ment of divine love rvas somervhat marred b1' the miraculous po$'ers descri bi ng them a ttribut ed t o her i n th e s u tra s . T h e p a s s a g e s seemed at first to detract from rather than enhance her sublimity, for they struck me as too fanciful and more becoming to a f olk goddes sth a n a c e l e s ti a l Bo d h i s a ttv a . Thi s, of course) wa s jus t a per s on a l v i e rv .

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r 4 Bodhisattva of Compassion Ye a rs lat er , wit h a n i n s i g h t s te m m i n g fro m the teachi ng of my C h i nes e and T ibe ta n ma s te rs , I c a me to u n d erstand u' har I sti l l think is her t r u e s i g n i fi c a n c e- o r p a rr o f i t. S hc i s rcal - oh, not as Artemis and Aphrodite \vere real in thc e1,esof th e i r w or s hipper s , b u t i n a s e n s e mo re s e c re t a nd profounci . However, in trying ro inake this point, I have nor sought tcr co n ve rt ot her s t o m y w a y o f th i n k i n g . I .s h a l lb c happv i f thci ' co me to lov e her , ev e n i f s h e re ma i n s fo r th e m j ust a beauti f' ul i d e a . To giv e c olour an d l i fe to my p o rtra i t o f h e r, I havc rc-l atctl ma n y chines e and T i tre ta n ta l e s rv h i c h re v e a l h c r at rvhat ma1. ri g h tl y or wr ongly b e c a l l e d th e l o n ' e r a n d m i ddl c l cvcl s oi u n d crstanding. br e id c s s e tti n g d o u ' n s o mc o f h c r mantras and s ap p ro p r iar e ex c er pis f ro m s u tra s a n d m a n u a l s o f contcmi l l ati vc m e d i ta t ion. A ls o I ha v e h a d mu c h to s a 1 'o f Ku a n f i n' i rhrcc p ro g e nit or s - A v alok i te s v a ra(C h e n re s i g s )a n d T a ra, trvo dci ti es wa rml y c her is hed b1' T i b e ra n s , a n d th e C h i n e s e pri ncess Mi ao Sh a n , for K uan Y in i s m1 ' s te ri o u s l ya l l o f th e s e rogethcr I Perhaps the portrait wiit find favour not only with some rvh. are i n te r es t ed in B ud d h i s n r a n d C h i n e s e a n d Ti betan yogi c practice, but also r,r'iththose who have come upon temples and shrines to Kuan Yin r,r'hilesojourning in Asian countries, anci with the many lovers of Chinese arr who have fallen captive to her charms both as a benign mother goddess and as a srveetlv smi l i n g m aide. r deit y. I s h o u l d h a v e l i k e d ro s a y more of hc.r from the viewpoint of Chinese and Japanese art, but research facilities in Bangkok are limited. As it is, the pith of what I have written is mystical rather than aesthetic; I hope it may encourage those who, without necessarilysubscribing to an established faith, have glimpsed the effulgence of what Lao-tzrj called the Na me l es s - t har which o n c e i n s p i re d c e rta i n G reeks to erecr a wayside altar to 'The Unknown God' and led wordsq'orth to perceive a supernatural radiance suft-usingthe rvorld around hi m. The Nam eles s i s a s i i i s a n d q u i te b e y o n d the rearm of c o n ce pt ual t hought ; ye t th e re a re ti me s w h e n o n e neecs to hi nt at i t sym bolic ally . T o my mi n d , K u a n Y i n ' s g e ntl e form i s a worthier symbol than the figure of a rortured being hanging from a cross or of an awesomefather god. Trivial and inaccuratras a l l suc h s y m bols a re i n c o mp a ri s o n w i th th e rcal i ty thel ' clothe, they have their importance and should be chosen rvirir ca re . If r v e ar e t o pr es e rv eo u r s a n i ty a m i d s t th e mi n d-shatteri nq

Foreu'ord

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horrors of the modern lvorid, it is rvell to har-e an intimation of serenel-'* abiding beauty underlying thc grim fagade visible to our s ens es .Co u l d w e b u t c h o o s eo u r o w n symbol of that beauty (and why indeed should 'we not ?), it rr-ould be hard to fi n d a f or m lov eli e r th a n Ku a n y i n ' s I o r, i f r he chi nese conccp tion of t he gc d d e s s s e e ms j u s t a tri fl e to o sedate, \\.e coul d o p t f or her T ibc t a n c o u n re rp a rt a n d rrv i n , th : compassi onate a n d s ly ly play f ul Ta ra !
joHN BLOFELD

Chapter r

The Enigma
No loaer of fair utslons Born of mind and caught By the painter's brttsh Or caraer's hand Can zpell resist Kuan Yin's enchantment. I,,lo follower of the Way Beyond the Hiddert Gate But longs to read the secret Reflected in her eyes, To know zuhat lies behind Her enigmatic smile.

Whencerosethat shiningbeing, Diaine embodiment . Of pure compassion? Whencecamesuchfaith In Kuan Yin's power To ferry sentientbeings Acrosssatnsara's ocean? Where did shefirst appear And hoz:tacquire Her mellifluousname - Kuan Shih Yin, Hearer-of-Cries?

Amo n g t hes e ques t i o n s ,th e l a s t i s s o o n e s ta n s w ered. K uan Y i n (or Kuan Shih Yin, to give the name its proper form) means Sh e -Vho- Hear k ens-to -th e -C ri e s -o f-th e -Wo rl d , and i s a transl a ti o n of t he S ans k ri t n a m e o f h c r c h i e f p rc g e n i tor, A val oki tesv a r a ( o r A v a l o k i t a ) . I n K o r e a a n d J a p a n a n d , a b o v ea l l , i n C h i n a b e fo re t he Red f lood e n g u l fe d h i --rtc mp i c s th e re , K uan Y i n has b e e n p opular ly r ev e re d a s a g o d d e s s fo r a th o usand years or mo re , t hough in t r uth s h e i s n o t a g o d d e s s b u t a cel esti alB odhi Sa ttvaanc lr v ast br m e rl y ' e m b o d i c d i n m a l e f,-rrrt,as i s someti rrres th e ca s e t c l t his day . B y th e l e a rn e d i t i s k n o i v tr that she i s not to b e f ound am ong t h e d e i ti c s o f m o u n ta i n s , g ro v es and streams, o r to b e num ber ed a mo n g th e h i g h d i v i n i ti e s o f heaven. That ' peopl e, sh e h a s lo^r gbeen v e n e ra te da s a g o d d e s s b y a l l ki nds of ranging from iisher-folk to Taoist sagesin their rnountain hermi ta ges , as well as b y Bu d d h i s t l a y me n g e l e ral i y, i s because

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Bodhisatnta of Compassion

of the irresistible appeal made by so compassionate a deity to a race intimately acquainted with poverry and oppression throughout its long history. Until recently, shrines to Kuan Yin stood in all kinds of places throughout the length and breadth of China and in sev e ra ln e ighbour ing c ou n tri e s a s rr' e l ll w h e re v e r p o ssi bl e,these shri n e s wer e plac c d nea r ru n n i n g w a te r o r o v e rl o oki ng a l akc or sea)and she is often depicted by' painters as seated on a rock gazi n g o u t ac r os s t hc wa te r, o r s ta n d i n g u p o i r a fl oati ng l otus p e t a l . H c r d r v c l l i n g s t a n d so n a s e a - g i r ti s l a n d a n d m a n y S s h e r f alk a n d boat - people ha v e c o me to i d e n ti fl ' h e r w i th thei r ori ' n patro n g o ddt s s , s o t l- t atc ' a c hd e i tf i s s o m e ti me s c re di ted rvi th charaeteristies of the othcr. I think it bcst to introduce hcr as a g o d d e ssof f is hc r r nen, fo r th a t i s th e g u i s e i n w h i c h I mysel f f ir st sa w h er in a t em pl e o f h e r o \r' n . Oftcn during a journey in South China, having halted at a torvnlet about an hour before sunset and arranged for a night's I odg i n g a t an inn, if I s t r o l l e d b e s i d ea ri v e r o r a l o n g th e seashore I would come to some pleasant spot in the outskirts where stood a t e mp l e t o K uan Y in. Se t a m i d s t c l u mp s o f tre e s or near the top of some rocky crag would be a Eateway where, suspended beneath the curving eaves, would hang a lacquered board inscribed in gold calligraphy with characters bearing some allusion to her narne. Beyond 'x'ould lie a courtyard, so narro\l, in some casesas to be called a 'sky-rvell' and then a fantasticalll' roofed temple with walls of grey brick and doors of lacquered wood. The first time this happened, the temple proved to be scarcely more than a shrine-room about the size of the chapel in so me m odes t old Cath o l i c h o u s e i n En g l a n d , o r s mal l er. The goddess was represented by a crumbling plaster statue from which the colours had long faded. A clumsily built table daubed vrith flaking scarlet lacquer did duty as an altar. The place, though redolent of poverty, had an air ot' being much frequented. I had barely had time to take in the ancient beams, the faded calligraphic inscriptions, tattered banners and coarse china furnishings of the altar when I heard the sound of man-"footsteps in the ccurtyard. I.lot rvishing to be in the way, I would have left, had not the caretaker, an old man clad in shabbl' trrluse'rsof blaek cotton and a singlet grey rvith long use, given Rrc a n u n der s t anding s mi l e a n d g e s tu re d fo r me to stay.

Th; Enigna

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A group of boat-rvomen came hurr'i.g in. Dressed in p.vjama-suits f cheap, black clorh. some had broad-brimmed o b a mb oo hat s s t r appe d to th e i r b a c k s . rv h i l e o th e rs .-arri ccithei r b a b i e st h e r e c o m f o r t a b l v s e a t e di n c o c o o n so f c r i m s . . n c l o t h t i e d t o t h e i r m o t h e r s ' j a c k e t s .l e g s r v i d e a p a r r a n c i , J a n g l i n g .G l a n c i n g so m eq' hat as k anc ea t rh e ta i l fo rc i g n d c r-i l from :hc-\\restern o c e a n . t h e l ' s a : k t o t h c i r k n e e sa n d k o r i ' r o r v e d h r . - e r i m e s r r ' i t h t ? g r? cc'I had nor exp ec rc -dfro m p e o p l e o f s u c h C C ,trS r-. appeara n c e ' c o a r s e ' i sp c r h a p s r o o s t r o n g a u . ' o r dt o b c -3 F : l c r C h i n e s c p c a s a n t s ,b u t : h e v c e r t a i n i r ' l o o k c - di i k e p c o p l c r i ' h e ' re d h a r c l l livc:', Soon ti::r'rose tiom thcir knces,el:cc.pr o: one \,oung t c i r l i r . a R a d v n l c c d s t a t a o 1 ' p r e e r . a n c lr' v i r o r e m a i : : e d r v i t h h c r f a c e r . t h e f l o c r - c u s h i o n . I - i g h r i n g i n c c n s e - s ' L i c ka n d c a n d l e s s ta kcn fr om a r ablc n c a r th e d o o r. th e v c h a n tc c l a rri ef and far: fro m tunef ul r - = lodr ' , th c n rc p e a tc (l th e i r L s 1 1 ;[ q)\' and hurri ec ,' S a \ 1 ' a 1 ' l eb v t h e p r e g n a n t s i r l . T h r =u ' h o l e p e r f o r r n a n c et o o k p e r d i r o p st h r e c o r l o u r m i n u t c s . '\{:har r 1' as t hat ab o u r? ' I a s k e d th e c a re ta k e r i n ml . sti l l rudi m e n t e r y c h i n e s e , t h o u g h I s c a r c e l yn e e d e d t o b e t o l d . 'The young o n e h a s h a p p i n e s si n h e r . D i d y o u n o r s e e ? T h e o th e rs ar e her r elat iv e s . T h e t' c a me to p ra -v th a .t the chi l d r.,,i l l tre d b o y . ' ' A n d s h eu ' i i l s u r e l yg er a s o nT ' I s a i d ,s m i l i n g .

'Kuan Yin is kind.' 'I s e e .A n d r v h a rm u s r t h e m o t h e r d o t o e a r n K u a n Y i n ' s

favour ?' 'D o ? wlhen her so n i s b o rn , s h e r.v i l l c o me to gi ' e thank.s,' It rr - asas s im ple a s th a r. L a re r. a c h i n e s e fri end expl ai ned th a t i t \ \ : asnot c us t om a rl ' fo r s u p p l i a n ts to b a rg a i n rr.i rh the godd e ss.No need f or t he m o th e r ro p ro mi s c to b e g o od or uncertake th a t h er s on r l- ould r e q u i te rh e fa v o u r i n a n r- \r' a]-, K uan yi n, L re i n ge om pas s ionare ,r' o u l d n a tu ra l l y b e h a p p v ro grant such a n ' i s h . ' E u t s u p p o s t rt - e g i r l h a s a d a u g h r e r ? ' I i n s i s t e d . h 'Then t h e g i r i - b a b v r v i l l b c d e s t i n e dt o a s i n g u l a r l v f o r t u n a t e c x i s t e n c e " h e q o d d e s sr v o r . : l d o t d c n v s o h a r m l e s s a r e q u e s t T n u 'i th o ut good r - as on .t Pe rh aps m 1' f r iend rv a s b c i n g i ro n i c a l . b u r w har he sai d certa i n l l ' ac c or dei r v ith rr' h a r th e b o a t-rv o m e n bel i eved. The o I r l ? n s a n t s< - o n c = p t i o n f K u a n f i n \ \ ' a s u n c o m p l i c a t e d . S h e ' s n r - r l d e r C l i c Ci.i n ( r n I ' r rh , . h r r ' . -l i [ g a f ' o n d l r - i n d u l s e n t D a r e n l . b

20

Bodhisam,rj. _. Cornpassion

p r o v i d e d o n l y r l - . = :o n e ' s * ' i s h $ , a s not evil in itself. No spccial de g re e .o^f y ' c : . : r ic t c o n c i u c t \\,a s piet re q u i re d o f th e peti ti o.crs Lre yo n dfir m beii= : . ' n K u a n Yi n ' s p o r.,.i to a i d . s uch fai ry god_ m o th e rs, I r ef le: : ; d s a d ry ,,c a n s u re ry n o t e x i s t outsi de srory bo o ksi but it u' ei . : ic e ,o -i i -,,n k o f ,rr. l o v " " i ,ra c o* fort fi sher_ f * l k a n d f ar m er : : er iv e d fro m rh c -i * i * p t. u e ri e f. A s a prep_ s ch o o l kid of er c ' . ' : : ror s o , fe a r th a t Go d w o u rd g et back at me by so me s uc h m ; ; : ls a s e n s u ri n g th a t my s c h o o r r eport w oul ci be bad enough. r - .ingcr rny' fat*rer had ;;J. me a good dear mo r.-= rtllous t h: : : I *' a s b 1 :n a tu re , vi c a u s i n g me to tei l the truth ar h i g h l ;- inc onr ' . : : ic nr rn o m e n rs a n c r b e s u re ro empry my bowe l s-euer y da1'. = = rt h e a fh rm a ti v e ti c k s l p .n c i l l .d i n a certai n book should not :-Jrrecrmy actuar performa.ce. t was graci tcr -*r.h know that Kuan \-in ,r,r, Ieis .*r.iir.,g. : J'o rrly everlas::::g regrer, I did not whiri in china visit p,u T 'o sh a n ( or p' u- : ' u- t o ]t' a l ,Io u n ta i n ), a n i s ra n d off the che_ k ian g co as r whic h : ak es i ts n a m e fro m ,i r. s * rk ri t rvord potara, m e a , r i n gK u a n \ ' : : : ' s P a r a c l i s c ' . For that is,t. rroti.st pracein rhevrorld to de'or:i:s of the goddess. o n e o r t h e s t o r i e sr e r a t i n g r o i t te l l s of an I : : . : , ian w h o , a l ri u i r-,g -th e reduri ng the " the T',ang Dy'asty, :':itfedr..,]. sacred ch,aolyin cave (cavc,1vf1 re -rne- v oic e- : : - t he -T i d c -i s -H e a rd ) a n d b u rn t off al r hi s r ngcrs a s an of f r - r : : : ! :r o Ku a n y i n I H o w s i n g u l a rry rr.upp* p.i _ tte! of all the de:::ls of rhis universc)th.J.-i, none so averse . ' b n rn t of f er ings = s r h e G o ,-l c re s s c f M e rc y . It i s p reasanterto I cce p .t n ot her pr r ; jlar a c c o u n r a o f th e i s l a n c l ' se a rli est cl ai m rcr ; a n c t i t y ,f r o m r v h : : i * ' e r e a r n rhat Kuan yin vlsitedit in pers'n - an evcnt of w'hi;: p i c r u r L ' s q u ec - v i d e n c e c m a i n s i n r the forrn r f he r fo ot pr int c : : - : c dc i c d i n rh c rc c k c a i l e d Ku a n yi n,s Leap, t s d c p t h b e i n g d - : r t - rt h c m . m c n r u m of hcr jump from thc rcighbouring isla:.-ttrl'I o Ciria Shan. l n a n o r h e rs e n s ; . r i c o u r s c . K u a n Y i n p e r r n a n c n t l vi n h d b i t s )'u T'o Isla.d (u:.;s: s h c h a s r c c c n r l r . r l t i r t o a v o i c ib c i n g r sub_ ':ctcdto the thou-:---i: )f \lao Tsc-rung)- -rn... r arc innumcr_ ble storic-of her l:'.'ing manifr.srctr s h t - - r s , : r 'f p i r g r i m s , u s u a r r r i : r th c Ch 'a o- \ ' ir : , _: . , . c : i .r.I u c h s ti rn c s , h o rr..i .... ,h. ;;;;;;, . i v i s i b l et o a n y o t ' - : - - r ' i s i t o r s r r - h o h a ' c s c - r i o u s i yr a n s g r c s s c d t ga i n st th e dic t ar es : ' . c o rn p a s s i o n . At h i g h ti c i e ti re cave i s fi i l cd r it h rva te rss o t ur b. : r ent i l ra t, f rc rm ti m e to ti me , a g e _y-ser entv tw : et h i g h s por r s t i. r n a h o l c i . rh e ro o f ; ,;;i l ;r" i * ;' i ;' ,,;j ' ;;

7-heIirttignru 2r 'n"'ait until the tide is lorv if they desire to be received in audience. It is said that the compassionate arnong them behold rhe sands mvsteriously transformed into a carpet of v,'hite lotus. rvhence a pink lotus oI enormous size arises to form a throne for the ;1 o d d e s sI.t is c as y t o b e s c o rn fu l o f s u c h s ro ri e s ,b ut I am srl re the atmosphere in the cave has a haunting quality g'hich disposes one to expect every kind of marvel. I know from my own rsp e ri e nc es in s im ila r p l a c e s h o w e a s i l y n o rm al scepti ci sm Lreeermes suspended. That Kuan Yin is actually seen rvith the e1'esin one's head I doubt, but with the inner eye ? Some who clainr to have had this vision are people whose truthtulness is beyond question. If one feels compelled to doubt rhern, the most that can be said is that pilgrims keyed up by high expectation and worked upon by the place's curiously eerie atmosphgre may have thought they perceived what they ardently desired to see.Personally I think there was rarher more to it than that, but there is a whole range of experience that would be difficult to classify as pur-el! objective or subjective, so each of us has to interpret such phenomena in the way that seems best ro him. I was to live in China for some time before conring to under-. stand correctly what my more learned Buddhist friends meant bf insisting that Kuan Yin is nor a goddessbut a celes'cial Bodhisattva. This was first explained ro me by a Mr P'en, rvho knew something of Sanskrit and was quite an authority on Chinese Buddhism. One day, hearing me refer to Kuan Yin as a goddess, he sa i d r epr ov ingly : ' D o n ' t s p e a k o f Ku a n Y i n l i ke that, A h Jon. You sound as though you supposed rhat, if thcl' happen to b e Buddhis t s ) ev en s c h o l a rs - " b o o k -p e rfu me mcn" as w e ca l l th em - s har e t he s i mp l e b e l i e fs y o u fi n d ru n ong peasants.' H a vi n g but t he v a g u e s t i d e a o f h i s me a n i n g , I ansrvered, s m i l i n g : ' I s h a l l b e d e l i g h t e d t o c a l l h e r a c e l e s t i a lR o d h i s a t t v a , bu t i sn ' t t hat jus t an o th e r n a me fo r w h a t m i g h t i rrevercntl y L rc ca l l ed a s uper - god d e s s ,th a t i s s o me o n e n e a rer the top of t h t- ce l es t ial hier ar c hy ? I re a l l y d o n ' r s e e rh a r i t makcs much di fl e re nc e. ' He co uld not help l a u g h i n g ; b u r, p re s c n tl y , speaki ng seri o u sl y, he went on t o g i v e m e a m e ta p h y s i c a l e x pl anati on that t o o k so me gr as ping. H i s E n g l i s h , th o u g h v e ry g o od i ndeed, w as not quite up to the task and, at one stage, he ran upstairs for a d i cti o nar y . T hat pr o v e d to b e s c a rc e l ya n y h e l p a t al l ro some-

22

Bodhisatna

of Compassion

one trying to render from one language to another the terminology of Mahayana Buddhism. Here I have set down his discourse (with the help of a fair degree of hind-knowledge) not as it was given, but as I think he intended to give it. 'You must realise first of all that cur minds are not sep3rate from'lvi:,nd, which, if you have read any Ch'an (Zen) works, you will know to be the sole reality. Knou'n in its quiescent state as the Great Voici or what you English people call Ultimate Reality, it is sirnaltaneouslythe realm of form, "the matrix of t he myri ad objec t s " , a s L a o -T z rj p u ts i t. 8 1 ' n o means must they be thought of as separate. The Great Void and the realm of form are not rzlo.'Therc is no going from the one to the other, only a transrnutation of your mode of perception. Mind is like a boundless oeean of Iight, or infinite space, from which streams forth Bodhi, a man'ellous errergy that produces in us an urge towards Enlightenrnent. But to attain Enlightenment, you need vast stores of wisdom and compassion in perfect union. Wisdom ineludes full and direct perception of your own egolessness and of the non-existence of anything like "own-self in any object. Compassion is the prime means of destroying all clinging to delusory selfhood. From Bodhi emanate particularised streams of liberating energy - the energies of wisdom, compassion, of the pure activity needed to combine them, and so forth. These, in turn, subdivide and thus become more tangible to minds deluded by the false notion of self-existing egos and self-existin g o b j e c t s . I n s om e m a rv e l l o u s w a y , th e s e s tre a ms' and substreams become embodied in forms like those which divinities are thought to have, the primary streams as what've call celestial Buddhas, the secondary streams as what are called celestial Bodhisattvas. 'Amitabha Buddha embodies the primary liberating energy of co mp a s s ion; A v alok i ta Bo d h i s a trv a e mb o d i e s i ts secondarv ema n a ti on. T his doc t ri n e i s d e ri v e d fi o m a 1 ' o gi c tradi ti trn t arrg h t a t Nalanda Univ e rs i ty i n In d i a a l mo s t tw o m i l l eni a ago. As to Kuan Y iu, our p e c u l i a rl y C h i n e s e e mb o d i m ent of compassi o n , s he was or igin a l l y i d e n ti c a l rv i th Av a l o k i ta and theref ore vi su alis ed as pDs s e s s i n g l e c h a ra c te ri s ti c s .Some peopl c ma s u p p o se t hat t he c han g e i n s e x a ttri b u te d to th e B odhi sattva occurred only after a lcgendary Chinese princess called Miao S h a n b e c am e int egr at e d rv i th th a t b e i n g th ro u g h the pow erful

7 -i tt E ni gma

23

influence of our native folklore. That is certainlv nonsense. Educated people do not seriousl-"* accepr the Miao Shan legends. Besides, you can hardly suppose rhar rr'e chinese Buddhists, after scrupulously preselving rhe doctrines, practices and symbols carried back fi:om India by monks rvho hac made fearful journeys through burning deserts and icy mountain \\'asres, would have permitted such a change in sex ro come about through mere carelessnessThe key to the mystery- \\'as taught ! me by my teacher's teacher during a visit to Ntc.,ngolia.There he came across images of Tara rvhom Mongols and Tiberans r e ve rea s a f em ale em an a ri o no f A v a l o k i ta . L a te r o n . my teacher, wh o l o ved t o v ier . vc oll e c ti o n s o f a n ti q u e p a i n ti n g :i ) came upon severalyery old ones in which Kuan Yin rvas porrraved as being al mo st i dent ieal wit h Ta ra . In o th e r w o rd s , fo r rv h atever reason. we Ch i n e s e deeided t o c o mb i n e Av a l o k i ta a n d T a r a i nto a sort of fe ma l e A v alok it a, w h o m rv e c a l l K u a n Y i n .' Well, whether or nor Mr P'an lvas exactl-r-righr about the origin of Kuan Yin's portrayal in female form, the Bodhisattva is far from being a figure of poetic whimsl'. Yogically she corresponds to an actual energy permanently latent in the mind. though it may be that the forms in whic-h she is envisag.a "rJ deliberate human creations. Still, I think that the artists rvho have best succeededin capturing the magic of those forms must have beheld them in their meditations, for onlf in the stillness of one-pointed contemplaticn is such perfecricn.often revealed. T he 're a lit y ' of t he B od h i s a ttv a i s n o t h a rd to a c c e pt, once one recognises that even such solid-seeming objects as eiephants and mountains are all creations of Mind and therefore on a par r,r'ithdreams, imaginings, visions - like everything else in existence. A mental image of Kuan Yin does not differ in an ultimate sensefrom the floor and ceiling of the room v,'hereone sits medr'Ihis t ati n g . is a m y s t i c ' s v i e rr' , b u t o n e th a t n r;\- come to be r Vi d s-l Y c c ept ednt - r r v h ;.tt[..-[h i ri l i l l r5 p i ' ' Ic rs u 1 .i ;.]r]' si ci stS l rc a t l v e e ri n g in t he dir ec t ion c rt b c l i e v i n g rh a t th c w ' h trl c uni verse i s a mental creation. Th i s br ief ex planat io n o f th e n a tu re o f c e l e s ti a l B odhi sattvas f f id y, a l a s , be f ar f r om l u c i d . In d e a l i n g rv i th ' ,r' h at pertai n5 to m ysti ca l per c ept ion, e x p l a n a ti o n s a re ' s e l d o m s a ii sfactory, sc gre a tl y do wor ds dis t or t a n d d i mi n i s h th e re a l i ti ' rhey are used t T e o n vey . W e *ny , f o r th e mo mc i l t) p u t a s i c i cti re questi on of

24

Bodhsarna

o_fCompossion

Ku a n Y in' s r ealit y ; th e s h e e r b e a u ty o f th e c o ncept of an exqui si te l y lov ell- being u ' h o s e c h i e f a ttri b u te i s pure, unw averi ng compassion is in itself appealing enough io claim our admiration. Even r','hen brought dow'n to the level of a goddess - and it is thus that painters and sculptors often portray her - Kuan Yin is unique anlong the heavenly hierarchy in being utterly free from pride or vengefulness and reluctant to punish even those to whom a severe lesson rvould be salutary. The cursing of the withered fig-tree and the rvhipping of the temple moneychangers u-hich so rlisfigure the otherwise beautiful gospel stories are *-ithout counrerparrs among the exploits at:ributed to Kuan f in.

Chapter z

SomeManifestations
?

To hear her name and seeher form Deliaers beingsfrom eaery ri)oe, Lotus Sfrtra

The embassy of the boat-women to Kuan Yin's temple rveil exemplifies how peasantsin China and neighbouring countries conceive of her. Seeing her as a benevolent goddess into whose nature it would be discourteous to enquire, they rejoice because she is lovely in herself and generous in heeding supplications. This uncomplicated attitude is not limited to illiterate followers of ancient folk-religions, for even among the general run of Buddhists in China and Japan, the distinction betrveen deities and celestial Bodhisattvas is blurred. Horvever) more erudite Buddhists see her otherwise. The following account of an experience significant to me personally prefaces two other stories that will serve as a previerv of some of the ways in rvhich Kuan Yi n is c onc ept u a l i s e d . On e , th o u g h i t d o es i ust touch upon the M ind O nly d o c tri n e l f i n g a t th e ro o t o f the cel esti alB odhi Sa t t v a c onc ept ) re v e a l s h e r i n a g u i s e v e ry si mi l ar to that of a g o ' Cdes swher ea s th e o th e r c a rri e s u S to a hi gh metaphysi cal , level. O ne of t he t hre e m a i n a n n u a l fe s ti v a l so f K uan Y i n, H earerof-Cries, falls on the nineteenth day of the sixth lunar month (a bout J uly ) . F o r c e n tu ri e s i t.h a s b e e n c e l e b ratedby gatheri ngs in her honour,' some of which assemble on the twelfth of the month and spend no less than seven days on rites and contemplative meditation centred on Kuan Yir^. Alas, in recent years ihe ranks of her followers have been thinned. For all I kno'w,

26

Bodhisatna of Compassion

su ch fe s t iv als s t ill t a k e p l a c e i n J a p a n , K o re a a nd S i ngapore, b u t h ar dly in China o r V i e t-N a m . Quite soon after my arrival in China, while sraying ar a mo n a s t er y nes t ling a m o n g c l u mp s o f l y c h e e -rre eson the sunny si d e o f a m inor s acre d mo u n ta i n , I h e a rd th a t ' K uan Y i n' s Bi rth d ay ' was going to b e c e l e b ra te d th a t e v e n i ng at a nei ghb o u i i n g t em ple ov erw h i c h s h e p re s i d e d , s o a t sunset I set off i n th a t dir ec t ion. B y th e ti m e I a rri v e d , n i g h t h a d fal l en. S cudd i n g c louds obs c ur e d th e mo o n , b u t p e a c h -s haped l anterns su sp e nded f r om t he te :n p l e g a te rv a y ' s e l e g a n tl y curvi ng roof ca st a pool of c r im s on l i g h t th a t c o u l d b e s e e n from a di stance. Beyond iay a courtyard thronged rvith u'orshippers r.r,hose faccs were illumined b,v thc rirys of perhaps a hundred candles stre a m ing t hr ough th e s h ri n e -h a l l ' s rv i d e .fl u n g doors. Most we re l ay - people, but a s p ri n k l i n g o f b a l d p a te s shorved that some monks and nuns from neighbouring monasteries \\'ere among them. All were craning their heads rowards the shrine wh e re K uan Y in' s s ta tu e ro s e b e l i i n d a l a v i s hl y carved and g i l d e d alt ar wher e sto o d i n n u me ra b l e c a n d l e - sti cks, a great bronze incense tripod and an array of porceiain vessels piled with offerings of fruit and florvers. No animal flesh or cups of wine yvere to be seen, for even the peasants had some inkling of the difference between Kuan Yin and the more gluttonous local deities; besides, rhe keepers of the shrine would have reiected such offerings as impure and displeasing ro the Bodhisattva - though not monks, they would hardly have accepted them even for themselves. The night air, drenched with the mingled perfumes of burning sandalwood anf,of jasmine and champak flowers, quivered as the mallet thudded upon a large hollowed block known as the wooden-fish drum; its throb was puncruated by the clang and tinkle of bronze and silver instruments used to mark the rhythm of the chant. Though rhe same few word s, Namu tarzil ta-pei Kuan Shih Yin P'u-Sa (Homage ro the greatly compassionate' greatly mercifui Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva) ! were intoned repeatedly, the ardour of.those taking part and frequent subtle changes in rhe rh;'thm dispelled monotorryr so that the music lifted me inro a realm of beauty and enchanrment. Taller than the rvirl southerners pressing all about me, I had an unobstructed view, Thc tsodhisattva was depicted as a

Some t\Ianifesradons

27

gracious young lady with smoorhlv rounded cheeks and chin, sitting very informally upon a rock-like throne, one knee raised so h i g h t hat t he eleg a n t l i ttl e s l i p p e r p e e p i n g fro m beneath her ro b e w as on a lev el wi th th e o th e r k n e e . On e s l e n der hand tcyed wi th a r v illow s pr ig, th e o th e r h e l d a v a s e o f ' s n' eet dew ' s-vmb o l i si ng t he nec t ar of c o mp a s s i o n . T o e i th e r s i d e , s' rought on a sma l l e r s c aie,s t ood h e r a tre n d a n ts- S h a n T s ' a i , a smi l i ng bo!' , a n d L ung Nt , t he Dr a g o n M a i d e n . rv h o w a s h o l di ng oul a gi ant p e a rl . T hes e s t at uesc a n h a rd l -vh a v e b e e n th e i ,r' o:kof l ocai arti s t s ; t h e - v\ v e r e f , n e l y s c u l p t e d a n d h a d a p l e a s i n g l i v e l i n e s s , th o u g h I c ouid, hav e w i s h e d th e m l e s s o rn a te . IJut tor her di stinctive posture and the nature of the s!'mbols in her hands, th c sp l' : ndidly r obc d a n d b e j e w e l l e d fi g u re c o u i ci ' a)ni ost have Lreenmistaken for that of N{ary arrayed as Queen of Fleaven i n ttre n lenner of S ou th Eu ro p e . S u p e rfi c i a i l l ' a t leasr, her robes a n d o rnam ent s r es em b l e d a rti fa c ts fro rn B v z a n tium. S truck bl ' th i s l a v is h eos r um e, I s ' o n d e re d h o w th i s e mp ress-l i ke bei ng csu l d b e m ade t o f it i n rv i th th e g e n ti y a u s re re teachi ng c,f the Bu d d h a; f or I had sti l l to l e a rn th a t th e e x te rnal forms taken b y Bu d dhis m in dif fe re n t c o u n rri e s , th o u g h s tri ki ngl y vari ed, entail no real departures from its doctrines. Fre s ent ly a gus t o f w i n d s e n r i n c e n s e * s m oke bi l l ow i ng upwards in heavy clouds that momenrarilv blurred the Bodhisa ttva ' s f eat ur es , c r e a ti n g th e i l l u s i o n o f a l i v i n g bei ng q' hose expression no\l' altered and took orr unimaginable beauty. As though chiding my churlishness in the :narrer of her costume, she seemecito fix me u'irh her e-n-es and gentiy shake her head. Awar e t hat t his wa s n o mi ra c l e . I rv a sn e v e rth el essentranced and tried hard to believe that the goddess had taken norice of me . What is m or e, t h e re s e e me dto h o v e r j u s t b e yond the thresh o l d o f m y m ind a t ea s i n g re c o l l e c ti o n o f s o me th i rl g or someone once greatly loved but long faded from m!' memory'. The effecr was so poignant that I u^anted both to laugh and to cry" I am e o n vi need t hat it wa s th i s e i u s i v e re c o l l e c ti o n rather than the triek wrought by the incense smoke that produceci u'hat seems in rctrqspeet a magical effect; in thar moment I conceived a rcverence for the Compassionate One rvhich, far from fading rvi ti r the y ear s , was d e s ti n e d to i n te n s i fy , a i th o ugh for a l ong ti me i t r em ained no rn o re th a n a p i e a s a n trv h i ms v. In those davs

BoChisatr:.aaf Compassion I had not the ri'isdornto reconcire deepdevotionro a deity ,"vith the knorvledgerhat deities are not ! I was roo mo'ed ro pay artentionto what iolrowed. No doubt the long period_of invocationgaveplaceto recitationof the p,u Yd" chaprerof the I-otus sfitra or of Kuan yin,s Dharanr of Great compassion.The rite must haveended with an inspiring crescendo c1'mbals of and drums succeecled an eeriesilence by as the officianrsprostrated rhemselves; U"t UV then I had slipped arvay to b_egin m' rvalk thro.rjt ir,* arrtness ro rrre monasrerywhere I lodged. To this dry I recall my pleasrr..l' the eool night arr so free from croying,..rr,r, rh* cr..k of bamFoqr srvayingin ihe wind and the r."rrrving of smail crearures in the u-ndergroi'rh-Throughout the *"ik I indurgcdthe poeric fancy that the goddesshad wished to remind *. of somirhing immenselyimporrant to my happiness. Sucha mood is not diffieult ro susrainrvhire stroiling by *oorrii;h;;" the slopesof a mountain where immortar biings have bien worshipped since beforerhe dawn of history; rhe very atmosphere is vibranr with intimations of their presence. rb"rr ro mind which told me I was being absurd, I put up strenuous "iliv resistance, being loath to rerurn an ugly world which, .u.rrl those days, was Io fast comi'g under the ,Obmination monste* of airgrised as in_ ventorsand te.hnicians. Having disposed of cavilling logic, rny rtrind snared,ieading me to a statebordering on ecstasy. had I a foretaste the rvisdomborn of full realisatTon of that only mind is real; the dernons.of duarity were remporarilyvanquished so thatit became possibre .ni..,ain simultaneousry to two opposing facetsof truth. Back at the monasrerv,*'hile_rvaiting for the sreepyporrer to admit me, I becamea\\'areof a dericLus fragrancewhich I supposed ha'c- a supernaturar to origin untii, looking up, I saw that the gatewa!'\r'aso'erhung uy irre uo"st, of a tree called irr chineseyeh-lai-hsiang (nigh-tfiagranc.) irti.r, pours out its perfume during rhe firsr t"ut.h., oflne nijnr. rhe great courryard was in darkness,rhe monks bging J,ili ,*ry cerebrating the festivalor elseretired ro their cettsi3 ,r;;;;, meditateunrir summoned for rh-emorning rite an ho,r before dawn. Noticirrg that lamps still glimmer.o i.t the deserted shrine-hall,I felt a ydfgn impulse ro enrer and make my *rv lo""d behind the Buddha statuesto where it was customary in chinese monas_

28

SorneManifestatiotts z.g teriesto housea statueof Kuan Yin. There she was, standing upon a shelf at about the Jevelof my chest. It was an image of fine bronze some three feet high, with the right hand raised in benediction,the elongated eyeshalf closedin contemplative bliss. The itumps of votive candlesstill guttercd at her feer, rvhereas the incensesrickslit in her honour had burnt *lown to the stubs leavingbehind a sour staleness. seemssad that It deitieshave to enrlurethis odour when their worshippershave retired for the night. Perhapsthe truth is that it is the worshippers themselves who enjoy tenrpleofferings.Lighting fresh ineense) stoodbeforeher in silence I until, suddenlycarriedaway by exaltation,I whispered:'Compassionate One, be pleasedto speakand convinceme of your reality'! How foolish this must sound and how ashamed I should be to write of it, were it not for the sequel.Even with the words upon my lips I reflected that a saneman should know better than to attempt holding conversewith a statue! Yet perhaps I had some excuse;for, apart from being then in a specialstate of mind, I had recently spent much time in the company of certain ChineseBuddhistswho, despitebeing men of obvious goodsense and erudition,would havefound nothing surpriiing in such conduct.As it turned out, no justificationwas needed, for the plain truth is that the statueanswered at once,saying: me 'Look not for my reality in the realm of appearances in the or Void. Seek it in your own mind. There only it resides.' I wish I could make the story even more extraordinary by affirming that the bronze lips moved, that the beautifully moulded throat gaveforth melodioussounds.It was not so. No sound or movement stirred th.esilence.The enigmatic words entered my consciousness thought-forms, but so palpably as that not even sound itself could have made the effect more electrifyingor their sequence more precise.It is hard to b:lieve that, at a time when my knowledgeof MahayanaBtrddhismwas so slight, I cculd have summoned such a pronouncement from within myself.I did not really.kno'v then what the first sentence meant. I felt sure I had receivedan intimation thar Kuan Yin exists to the extent that 'exists' is a fitting descriptionof her subtlc nature. Using thd word thus is perhaps ro overstarethe just asto saythat shedoesnot exist would be to understate case, it. My experience not imaginary.Such intuitive perceprions was

J.
I

30

Bodhisanz;a of Compassirm

are too direct, too penetrating to be mistaken for ordinary imaginings. Yet for years I hesitated to speak of it, excepr to mv Chinese friends, who understood its nature; bu.t now I havc come to recognise that no good purpose is served by concealing ma rve l s m er ely bec au s ep e o p l e n o w a d a y s a re a p t to di sbel i evc them. In truth, such a man'el is not magical to those who re co g n i s e m ind' s s ov e re i g n p o w e r o v e r p h e n o rnena of even' kind whatsoever. Chr y s a n th e m u m s a re g o l d T o t hos e w h o s e e th e m s o . Red go L J i s j u s r a me ta l T ill t ho u g h t-fo rms g i v e i t rv o rth . Th e re is a m oder n s h o rr s to ry a b o u t a ti mi d kni ght s' ho, armed with a magic rvord te make him invulnerable, slelr' fift1' dragons as easily as cockroaches. Unfortunately, rvhile c'ngagcci in sl a ying t he f if t iet h, h e s u d d e n l y re a l i s e d th a t he had been t ri cke d by his t eac heri n to p u tti n g fa i th i n a ma d e -up nonsenseword. Needless to say, his fifty-first dragon gobbled him up in no time at all ! Yet can one say rhar the magic rvrought by his faith in that nonsense-word was nor real ? It stood him in far b e tte r s t ead t han his ' re a l ' a rm o u r a n d ' o b j e c ti vel y exi sti ng' sword ! A British-educated Chinese friend of mine once told me a story that fully bears out this view of reality. 'As you know, though my mother was a Buddhist, I received all my'pre-university education at Catholic schools, was baptised at sixteen and later took a Catholic wife. For years I was as devout a convert as could reasonably be expecteci of a man like me, a geologist. Then came the war which sent so man), of us fleeing westward before the Japaneseadvance. My narivc city suffered cruelly from indiscriminate rape and slaughter. I could not think of my old home rvithour rears. My work for a goveinment prospecting enterprise took me to some rvild and lonely places in Kweichow province and oncc I was sent to look for wolfram in a mountainous region six or seven da.ys walk from the nearest motor-road. One day, an hour before our usual stop for midday rice, I mistook a mule-track for the path we were following and wandered far away from the men- carrying mv

S d rr:.'A4 a rti -f ati orrs 3 I ::t lug g a g e and equipm en t. Kn c n ' i n g I w a s l o s t, b u t hungry and co n vi n ced by oc c as ion a lfre s h p i l e s o f m u l e d u n g rhat the track mu st l e a d t o hum an h a b i ta ti o n s , I p re s s e d fo n va:d. LJprvard a n d u p war d I \ \ ' ent un ti l c l o u d s \\' e re s rr-i rl i n g atout me anC I co u l d h ear w' hat s oun d e d l i k e th e w e i rd c ri e s o f gi bborrs hi gh u p i n the t r ees . A t ev e ry tu rn I h o p e d i n v a i n tL 1come upon a t l e a sta wc c ds m an' s h o v e l , b u t I h a d n ' a n d e re d tc s far by' then t o fe e l i t wis e t o t ur n b a c k . I n e e d e d fo o .l a n d s c:re l ocal man t o g u i d c m e t o u' her e my p o rte rs \\re re l i k e l y tu r3 found. 'An i cy u' ind c am e tc a ri n g d o * ' n fro m th e h i g -r pcaks anci d u sk was c los ing in. E e ri : s o u n d s \\' e re a l i a b tr' .:i me) some re co g n i s ableas t he v oi c e s o f u ' i n d a n d s t^ -e a m o ' i ;::rs i nexpl i c, ableand mournful as the criesof wanderrng ghos:s. With each step I grew more afraid and the mists srtiiling &rr.u-::g the rocks g rc\\'d e ns er and r nore o p a q u e . F e a rs t-rf * ' i l d b:asts rose to h a u n t m e; as f or band i ts , o f w ' h o m th e l o c a l Ertfl e had tol d mc si n i s t er t ales , I long e d to me e t a fe l l o n ' -h u ma n l ei ng, bandi t o r n o t. A t las t t er r or b ro u g n t m e to mv k n e e s b e si de the path a n d , te et h c hat t er ing, I p o u re d o u t a p ra !' er tc fm v l atron sai nt, St Be rn adet t e, beggin g th a t s rv e e t c h i l d .a s I th t ught of her) t o a p p e ar and lead m e to a p l a c e o f s a fe ty . Bv rvhat l i ght remained, ffiy eyes sought for her among the rocks. I believed t h a t i f s he did not c o m e , I s h o u l d l o s e my s a n i n' . i f not my life ! 'Then she u'as there, standing on a small flat rock, her flimsy blue robe hardly ruffied by the fierce and bitterli- cold wind. She was smiling, as I could see well, for arounc her glowed a nimbus of soft light. Gradually'I took in that thc're was something unexpected about her face. Then I realised g'hat it rvasRer n a d e tte! H e r h i g h -s * ' e p t h a i r. rhe j ew el l ed sh e w a s' aChines e o rn a me nt s c las ped ab o u t h e r th ro a t, th e w h i te si l k trousers pe cp i n g t hr ough a blu e ro b e s l i t to th c th i g h ,.r ' e:: those of a no b l e C hines e m aic le n m a n y c e n tu ri e s a g o . ' "Co me, E lder B r oth e rr" s h e s a i d , s p e a k i n g n i e l ' ,rdi ousMari * d a ri n i n a c hildis h v oi c e to o v o u n g to i ra ' ,' eb e l o riqed to B ernade ttc qven at the tirr:e of her first meeting rvith the Holy Virgin, "I shall shsw you a place where vou can rest safel'.' ancl tomorro w a l l will be v er y w e l l ." 'Sh c i c d' m e a s hor t d i s ta n c e to a s h a l i o \\' c a v e , .' .' :l lprotected frc;m rh e wind. I t s f lo o r w a s a s s o ft a S th c - s o fte s: of beds and

32

Bodhisarn,a of Compassion

I a rn n e ar ly s ur e I c a ' rg h t s i g h t o f a s i l k e n p e i -z u o (qui l t) sruffed n ,: d o ubt wit h war m s i l k -fl o s s , i u s t a s I fe tt a s l eep i n the very a ct o f ly ing down at h e r c o m m a n d . 'The next day I ar.voke,after a long, deep sreep, to find the sun high in the sk,"-. There was no sign of bedding-and thc floor of the cave, far from being soft, wis 'ugged and strewn with p e b b l e s , bur I had s l e p t a s rv e l l a n d * u i i -tty a s i n the room I o n e e sh ar ed r ' ir h m y m o th e r i n m y b e l o v e d n rtive pl ace, now a ttrousand li a*'ay. while I rvas washing in a nearby stream, a train of mules L:amedown the rrack, driven by three mounted lo-fu- I easi15persuaded one of these mule-drivers ro sell me some eold steamed bread-he would have given it without payment, I arn sure - and, with his help, I wis able to rejoin my parry by noon the following day. 'For more rhan a year I believed I had been saved by St Bernadette, though I could nor account for her extreme youthfulness and chinese appearance. Then, one day, I hajpened to take shelter from rhe rain in a disused temple not far from chengtu and rhere, in a small chapel, I came.rio., a faded fresco shorving Kuan Yin clad in a simple robe of blue corton without her usual ornaments. Seated bv the ocean, she was attended as usua! by Shan Ts'ai and Lung Nii. In great astonishmenr I recognised in Lung Ni: my "Bernadette" ! Even the blue ar.sl and rvhite trousers were the same, but now there were no jewels clasped abour her throat. -fhinking about those jewels roused a me mo r y of a s im ilar p i c tu re th a t u s e d to h a n g i n my mother' s bedroom, sho*'ing both Kuan yin and Lung irli.i .dorned with splendid ornairrents. so rhar u,as it I you .orrld say that the lady who_saved m)' iife on rhar frcczing nighr rv?s neither Bernadette no r L 'n g Nir . ius r a c h i l d h o o d m e m o i v l i g h ti n g u p a fear-crazed rn i n d . A nd y ou r v ould b e ri g h t - p a rtl y l s i i tt, .i ri tai rr, memori es do n o t g uide people r o u n k n o w n c a v e s ,m a k e ro c ks and pebbl es bccome fine rnatircsscs. conjure pei-?.L,os from the air or drive aw a y d e adly ' c oid. '}'e s, in a r ' av y ou \l ' o u l d b e ri g h t, It a ,c s th a t memory. It wa s a l so Lung \ u her s e l f, s e n t o u t o f p i ty b y K u a n yi n. H avi ng s i n ce rh en s r udied t h e p ro fo u n d N l a h a y a n a d o c tri ne of Mi nd onl-v*,I accepr no contradiction bet*een those two. Driven to t h e e 'd geof r eas on, I s o u g h t d i v i n e a i d , a n d d i vi ne ai d came insta n tl y - in a t br m t h a t a c c o rd e c r i th th e c o n te n rsof mv mi nd. w

SomeManifesratiorts 33 It was as a mental apparition that Lung Ni1 appeared and brought from my mind the warmth and comfort that made me physicallyableto withstandgreatcold.Would you dare saythat wrought by the BodhisattvaI had worshipped iur* .tn, a-rniracle as a child? All miraclesare so-working through mind' True, did the Bodhisattva not comeherself.Having too much delicacy she sent callingon a foreigngoddess, to appearbeforesomeone I was expecting. l-ung Nii who could be takenfor the child'saint Attributing my good fortune to the marvellousworkings of my owo F.tiridlnd aeceptingit as the intervention of the Bodhisattva are two ways of expressingthe same truth" I haveoften ponderedon the mineralogist'swisdom-opening expcrience.Hi; penetratingunderstandingof it explains many similar occurrences,bridging the gap between magical and psychological. Yeers later, I chancedto hear-at secondhandanlther *ory, different in purport' but also illustrating the identity of miraculousintervention from'within' and'without' the minC. To understandwhat the narrator tells us' one must know that, whereas Kuan Yin, though often depicted as a member of a triniry with the celestialBuddha Amitabha in the centre and Kuan Yin and Ta Shih-Chih'Bodhisattvasstanding oneitherhand,isalsoworshippedindependentlybymillions, this is not the casewith Ta Shih-Chih. The latter seemsto have being rarely invoked in his faded from human consciousness' own right. I am told the narratorwas a very old gentlemancalled Mr Cli'tn, who had spent the last forty years of his life as a recluse. ,In my young cays, preparing for the imperial civil service was, for cultivated youths, the most important examinaiions thirrg in life. Everything dependedon success*not iust rank and wealth, trut the honour brought to one's family and the You cannotimaginehow hard power to servesocietyeffectively. we used to work at the ancient classics,straining our eyes through reading late into the night by the pitiful glimmer of a wicf floating in a saucerof rril. No wonder so many of us becamestoopedearly in life with all that poring over books! bad. My father, For me and my four brcrhersit was especially the Buddhist Sutraseven more than the Confucian who loved classics, made us spendmuch time on those as well ! I do not know whether we grudgedthe extra trurden more or less than

t, i

34

Bodhisatwa

of Cornpassion

we came to love the splendour, vastness and depth of their philosophy. "You must", my father often said, "pursue these studies until the neaning of the four characters FEI K'UNG CHIH K ' UNG ( v oid n e s s o f th e n o n -r' o i d ) i s a s cl car to you as the orh of the sun blazing down from a cloudless autumn sky." 'On some rrights rvhen I n'as especially wear)/, I liked to irrraginethat the compassionate Kuan Yin appeared before mg in th e l i b r a: y in a blaze o f l i g h t. T h i s n e v e r fa i l e d to w i pe a\r/av my fa ti gue, m ak ing r xtl a s a l e rt a s i n th e mo rn i n g s . A fterrvards I co u l d r ead t he s ut r a s q u i c k i l ' , e a s i l v a n d rv i th g reater undcrsta n d i n g . I do not s a] ' th a t I tru l y ' s a rr.h e r. u n l e ss di ml l ' rvi th my mind's eye, but I kn.:u' u'hen .trd [s-ru'su'ceti1'she smiled o r w h e n s he r v asdis pl e a s e dw ' i th a fe e l i n g I s o m e times had that re a d i n g s o m any s ut r a s w a s a n i n to l c -ra n l ec h o re. My fourth b ro th e r, r v ho was s ic k l y a n d th e o n l v o n e o f u s to fai l the examinations, was extremely fond of me. \\'hen \\'e were alonc, we p u t as ide t he f or m a l i ty th a t h a d to b e s h o n ' n i n publ i c by ju n i o rs to s enior s , ev e n b ro th e rs a l m o s t o f a n a g e. Once w ' hen I h a d b een des c r ibin g w h a t I l i k e d to c a l l th e Bodhi sattva' s p e rso n a l m anif es t at io n s to m e ) h e s a i d . l a u g h i n g : " H ow you flatter yourselfl Second Brother. Such things don't happen, If th e y do, why is it a l w a y s Ku a n Y i n a n d n e v er Ta S hi hCh i h who appear s? Th e p i c tu re i n o u r s h ri n e -roorl coni ai ns both of them; rhey get the same amount of incense, bowing and the rest. Why doesn't Ta Shih-Chih do his share of healing you? It is because -vou forget him that he plays no part in .your imagination - for it is imagination, whatever you say." 'His words set me thinking. I did not agree with his main point, but he had made me feel guilty towards Ta Shih-Chih Bodhisattva, to whom none of us paid reverence except as one of three. I began offering him special prayers. For several months I never went to sleep at night without first sitting crosslegged on my bed and visualising Ta Shih-Chih. But when I invoked him instead of Kuan Yin, there was no result. Never any result at all. At last I spoke of this to my father. Unable to explain, he sent me orT to a monasterl' lying a few /i beyond the city wall and overlo<lkirg a streanr bordered with ancient rvi l l o w s - K uan Y in' s e mb l e m . O n l e a rn i n g rv h -v I had comc)

,.S.rllt.',,\farlil.'.i'jilt)/l.s

35

t h e e l d e r l_v r ipit ak a M a s te r u ' h o p re s i c i e d th e rc smi l ed and T said: "You alone cannot evokehim." "'Yo u m ean, V ener a b l e , th a t th e B o d h i s a tn ' a s rrc- rnerehto f o rms i n people' s m ind s ? " I p ro tc s te d , fu i l o f u ,o n.-1er hcar a m cn k s peak s o. S eein g h i m v i g o ro u s i " ' s h a k e h i s h eaC , I u' ent on: "If they ar e r eal, w h a t n c e d o f m a n v n ri n d s 1.. gi ve therrr power to appear?" "'\\/h a t an ignor an t y o u n g s c h o i a r l ' o u rn u si l ' rc!" hc ansu 'e re d, laughing. " S u re l v i ' o u k n c l rv th e rc c rrc':rLl t man\' n r i r r d s - i u s t A { i n d . A l l t h e I J u d d i r a sa n d L l o d h i s r r i l v a sa l i i h . . : , myri a d objec t s r - x is t in th i s o n c l ,l i n 5 1 . f[s ru ' c o rrl d :: be otherr v i s c ?\ \ I h a t i s i n ! ' o u r r n i n d i s n a t u r a i l r , i n N ' l i n d r t s c l f: c v c i l s o ) u t r t i l 1 ' o u h a v c d i s s i p a r c dt h c g r c e t n r o ' r n t a i r r s,.- . ic , b s . r a u t i o n s c o n s t r u e t e d b 1 ' k a r m a c a r n e d i n p r c v i o u s I i r ' . ' s .1 ' o u r r ' i l l r rq :t a vc t he por v c r t o ca l l fo rth a rc s p o n s cto th c fc ebi : thoughts h you put there. \\'ith Kuan Yin, thc cascis othcru.iscbecauscso ma n t' m illions of b e i n g s i n v o k e h c r. \t)\r' d o vrru undersLand " ? '"Vcnerable S i r , t h i s u ' o r t h l e s sd i s c r p i cc r n c a t c h s o m e t h i n g of the profound purport of 1'our cnlightcning tcaching," I an sw e rL= f or m ally , t ho u g h b 1 ' n o mc a n s s u re I d i C . S ati sfi ed, d he ra i se d his t ea- c up i n d i s m i s s a l 'Th a t night I s at up l a te r th a n a n l ' o f m v b rc th c r s The l i ttl e libra ry-boy , who had o rd c rs fro m m 1 ' fa th c r to ' ;ta v rvi thi n cal l un ti l th e las t of us ha d h a n d e d h i m th e b o o k s i he,t needed pu tti n g alv ay , r epleni s h e d mv te a -p o t th rc c ti m e: before I r cmcmh rer edt o t ell him to g o o fT to b e d , p ro rn i s i ng: i o put the {1imsy volumes very carefully arvay in their blue bosrs rvith ni',' own h a n ds . No s oone r h a d th e c h i l d * ' a l k c d o ff s l eepi l -vthan r h e fa r end of t he dim l y l i t l i b ra ry rv a s i l l u m i n e d bv a sofrl l ' t rri l l i a n t r adianc e and, a s I fe l l to my k n c c s , a s l i m. ni aj esti cal l l ' t a l l , ri chly gar bed f igu re , rv h o m I to o k to b c K u ar Y i n u' as rn a n i fe s t ed in t he c entre o f th a t c i rc l c o f r-e rv b r i q::t but not d a zzl i n g light . T he ga rme n ts o f th c trv o B o d h i sati r-as bei ng s rmi l a r x c ept f or t he h e a d -d re s s , i t to o k me e fe ' .i ' morncnts ir'' re e o gnis e T a S hih-C h i h e n c i rc l c d l i v a n i m b u s of gol den da rn e . '"Ol d T \ \ ' or " he ar rrro u n c e di rr a th ri l l i r:g i r' [r;au:i ful voi ce, rr.rri i d d res s ingm e inf orm a l l y b i ' th c n i c k n a i n c u s c d b]' rny father ; r n d u n e i e s ." t h e V e n e r a b l eT r i B i t a k a ^ \ l a s t c rc r r c i . K n o n ' t h a t

of Cornpassirm your mind is in itself immeasurable, the container of a myriad myriad universes, each of rhem vast beyond your comprehension. All the illimitable power thar exists in rhose ;rryriads of universes would be yours in full, if 1'ou had wisdom enough ro u se it . T he s ar n e i s tru e o f e v e r s e n ri e n t bei ng. B ecause yo u r t ait h in r ne r la s n o r rv e i l d e v e l o p e c . I h a ve come ro you always es Kuan Yin - nor as I am no\l.. Can ;-ou suppose we are two ? Two in ihe grear ]linc rvhere no r,vo exist ? Can a Bodhisattva feel *'cuoced b1' :egiecr for as bng as any other Bodh i sa ttv a is eallel upo n ? \c ,t to s p e a k o f B o d h i sarrvas,w hen a singlr: be: sucks ^no::e'r a.1 beings in rhe myriad myriad universes suck hoc:1'; when a worm is crushed, all beings in those unir-crses are -cnrshed. Remember the source of all power lies r'ithin yourself and cease rhis foolish longing to behold mere rrranifestatisns-" 'The lovely vision faded and was gone. since rhen, I have never dared to call upon such beings, excepr as it should be done during medi:ation. Seeking from them power bey-rnd the infinite power of our ov/n mind, which is limited only by our own dark karmic obstructions, is like what the sutras call "looking for a head upon your head" ! when, at those previous times, Kr:an Yin assuagec my fatigue, it 'was becar:semy minc willeci t;rat fatigue ar.'i'/, but needed the stimulation of the Bodhisrttva ' s pr es enc e t c fu n c ti o n th u s . 'Be liev e m e, t he B o d h i s a rtv a s a re a s re a l a s e arth and sky and h a ve i nf init e power to a l d b e i n g s i n d i s tre s s , bur they exi st within our corTunon mind, rvhich, to speak the truth, is itseif the container of earth and sky.' Bo th t he m iner alo g i s t' s s ro ry a n d o l d Mr c h' n' s i l l usrrate a co n cept not eas ) * o g ra s p a n d p e rh a p s n o r fu l l y graspabl eunti l r En l i g ht enm ent is wo n ; b u t th e y c l o m a k e i t c lear that, ,,vhen Kuan Yin is regarded b1' some as a menral creation and b_v o th e rs as a being ha rd l i ' d i s ti n g u i s h a b l e fro m a goddess. there is no question crf rhe one vierv being right, the other wrong. Sh e i s bot h an abs t r a c ti o n a n d a g o d d e s s ; h o rv one seesl i er cl ep e n d s upon one' s e x p e c ta ti o n a n d a tti tu d e o f mi nd. A l l such mental attitudes, though one may think of them as 'high.er' or 'l cwe r' in t he s ense o f e x h i b i ti n g mo re o r l e ss w i sdom and understanding, are probably so far from the ultimate trurh that differences in onc's levei of rvisdom becomes negligible. Nor

36

Bodkisat".a

Some hlanifestatiotts

37

is it certain that to perceive a Bodhisattva as a god- or goddesslike being does in fact demonstrate a lower degree of wisdom. All talk of high and low, except in relative and provisional conte xts ) is bes ide t h e p o i n t. To the frogs in a temple Pool The lotus-stems are t;ll;

H ffiff*"::#;int

Everest

Chapter 3

Kuan Yin's Indianand Tibetan Genesis


l.l'/ Id- H onour t:<1Lb r d a rtd I )ar f ,:; r () rtr:, or I pray thae rrczcdeclarc LY,'herefore holy Bodltisat this I s k n o wn a s K uar t S hih Yi rt L o tu s S r-rtra

Wlre n th e Red t ide s u' e p t o v e r C i ri r-ra , d d h i s m u' as not the Bu r.tnivt-'rsal faith thcre, as it is in Thailand and some other countries. Perhaps one Chinese in ten was Buddhist and, even t hen , n o t e x c lus iv ell' s o i n th e s e n s eo f re j e c ti n g o th cr rel i gi ons. 'f he e d u c at ed elas s c s ,r,v i tho n l y a fa i r n u m b e r o f excepti ons, tended to be Confucian, following an agnostic ethical tradition that looked askanceupon religious manifestations going beyond reverencefor Heaven (as a moral principle or natural force) and performing memorial rites for the spirits of the ancestors. The ordinary people rvorshipped ten thousand gods n'hom the-v envi sa g e das r es em blin g h u m a n s , th o u g h e x i s ti n g on a much gr a n d e r sc ale.I n t he pop u l a r m i n d , Ku a n Yi n s to o d apart from t hose th ronging deit ies cn l l ' o n a c c o u n t o f h e r i n e ff abl e sw eetnessa n d m er c if ul dis pos i ti o n ; B o d h i s a ttv a s \\' e ren o t concei ved by th e u n ins t r uc t ed as d i ffe ri n g fro m th e g o d s i n ki nd. The pictu re that c m er gesf r o m th e l a s t s to r!' i n th e p rc v i o us chapter r ev e a l s h e r as s he appe a re d to th e re l a ti v e l v s m a l l number of high l y e d uc at ed Chinc s e B u d d h i s ts . H a v i n g s e e n h er thus, u,e m u st n o w ex am ine her I n d i a n o ri g i n a n d a c c o u n t fc rrthe strange t act th a t, t hough onc e i d e n ti c a l n ' i th ti re ma l e Bodhi sattva,

Kuan Yin's Indian and Tiberal Gcrrcsis 19 Avalokita, she has long been depicted in China and neigtrbouring countries in womanly form. It i s p os s ible t hat c o n fu s i o n i n th e p o p u l a r mi nd benveen Bcd h i sa t t v as and loc a l g o d s a n d g o d d e s s e s p e rmi tted Mi ao Shan, a legendary Chinese princess with extraordinary- compassi o n , to b ec om e as s im il a te dto Ku a n Y i n , b u t p e rs o nal l l ' I doubt if th i s a s s im ilat ion t oo k p l a c e u n ri l a fte r th e Bo dhi sartve had co me to b e r egar ded as fe rn a l e . l n a n v c a s c , rv h c ' n co::si dcri ng Ku a n Yi n in t he light o f o rth o d o x B u d d h i s m , ' ,\.ecan crsregard ihe Mi a o S han ac c r c t i o n s . 'fh e sut r as int r oduc e d fro m In d i a a c c o u n t m e ta l rhrr;:cal l y for t h e o r i g i n o f t h e v a r i o u s B o d h i s a t t v a s .T h u s . i t i s r i ' r i i : e n t h a t Avalokita, bearing a lotus floq'er, u'as born tionr a ral' ,--rf light t h a t sp rang f r om A m it a b h a Bu d d h a ' s ri g h t e 1 ' e ; a nd l hat thi s mi ra cu l ous ly bor n bein g s tra i g h tw a -vu rte re d th e sf i l a' ol esOM * M ANI P A DM E HUM . T h i s i s p e rh a p s a p o e ri c \\ ' a\- errsayi ng thirt Avalokita is a secondary emanarion of the energl' oi compassi o n and t hat t his is th e m a n tra b y rt' h i c h s h e s houi d be i nvo ke d . As Avalokita rvas widely venerated in India during rhe cent uri e s n 'hen t he Univ er s i ty o f N a l a n d a w a s a t th e hei ght of i ts glory, it came about that his worship spread to Tiber in the seventh century AD as soon as Buddhism was introduced there by Padma Sambhava (the Lotus-Born Sage), tondll' known as the Precious Guru. Before long Avalokita Bodhisattva was adopted as Tibet's tutelary deity and his mantra achieved wide popularity. By most Tibetans he came to be regarded as the Buddha's earthly representative and as chief guardian of the Dharma (Sacred Doctrine) until the advent of -\laitraya B u d d h a in t he aeon ne x t to c o m e . T h e y n e v e r d epi ci hi m or v i su a l i sehim in f em ale g u i s e a n d , q u i te re c e n th ' , F{i s H ol i ness t he D a l ai Lam a ( who, a s a n e m a n a ti o n o f A v a i o ki ra- shoul d s u re l y b e a gr eat aut h o ri ty o n th e s u b j e c t) i n fo rrnei rrre that it u'ould be though: wrong to do so b1' Tibetar', Wh e n , as ear ly as t he fi rs t c e n tu r]' A D . th e p ra c ti ce oi :nvoki ng A va l o ki ta f ir s t r eac hed C h i n a , n o o n e th o u g h t o f C epi cri ng hi m as ttma l c = ;m c r eov er , t h e C h i n e s e p i l g ri m s F a H s i e n and H si .j an 'f s a n g , u , ho v is it ed I n d i a i n th e fi fth a n d s e r-e nth centuri es rcsp e cti v ely ,r eeor d no s u c h d e p i c ti o n s e i th e r i n In c i i a or C hi na. Y ct, b v the t welf t h c e n tu rv , fe m a l e i ma g e s o f th e B onhi sattva

40

Bodhisarna

of Compassiort

!vgr: well-nigh universal both in china and Japarr. why ? The e vi d e nc e of s c holar s s h e d s n o i i g h t; th e i r ..tl -r,.s cf' rhe dare at which the first of rhese female images appeared vary f.ori, the seventh ro thirteenth cenruries ! i{oimuch credence is given to the one or rwo people who a\-er thar such images \,vereworshipped in Inciia and Nep al belore rhis happened i,-,Chirr,I and, rvhen the crrir e,l- lvalskita (under the r*. l-okesvara) spread fram India to champa and cambodia in the ninth and tenth eenruries, his form rvas still male - as it is in Tibet and Mongolia ro this day. No, the change seems to have occurred in china itself, cerrainly not much earlier than the eighth century or much larer than the eleventh. There are good ps]-chorogical grounds for envisaging compassion iu womaniy form I but, though these must certainly have exercised dreir influence, they do not, I think, provide the whole solution. The Saddharma pundarika Sr.rtra affirms that, of Avalokiteivara's 337 earthly incarnations, all were male and all human except for one, (This refers to the occasion when the'Bodhisattva was incarnated as the Balaka horse and rescued an incarnation of the future Buddha from a horde of RdkshEsha demons who $'ere besetting him in alluring female guise.) Bearing in mind that r,vhat iJ said of Avalokita in the Lotus sfrrra merely credits him with the abitiry ro assumc female form if need be and does not affirm that he ever undenvent reLtinh as a \\'oman, the conundrum may be sta te d t hus : Ava l ok it a' s f or m is ma l e ; Ku a n Y in has f or c e n ru ri e s b e e n c o n c e i ' e d o f i n femal e form; Ye t A v alok ir a and Ku a n y i n a re re s p e c ti v e l y, Indi an and Ch i n e se nanes f or t h e s a me b e l n g . Surely something rs amiss? To my mind, Mr P'an r,r'as right in supposing that the soluri o n i n vo lv es an I ndo-T i b e ta n te rri a r-vc mb o c i i m e nt of compass i o n , Tar a, a beaut if u l fe ma l c d i r-i n i ry a b l e to m a ni fest hersel f in tu'enty-one dift'erenr tbrms for rhe sake of succouring sentient b e i n g s. ' B or n of a t ear s h e d b y Ar-a l o k i ta i n s o rro w for the w orl d, (that is to say, emanaring from the compassionare Bodhisartva), she is immensely popular in Tibet and Mongolia where her devotees credit her rvith two main functions: rescuing beings from prrsent \\,oes and assisting thern to rid themselv", of

Kuan Yin's Indian and 7'ibetan Genesis 4r the delusions binding them to samsara.But those are the very functions attributed to Kuan Yin ! Novr Tara is not widely known in China or Japan (except among people familiar with the Tibetan tradition) and ferv Tara ettgies are to be found there. Yet such an attractive being and one supporred by sound canonical backing would surely have been eagerly welcomed, had not some other means of portraying compassion and its liberating porvers in r,vomanly form been clevised. In my view, that is exactly what happened ! The C hines e hav e a l w a y s b e e n d i s p o s e d to e n v i sagefri endl y di vi ni ties in idealis e d h u ma n fo rm. A s a mu s i n g l y i l l ustrated by one of the stories that follows, they do not t'eel at home '"vith the multi-armcd, multi-headed representations so dear to the Ind ian hear t . A las , a l l Av a l o k i ta ' s fo rm s a re i n cl i ned to be bi zarre; now he appears w i rh e l e v e n h e a d s to s y m bol i se si mul taneous perception of suffering and a thousand arms to succout 15s victims, now with three heads side by side, or rvith one head but fo ur ar m s , and s o o n . T o th e h u ma n i s ti c Chi nese, such forms \'/ere alien and unsuiteC to the portral-ai of rhe 1'earningcompassion a mother feels for her chinC. The lovel-v Tara, appearing now as a s weet -fa c e dma tro n , n o w a s a ' * i n some mai den, u' oul d s eem inf init ely m o re a p p e a l i n g to th e C h i n ese mrnd. For rel i g ious r eas ons ,C h i n e s e Bu d d h i s ts c o u l d h a rdl y rej ect ( !) w ors hip of t he B od h i s a ttv a A v a l o k i ta ; o n th e o ther hand, si nce the

uponthe mediraror somewhar forns Hhsnby drfies depend


Avaloand rhe arrist, ih.r. could b. no obiection to visualisilg w ere done, w hat kit a in a f or m s i mi l a r to T a ra ' s 1 a n d , i f th at thus preneed of bot h emb o d i m e n ts ? s o th e trv o b e came one, -paring thc *'arfor t1.e assirnilgtion of Princess MiaO Shan

a c om pas s iona teb e i n g e n i o y i n g th e ra n k of goddess' A ll of t his ma y s e e m a p ri v a te ra ti o n a l i sati on, unsubsfanti atcd. But there is persuasive evidence, as I \'l/asrecently able to c onf ir m . V is iri n g J a p a n th i s y e a r a t th e ri me w hen the beautl ' o f t hc har dy plu m -b l o s s o m s e e n a g a i n s t a background of snou' g iv es plac e- t ot h e fra g i l e c h e rry -b l o s s o m , I chanced upon three e ar l1, ' pair r t ingo f Ku a n Y i n , o r Kw a n n o n -Sama as she i s kno" vn s in rhit country, For several reasons there could be no doubt that rhc figure depicted zrasKuan Yin, but her posture and the mndras t'ormed by the fingers of both hands were those of Tara ! Mor eov er , in t h e l l ri ti s h M u s e u m th e re i s a pai nti ng i n w hi ch

i:

Rodhisatna of Compassion
\/irt

atiort of Kuan L)iagrarn t'. Genevs of the FenzaleRepresenr BODHI JA M IT AB H A BU D D H A


Primary cmbodiment of compassion +

,,n vAL()KI'rA ,t' IIODIII SAT'I'VA


.TARA
ll i vr nr-.enr anat itlri e r ft h e l l o d h i s a t t r ' a (fetmale'
Scc.rndarY cmbodintcnt compasslorl ( n r a l c) t,/

of

\1,/ \ 1\ t . / ,/ -\1,/

7 IilAO SHA\ a n do t i r c rs v m b o l s
trl'th,; llrgc t() conlpassl()n f l e n r a l er

KUAI.{ YIN (femalc)

\v/

I liag ra m z : E s t it er ic SigniJtcance of that Gertesis


irNLl G[{T'lil'iMI]1{'l' I}'{ LATF.}'IT I;OR.NI J BOUNDLESS LIGHT, its activeprinciplc A C O M PI SS I o NI ENERGI' O w hr i c h aro U S C S ) cff< t o w' a r d s brt L U En ll i g h m e n t :

.1

COMPASSION'S SAVING POV/ER visualisedas mother/maiden (The celestial Bodhisattva concept)

l..n' I I I

, URGE TO S AC RI FIC E
one's joy for others (T'he human Bodhisattva concept)

K U AN Y I N

I"

:ire ccntral figure is clearly that of Kuan Yin, for she is accompani e d b y h er Cbines edi s c i p l e s ,S h a n T s ' a i a n d L u n g N u, but aqai n h e r pos t ur e is T ar a ' s ! C l e a rl y th e s e p a i n ti n g s bel ong to an c ra wh e n t he f or m s of T a ra a n d Ku a n Y i n b e g a n to merge. Vi e w e d es ot er ic ally , th e s e x a ttri b u te d to c e l e s t i al B odhi . at tva s i s unim por t ant , s i n c e th e y a re re g a rd ,:d a s m cdi tati on : . -'rmsn o t of beings but o f w h a t mi g h t b c c a l l e d c c -snri c ft-rrces.

K uan \" i rt' s In d i a tt a n d T i b c :ta r tG;nesi s 43 T o sch o l ar s and ar t - lo v e rs ) o n th e o th e r h a n d , th e detai l s of ico n o g ra phy ar e of gr ea t s i g n i fi c a n c e .I s h a l l b e d e l i ghted i f m1' in te rp re t at ion of a puz z l i n g e n i g ma s ri mu l a re s fu rth er studv of ea rl y p a i n t ings and s t atu e so f K u a n Y i n ro d e te rmi n e more prec i se l y rvh en a c hange i n th e s e x a ttri b u te d rc h c -r rtaok pl acc. Ku a n Y in, t hough s h e h a s a s s i mi l a te dT a ra i a n d \ 1i :o S han). rcta i n s i n t he m inds of h e r C h i n e s e d e v o te e s fu l l i ds' nri t1-ri ' i th Ava l o ki ta , s o r v hat is s a i d i n th e s u tra s a b o u t h i m i s, as i r n' ere. sa i d o f h ,- ' r .T hat B odhi s a ttv a , a s w L ' h a v c s c c n ' i s c re;i ted u' i th havrn g ta k c n bir r h in a ra r- th a t s p ra n g fro m th c r i ght eye oi Arn i ta b h a B uddha, s o h c \\' a sp re s u m a b l y a c e l e s ti a lB tr.Jhi sattva f ro m th c f ir s t . O n t he oth e r h a n d , th e S rl ra n g a ma S ui ra rel ates t h e sto n ' of his E niigh te n me n t i n a rv a y n ' h i c h s uggests thar hc d i d n ot at t ain B odh i s a ttv a h o o d u n ti l l a te r. H o rv the tw o ec co u n tsar e r ec onc iled I d o n o t k n o u ' , b u t th e p a s:rage n the i su tra h a s a bear ing on K u a n Yi n ' s n a m e , H e a re r-of-C ri es, for it h a s mu c h t o do r v it h th e fa c u l ty o f h e a ri n g . It o p ens wit h t he Bo d h i s a ttv a te s ti fy i n g , b e f ore a grear asse mb l y of beings hu m a n a n d d i v i n e p re s i d e d o ver by the ' B u d d h a , how, m any ae o n sp re v i o u s l -v , e h a d a tta i ned E nl i ghth c n me n t t hr ough m edi ta ri o n o n s o u n d . M e n ta l l v detachi ng hcaring from its object and then eliminating both those conc e p ts,h e had at f ir s t pe rc e i v e d th a t b o rh d i s tu rb a nce and sri l l nessa re i llus or y and next c a me to re a l i s eth e n o n -e x i stence even r ''f th a t r ar if ied per c e p ri o n . ' A s n o n -e x i s re n t, borh subj ect ( h e a re r or hear ing) and o b j e c t (;o u n d ) a re m e rg e d i n the V ci d an d a \\'a r enes sof v c i d n e s s b e c o me s a l l -e m b ra c i ng. W hen a\\l a re n e s s bot h ex is te n c e a n d n o n -e x i s te n c e v ani shes, N i rof r , 'i n a su p er v enes . ' T hu s E n l i g h te n e d , Av a l o k i ta (K uan Y i n) acq u i re d t wo m er it s - th e p ro fo u n d c o m p a s s i o n that proceeds from Bodhi and svmpathy rvith every kind of being floundering in sa msar a' soc ean of d e l u s i o n . M o re o v e r, i t i s re corded that he a tta i ned t he po\ \ ' e r o f m a n i fe s ti n g h i ms e l f i n rhi rty-tw o bodily forms, the berter to succour different kinds trf beingsr an d a l so t he pou' t - ' r o b e s to w fo u rte c n k i n d s o f fc a rl e:sness.A l l t \ \ :crrrfru i t s of E nlight e n m e n t a tta i n e d b y u s i n g ' i l lusory hearin g ' to d e v r ' lop ' A bs oiu te H e a ri n g ' . Wh e n th e Bo dhi sattva had s p o ke n , t he as s em bli' a g re c d th a t, o f rh ,: tw e n i y * five merhods f or e o n tr olling m ind n, h i c h th e v w e re th e n d eb a ti rrg . medi tati on r : ri tl i c Frr oees of heari n g \r/a sb e s t s u i te d to u n trai ned mi nds. s

q4

Bodhisatn,l. ;"f {)n.fnp :;:t:rio*

c h ' a n ( z e n ) M a s t e r ss o m e t i m e s u o r et h i s p r . s s a gic r e l a r i o n q n to the koan merhod of meditation rvhich empio':s'erbal formulas,and the sarneis true of Masters bclongingro the pure Lancisect, sincethe faculr-v hearingis inrirnately of connectecl rvith the praeticeof aorr..n,raring 'rn.-'ra.redname,. "r Like Amitabha Buddha.from *.honr he emanares, Avalokita is chrerished a?counr niS ',.o*'to renounce on oi Nirvdna,sfinal peacef-oras long as rhere a:e sentientbeingsstill lost amidst sarfisara's ocL-an. b:irei'e:s,this is a stupendous To vow) for it :inl,c !::= iL'r 5a:::-ia:a in---aiculable lor u.o.rr. No rvonderAvalos:ia K';:1.:: : s a ; o r e d b 1 ' m i l l i o n s !E v e n s o ,h u m a n s ,b e i n g =: rle"' ;:-. Er5i olten eniisi rhe Bodhisarrva's in aid banishing ::'':= :=-=:i:are afrliction rather than in escapingfrom sam_ : . i i i l : : . . = . e ! ' e nr h o u g ht h e B u d d h i s t sa m o n g t h e m m u s t be :.i' i--=:i-,e;, until sarnsara transcended, .s affiiciionsare bound . - : : . . a ; : o p i o u s l ya s r a i n ! -{:oiher surra pertaining to Avalokita is much more deeply =riaph'sical and accounrs the reverence for paid to him uy ine ---ained. ,\lany Buddhists in china and Japansolemnly,r.,d.r:aki to recire this Hearr of Highest wiiclom sutra .ir*rv a"v '-'f rheir lives. Though but a singleparagraph in length, it sets :orth rhe quintessence the entiri boJy of ,wirdom Teachof ings' which are elsewherecontained in verses running into hundredsof pages.Terseiy it demolishes ultimate delirsion, the the error of errors,the basiccause our wandering aeonupon of aeon from birth to dearh and death to rebirrh - uellefin a real anrl permctnent ego.Not until the illusory narure of itre ego is actually perceived can Eniightenment be won and Nirvina's peace attainedI In order to shockthe hearerinto suddenapprehensicnof chistruth, wh.atis said to Kuan Tzu-Tsai (a name for Kuan Yin) in rhe sutraapparently demolishes, blow by blow, the most *'idely knorvn,reveredand fundamentalof all ,ir. pr.'icus teachings rhe Buddha. But, rvhereas) a traditionally of to minded Buddhist hearingit for the firsr time, irs impac, -ui, bc immenseand horrifying until he suddenlygrasp,the underlying import, ro someone unacqua:nted wittr n"aorrist doctrine the.text by itself n:ight seem quite tame. so, with a view to giving at leasta hint of its dramatic quality. I present it somervhat in the form in which it is expoundeclbifore assemblies of lavmen by learnedTripitaka Maiters. Imagine, rhen, a thin,

45 on grey-robed, shaven-headed figure seatedcross-legged his to preaching throne, evesalight with eagerness communicate a truth of supreme importance to those with ears to hear. Placing his hands palm to palm, he first intones the sutra's name: 'MahaprajnipdramitaHsin Ching !' (Sutrr.of the Heart of Highest \Wisdom!). Then, starting to speakin gentle tones which grorl' louder and more tbrceful as he proceeds,he says: 'Disciplesof the Buddha, asyou know well, the Blessed-One hastaught that there is no self, that eachliving being is no more than a conglomeratiorr of five skandhas (aggregates) fcrm, of cortsciousness sensation, perception, discrimination and proclaimed in the the these. Bur hear nor1.' h:gher teaching he t{eart Sutra for men and women with deep unCerstanding: in " Kuan Tzit-Tsai Bodhisattaa, uthile engaged deeppractice of perceiued are'aoiri, that all thefiue aggregates the Highisr Wisd,om, and therebypassedbeyondall forms oJ suffering." The CompassionateBodhisattvareachedsupremeattainmentby recognising have no realiry, being.but bubbles, that eventhe five aggregates drearns,mirages.Herein lay her supremewisdom. " O Saripu' his One, addressing disciple,"form tra," continuedthe BlesseC differs not from aoid, nor aoid from form. Form IS ztoid; aoid perception, and ,Tiscrimination conscious' I S form. With sensation, are marked by emptiness, the same.Sariputra, all these it ness is to neither comittginto beingnor ceasing be, neitherfoul nor pure, nor diminishing." YOu have learnt, too, that neither increasing beings and objects are taught by the Buddha to derive their tiom a combination of eighteen"sense-realms", appearances (including mind), the six kinds meaningthe six organsof sense to perceptionand the six forms of consciousness which of sense the Blessed One these give rise, but in the Heart S[tra within theaoid thereis noform, no sensQannounces: " Therejore perception,discriminationor consciousness eyestears, tiotl, ; no mind; noform, sound,smell,taste' touch or nose,tonguc,body or to thought; nor any of the otl;ersfrom eye-consciousnessmindcortsciouslrcss." Such was the deep perception of the Bod!:isattva Kuan Yin u'hich won the BlessedOne's praise. 'You have heard that beings must suffer birth after birth in because bound by a twelvefold chain of causation,leadsarnSara ing from primordial ignorance,through becomingand the other links to decay and death, and thence round and round again,
I I

46

Bodhisattva of Conryassion

but i n th e Hear t S ut r a t h e B l e s s e d On c p ro c l a i m s : " Thcre i s neither ignorancenor extinction of ignorance)tror an1'of tltt others down to decay and deatft." You all knorv rvell the Four Noblc Truths I first, that existence is inseparable from suffering, including fr.ustration, discontent) gricf. pain. bc-rcsvelxentand sc f r-rrth lse cond,t hat s uf t - eri n g a s fo r i ts c a u s e i n o rd i n ate dcsi re; h t hird , th a t t he r em c dy i s c e s s a ti o n fro ;n i n o rd i n a t e dcsi rc: ibur th , th a t t his r em edl' r s e ffe c te db v trc a d i n g th c \o b l c E i ghtt'old Path. But the l{cart Sutra proclaims: " T-ltera no ntft'erine. ts t l. )c a u se jrto r em edy , no P a th / th e re ttt,." Y o u h a v c h eard that tlir o u g h w i sdom is Nir v dn a a tta i n e d , b u t th e SD tra s a y s: " There i s r t o wi sd o t r r ' no t az nm en t. c a u s e tc rei s n o th i tryto b eartatrrcd, at Be tl Ilodhisattuas relying on rhis Highest l\t'isdotl', of knou'ing there is rtowisdom, ruoattainment, " arc fret .from hindrancrr.r nind. rrf Being rid of thesehindrances.^ they hate no fear, ure frec.t'rom all upsets and d.elusions, relying and in the end attain i{iruana. It is h_t' on this Highest Wisdom that all Iluddhas of the past, tht present anC the future achieae Suprente Enlightentnent." 'Why does the Blessed One thus refute the core of his own doctrine ? Does he not in this very sutra negate the foundations of everything he taught ? Ah, but, for as long as you remairl at the level of ordinary consciousness,for as long as you are still deluded by the differentiated realm of forr' into believing in the reality of the self, you must abide by those teachings u'ithout fail. Only when you reach the high level of perception attained by the Bodhisattva Kuan Yin will those teachings lose their validity for you. Only when your perception soars so high that )'ou perceive with full clarity the voidness of absolutell' everything th e re is , will y ou b e a b l e to u n d e rs ta n d th a t even the Blesse d One' s own t eac h i n g s a l e u l ti m a te l y v o i d , s ince there is no entity, no concept whatsoever that is not void in its or.vn nat u re . In t hat pr of ound s e n s e ,th e re tru l v c a n n o t b e N i rvdna o r any b e i n gs t o at t ain it ! Wh e n u n d e rs ta n d i n g d a u ' rrs.r otr rvi l l know th a t or d. inar y t eac h i n g s ,n o m a tte r h o u ' e x a l tc d . must be iaid aside, for how could.Nirvdna -- that pure state be1'ond being and non-being - be accessible those rvho cling to differentiated to conce p ts, howev er holy ? T o u s e th e c o n c l u d i n g rv o r ds of the Hcart Sutra -" Therefore do we knozu that rhe IItghe st lVtisdont a i.\d great and sacredmantra.,a great mentra o.fknorcledge, matb 'rd unsurqassed, uneEtalled. It catr tcrn?htatcall vr.ffering trttll,'

K ua n Y t' n ' s In d i a rt a n d T i h ;ta n Gertesi s 4i artd urtfailingly. Therefore utter this t\'[antra aJ IIighesr lY;isdont thus- Gatb, gatb, paragatb, pdrasamgatb, bodhi, suaha!" (Gone, g o n e , g one bey ond, w h o l l y g o n e b e y o n d ! En l i ghtenment ! Sva h a!) 'Ah , b ut what is m e a n t b y u tte ri rrg th i s m a n rra ? It i s not a ma tte r o f r ec it ing a f ew s y l l a b l e si n th e l a n g u a g eo f the B rahmac o u n try. " Ut t er ing" m e a n s " l i v i n g " th e ma n tra b 1' percei vi ng t h c vo i d nes s of all c o n c e p ts , e n ti ti e s a n d b e i n g s u' i thout one s i n g l c e x c ept ion. O nly w h e n th e i r v o i d n e s s d a u ' rs bri ghtl ;,' u p o n th e c y e of y ' our mi n d ma y y o u a b a n d o n th e te a chi ngs gi ven t rcfi rrea nd r es t in t he b ri l l i a n t, u i tw a v e ri n g p c -rc e pti onof pure. t r o u n d l c s s ,s h i n i n g v o i d ! ' T-h i se x pos it ion of t h e p ro fo u n d p e rc e p ti o n a tta ined by K uan Yi n , o r A v alok it eiv ar a a s th e Sa n s k ri t v e rs i o n o f the sutra has ir, ca rri es us int o t he r e a l m o f h i g h e s r my s ri c i s m, and hcl ps to explain the reverence felt for that Bodhisartva in Tibet, China and Japan, not only by the common people but by m1'stics and seholars as well l for, according to the surra: ir was Kuan Yin (Aval<:kita) who first penetrated beyond the exoteric teachings of the Buddha and causedttre Blessed One to ret'eal their meaning at a level infinitely more profound. Horvever, n'hat is said here needs to be rounded off by the kind of story that circulates about the Bodhisattva at the popular level l it u'ould not do to Supposethat mystics and sagesare extremell' common arnong the Far Eastern peoples. For every individual able to understand the inner meanin.g of the Heart Sfitra, there mLlst bc a hundred who revere the Bodhisattva for very differcnt reasoRs.As this chapter relates to the Indian genesis of that being, I have chosen the only folk story I knorv relating to Avaloki ta , that is t o s ay t h e ma l e a s p e c t. T a l e s o f Tara and the ri'omanly Kuan Yin aspect are very much easier to corne by; for, arnong Tihretans, rvith whom the original Indian traCition sri l l l i n ger s , A v alok it a i s re v e re d a s to o h i g h a bei ng ro be thr:ught of as playing the kindly pranks dear to Tara or manif csti n g h im s elf quit e a s re a d i l y a s th e g e n tl c C h i n e se K uan Y i n. 'T'his rcfle cts what was said earlier about the srreams of compassro rr q n er gy bec om : ng m o re ta n g i b i e w i th d i s ta nce from the so u rcc. The one s t or y a b o u t A v a l o k i ta i v h i c h h a s stal ' ed i n my rl cn ro ry has jus t a t ou c h o f h a rs h n e s s .M o s t Bc d h i sattvas (i nri rrrl i n g ^' { uan Y in in h e r C h i n e s e fo rm a n d e v e n the smi l i ng

+8

BoChisatttta ;.f Compassion

T a ra ) ar e c r edir ed w i th s h Or,v i n g s re rn d i s p l easure upon occa si o n , t hough t his i s ra re a n d , l v h e n i t b c c o rnes nccessary t or su ch beings r o s eem h a rs h , th e y p u n i s h s o l e i y'to teach rvi sel o m to thos e c has t is e d . -fh e re i s n o re s e mb l a n c e to Jehovah' s pro cl i vi ty f or v engef ul n e s s )n o c a l l i n g o n p e o p l e ro present thei r s o n s a s bur nt of ier ing s , e v e n th o u g h i t b e o n l y to tesr thei r ob e d i e n ce; a B o' dhis a ttv a ' s rv ra th i s d i re c te d a l ways at error it se l f, n e v er at c - r r dnt b e i n g s . T h e s to ry , o f rv h i ch i have hacl t o f i l l i n m o s t o f l n c d e t a i l s . a s I r e c a l l o n l y i t s e s s e n t i a l sr u n s , as fo l l o rv s : Ii r th e lov ely B lur ' L a k e p ro v i n c e o f C h i n a , w h e re the settl ed in h a b i ta nr s ar e m os r ly o f ri b e ta n s ro c k a n d M o n gol nomads graze their flocks in lonely pasturesJ few Chinese used to live sutsicle rhe cities and it sometimes happened rhat an isolated chinese peasant family woulcl be found tilling a few mou of land in : viciniry where rhey and their neighbours had no comr;ron language. so it *'as with the chiangs, new arrivals from Szeehuan, a family consisting of an elderly couple, their two sons an d d a ught er s - in- law a n d a s m a l l b ro o d o f g rancl chi l dren. About an hour's journey from their farm stoo,l a Tibetan village clustering around a temple to Avalokita v,herein stood a tall image rvith eleven heacis and a thousand arms. Though the Ch i a n g s s om et im es v is i re d th i s te mp l e r.v h e na rte rrdi ng tj re vi l ia g e rn a rk et near L, ' , 'it n c v e r e n te re d th e i r h e a d sth a t the bi zarre, ioo ki n g s iat ue r epr es e n te d a fo rm o f th e i r b e l o r-e d K uan yi n I T hc wo m en- f bik . es p e c i a l l l ' . \r' e re a * ' e d b v i rs appearance; ign o ra n t of t he c or nf or ti n g me a n i n g o f i rs s v m b o l i sm and cl ui tc unable to question the Tibetans about it. rhe_v upposedthe s he a d s b e t ok ened F . o. . " eto s e e rh e e v i l i n e v e n . h e a r t; the hanci s, r po we r to inf lic t s e\ - erere tri b u ti o n . 'wltat s o r t o f p e o p l r -c a n o u r n e i g h b o u r s b e ? ' e x c l a i m e d t h e t 'o l u b l e old lac l' . ' I m ag i n e a d o ri n g s u c h a g o c l a n d nor bei ng upsct b y t he s igir r . r f a l l th o s e h e a d s a n d th e i r stari ng cves !' Lcrve ri n g her v oic e. s h e a d d e d : ' I' v e a q u e e r s o rt o f feel i ng that - I - iL, er a n s . god o n l y lik es T h e l ' s a y rh o s e p e o p l e w anr ro dri ve us chinese from r-l:eprovince. Anyone .rn ,.. they think they crr'n it. If rve wake up ore day' with our throats cut, don't say I di d n 't w ar n y ou. I f t h e y h a v e n ' t d o n e i t a l re a d y, i t' s because they are rvaiting fbr a sign from the god !' 'i h o p e v ou' r c - r ight ,' re m a rk e d h e r h u s b a n d d r i l y. ' If thev

Kuan Yin's Indian and Tibetan Genesis 49 g,ait for that, our great-grandsons will be living here safely. An ordinary household cat can give a signal for revolt more easily th a n a m any - head e d i m a g e .' 'Hush !' exclaimed the old woman, shocked. 'The surest way of stirring up gods and demons is to make fun of thern.' 'May Old Eleven Heads do his worst !' cried Chiang' and rve nt out laughing , ' Half out of her mind with fear of the consequences of this blasphemy, Mrs Chiang got not a wink of sleep. Up before dawn, she cooked some food-offerings for the maligned deity and, as the sun rose, set off with her younger daughter-in-law for the temple. Pausing to buy the best incense in the outer courtyard, they entered the shrine-hall and) more than a trifle arved, presented their offerings - a fine roast chicken, pig's knuckles and a few thimblefuls of Szechuanese ta-ch'iu'wine. While they were drranging them upon the aitar, a Tibetan monk happened to come in. Staring at the altar in astonished disbelief' he-shouted to the rvomen to be off with their impure offerings. For demons and guardian deities one provided meat and wine as a matter of course, but for the compassionateAvalokita ! ! ! As these stupicl women made no effort to complY, he resoried to violent gestures. The offending offerings were hurriedly removed. 'You see!' cried Mrs Chiang indignantly, the moment they 'Now you know what I mean about cutting were safely outside. our throats. That sort of god is bound to enjoy roast chicken and those barbarians are atiaid we shall win his favour and protection. Somehow we've got to get the chicken and pig's iegs to him - nev er m i n d a b o u t th e w i n e -a n c i th en vre' l l be safe.' It is not related how they managed it, only that baskets of animal flesh wcre found the next day, tucked beneath the trailing ends of long silk scarves suspended from some of Avalokita's thousand arms. home, Mrs Chiang was in the best of humours. On the yu'ay \Vhenever the two women encountered parties of Tibetans, theycould hardly suppress their merriment at the thought that these barbarians were blissfully unaware that a couple of defenceless Clrinese women had stolen a march on them. 'Long before 'Be sure it will workr' the old woman chuckled. they discover the offerings, the gods will have inhaled their essence. Who cares what they do with the flesh and bones ?'

5c

Bodhisatma of Compassion

on a moonless night later in the monrh, masked men in bulky fibetan robes .descended upon the farm-house and, having driven the family out into the night, burnt it to the ground. The chiangs fled to the districr town, g,here they pressed the ma g i stra r e t o punis h t he mi s c re a n ts , b u t o b ta i n e d n o sati sfac_ t ion . wi th only a m eagr e fo rc e o f c h i n e s e s o l d i e rs i n the nei ghbr lurh o o d . t he m agis t r at eh a d n o w i s h to s ti r u p a l o cal upri si " ng. '\\/hat is morc,'he srernll,rold the Chiangs;.r.ou har.. yo,rr_ -. 1' "'rs b lam e. \ r ' ho in a l l th e l a rd s u n d ,:^ .h e a r-e n ro *,oui d offer : h t : f l e s h o f s l a u g h r e r e i la n i m a l s r o K u a n y i n ? ' 'Th a t fe ar f ul- look ing_ -I m e a n , th a t s re rn a n d n o bl e-l ooki ng : rr1 n E!r:, an Y in' s ?' s h ri e k e d o l d Mrs c h i a n g . .oh w hat Ku ir icrrible sin! Hou'could I knou,? Norv we shall all end up iri hcll!' I t i s rr bc hoped r har h c r fa mi l y \\:L -re b l e ro c o n' i ncc- her a ihat a si n com m it t ed in ig n o ra n c ew o u l d n e v e r b ri n g d orr-nretri hut i o n fro m s o c om pas s i o n a te g o d d e s sa s K u a n y i n ; but w hat a irapp e n e d t o t he f am ily is n o t re c o rd e d . T h i s i s a T i b eran srorv and the Chiangs, having plal'ecl their part, are allowed to fade uut a t th i s point . Me a n while, A v alok it a Bo d h i s a tt\/a \tr,a s i s p l e a s e d. d The u'inter that vear \\'as severe and, for an inexplicable r easo n , th e t em plc ' s s u p p o rte rs w e re m u c h l e s s ta vi i h than usual with their offerings. Hunger drove rhe two monks and . three novices to the district torvnship where they applied to the magistrate for relief. 'what are your afrairs ro me?' demanded the ,Father-andMother.of the District'. 'No srare of famine has been declared. No considerable body of people have failed to make provision for the rvinter. Your unenviable condition is a privaie matter r vit h w h i ch t he G ov er nm c n t c a n h a v e n o c o n c e rn . B esi des' hc a d d e d sly ly - ' would y o u l i k e e v e r-v o n e k n o rv th a t Ti berans to r reat Bu d d his r m onk s s o s h a b b i l l ' th a t th e y h a v e to rurn to the chinese authorities to keep them from hunger? If a story like that got about, you people from the pious land of Bod rvould los c a l o t of f ac e, don' t y o u th i n k ? ' A b a sh e d , t he m onk s s rro d ea w a y a n d , th e Bo d h i s a ttva rel enti ng so me w hat , t hey s oon fo u n d a ' fi b e ta n m e rc h a n t w i l l i ng to iodge thern for some davs. For the rest of the winter, they l[ed n reca ri o u s ly , s t ay ing wit h o n e fa m i l y a fte r a n o th e r, n e ver fai l i ng

Ktto ,rtY i l ' s Ittd i a rt .trtd 7 ' tt. ..-.:i Gcl ri rr., _\ r I t o r e c e i v ed u e r e s p e c t ,b u t s e l d o m m u c h g C o c r t - r s l i r . i m e s \ \ - e r e T. hard. when spring came, the lirtle Farrv rl:urned to their t e m p l e a n d s e t a b o u t r e p a i r i n g t h e r a v a q c sc a : s c d b 1 . m o n t h s o f n eglec t . T he of fe ri n g s fro m ro u n d a b o u r i.cr thcm from a c t u a l w a n t , b u t t h e y s e l d o m h a d a r e a l l r -s a r : . . : . , . i nm e a l . g -I'orvards the end of spring camc a nrinor il:::r'al in hon:rur o f A v a l o k i t a B o d h i s a t t v a .F o r o n c c [ h c -r . \ ' r \ \ ' e s: ] s : d d i i l a r n n n . n c r n o t c l e m a n d e db l ' c u s r o m , T h c c h i . ' i m r , r n k .: . : r . i n g i o n s a g o c r ) n c l r r d e dl i a t 5 o , n . ' l ' 1 o ' . r 'o irh e r r h . : ' ,n a i i i i ^ c - : : - : i t h l B c , i h i t o s a t i v l ] ' :d i s p l e a s r r r cr.i c c r r - r ' d s p c . c i ac c r c m o i . . , a-i ' r u r i i c : r r l o n . a l . E , i ' c i rh u n g r i e r r h a n u s u a l t r c c a u s e h r ' : i t c c i c l - - : . : l d e d r e r - i o u s r p a l 'rsrir r c nee,hev s a t fh e i n g c a c h o th c r. t\\' o ()rr -.:rc si ci t-' thrcc t . on the othcr, in irr-rnr f thc aitar. Summonin,: ::rc remains oi o thrir strcngth, thcl' beat the clrum. clashed ..-.. .,.-L.als anc-i e h a n t c d l u s t i l _ " - , u r r h e h c ' a r t so f t h c v o u n g . j r t - l r S c s i r g L l r l l r . b \L 'crt. r in it , T hen g ra d u a l l r' th e 1 ' c -' g i ri te ,' ,:,-aught ts sprei i not i c . a n d th ey wc r s - able to v i s u a l i s e , \\' i th rh c u rrn c -.' :. ari tr-. u.hi tc cl l i g h t st r c am ir r g f r om a Bu d d h a fo rm n rc n ta l l r' . ' :r' i saqe,l abo,,' t: th e i r heads , ent er in g th re i rb o ,l i e s a n d r' rp c i l i n : :hroi gh e\' (' r\p o re a nd or if ic e a s tre a m o f fi l th f i mp u ri ti e s n ' h r;h fel l strai ght i n to the m out hs of th e h u n g rl ' d e mo n s ri ' a i ti n s rcr thi s horri d L ra n quet a hell- pi t v a rv n i n g b c n c a rh rr' h r.rt.i h .r\' \\' c-re tti ng. in si T a k e n u p u ' i t h t h i s i n n c r v i s i o n . t h c v u c r c h u : . : i v a n ' l r r cr r t ' t h c g rca t elev en- heade d , th o u s a n d -a rme d s t? tu r. u' hi ch domi n a te d t he s hador v e dh a l l fro m b e h i n d a n a l ta r :ro\\' l aden rvi th ro w s o f but t er - lam p s a n d ri tu a l rc rtn a o ft' e ri n ls. Fo r "a long s pac e o f ti m e , a l l w ,a su ' e l l * ,i th ,t- -; but. as rhe b l i ss o f m edit at ion fa d e d , th e _ vo n e b 1 ' o n c b ecamc uneasi l r. a wa re t hat s om et hi n g s tra n g e a n d g ' h o l l -v u n : onnected rr.i th th e i r vis ualis at ionr v a sta k i n g p l a c e .T h o u g h th e g :cat doors \\' ei c ti g h t s hut and no br e e z e c o u l d e n te r, rh e re c a n l 3 a sti rri ng and fl u tte r ing, a t ink ling a n d c l i n k i n g fro m rh e o l .j e--rs hel d i n thc s t a t u e ' sm a n y h a n d s . S o o n t h e n ' o r d s o f t h c n r a i r r a d i e d u p o n th ci r l ips and t hey g l a n c e d fe a rfu l l l ' a r c a c h r ri i l er, thei r arve i n crcas ing ev er y m o me n t, fo r i t \\' a s n o t ro b c ::ni cd that thc sta tu c had begun t o g l o u ' u ' i th a s o ft i i g h t th a r rr-asgradual i l ' i n cre as ing in int ens i ty , a n d th e b ro a d c h e s t b c : rath the gauzy si l k b roc ades r os e a n d fe l l a s th o u g h i n ri :s p c .,r rs: deep, cal m io breathing! The rays emanatingfrom the Brrdh:r:rtva's person n o rt' for m ed an eve r b ri g h te r h a l o a n d n i mb :. of col oured

Sz

Bodhisati,:a of Campassion

fi.ame! Greariy thou.gh they adored the compassionatc Avaloki ta , this m anii' es t a ri o no f h i s a c tu a l p re s e n c ei u u, * ore chi l l i ng than welcorne and awe gave place ro terror. Hurriedly they prostrated themselves, heads to the stone-flagged fioor; and. as ttr.y eiid_so,a deep voice came echoing meloli-o.rsly across tire hall. 'o foolish arrcJunheeding *onks forgetfui of your vow ro g u e cour s ent ic nt be i n g s a n d s h o w c o mp a s s i o n ro one and al l , th e seas onoi r ny d i s p l e a s u re i s a t a n e n d . It i s w el l vou had th e w it t o pur it v v ou rs e l v e so f m u rk y e rro r. I h ave p" " i ri i .a you severell' as you deserved, but neither ""i did I stay my han,c frlm chasrising )'ou enough to make you t-eerits rveight, io, yo,., will make no progress along the path until you have learnt that they who seek compassion musi themselves be compassionate to.every being alike without either chilliness or special favour_ stiil lessvengefuln*:ss/Now the end of your lean days has come. Tomorrow's l-estival will bring food-offerings in plenry. Bc grateful and he.ceforth be diligenr nor to iir..r, my sorrow. It wili go ill rvith those who err a seconci time.' These last words, uttered slo,*,ly in tones of solemn admonition, macie the rno.nksstare suspicibusly at one another, suppos* ing that one of rhem had done a great evil unknorvn to the others. At last the Abbot, summo'Irrg .orrr"g., said fearfull.v: 'compassionate Lo'd, we have tried ,6 r..rr. ]ou well and keep to the rerms t-rfour vow ro piry all beings uiit.. whereirr lies our error ?' 'In y ou m os r of a l l ,' th e b e l r-ri k e v o i c e re p l i ed. .H ave you so soon forgotren causing misery and loss to ignorant folk who sought only- ro do rveil by bringing to my tJmple rvhat they believed to be rhe most r.."p,.bte or off'eiings ?, 'B-but , c om pas s i o n a te L o i .l ,, s ra mme re d tte A bbor i n deep ci stres s , ' ir r ' as not w e w h o b u rn t d o w n th e i r d* .el l i ng. Ir w a' done without our knowreclge and, when it became kno''n to u s, we t ook t hos e m e n to ta s k .' 'si l e nc e, old m a' , ' a n s w e re d rh e B c d h i s a ttv a c hi i l i ngl y. ,you speak only of the effect. The cause lay with you, the m.nks ancl novices of this ternple_. vho spread word of what those ig'orant pcople had done to show reverence to me ? In rvhat t.r*, *r, their folly made known i who *,oulci have set fire to their.dwelling if 3tou had nor incited them to wrath ? Evil lies rvith those who set an evil chain of causation in morion, not with those

Kuan Yir/s InCian anci Tibetan Genests 53 caught up in the effects of the causes.Meditate,on this. Shodld you forget, your penance will be memorable.' Norv \\'ere the monks abashed. As they bowed down in contrition, the breeze playing about the Bodhisattva's garments died away; the tinkling and clinking ceased; the bright rays were withdrarvn, and all was as before. To calm themselves, the monks returned to their recitation of the mantra of purification with deep concentration. And so the night passed.In the morning, crowds of peasants, made joyful by the early promise of a rich harvest later in the year, came to the festival with offerings more generous than was customary on rhat occasion. Thenceforrvard the monks, full of holy inspiration, gave themselves to meritorious deeds and became renowned for kindness bestorved with firm impartiality. The fame of that temple spread far and wide and its supporters flourished. . Thus Avalokita as seen by the pious story-tellers of Tibet. As to Tara, it is said that she was born of a tear shed by Avalokita in piry for the sufferings of sentient beings. In appearance, she is far frorn awe-inspiring. The Chiang family would have had no difficulty in recognising her as a form of Kuan Yin, for she resembles an exceptionally lovely human being in everything but colour and splendour of her ornarnents. Vhether visualised as a sweet-faced matron or as a winsome sixteen-year-cld maiden, she has two principal embodimentr known as the Green Tara and the l$fhite. They are much alike except that, from her seat upon a moon disc supported by a giant lotus, the Green Tara extends one foot as though about to rise from meditation, whereas the White Tara sits in meditation posture and 'rvisdom eye' in tire is further differentiated by having a visible centre of her forehead as well as eyes set in the palms of each hand. W it h b o th fo rm s , th e h e a d i s c h armi ngl y i ncl i ned, the bodl" a trifie arched so that the left shoulder is perceptibly higher t han th e ri g h t; o n e h a n d , h e l d c lose ;o the heart, forms thr: murlra of protection and the other, resting lighuly Llpon the knee, forms the gesture of bestowing gifts. A long-stemmed lotus rises from the crook of the left arm. Heavy ornaments of gold ador n t h e h i g h -p i l e d h a i r, c h ro a t, w ri sts and ankl es; the film1'garments - bright gauzy silks fluttering from the shoulders and a seriesof many-hued silkcn skirts - leave the slender torso and smoothly rounded breasts uncovered in the manner of

5t

Bodhisatna

of ComPassi,m

ancient India. The whole effect is so ravishing that she might rvell arouse the very passion she is frequently invoked to calm, \4'ereit not that she inspires the kind of exalted reverence a palace guard might be expected to feel for a young and lovely princess entrusted to his care. No doubt there have been palace gu a rd s w ho, plac ed in s u c h c i rc u m s ta n c e s ) h a v e had to di s:;cnrtrle a more earthll' passion; not so r.r'ith Tara, for she 'is irn b u e d wit h t he powe r to v a n q u i s h l u s t a s e a s i l y as sorro\\' . Th o u g h s weet ly dig n i fi e d ' * ' h e n e v o k e d d u ri n g medi tati on, 'f'ara's nature is as fun-lsving and mischievous as that of an1' r-rfrh c si x t een- y ear - old g i rl s s h e -s o o fte n re s e m b l es. Ti betans astri de a sa 1 'sh e i s s om et im es t o b e s e e n s e a te d to mb o -v * -styl e tream or rooCtree I she has been known to laugh gail-vat things rh a t stri k e her as r idie u l o u s a n d to re s tra i n th o u g htl ess mi s'Humph !' or scornful behaviour try uttering a rvell-timed 'I le a l l y !' A lt oget her s h e i s th e mo s t l o v a b l e o f a l l th e B uddhi st one deiries, Kuan Yin included, exccF'tthat they are reall-v* I but, rvhen shrc is seen as Kuan Yin, th*' tomboyishness is absent, f or a n ri es weleom e t o t h e fu n -l o v i n g T i b e ta n s a re apt to stri ke the rrtore staid Chinese as not entirely decorous in a goddess. -fa ra s ' , u ,h o a re someti mes Th e re is als oa s et of ' T w e n ty -On e portraycd as identical with the Green Tara apart from their distinctive colours, but at other times r,r'ith differences of facial c xp re ssi on and s y m bo l i c o rn a m e n t. In th e l a tte r case, one of rhe Twenty-One may appear in the fierce daemonic form suited to encounters with the turgid powers of evil. Lovable and deeply loved, Tara is close to the hearts of all Tibetan, Mongolian and Nepali Buddhists. Indeed, in the People's Republic of Mongolia, I often saw her image standing with Lenin's a little to one side, in the place of honour facing t he d o o rw ay of a her ds m a n ' sy u rt (te n t) ! Sto ri e s o f h er expl oi ts, sometimes amusing always merciful, are legion and very similar in content to Chinese tales of Kuan Yin, Year after year ne\\' on e s a re hear d in t he mo s t u n l i k e l y p l a c e s . F o r instance) recently a Kargyupta monk from Nepal, rvho had spent some rnonths among the mainly Chinese population of Ipoh, Ma l a ysi a , t old m e he ha d fre q u e n tl y b e e n a s k e d b y hard-headed m o d e rn -m inded bus in e s s m e n to i n v o k e T a ra ' s a ssi stance i n strch matters as persuading a run-away daughier to return home or a b u s ines s par t ner to b e l e s s d o m i n e e ri n g - never) so he

Kuan Yin's Indian and Tibetan G.;rtesis _<-s a ssu r edm e, uns uc c e s s fu l l .vT a ra i s a n e q ' c o mer among over seas . chinese communities, but they have onll- ro knos- of her to enjoy invoking Kuan Yin in Tara form. Horr-ever, in the conte\r o f th e B odhis at t v a ' s In d o -T i b e ta n p ro g e n i to r s. the r\\.o musr b e re gar ded as in so m e s e n s es e p a ra tea n d i t s eems appropri ate. to selec t a t y pic ally T i b e ta n s to ry o f T a ra ' s po\\-ers. It i s onc that seeins ro me especially touching. some years ago' there dwelt in a Himalal'an hanilet a you.q couple who, with a child already stirring in the lac1.'s rro-'o-. rvre s t ed a liv ing f r o m a ro c k y h o l d i n g w i th s o il so shal l orv thar . th e b a: ley t hey s ow e d c o u l d s c a rc e l l ' ta k e ro o t. E r-en i n the besr of years the crop was meagre and stunted. But ?brlr.e thcrn rc.,sc rh e s k y ' s az ur e dom e a n d o n a l l s i d e s g l e a m e d r ocl (s .rf the ,fi r.e e o l o ur s ' int er s per se d i n s p ri n g a n d s u mme r g ' i t h ri chl i - r,crdanr patehes of grass and r.r'ildflowers, so they could 'rir-idil- imagine th e beaut y of r ar a' s s e a -g i rt p a ra d i s e . o n e y e ar rr-hen peopi e had incurred the mountain gods' displeasure, sno\r-fell endlesih" upon the fields, blizzardr tot* the roofs from the monasrerv in the lower valley and the mountain passes abo..'e\\-ere blocted fo r rnont hs on end. w i th th e s p ri n g c a me fl o ods that, besi des sw e e ping away t he s h a l l o rv s o i l , c a u s e d th e east rr-al l of the young couple's house to crumble and dro',r'ned their only beast o f b ur den- an aged , mu c h -b e l o v e d -v a k .Al l th a t those tw o had stru g gled s o long t o b u i l d n o w v a n i s h e d i n th e space of w eeks like a beautiful dream from which the drearner arvakes ro find himself in pitiable circumstances. \\tith their grananempty, the last of the seed-corn consumed as food, their house falling about their ears and their patient 1'ak gone tne way of all sentient beings, they had nothing in the rvorld but sorne ragged garments and a few old farm implements no one rvould care to buy. 'Pe m a, ' s ighed t h e h u s b a n d , ' fo r u s i t i s th e end. In a vear l i ke th is , ev en t he mo n k s w i l l b e h a rd p u r ro i t to i i r-e through to the next harvest. There must be many others lir-ing ,orr"d a b o u t who ar e as m u c h i n n e e d o f c h a ri q ' a s vve, and, though, our neighbours are kind, there is not a famill' rvithin ten dafs' rva l k rv it h f ood r o s p a re . It i s w e l l o u r c h i l d i s n ot }-et born si nce \\'e ourselves are going to die.' 'Fo r s ham e, Nor b u ! Yo u m u s t b e o u t o f v o ur senses to tal k so rvildly r ' ans wer e d th e y o u n g ma tro n rv i th s p i ri t. ' \' ou knon.

56

Bodhisatn;a if Cotnpassron

well enoughthat Tara the saviouress succours rvho call upon all her, heart full, mind one-pointed., 'You women are all aliker' observed Norbu loftily, ,letting yourselvesbe taken in by fables. Did we or did we-nor burn incenseupon the family altar every night for as long as there was inceaseto burn ? Did v/e or did rve nor offer butler-lamps at a time when thr-rewas not butter enough to put in gur or.vn tea? call on Tara, if you will. It can do nei-ther good nor harm., 'Indeed I shall call on her - and rvith faith enough for us both. Help will come and I shall wish ,o rt o* o". gtrtirude fittingly. come now and join me in a solemn uo*-* frr.r.rr, our son ro ,h-*-_T??a-srery rvherr he is old enough to be-admined., 'we'll do nothing of the kinci,' her-husbandansweredsourly. 'why, Norbu ? As you are sure rve have no hope, such a vow should not rrouble you at all. According ro your we shall both be dead and the chilcl unborn, so rvhat differlnce can it make ?, -'Have it your_ownway. I'll join you if trtai', any comfort, but take care to inform the precious bnes that our son will enter the monastery'sserviceonly if there .ur b. no possible doubt that any help'we receive comes from Tara. Iiaid comes owing to chanceor accident, we shall orve Tara nothing. Agreed ?, - so ih.y made their vow, kneeling side by side before the householdaltar,N'rrbu gr:owing restlEss pema's prayerswent as on and on, and stai:ing on his knees only becausehe knerv of nothing elseto do but iie down and wait for death. while, rowards the rite's end, they were reciting Tara's mantra for rhe secondor third rhousandth time, pemi envisagingthe lovely haloed figure in _hermind, there came a din oi ,iou,ing and hammering on the door. Horsemen, speakingin trre uncouth accentsof Kham, had come riding through the pass,,vhere deep snow had given \\.ay to foaming cararacrs. Though thel' had hoped for tbod and hot tea, theseburly :Tlen\\'ere kind enough to take such viands as they had from ih..ir saddlebagr ."0 sharethem with rhe starving couple.From their talk it soonappeared that they rverethe remnant of a band of resistancefighters badry maured b1. a -Nlorbu,s detachmentof rhe Chinese Red ^l,r-y. on eagerly agreeing join rhem, they gavehim a ntrr. to sharewith p.*u to until, severaldays larer, rhey were able to leaveher rvith some distant maternal relariveswho lived close to the Lhasa road.

Kuan Yin's Indian and TibetanGenesis 57 In so cloingthey were just in time. No soonerhad her husband ridden offwith the othersrhan her labour painsbeganand presently she was deliveredof a sturdy son. 'O l)olrnar' she whispered,calling Tara by that name, 'this boy is the fruit of your compassion. You know, dearestOne, h,: is vowed to the service of the monastery. Teach him. to be devout and deeply learned in our sacredChos(religion).' Trvo years later, Norbu, after many fearsome adventures, rejoined his wife and the three of them fled southwards into India, where they settleddown in Darjeelingan.j learnt to earn a living by carpet-making.When the child rvasfive, Pema said: 'Soon you must take hirn to rhe monasrery in Kalimpong. Tell them he is vowed to the Three PreciousOnes,ask formally for him to be admitted and enquire at what age he should be o given into their care.' 'Fool!'sho,rted 'Vtrar had Tara Norbu in a voice of fury. to do with us ? Those Khambas were already half way down from the pass before you as much as mentioned.vowing.our son to the monastery!' 'Yet they stopped at our wreck of a house instead of riding on to the monasteryor the village store. It was Tara who guideC them. There must be no thought of going back on our promise now that we are warrn, comfortable, well fed and safefrom the Chinese.Even you could not be so impious and ungrateful.' As Norbu was obdurate and Pema could not arrangefor the child to be admitted rvithout the father's consent, her best resourcelay with Tara. The next time her husband left her alonewith the boy, sheran to light incense and cried fervently: 'Dolma, dearest One, I have not forgotten. This child will becomea monk, I promise; but pleasedo somethingto make it easy for us. You alone can smooth the rvay.' That night, having made stormy love though still too angry to speakto her, Norbu fell asleep. Presenrly bright light fell a upon his eyesand, starringup in alarm,he beheldTara seated negliger:,tly the table,srvinging legslike a child with more on her energy than she knew rvhat to do with. Horvever,even as he leaptup to prostratehimself,her body beganto glo'uv with light. The rvindorvbehind her was dissolvedin theserays and, in its place, he sarvthe peak of a lofty hill coveredwith lush green grass'"vherein glittered innumerablepoints of lighr as rhough

_58 Bodhisatna

of Contpassion

it rve reb e s t r ewn r v it h g e ms . B e y ' o n da n d s rre rc h i n g to the hori z o n w a s an ex pans eof d e e p b l u e w a te r c a p p e d b 1 ' magni fi cent r vh i te w a v es whic h, br e a k i n g o n th e s h o re b e l o w , e m i tted rai nbo w-co l our ed c louds o f s p ra y . T h e s e c l o u d s , ri si ng to the hill to p , fi lled t he air q' i th mi l l i o n s u p o n mi l l i o n s o f gl i tteri ng parti cl e s lik e m ult i*c o l o u re d j e q ' e l s . r\te a n rv h i l e, the tabl e had b e co m e a m oon dis c re s ti n g o n a h u g e a n d m a nl ' -petal l ed lotu s, wh: r eon T ar a s a t, s ti l l n c g l i g c n tl v a n d u ' i ti r the ai r of a yo u n g gir l hav ing f il n , b u t n o w c l a d i n s h i n i n g si l ks and go l d e n o rnam c nt s lik e rh c d a u g i rte r o f th c E m p e ror of rhe S ky, sh c r v as s nr iling a r h i m u ' i th a m i x tu re o f a rchness and (.tl-lRtempt. 'we l l , i{ or bu ?' s hc en q u i rc d rv i th a s m i l e s o d a z z l i ng rhat hi s he a rt a l mo s t bur s t r v ir h j o y , ' D o y o u re g re r m v s a v i ng I' ou from dcath ? fjo you regret having tl're love 11'pema safely ar )-our side ? Do 1'ou regret having rnone5,fbr tea and as manv of pema,s m e a t d u m plings as y ou c a re to L -a? D o y o u rc g re t promi si ng [ y our so n t o t he s er v ic c o f th e T h r,:e P re c i o u s O n es ?' 'l * 1 o , n o: no l' er ied l { o rb u i n a n c c s ta s y o f d e voti on. ,A l l s hal l b e as r he E x c ellen t D o l ma c o mma n d s ., 'command.r, lrlorbu? Did I command you? If so, it is r-ery stranger for commanding is not my way. Somehow I thought it was' you and Pema who pra yed for these things. I thought you uished me ro prorect you and cause you ro prosper. \*as it not so, Norbu ? can you provide your son with a better furure than wiil be his as a pious and learned lama rvith perhaps hun d re d s of dis c iples ? J u s t s a y , i f y o u rh i n k y o u can.' 'No, no, no ! Indeed I cannot ! I shall take him to Kalimpong t omo rro w - Dor t oday at s u n ri s e .' 'That is well, Norbu. A prornise is a promise. you u,ill be happy to rvatch your son grow up ro be a help to others and a faithful guardian of our sacred Chos. Later he must live rr.ith his te a ch e r s , bur no one w i l l h i n d e r y o u r g o i n g ro see hi m as often as you wish. Now get offyour knees, Norbu, and sit facing m e. ' Ll a sti l y he as s um ed t h e p o s (u re o f m e d i ta ri o n , b u t q' i th hi s heacl reverently ineline d,, i,azzled by her radiance. Then did a blinding ray shoot forth from Tara's hcart and, entering t ir ro u g h his c r ou' n, f ill e v e ry p a rr o f h i s b o d v u ' i th l i ght rvhi rei t han sn o '* ror c am phor d u s t. C o o l w a s rh a t ra \-.v c r l i ke a n' hi te-

t
{

o th cr h and, m ant r as a re h e l d to b e fu l i i ' e ffi c a *-:rruS i v g,hen oD o n e h as m as t er ed t he i r u s e b v fre q u e n i re c i ta i -,::l accompani ed b 1 ' t h e a p p r o p r i a t e v i s u a l i s a t i o n .s i n c c . i n t h * : : s e o f a z u d c l e n rme rg . . - nc y t her e m a ]' n o t tre ti m e to E l i rrn c i a t; . - j ten svl l abi es. , 5 o rn cadc pr s ar e t aug h r to u s e o M T A R E T A -\: s \IA H A I uoo.,

irerrnanrra--oMTARE TUTARE TURE -s'r-AHA! rhe on

K tta n Yi tt' : In d i a r: a rttl ' f i r,.-j ,r Gcl ri ..;., 59 h o t rr: olt ens t r eam it b u rn t a \\' a ' th c e ti ' e c tsc -ri :: karmi c c-rbscuh ra ti o ns , bc s t or v ing e c s ta ti c b l i s s . T h e n rh e r-i s r ..::faded, l ea' i ng h i m s c a t e d c r o s s - l e g g e d n t h e d a r k n e s s c : l o s ci t r r h e s l e e p i n g i Pcma , r o w' hom he i o n g e d to s p e a k o i ti rc g i c.- that had desce n d ed f r om P or a i a ' s p e a k . Th c m or ning \ 4' a sn o t fa r a d v a n c e d r' h c i -l .--: and hi s son, f? e n rLr a,eac hed K a l i m p o n g b i ' th e t:l ri l - b u s . H urn,i ng r tc-rhr n r.,l l a s t er ] ' ,he ir nplo rc d th e m0 n k s trr s i c c p I t-. ..-,: thcrn .-.,f there a r:d th en. 'L l oes t ht - c ir ild h a v e n o mrrth e r? ' a s k e d tr. : novi ce-rnaster e e e n tl y . A f r c r enquir i n g i n s e -rm d e ta i . i ' ro ri i : ..,.-holafi ai r, he ra g re e d t o t ak e r he c h i l d b u t n o r th e fa th e r. ,S : ::--e thi s i s 1,61r. o i i a ' s on and he r v ill b e c o mi n q to u s t\\.o y e a r. ::om no\\..-you had best go back and mak. .-ih., sons. for ,-..-. u,ife,s sake if n o t yo ur o\ \ ' n. A s fo r th i s b o r' , s i n c e h e c o m c i i o us as a gi ft from Tara, his name in religi,--rn will be one ri-;::ch carries thar me a n ing. I s hall gi v e s o me th o u g h t to i t. T e -l -our * .i fe, by tfre way, that if she ferventlr. r'hiip.t= Tara's :arne rvhen vou arc making children rogethlr, you are sure r,-. have a lovlly, i ri g h -s pir it ed d. aug h te r. B e s u re ro c a l l th e ;hi l d r.ara-or Do l ma , if I ' ou pr ef e r.' Much of this beauriful sron', if provided ,uvit: a chinese serting, could be related of Kuan Yin. There a--r hundre,cs of stories about her so close in spirit to this one as :,--, leave no roorn fbr doubt that they are essentially one and the sa:re being. Suctr similarities are all the more striking in that f,=-.i. s1fugrlgrr., of the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon are suff--ienrly aiite to suggest different forms of the same being, erc-.!r in the sense that all of them are emanations whose ultima:: sorirce is the Gre a t V oiC - illim it a b l e Mi n d . o f the m et hods o f i n v o k i n g T a ra , s o me a re :i mpl e. Indeed, sh c i s s aic it o r es pon d u p o n th e i n s ta n r s h o u l c :te do no more than cry aloud her namc just once q'ith h=,,.:i-felt fervour, th o u g h it is gener al l y c o n s i d e re d m o rc e fte c r:-..-ro cai l al oud

6o

Bodltisrztfr.;r t;r [_-,i;;_; -,-_-,. :i:;- or seed_mantra that con_

s - L r c h c c a - i : . - : ) . : - - 1 - \ , .: : - : - : : : : ; o t;i::l T.:: . :: i _.::;=.

\x'hen rhr pi-:rposc a rnore exarted is one, that of making progress ro*'arcis Eniightenmenr and attaining Tara_like po\*'erto succoursentientbeings, a rite of visualisalion ,.gu_ i, larl' pcrformecj to enabre the meditaror to draw upon and becomeabsorbedb1'ccrnpassion', tib"iaii'g po*.r. The fornrs used for this rite vary fronr simple ,o .rruoirte, but essentiaill, thev are alike. iaking r.f.,je;";;i;ipte Gem (Budciha, ,a,ft1 Dharma and the SacredLorrrr'urrity), renewing one,svorv ro succourall sentientbeings,offering ,"trtution to -fara, confess_ ing and abjuring str.ortcJmings.i"ig, ,"J p-r*uio.rs rives,erc., one summons ro mind a sacred syilabrethat seemsto hang in the air on a revelwith the mediraror,s eyes.In a flashit is transforrned into a rotus surmounted by trr. air., of sun and moon, appears a second glorving rvii;;i. *,hich instantry :l::*"," gives place ro Tara's.image. Ey the;;;;i manrras,mudras and skilledvisuarisation, i"r. i, ,,r*-o;;J;" manifestherserf within this image. which suddenry u.gi.r, io shine with super_ natural radiance.Hundreds of ,.p.titi-or* oi tt. mantra foilow and presentiy Tara conrracrsiTo_a ,l"v J.i"g no rarger than a thurnb, but glowing like emerald fire. Entering the meditator,s person by way of the secrergate\1,ay at the crown, she descends into his hearr, causinghis Jrvn body to contract in turn until each tiny figure is cotirminous w'ith-the other and they are no ionger two, bur one. The meditator 'rara) may now say) 6;,-;;"e continuesro conrractunrit nothinl *-.ir,, but a shining syllablethat had_ first appearedsendingforth rays from Tara,s heart; this s1'llablenoiti r,vithdrarvs iito itself until nothing whateveris lefr.bur rhe pure, undifferentiated krrightness the of iilimirabie Voi,J Somedevotees, rheir way of rife is sufficientry if stainress, are boid enoughto rerain Tara *,irhi., ttr.-r.lu.s as they go about the business the <1a5' of (the harmlessburin.r, oI' monks or recluses free from mosr occasions errori of wi,n rhe passing of years, rhel' becorrteso cloself identified'wirh her rhat they notict-'ably rakeon someof her .h"rr.t.;i;;;, ; perhapseventhe facial contours rr:;-d.ergo change so a that, as is the casewith Tibet"rrs, it .y ..rse ro be either Taly sain:lyuld.lairras-iirnong disti-*ctivelymare or femal.] Lur, in tir. uii., of aimosr ur-

Kuar., '.:'in'sIndian and Tibetan Gene:;is 6t wisdom and commeditation,such a person develop:; ceasing passionso profqund that Enlightenrnentis won within a single life-span; thereafterhe entersupon the Bodhisattva'stask of succouring sentient beings, aeon upon aeon, throughout the myriad world-systems of samsara. As an exampleof the tales told of Tara, the story of Norbu and Pemahasone failing; it doesnot do iusticeto Tara's speciai characteristic impish humour. So, feelingsureKuan Yin will of excuseme for keeping her off-stagea little longer (all the more so as Tara is herself Kuan Yin in another forrr,), I shall relate another story which brings this humour out. I had it from a Tibetan in Kalimpong and will try to tell it as he did. 'Near our village in Tibet there stood an isolated cottage where lived an old fellow called Jigme. He was in his nineties at the time, but hale enough for a thirty-year-oid. As d boy I wouid seehim going up the path behind our monastery in all kinds of weather, taking provisions to the cave of our local hermit. His end, when it came,was sudden- two days of ailing and he was gone with a smile. Since long before I came into the worlcl, he naObeen renowned as an eccentric,forever singing songs to Tara, making offerings to Tara, meditatin$ on Tara-always, alwaysTara. We boys used to make fun of him among ourselves,for he reminded us of an elderly husband making a terrible fuss of a teenagewife for fear she might run offwith someoneelse.Our eldersthought the world of him and the monks gavehim a splendid send-off, banging away at their drums and chanting for a good three days before taking his old body up the mountain as his final offering to the birds and beasts,who probably didn't mind its being a bit tough. When we had got used to his being gone, lve put him out of mind most of the time, but we shall never forget the storiestold about him on tle night before they took away his body .vhen yo.rttg, Jigrne .had been noted for three things petty strength, good looks alC a blazingly hot temper. As a t;adei who had dealingswith the monastery) he once got into a scrapwith the layman who worked as cook there. They'd been cirinking in the monastery kitchen-only changprobably, but that can be strong enough. lTithout quite knowing how, JigTe managedto kill the *ttt and ran off leaving his body sprawled u.totS the kitchen flagstones.The authorities took as lenient

7-v

6z Bodhisanzta of Compassion a view as rhey could and Jigme rvassenrenced to be rockerc up in the monastery'dungeorlor a time. From the moment the door clangedbehind him, he startedyelring like a madman and battering the wood with his fists ,o itr., hTssn".tr., ,rg iit. cymbalsclashing.Just after nightfall rvhen ir \!,astoo earrr.for Jigmeto think of sleep, suddin sirence a f.l';;J;;;.",r;r;. of rhemonks wenr crownro see the ,if *..,.i,.i;;^;ilir;"1.0 himself' IrJo one who knew Jigr" could imaginehim just gir-ing up' on his way to rhe cei,1h.. monk ririp.o shorr, har-ing caughr the sound of voices.F'irst .*-,.uoic. lillr.', ficreely"T*r, yes. rny life, I promis..,,'i:f,.];rr*";;;i:. sa'ing Ail Lrrought ord,monk in the passage the to his knees,foreheadro rhe ground. In ronesgenrry mockiig ;;il;; of inconceir.abre sweetnessj someone repried:"Then see iir yigmedear.othcr_ to *.i3eyo! might be herd to it in waysyou wourd find uncomfort_ able-" who courddoubt that those#..triilo.tirrg rones\\_crc Holy Tara's ? Not daring to intrude, rhe ota mont trembringry pradded in searchofltre Abbot. off 'The next morning, Jigme was not to be -l-he found in his cerr. door and window seemedmuch ,, u*"r, but the fetters Iying on his bed had beenwrenchea ur""o.. rir.ebits of dough_ eake-They found him rater sitting dazed and peacefurin his own corrage. werr, there was no quistion of dragging him back and makinghim servehis sentenclafter that. who wourd dare? Yet there wasplenty of excitement.The ,riilrg"., kept peeping through his window in the hope ,trrt i.?, would appear again. she did nor, but she had .q..,.d such fame thar li;;; they rnade him chief contracror to the *Jrrrrt.ry and, doing very well indeed, he graduaily began to ror. his new air of peacefulness. 'Now and then business took him to a nearby township- oh, nor more than three g.yr' ride from our vilrage,if you'had-a goodhorselike ]igme's.once, whirepu,ilng the inn there, he got into a fight yi,l a ccupr.eof -.n d;"p'at Derg6. Felling one with his great fist, he was-abou,,o .rrrrif tr,. other u.herr a raggedlydressed girl camerunning in fromit o'. quite kneu, where, crying "Jigme dear, for shame ! That's the rvay to mildew good barley!" Then she was gone, but trembri.g Iike someonetroubled by a ghost,?.opp.a Jigme, r,is hands and ret the secondman from Dergeliu. hi*igrriv rrouncing rhat "^

Kuan Yin's Irtdiatt tutrl Tibt:.rl Genc,.::. 6j left him unconscious on the floor. That \\:as nor the eni of it, cither. A consignlnenr of barlel'he had bought tor nraki ng .lro,rg f9r a monastery festival due in a fes' davs turned out to b. ,o damaged bv a mysterious dampness that ii"r. Abb,ot orcierec him to take it arvay and give him back his monev j 'A l' . ar or s o l a tc r, J i g me r' a s d e fra u c i e d i .r ' o-. * -ar- gy g cl o r h m er c hant . F i n d i n g e v e r]' o n e a g re e d t hat he w as i :r the ri g ht , he dec ided ro p re s s c h a rg e s th a r * ' e re l i kel ' to ct-si the fe l l or ' m or e r han h e p o s s e s s e d .s o m e p e o p l e ti i .rught h:-- too ru rhlc s s t or v ar ds a p o o r w re tc i r rv i th u f.* i i '' i o suppo:r. so Il * l ' r r ild r o ger h i m to u ' i rh c l ra u ,o r m o c i e ra r i tne charge.. i l o, JigmeI ofT hc rode *'irh his man-servani ro the distriit :ragi_ stra t e' s s r at , a pla c c ' o n th c b o rd c r o f K h rm r ,r-he the au:hoi i re ti cs ar e c hines c . In th e o u ts k i rts o f th e to w n , rndi ng ,.. ,i ry b l o c k eelb1' a c lum s v c a rte r, h e ra i s e d h i s * ,i ri p. B efore-thc ol o* . e o rr ld f all, a \ : oun g g i rl d a rte d fro m th c c ro ri .d. cryi ng: ..1-ake ca rr v our hor s e d o c s n ' I ti re o f c a rry i n g s u c h an oaf !" E ,; rhen th e *' ay u' as c lea r a n d J i g me p rc s s e d c r.,rt a s f ast a tror-., it . * 'i d t h of t he s r r e e r a l l o w e d . Al l o f a s u c l d e n , a l ength ol cl oth h a n ging up in a dy e r' s y a rd b i l l o r.v e d u r i n th e * -i ' d- The horse o sh i e d and J igm e fe l l o n h i s h e a d h e a r-i l y e n e-rus:h ,o.rr.t-hl , sku ll. B y t he t im e h e h a d re c o ' e re d fro m th e a cci denr, rhe cl oth merchant had fled with his family to anothcr n:ighboui;rood. Nothing more was heard of the lar,l,suit. 'After that, all went well for several \rears unril Jigm-- took it into his head ro ride off with his man on a pilg.imag. ro Krrmbum Monastery. At a wayside inn, he fell to*quarieliing *,ith some ruffians and drew his s*'ord. They ran off. trnly to .i-a-n-lay him further along the road *'ith a doien or so mounrec i.rp_ porters. In the fight that follorved, three of them \\.ere u.ounceci before Jigme and his servant were secured. rlal.be the,.. hacl me a nt onll' t o r ob J i g me a n d g i v e h i m a g o o d be ati ng, bu: rhei r blo.d \r'asup and it was decided to make 3rr c-nd of him. \\-hile p re par at ions wer e g o i n g fb ru ' a rd to " h a v e a i i tti : Iun' , rr::h the t\r'o captives, an elegant young rnsrr rvith pir-\ ch.:ek= and maiden-soft skin came galloping up, leadirg i.,..o spare ;:orses o n a r ein. " J igm e, m y d e a r: y o r a re d u l l e . tha" a yak.' ' cri ed a r v c l l - k n o \ v nv o i c e . " B e s u r e t h i s i s t h e v e n ' i a s t t i m e . , ' w i t h th e s e *' or ds . ' t he yo u th d re w a d e e p b re a th r., .. cl o* ,i ns i t out cffr:r t lc s c lr ' ,c aus e d th e d u s t to .i r. i n c l o u c:. \' cl l or,. ri qht

54

Boihtst:.ttva ql t ,;,mpess.ion

andmorerime.aihome"ana-roo., u.r,i.r;, he .spent more turnedinto the piousrecruse knorvnto rne il -v_uoillo} l. rrppor;'; one ever learnr the whore of rhe iniir', b;1,obody ot"t'" that Tara involvedar everysragewas I shourd like tf r.rroJ*rry shefavoured that ill-te*p,,r*d r.iffi yrre than any of the piousfork ln our vitage' 4t v""-"g sorne-ti*. in rri, .rrirfi# or soonafter, he rrtustha'e lvon her heari it'**e great,cieed compassion of neve. been*."ri... r *irt,l il;," how to do the H:i,has

Jigme',,tho hacireft for_rhar as the Jigme who reru.".J.-From pirgrimagewasnor rhe same Kumbuir he brought back a precious srarueof Tara ;;. many prerrv things for "r,rl"v'"ri,..o *i,r, gold, and furnishing.a ;h;i";-;;o* in her honour. Gradualrv ierinqursnic

:J?'ii::-t? f;j[:"tir 'The

longarrer captives ridden the had orr

rrl,'ir.iine

Ci'tapter 4

Miao Shanand Other Legends


Wereyou with murderous intent Thrnst within a fiery furnace Lotus Sfitra

Having breathed for a momenr the rarified atmosphere of mysticism represented by the Heart Sfitra and descended thenceto the lower spursof Kuan Yin's holy mountain whereon Avalokita and Tara shed their radiance on men and women pf ordinary perception, we have still to explore another of the lower peakswhere Kuan Yin sits enthroned as a folk goddess worshipped by millions upon millions. These, ignorant of Buddhist metaphysics,love her in the uncomplicated manner of the fisher-folk, recognisingin her the protective power and rewarding nature of compassion.Images of her in rhis aspecr are ubiquitous in China (unlessswept away by the surge of the Red tide) and neighbouringcountries.Smilingly, she gazes on the rvorld frorn behind the altars of Taoist temples and hermitages,to say nothing of tens of thousandsof wayside shrines and grottoes,or of the innumerable dwellings in which some quiet corner is set asidefor this most beloved of all divinities. In these days, one fir,ds in Korea and Japan gigantic starues of her so piacedas to be visible from afar that peoplemay call to mind, amidst the pitiless struggle for rnaterial gain, the beauty of compassion;but I wonder if Kuan Yin welcomesa kind of publicity so reminiscentof cinema billboardsand sexy advertisements toothpasreor bikinis ? Her presenceis felt for ntore strongly in those little images of clay one comes upon
j .,

66

Bodhisattva of ComPassion hard by a miniature ensconcedin some dim and cool recess waterfall in a garden rockery' R o c k s , w i l l o r v s , l o t u s p o o l s o r r t i n n i n g w a t e r a r ethe e n i n d i c a o f t sough or In tionsof her presence. the chime of bronze iade, her voice of streams, of u.ind in the pines,the prattle and ti.nkle or 19:": leaves the peroi derv-spangled is heard.The fresht.., fragrance'Not her fume of a single siick of fine i.^l.*r'tt.recalls lyar God, the magrpl."Jour of the retl-faced gaud:y for her the Emperor or the selfish nificent p"nnpiy il,,o"'Aing the Jade who once fed upon the luxurv of the W"rt*rn Rbyai Motirer Godyouths.Even chang O, chaste of vital essenee a rhorrsand be in her cold virginity _t_o dessof ttre Mol;;;, ioo r"rtidious gods' Kuan thousand to congeniar f<Lu" yi,,. Alone among ten If refin1din her sinaplicity. she yin is warm in her compassron, only because it is is sometimesa".r.*a in golden ornaments, u lp..i.l symbol for denoting celestial the1.are empl;y;J;, Bodhisattvahood. Ava.lobesides in As a folk-d.;;;Kuan Yin embodies herself, Milo- 91t""' The follorving kita and frr",-i'f,flegendary being' legend,thoughitmakesnomentionofMiaoShanbyname' \\'ere concerningthat princess. may be the proio,ype of the.tales to quite that it relates one so un-chinese in spirit as to cavil the answerwould be a tolerantsmile accoma different person, paniedUyro*.s"chwordsas:'K'uanYinmanifestsherself fornrs to succoursentientbeings.why should.not in countless t h e l a d y i n t h i s s t o r y b e o n e o f t h e m ' M i a o S h a n a n o t h took' er? .It is not ,:ecordedin which reign the following events the goicrnor of.a certain provinte' place. Ma.ny ;;,".i;2go, h a v i n g n o s o n s , f e l t a s p e c i a l l y " d e e p a t t a c h m e n t tofficial s h i oward proud and irascible only daughter.Ne'ot'thtie", Uiing a virtues, he kept her and a ,.*rr.h' rrpt otaer of ifre Confucian had opportunities to under nr- ,.rtirint, so that she rareiy the gubernatorial glimpse the great worldbey.ond the wails of window peach-shaped mansion.Ori.",rte would iit besidethe ofherchambergazingatanearbyhillwherestoodastately what sort of rites and austeritieswere monasrerv,**[.ri"i to be some sort practiseduv ttt" r"i"tt-y inmates. There seemed ofmysteryrbo.,,theplacerfornosoonerdidshementionit subwould be sure to switch abruptly to another than someone normally in mid-air' Though iect, leavingh., words hanging
i

M i a o S h a rt a n d Ori i :r l ..egertdi 67 , su ch r udenes s t o t h e d a u g h te r o f a g o v c rn o r \r' t rul d be unthi nka b l e , s he had t o put u p w i th i t ti me a n d ti me a g a i n. H cr cr,rri osi t-v mo u nt ed unt il it c o u l d b e b o rn e n o l o n g e r. Certai n that l i cr fa th er c ould nev er b e p c rs u a d e d to a l l o u ' h e r tc r' ,' i si tthe moi -i aste ryr s hc dc c ided t o g o th e re o n h e r o \\' n , rhrr' :S h thc mcrc th o u g ht of t he im pr o p ri e ty o f h e r r' ,' a l k i n gu rra.:rendeci bc1' onrl th e u ' alls of t he r v o me n ' s c o u rtv a rd s i v a s c n o u:h tc-l makc hcr b l u s h . T h o u g h m o d e s t t o t h e p o i n t c f s h y n r - s : .s i r c p r ) S S t - s s c d much of her father's determinaiion anC strcngih of rvill. E,a r ly 'one f ir or ni n g , w h e n h e r a t:e n d a n ts \\' c.rc L]rcakfasti ng i n a n adjoining c ha m b e r, s h e s l i p p e d o u t l i g h ti v di sgui scd and l e ft th e f am ily c om p o u n d b y a g a tc ra re l y ri : tchcd, i r Lrci rrg a d j a c ent t o t he s er v a n ts ' p ri v T a n d u s e d o n l y fr rr carrvi nq au,av i ts cont ent s t o m anu re th e fi e l d s . H u rry i n g a c ross the pasturcl a n d , s he s et of f up th e h i l l . A s to n e -fl a g g e d p ath brought hcr to a t all gat ehous e rv h e re th e g a te ma n , p e rc e ivi ng that a ri ch young lady had come to offer incense to the gcds and might be prevailed upon to offer gold besides, u'elcomed her co u rteous ly and s tra i g h tw a y l e d h e r to th e g reat shri ne-hal l . Overrvhelmed by the magnifrcence of the statues of the Three Pu re O nes - t he c en tra l tri n i ty o f T a o i s t d e i ti es-and charmed by the sacred song now flooding the richly appointed hall, she congratulated herself in hat'ing come upon a community of sa i n tly m en. Little did she know that saints in that monastery were ferv, that the greater part of the recluses \^/erefonder of swordplav by day and the art of 'bedroom warfare' by night than of serving the gods they worshipped. In her ignorance sire thought it no haim to wander about the public rooms, visirirrg the man]' shrines and garden pavilions which were connected r-rne to another by narrow corridors of lacquered woodrvork rvherein daylight filtered dimly through the papered u'indc\vs. In onr such corridor, she had to pass a group of three or four grey-robed recluses who, seeming to make w&)-, suddenll' surrounded her and pushed her roughly into a dari:ened chamber, her sereams being drtwned by the clash of cerernonial cvntbal:; coming from a hall nearby. By this time, the governor, being apprised of his claughrer's d i sa ppear anc e) had s e n t h i s s e rv a n ts s c u rry i n g i n al l di re cti ons; b u t it \ . \ r as not unt i l s h o rtl t' b e fo re d u s k th a t l nforrnati on \\' as

68

Bodhisarn.a of Cortpassion

receivedto the effect that a richly garbed young rvoman hacl beenseenearll-in the morning walking up the hiil towardsthe monastery. The mounted servantswhom he now despatched to escorther home presently returned u'ithour her, sayingthat rhe young ladl' had certainly been at the monasreryearlier in the day bur rvasapparentlythere no longer. Night fill. By norv the governor rvasin a fury. Not stopping to ponder rhe iikelihood of his daughrer's being held at ihe ho.r"stery againsther rvill, tre had made up his mincl that a girl so abandonedas to venture unattended into a place ',vhich had long been known for hermits of ertl repute was capableof any vilenlss. No doubt she was at that 'ery moment lying in the arms of some lusry paramour. There could, he thought tempestuously,be only one way of expungin.gsuch dire disgrace.posting a hundred arlhers round the monastery with orders to slay whatever living creatures venrured fonh he sent his soldiers in with lighted torches to burn that den of evil to the ground. Since .ro or,. could escape,rhe guilty child and her pata-our must surely suffer the fate rhey so richly deserved.Ai the buildings, excepr for their foundadons and tiled roofs, were constructed of lacquered wood, rhey were an easyprey to the hungry flames.Not a man - or a lvornan - escapedthe fire within and rain of arrows without ! Hiding the hurt to his pride and wharever regrer he felt for the fate of his once beloved daughter, the governor, as w'ashis wont, spent the hour after dawn strolling in his private garden to enjoy the earil'-morning freshness the flou,ers.Suddenly of the likenesscf rhe dead child materialisedbefore his e1'es and the apparirion spoketheservords: 'Farher, though you had no pity on an innocent girl who barely escapedbeing violated againsther *'iil. I cannot help being sad for )'ou, childless as you must no\\'remain.Therefore I havecometo biing you some comfort. Knon' rhen that Heaven,which often seems pitiless as as you, was moved by my undeservedsuffering.As the femes advanced,I rr'asenvelopedin a rainbow and rvafted above the clouds to the abodesof gods and immortals. Therc, by rvay of compensation for rny cruel fate, I was promoted to the rank of goddess.h rvill be my rask to comfon the aflicted and rescr:e thosein peril - a task I am peculiarly qualified to perform having so recently plurnbed rhe depths of iear and suffering. Hence-

Miao Shan and Other Legends 69 forth I shallbe known asKuan Shih Yin, Hearer-of-the-Criesof-the-Vorld.' Among the many versionsof the Miao Shan legend (which may havebeen inspired by the tale of the governor's daughter) the following is tyPical: In the eleventhyear of the Chin T'ien epoch (around 2590 ne), there was a king who, on account of demerits stemming from a former life, wasdeniedthe blessingof a son. Accordingly he sought husbandsof rare accomplishmentand fine presence for his ihtee daughters,hoping to breed outstanding grandsons, the best of whom would be well suited to inherit his kingdom. His youngest daughter, however, reiected all talk of marriage and, on reaehingpuberty, begged permission to reside at the rJ7hiteSparrow Convent, there to engagein a life of pious.cqn'Agreed !' laughed the king, thinking that' this templation. gettily nurtured girl would soon long for deliverance from harsh monastic austerities and could then be given the choice of remaining where shewas or marrying somewell-chosenprince' Alas, the austerelife suited her all too well and the king' his marked patienceat an end, embarkedupon a seriesof measures ty increasingseveriry to bend her to his will. Rage mountiilg day by day, he finally had her dragged from the convnt and imprisoned in a tower, there to be nourished on unspeakably revolting food. In vain ! Drinking to drown his chagrin served it, only to increase until one day he shoutedto his henchmen: 'A monstrouschild so lost to filial propriery asto deny her father wish pollutesall under Heaven.The earth must be his dearest to of cleansed this foul exampleof disobedience loving parents, See to lest the fashion spreadand corrupt future generations. it this night !' led the little princessto a lonely Sorrorifully his attendants '* spot where the headsmanawaited her, rveepingbut not -b. deflectedfrom his duty. The child was made to kneel and the that had graspingwith both handsthe terrible s'ruord headsman, the blood of many a brutal criminal, was preparing to drunk strike when a blinding tempest arose.In a momcnt the stars were blotted out, thunder roared and a dazz\tng ray from Heaven shonedown upon the kneelingvictim. Ere the headsa man could regain his couraEet gigantic tiger borrndedfrom the darkness carriedthe swooninggirl into the nearbyhills. and

70

Bodhisattaa of Cornpassion

In all the world no tiger of that size existed; the trembling party of executioners Swore to the king that this supernaturally proportioned beast was no other than the tutelary god of that region, who had been known on more than one occasion to assume that dread feline form. From a c av er n in th e h i l l s , w h i th e r th e d e i ty had borne her, Shan now dcscended into hell and there, b]' thc Irrinccss N4.iao rl :c p o *' c r of hc r ur s u l l i e d p u ri ty , c o mp e l l c d i ts rul er to rel ease cvei 'v onc of t he s hiv c ri n g w re tc h e s d e l i v e re d to hi m i or puni sht'n frtt in r equit ai of ti re i r e v i l d e e d s . Y e n L o V a n g, as that dci tl ' i s ca l lc d, was awar e o f h i s d u ty to p l a c e th e i n exorabl e cl ai ms of justicc befeirc ?D| niltural inclination to inercy and, as man)' trave diseovered, was not !o be deflected from that duty unless b y a br ibe of quit c e x tra o rd i n a ry p ro p o rti o n s ; but rvho coul d forbrcarthc srveetpleading of a princess q'ho valued puriry more rh a n lif c it s elf ? Returning to the dwelling of the tutelary deiry' Miao Shan received the signal honour of a visit from Amitabha Buddha in person ! Assuming the splendidly shining form knorvn as the Buddha-Body of Reward, he abjured her to seek safety on sea'Around girt Potala, known to mariners as the Island of P'u-t'o. that isle, dear child, lies a dragon-haunted ocean into which none but the pure in heart, least of all your father, dare set sail. Therc you will be able to devote both day' and night to blissful meditation and thus at last attain your pious wish to become a Bodhisattva empowered to succour errant beings. Take now this miraculous peach from the garden of Heaven. Besides preserving you from hunger and thirst for one fuli year, it will ultimately ensure your eternal felicity.' So saying, the Buddha withdrew. An island deiry, summoned from Potala, carried the prirrcess to her new abode, travelling more srviftll' than the wind. For nine full years Miao Shan, when not engaged in meditation' perfsrmed deeds of compassion rvhich, crowning the merits acquired in previous lives, completed all that remained to enable her to attai,r the status of Bodhisattvahood. It was at this time that the charming youth Shan Ts'ai (Virtuous Talent) became her acolyte. Thereafter, by virtue of her Bodhisattva's all-seeing eye, she beheld one day a calamity that suddenly br'fell the third son of the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea.

rtfiao Shan and Orher Legends 7r wandering the ocean joyously in the form of a fish' he had been caught by a fisherrnan and was being carried ro the ma;ket in a pail heavy with rhe living victims of that day's catch. Instantly Shan Ts'ai was despatched ro purchase those unhappy creatures and return them to the sea. His Maiesry the Dragorr King, apprised by his son of his deliverancei sent Miao Shan a l u strous jewelk now n a s th e N i g h t Bri l l i a n c e p earl , by the l i ght of which the Bodhisattva rvould be able to read Sacrr1books to her heart's conreirr, no matter how dark the night. The gift l1'as carried by his own grand-daughter, Lung Nu (Dragon Maiden), rvho was ro enr.rancedby the virtue and loveliness of h e r u n c ie' s deliv c r e r th a t s h e v o w e d th e rc a n d then to dedi catc h cr l i f e t o t he ac hie v e m c n t o f Bo d h i s a ttv a h o o d. To thi s end, sh e e n t er ed K uar r Y i n ' s s c rv i c e a n d h a s e \/e r si nce been seen i n h e r c om pan\ ' . so m e y ear s lar er , th e P ri n c e s s M i a o s h a n . cl i vesti ng hersel f of her Bodhisattva's glor-v, returned to her o\\.n country for a space and there converted borh her father anci her mother. enro l l i n g t hem as dis c i p l e s o f th e B u d d h a . Thus the storv ends. Another version of thc legend speaks of the princess not as lvliao Shan but Miao Chn, the daughter of a ruler during the ch o u d y nas t y ( r r z z to 2 5 s e c ). T h e e a rl i e r e v e n rs are much the sarnerbut in this case thc headsman is foiled b}' the miraculous shatterirrg cf his srvord. The irascible king is doubly punished, being strangled by a demon and then carried down to hell, whither his daughrer follows him and is overcome by the grisly Reture of his torrnenrs. F:inding Yen Lo \l{ang adamant about the neqessity of the sentencd being carried out in full, she prays to Amitdbha from the depths of her pure heart. Instantly hell's loathsome caverns are transformecl by a shower c.,f i;elestial lorus llowers into a beauteous realm where the spirris of those sentenced to punishment may live in joyous ease.\\-hereupon yen Lo wang, sadly put out by such interference r'ith rhe course of iustice, implores the prineess to return forrhg'ith to the upper worlcl, first releasing her father as evidence of his good will. A e e l e s t ialv enic le s h a p e d l i k e a l o tu s a w a i rs h e r at hel i ' s gares and carries her more swiftiy than the wind to Potala Island. Th e re s he r eigns as th e B o d h i s a ttv a Ku a n Yi n . devoti ng hersel f tei the rescue of suffering sentient beings.

Tz

Bcrlhisetna af Compassion

In scme o:her legendsKuan Yin, losing most tracesof her Buddhist origin, is identified with anorher and very different deiry, Niang Niang, the Heavenly Mother of rhe Taoist pantheon. Unable to recollecrany of the earlierstoriesof this kind, I offer a rc-latively modern one, perhaps not more than trvo hundred years old, since there is internal evidencerelating it ro rhe ch'ing dynasty. It may be thought an unsatisfactory example, but. to my mind, there is no doubt that this story belongsto the Miao Shan cycle. In many versionsof the Miao Shan legend, the episodeof her escapefrom the execurioner's sword is replaced by an account of how her father orders the destruction by fire of rhe tower wherein she is confined, but the victim escapcs flames by soaring above rhem in the form the of a graceful rvhite bird. The late origin of the story that follorvs makes it all the more interesting, for it indicates that in the popular minci, Kuan Yir. continues to undergo incarnations repletewith Miao Shan-like episodes. relate it at some length I as the details are still fresh in my mind and it possesses much of the charm characreristic of the whole Miao shan cycle. At one time there resided in rhe city of Ch'ang-sha-fu a promising young scholar by the narne of Kuo Hsiang-Hsi, a youth rvell-versed the Four Books, Five Classics in and the art of composing an eight-legged essay.However, his stock of demerits accumulatedin former lives was forrnidable enough to hinder him on two occasionsfrom obtaining his hsiu-ts'ai degree, leavinghim unqualified for an official appointmentthar would have brought honour to his family and supported him
cornfortablv for the wLr.ole of l.is ..*lorkine, tifeCo'.rered *-irL,

shame,he bore his father's stricturesas best he could and rnade up his mind thar, in one wdy or another, he would carry our his filial obligations to the full. One day a letter arriverl summoning him to appear before his uncle, elder brother ro his father anc a high oftrcial in the provincial administration. '\{tell, neDhe$'r'exclaimed C o m m i s s i o n e rK u o w h e n t h e 'you har.e young man hurried round to rnake his obeisance, certainiy been prompr. Let us go to my library anci talk for a while.' The uncle led him to a wide pearwood couch furnished with a tray of exceprionallyelegantopium utensils.Gesturing to his nephew to make himself comfortable, he lay back against the

Miao Shan and Other Legends 73 ball of opium over a cushionsand set to rvork cooking a small When the pipe was ready, niigi.. famp with a silver needle. embarrassment' he"hancled it to the youth who, in soTe 'Xo, U".f., thank Your no' I fear I have no head exclaimea: for opium or wine.' ,Berrer and better,' cried the uncle delightedly:lI perceive youth I had hoped for.' yo;are just the kini of level-headed 'Virtue. in putting the pipe io rri, 'wn lips, he added.jovially: the sageavoids rhe young i, -uch to be desired,but in all things treat I have arranged extremes.I hopeyou rvill ,tot r.i.rte a little and most succufor you tonighi. iarely sixteen,she is the latest Ma, an agent of the House i.rri..qtisit-ion of . ..truin Mother (I meanthe girl's, of p.-.tual Spri"g - ilr..sts like ripe peaches golden-lotus fiet-unbelievably tiny,. moth nor Mortrer l4a;s)l .yebronus,willow- *titt. In short, perfection" ,Thank yor irrd..J, Un.ter' murmured Hsiang-Hsi, blushing 'I -vrell, asyo-uknow, IJncle, I recently from chin ro.y.bro*r. and I - I -' wedded tfre ttrirJ daughter of itre Wang family 'Spare your bt.rst.s,-*y dear boy. I understand perfectly and exac:ly the right was but ,.rting vo;. N"; I am sure you are miision of great delicacy' It person to undiriake an important asyours' withcut is a task thar demandsjust such innate virtue it,thatlittleminx,yournewestaunt,wouldsurelygetaround you with her wiles-' 'scented clouds of Puffing forth what some poet once called that his fifth collsweetoblivionl, Co-*issioner Kuo explained c u b i n e r w h o a t s i x t e e n w a s o l d e n o u g h t o b e h a v ervash s o m w i t due before she decorum, had vanished less than "tt ho.tt her marital duties' to arrive at his residenceand commence A l m o s t a s b a d , * * . o f h i s b r i d a l p r e s e n t s h a d v a n i s ha d w i t h e saving her, poor her. Inst.*O oi welcoming his generosityin and placing 9very scholar's au"gttt.., fto*- abiect poverty rvithin her r.u.ir, shehad reportedly eloped luxury ano eteEance called Wu who rvith a pennilessyoung man' a scapegrace they had run off resided near her father', ho.tr". It was-said mounrain, and to the siopesof Nan Yeo, an important sa-cred its foot. Naturally they set up house ir, ^ Air"sed shrin. tr."t of their crime could U. .rr.ri;J ;;a punished as the enormity Kuo had a benevolentwish to demanded,uut Commissioner and .ro, provided the girl returned to hirn hush tt. -"ttl,

74

Bodhisatrua of Compassiott

p ro m is ed t o beh a v e w i th th e d e c o ru m e x p e cted of the mi not rvife of an important official. 'S o y ou s ee, n e p h e rv , I h a v e s e n t fo r v o u, tested you and fo u nd y ou ex ac t ly th e ri g h t s o rt o f p e rs o n to u ndertake thi s del i e a t c c om m is s ion. A s a c l o s e re l a ti v e , Y o u c a n b e depended upon to o bs er v e t he di s e re ti o n e s s e n ti a l to o u r fa mi l y' s reputati on. Yo u ar e em power e d to o ffer h c r s e d u c e ra S u m of monev payabi e th e day he leav esfo r s o m e d i s ta n t p ro v i n c e of hi s choi ce. \\rho kn ot r ' 5,I m ight e !' e n s ' ri te to th e a u th o ri ti e s there and procure h i m s om e s or t o f r:m p l o y m e n t. Sh o u l d h e p rove obsti nate, I sh a ll eount upon y o u to d e s p a tc h h i m to the real m of ghosts * 'i th as lit t lc f us s a s p o s s i b l e a n d , a b o v e a i l , rvi thout your new to e u n t ie' s k nor v lc d g e. It rv o u l d b e d i s a g re e a b l e havc her shedding tears or harbouring something of a grudge against her l o v ing hus band. Su c h u n s e e ml y b e h a v i o u r w oul d di sturb the tranquillit y of r v h a t y o u w i l l o b s e rv e to be an unusual l y harmonious household.' W it h t hes e ins tru c ti o n s , i n fo rma ti o n p e rtai ni ng to the route) A purse of money and a pair of fine horses-one of them e q uipped wit h a l e a d i n g re i n , H s i a n g -H s i was despatched to do 'Hi s his unc le' s bi d d i n g , th o u g h n o t rv i th o u t intense rel uctance. s y m pat hies l a y w i th th e h a p l e s s g i rl a n d he w oul d sooner h a v c s ent his un c l e d o w n to th e w o rl d o f g hosts than depri ve th e poor c hild of h e r l o v e r. It re v o l te d h i m to thi nk of a si xteenyear - old gir l bei n g fo rc e d to b e a r c h i l d re n to a man w ho mi ght well be a good deal older than her grandfather. On the other hqnd, he owed to his father's elder brother and head of the entire clan a filial duty scarcely less absolute than if the hateful old man had been his father. Having failed to bring honour to the fa m ily by pas s in g h i s e x a mi n a ti o n , h e mu s t on no account act in a way that might cause an estrangement between his father and far too po\\'erfirl uncle. N{.oreover)according to the Confuc ian pr inc iple s b y rv h i c h h e h i ms e l f s c t g reat store, the gi rl was much at fault. If u'omen \\'ere allowed to choose their orvn h u s bands , c iv ilis a ti o n rv o u l d i n e v i ta b l y p e ri sh ! P ersuaded by these stern and honourable reflections, he hardened his heart a n c ir es olv edt o ca rry o u t e v e ry d e ta i l o f h i s uncl e' s i nstructi ons, sh or t of m ur der . T he jour ney to M o u n t N a n Y e o to o k s everal days; ri di ng o n e hor s e and le a .d i n ga n o th e r i s n o t th e s u ' i ftest mode of pro-

7_s gress along an unevenly flagged road. It was evening g'hen he reached the foot of the great mountain; its temple-dotted slopes a n d cl oud- pier c ing p e a k s w e re l o s t i n mi s t. T h ough the abandoned shrine where he expected to find the errant pair g'as nor far off, it would not do to come upon them locked in each other's e mb rac e; indeed, it w o u l d b e b e s t i f h e w e re ro arri ve at a ti me rvhcn only the girl was likeiy to be at home. Thus reflecting a n d l o ok ing ar ound fo r a s h e l te re d p l a c e ro p a ss the ni ghr, hc ca me u pon a s m all te mp l e d e d i c a te d ro th r' g oddcss N i ang I.{iang. Going in to invcstigare, he found to thc' ieft of the courrya rd a c ell equipped w i th a rv o o d e n s l e e p i rrg -p l atform. si raw stuffed bedding grey from long use and some p,rirnitive cooking utensils. Hcwever, long after night had fallen tirere was no sign o f th e o wnc r s o, hav i n g s e e n to th e h o rs e s te th e re d i n the courtyard and supped off some cold meat dumpiirrss carried in his sa d d l ebag, he t hr e, , v h i m s c l f d o rv n to s l e e p , He awoke abruptly from u'hat musr surely har-e been a dream. Very clearly he remembered getting up ro rrace the source of a b e a m of br illiant l i g h t s tre a m i n g th ro u g h c racks i n the i i l fitting door. His expioration had led him to the shrine-room w h e re , in plac e of t h e s h a b b y , c ru m b l i n g i rn a g e , he had behel ci a gloriously apparelled lady whose head and body emitted rays of shining light. Even the u'ords she had spoken remained vividly in his mind: '\Was t e no t im e on c e re mo n y . O n l v l i s te n a n d obey. K nou, that, times without number century after century, I have appeared among men) sometimes as now u'ith a celestial body composed of light, sometimes as a human bei.:g and more than once as a noble horse. Often I have been man.ifest in a number of guises simultaneously in several of the innumerable rvorldsystems. Known by many names, arnong them Niang Niang and Kuan Yin, I have often sufrered mutilation sooner than a cce p t im pious em b ra c e s ; fo r, a s fa r b a c k a s th e mi ddl e era of a p re v ious wor ld- s ys te m, I v o rv e d m y s e l f to c hasti tv l est my power tt-rrnitigate suffering be impaired. If thar deluded being, yo u r u nc le, has his w a v , m v v o w w i l i c o me ro n ought and w i th i t w i l l be s h: t t er ed mv p o \l /e r to s a v e a n o c e a n - l i ke number of b e i n g s as y et unbor n. T h e re fo re h a r.' e c h o s e n v o u as the i nsrruI me n t t o ac c om plis h m]" p u rp o s e s m o o th l y .' 'What a beautiful dreami' Hsians-Hsi refected. 'I ri'ish I

Miao Shan and Arher Legend.

76

.lorliti::atfr)a of Cunpassion

co uld r ec aii t he e n d i n g . N a tu ra l l y i t c a n b e attri buted to m-v b ad c ons c ienc e a b o u t th a t p o o r g i rl . Ev e n so, I am bound to perform m1' filial duty. But was it truli just a dream ? Even now I can detect something of the fragrance of the goddess as though h e r per f um e s t il l c l u n g to my ro b e ,' As th e se thoughts passed through his mind, the exquisite fragrance seemed to grow stronger and he hurried to the shrine-room hoping for evidence that it had been more than a dream, However, nothing was to b e s een bes ides th e d e c a y i n g s ta tu e fro n te d by a ri ckety al tar. Presently he fell asleep again, to ar,vake dawn with the conat viction thar he had been foolish to confuse the dream-world with realiq'. For all that, he ser our on the last lap of his distasteful journey in a ehastened mood. The dream had accorded too well with his private thoughts to allow him to proceed with an untroubled corrscience to carry out his family obligation.. Two hours later. he rode into the small grove where stood the abandoned shrine of rvhich his uncle's informant had spoken. Though the shrine itself was small, there was a shed attached to it which doubtless afforded the errant couple shelter. There was no need to investigate; for, seated on the door-sill, was a sinpiy dressed but very beautiful young' lady rvho was eyeing rrim in some alarm. Of her paramour there rvas no sign. Reining in at a s u i ta b l e d i s ta n c e a n d d i s mounti ng sl ow l y so a s not t o inc r ea s e h e r a l a rm , h e e x c l a i me d : ' Fi fth Lady, r am h appy t o m ak e yo u r a c q u a i n ta n c e .T h i s i n si gni i i cant person ,s n a m ed K uu. Hs i a n g -H s i a n d i s y o u r w o rth l ess nephew by marri age. Unc ie ha s s e n t m e ro e s c o rt y o u s a fel y home. B e sure yo u will be u' elc o me d a s th o u g h n o tri fl i n g del ay i n cel cbrati ng y o u : n u p t i a l s h a d o c c u r r e d . ' S e e i n gh e r f l u s h , h e a d d e d g e n t l y : 'P leas e c au: : i no d i ffi c u l tv . i f y o u d o , s o m e o ne dear to you rvi l l su f r er . ' S o s av in g , i rc a l l o r.r' e d i s g l a n c c to travel to the srvord h h a nging f r t - m h i s s a d d l e , ' T her e is no o n e d e a r to me i r: th i s v i c i n i ty,' she ansrvered co idly , ' ur iles s y o u p ro p o s e to s l a u g h te r rh e chaste and hol y n u ns in t he c onv e n t h i g h e r u p th i s p a th . Be s ure they are bl ameless. Sooner tiran bring your uncle's wrath upon them, I have decided to stay here on my own untilthe matter has passed from his r.rind. If, on the other hand, you refer to the generous young

A4iao Shan and Other Legbnds 77. man who risked his life to escortrre here, you will look for him in vain. He knew of my wish for a peaceful convent life too ',vellto linger here oncehis task rvasdone. It is not in your power to do him harm. As for me, I shall die sooner than surrender myself to that lust-deluded old man. If he desiresmy corpse, you must arrange things as you think best.' Lest she do herself an injury tbrthwith, Hsiang-Hsi leapt torvards her and, with as much gentlenessas the circumstances permittedrdrewheronto his secondhorse,where he securedher personto the saddlein a way so cunning that no one would detect the silken cords maskedby the folds of her garments.Thus she need not endure the shameof being recognisedas his captive! nor he submit to being questionedby officersor ordinary travellers they might encounter on the road 'Best not call for help, Fifth Lady. I have a warrant foi your arrest issuedby Commissioner Kuo and a document stamped with his sealauthorising me to effect it. No one who seesthem will dare render you assistance. The chief result would be to involve yourself and my uncle in unnecessaryshame.' 'Virtuous little lily-faced scholarr' was her swift retort. 'Think well what you are doing. My death might not burden your conscience,but it would provide you with a load of evil karma with effects reaching through many lives to come.' Mounting his ttorse, to which the leading rein of hers was firmly fastened,he replied: 'Vhatever the cost, Fifth Lady, I rrrustperform my filial duty. If you struggle with your bonds, I shallbe compelledto mount you on the crupper of my saddlean undignifiedway of travellingyou would greatlydislike.' Urging the horsesto a trot, he set out on the homeward path. When they reachedthe waysidetemple where he had passed the night, shebeggedso prettily to be allowed to enter and pay her respects the goddess that he could not well refuse,though to determ:nednot to let her out of his sight. Horvever,while his hands were busy tethering the horses, she slipped into the shrin-'-room; running after her, he saw a sight that made him fall to t^iskneesand touch his head to the floor, all thought of responsibilityforgotten.The decayingstatuehad vanished,as in his dream, but this time to be replaced by none other than the Fifrh Lady herself. Encircled by a glowing nimbus, she reclined upon a vividly coloured lotus throne, flanked by two

78

Bodhisatnta of Compassion

shining spirits- the easily recognised Shan Ts'ai and thc Dragon Girl, Lung Nii ! 'Homage to the Greatly Compassionate, Greatly Merciful !' Kuan Shih Yin BodhisattvaMahasattva gabbledthe terrified young scholar,repeatingit many times for good measureand her:o parhoping that the honorific 'Mahasattv3'might dispose don him more readily. 'Oh your Inuttering and pay attentionr'cried the Bodhicease the very tonesof the Fifth Ledy whom sheso perfectll' sattva: in resembled.'Not altogetherurunoved by your simple-minded notion of filial piety, We have beenpleasedto manifest Ourself you from a grievouserror that to you in this holy plrrceto Save would other-wise hang like a stonc about your neck for manl' lifetimesyet to come.Having beheldUs thus with waking eyes, it is not fitting that you return to th: world of dust. I..lot for you its lusts, its hatreds and its follies. Either you rvill take Us back to the shrine whence We were so rudely abducted and, proceeding thence to the Lotus Calyx Monastery, there take monasticvows and live until this life is pastI or elseI shall return to Ch'ang-sha-fu as your captive and let the events that will come to pass take their predetermined course- for you, a sad <ine.' Most eagerlyHsiang-Hsi agreedto do her bidding, all stuffy notions of filial piety now fled. In a flash the effectsof twenty years of Confucian training had been dissipated by the power of this radiant being. The Bodhisattva,withdrawing in somemysterious way from the'body of the Fifth Lady, who again became an ordinary 'aunt' human being, now vanished. Hsiang-Hsi escorted his back to her shrine and himself continued up the path to seek admission to the monastery.This was accordedreadily and in the course of time he was ordained. Meanwhile CommissionerKuo, fearing his nephew had been murdered or abducted,rode at.the head of a troop of soldiers as fast as their horseswould carry them to Nan Yeo. Finding the wayside shrine cieserteda.nd learning from some local peasantsthat the beautiful lady had recently removed to the Convent of SweetDew, he furiously ordered his men to folloq' him up the moun:ain. Investing the nunnery from all sides,the-v* fircd its sacredbuildings; and asthe terrified nuns, driven back

Miao Shartand Orh;r Legends 79 into the inferno by a rain of arrorvs, cro*'ded pireouslybeneatlr an archwaythat affordeda momentan' respiie. Commissioner Kuo gazedtriumphantly at the face olthe girt ,.,,-ho had eludeci his lusts only to suffer a cruel death. Bur, *h.r, the flameshad burnt out and the soldiershad collected the charred remains of the victims, though ail the elevennuns werc accounredfor. no traceof the pifth Lady could be discovered. This circumstanceso added to the Commissioner's rage rhar a fierce heat mounted to his.hcad, causinghim to fall upon rne ground and tlr.cre cxpire.His final agonypassed unnotiied b:- trii fotto*.ers, whose cyes $/erc fixcd upon a beautiful white bir<Jthar flerv round the monasteryrhrec times befbreascendinganci,fl1.ing Ever higher, vanishedLreyondthe gold and crim-songates of heaven. Nor wasthat the only marvel they beheld, for ihe consciousness-componenrs the slaughterednuns, rising from of their pitiful remains,ascended heaven*.ards the wakelf that in soaringbird ! so endsthc story- obviousrya versionof the r,l iao shan stor]. brought relatively up to date. what is not absr:lutelyclear is whether the Fifth Lady, besides being possessed the shrinein by the goddess,was or was not an actual incarnarion of Igom Kuan Yin. The monk from whom I heard the story did not know. A slighter and more trivial srory, related ro me by a _voung nsvice vowed as a thank-offering ro the monastery whiie still a child, brings Yilo shan right into the twentieth .."t"rv, ,rrr, is if those who beheld the apparition of Kua' yin wer. ,igh, in supposingthat the exceptionallyyouthful form she assumed was thar of Miao shan. In some ways the tale is closer to those relaredof the youthful rara than to the Miao shan cycle; for which reasonI had some hesitationin placing it in its p..r.", context, 'My parents', declaredthe novice, '\,owed me to the service of the Buddha at rhe time of Elder Brorher's illness. He *,as lying at the point of death, you see,when Kuan yin's mercy savedhim. when the physiciantold us rhere was no hope, my eunt shooedhim from the house and rook over. calling ali the neighbours in, she ordered them to spend the nighi'i" o", house,reeiting the Dhiranl of Great compassion until da*,n. The harvesthad heen brought in safel1,, orherr..ise they mieht

8o

Bodhisatrua tl Cornpa^:sion

havebeenlessdocile,though my aunr is not a personone cares to cross.Torvards midnight Elder Brt-rther, w'irohad been lying ali day in a corna,srartled us by raising his head and shouting weakly: "Look at that girl l" His eyes\\'erefixed upon the rafters where, to our great astonishmenr)sar a fairl'-lil'.egirl in long antique robes. (Severalpeople said later that she was rhe very image of rhose picrures of Miao Shan one seesin those oldfashioned eartoon books n'hich srill follorr- the style of the Ch'ing dynasry. That meanr nothing ro me, for I had not seen the cartoonsor ever heard of Miao shan, but rhat is what they said.)I would nor say that rhe girl's form was very clear, only that it was too ciear for anyone to suppose it to be a trick of light and sha'Jow. Besides, she was laughing and rve all heard that. In her hands was a kind of vaselike the one in which Kuan Yin stores the dew of compassion, ir is called.Shewas playing as with it like a prankish child and suddenly tipped it sharply so that some liquid fell right on my brother's head. Then she was gone and everybody burst out talking at once. What a ncise! jubilant. After taking a good look ar my brother, My aunt rn-as she said there was no need ro go on rvith',vhat she called the cure, meaning the mantra recitation. Within a couple of days, Elder Brother was on his feet. The physician was speechless when, within less than a rveek, Elder Brother walked over to the ne,ighbouring village to offer him a basker of fruit ! Oh, I forgot. It svaswhen they began to recite the mantra that my aunt persuaded my parents to vo\l' me to the monastery as a thank-offering for their eldest son's recoven'. I am glad they did. I like it here.' As Kuan Yin, under the name Krvannon-sarna, achieved has much the same degree of popularitf in Japan as in China, I shall relate one Japanese srory that is ar once like and yet different from. its Chinese counterparrs. The binh of'Chujo Hime, daughrer of the noble Fujiwara' Toyonari (eighth cenrury ro) unforrunately cost hrei morher's life. (Her mother, by the \\.ay, is reputed to have been an incarnation of Krvannon-sama.) The girl ir-as distinguished throughout her childhood for her l;vely piry for people and animals in disrrersr yet hcr step-mother ill-treated her rvith relent]ess c:r.reiq',ei,en going so far as to make anempts upon her life ! Poor Chujo Hime fled to Mount Hibari in the province

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'lara, Kuan 5 Nepalese bronze statuc of' Y i n ' s s e c o n dI n d i a n p r o g c n i t o r ,r v h o i s g c n e r ally depictedin a sitting posture ( t t-t:th c. Qsurtes! of thc British Ntuscum)

Flil -fhorrsand-Arrncd -I-un 6 P a i n t i n go f t h e A'alokira from rhc Huang q - i r ' r s rs h o \ r ' i n Bs r r o n q I r r c t o - ' l i b c t a r ri n f u e n c c r', oourrcsr. of rr. 7th t h . ' B r i t r s hM u s . - u r n

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8a Porcelain inrage of Kuan yin as a Giver of Offspring b Wooden image fronr Amoy, South China, of Shan Ts'ai, Kuan Yin's rnale arrendant c Wooden image from Canton, Sourh China, of Lung Nu (thc Dragon Marden), Kuan Yin's female attendant (All rccent and from the collccrion of Ilr K. E. Stevens)

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I . t S t a t u eo f K u a n Y i n h o l d i n g a f i s h b a s s 1 ' m b o lo f f t ' c u n d i t ) ' c a r e a n d p r o v c n a n c c k n o " r ' n .C o u r t c s y o f \ 1 r K . G . S t c r c n s )

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Miao Shan and Other Legends of Kii, causinggrear suffering to her father, who searchedtwo long years before finding her. 'Beloved childr' he exclaimed when their transporrs of joy had subsided, 'I bring you the best of news. A marriage hai beenarrangedfor you - oor do not interrupt - to no lessa perscrn than our Tenno, Son of Heaven and Emperor of Japan!' 'Poor Fatherr' replied Chfiio Hime sorrowfully, ,though you have set your heart on this, it can never be. You must pray His Majesty to excuseme, for I havevowed beforethe Buddhaio remain singleall my life, soasro devotemy whole time to the attainment of Bodhisattvahoodfor the benefit of all sentient beings.' Thereafter, unshaken by her father's anger or his sadness, she entered Taima-deva Convent in the province of yamato. There she undertook a long seriesof rigorous austerities,daily beseechingAmidabutzu (Amitdbha Buddha) to appedr and vouchsafeher an omen of success the attainment of Bodhiin sattvahood.Receivingno response, last shecried: 'Holy Amiat dabutzu, until you kindly manifesr yourself, no food shall pass my lips and you will be responsiblefor my dying of starvatibn!' Thereupon an elderly srrangerarrived at her door and, after some converse,promised to show her Amidabutzuts paradise, provided shewould acceptsomeunusual instructions from the Mother Superior. Soon afterwards, she was commanded to gather a hundred loadsof lotus stalksand carefully separate the fibres. This she did and, still in obedience to the Mother Superior'sinstructions,placed them in a well which had miraculously appearedin the courryard. On contact with its pure water, the fibres took on enchanting colours of rainbow-like variety. This marvel accomplished, there now appeareda young woman with a loom who, in rhe spaceof a mere six hours, wove an exquisite picture of Amidaburzu's Pure T.and,which was all the more miraculous in that the picture was somehow much larger than the room which contained it ! Deeply moved, Chfiio Hime bowed her head to the ground before it; wherear,ro her intense joy, the eiderly srranger and young weaver revealed themselvesas Amidabutzu and Kwannon-sama! One episodein the charming little story - the one where the young girl actually dares to threaten the Budriha(!) strikes me as peculiarly Japanese. Chinesedevoteewould be so lost to No tire dictatesof propriety !

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Chapter 5

Some Buddhist Concepts of Kuan Yin


7-o the perfecdrrn of lzer ntcrits, LVorshipping,zuettozu ,rilr head:; L o tu s S u tra

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I h a ve alway s been i n tri g u e d b y th o s e m a s te rpi ecesof C hi nese ivory carving comprising a large number of exquisitely carved b a l l s r ev olv ing o n e w i th i n a n o th e r. Bei ng i ntri catel v decorated, the outer layers largely conceal those rr'ithin; though one gazes long and hard, it is nor easy to discern the innermost ball or even to distinguish clearly one middle layer frorn another. so it was with my perception of Kuan yin, some o f h er m or e and lessm a te ri a l i s ti c a s p e c tss e e mi ngto be i nextri cably intertwined. This was especially true of the levels of understanding at which she gradually exchanges her goddess-like attributes for those of a Bodhisattva. The guise she wears for those who burn incense to her in wayside chrines and.mountain grottoes or i:r the temples of the fisher-folk and boat-drvellers undergoes no startling change when she presents herself to the less erudite members of chinese and Japanese Buddhist communities. True, they know her by her proper title, Bodhisattva, but some would be hard pur to it to explain in what manner gods and Bodhisattvas differ. The Mahayana surras chiefly prized by the Pure Land Sect to which many of her devotees belong do not easily yield their hidden meaning. Indeed, they resemble the profound tantric works revered by Tibetans in that, if taken literally in the absenceof oral instruction from a Master, they may repel rather than attracr most western

Sonte Buddhist Conceprsof Ktuztt yirt

g3

stu d e n t s of t he way , w h o m a 1 ' d e e m th e m to o f ul l of marvel s to mcri t s er ious at t en ti o n . we rc t he appr oac h ta k e n h e re to u n d e rs ta n d i n g K uan yi n' s tru e si g nif ic anc et o be ma d e fu l l y c o n s i s te n t. i t i v o ul .l be necessa ry ro s et f or t h t he P u re L a n d te a c h i n g a n d p racti ces as therap p e a r to t hc unins t r u c te d a n d re s e rv e th e i r e s otcri c meani ng f i r r a l a r e r c h a p t c r , H o u ' e v , l r ,t h a t i s n o t q u i t e h o n - I c a m e u p o n ti rr-,-ir:r v s elf l t hank s to th c g u i d a n c e o f s o m e C h i n..se fri ends. l I b c g a ' t o h . a ' c a t l c a s ta ' a g u c c o n c e p t i o no f t h c e s o t e r : cm e a n r R g\ l h i l e s t i l l n e a r r h c o u t s c l o f r n l , s t u c i i e sa n d I h a i . e o r d e r e d m v x p o s i r i o na ec o r d i n g l l ' . L i k c a f a i r n u m b c r c f o t h r r v e s t e r n I J u d r i h i s t s ,I b e g a r : b 1 ' s h ' r . g a w a v t r o m r ' h a t c o u l , l b e s e c n .rf Fure Land practiceall about me in soutir China. being un_ al rl e a s y e' r r o r ec onc i l c i r ri ' i ti r th c Brrd d h i :i t te a chrng fari i l i ar to me . Though it s m a n i fe s ta ti o n s \l -e re a l n ' a 1 ' sb e auti ful , I di d no t b cl i ev e t hel' had mu c h re l a ti o n to re a l i i v . Bri e fly , t he doc t r in e i n i ts l i te ra l fo rm i s th a t the B uddha. fo re se e ing t he ons er o f a d e c a d e n t a g e (i n th e m i i st of w hi ch we no\\, find ourselves today) and recognising horr. difficult it rvorrld be forthe beings born in that age to pursue Enlightenmenr by th e m eans he had e x p o u n d e d h i th e rro , c o mp a ssi onatel ypres e n te da m uc h eas ierw a y . H e d e l i v e re d s o m e s J tr" n (di scol i ses i anenr celestial Buddhas such as Anirabha and Bodhisattvas s u ch a s K uan Y in, ea c h o f w h o m h a d me n ta l i l , c reated a spi ri tual realm (Pure Land) wherein all beingt ti'ho aspired io it earnestly could secure rebirth under conditions idealil- suited to making progress towards Enlightenment. profiting b1, the vast merits of the crearor of their chosen pure Land. iuch beings, h o w e ver gr eat t heir de m e ri ts , c o u l d e a s i l y a tta i ' rebi rth i n, for example, Kuan Yin's Potala and thus escape rhe dreary round of birth, suffering and d-eath endlessly reneg'ed rvhich is samsara. Furthermore, rhose celestial Buddhas and Bodhisattvas \\'ere portrayed as wielding miraculous po\\-ers \,,'hereg,iththelcould instantly avert danger or affiiction fror-n anl- being who ca l l e d u pon t hem wit h a b s o l u te s i n c e ri ty ; th u s , ev r --ri shoul d one be kneeling beneath an executioner's sword alrea,ll- raisecl to stri ke , a s ingle hear t - fe rt c ry to Ku a n y i n Bo d h i satrva w oul d cause the blade to fall shattered to the ground I w e l l , t his t eac hing, th o u g h c o u c h e d i n re rm s o f rhe utmost b e a u ty, s t r uc k m e as to o g o o d to b e tru e . ro o redol ent of

-ifl ;t

rl

"i .l

S;

BoClisamsa of Cunpassion

p r im it iv e c onc e p ti o n s o f h e a v e n a n d o f fa i ry godmother tal cs lik e Cinder ella . H o w e v e r, m y C h i n e s e fri e ; rds advi sed me not to d is m is s t he t ea c h i n g o u t o f h a n d , b u t ra th e r to seeki ts i nner purport. Soon after my arrival in the East, I had struck up a warrn friendship with a most unusual man) a Chinese physician and keen Buddhist about ten years my senior. I rvasirnmediacely attracted to him for scveral reasons, not the least of rvhich u'as his fondness for tradition as exemplified bl' his garb - instead of a Western-style business suit, a mode of ciressalready becoming common in Flong Kong, he wore a graceful silken robe surmountcd by an old*fashioned skull-cap of stiff black satin with a tinv scarlet krobble at the crown. Being fond of the more esoteric fcrrns of Euddhism, he had first mastered the Shingon form recently brought bsck to China frorn Japan and then embarkeC on a life-long study of the Vajrayana taught by Tibetan lamas; and, with regard to the Pure Land Sect and others, he r:etained the typically Chinese attitude which the Venerable 'All the sects are like T'ai Hsu once sumrned up in the words: beads on one rosary.' It was to Ta Hai, my physician friend; that I tool.. some doubts about the Pure Land teaching which persisted despite my feeling a special affinity to Kuan Yin. 'Elder Rrother, since having that odd experience, I have been thinking much about Kuan Yinr' I said one day, handing him an openeci copy of the Heart of Great Compassion Dharanl Sfitra and pointing to the words:'should any being recite and cleaae to the sacred DharanT of Great Compassionand yer not bt reborn in my Buddhaland, I aow not to enter upott Supreme Enlighterirnent.' ' A s y ou k i{ o r.v ' ,I c o n ti n u e d , ' th e re a re many passages n the i S ut r asu' hic h Sta teth a t o n e w h o c a l i s u p o n her name w ' i th greal s inc er it l' ol r e c i te s h e r m a n tra fro m h i s heart rvi l l surei y be rebor n in her s a c re d Po ta l a a n d th e re b e trai ned to achi eve E nlight enm en t. D rre s th a t n o t s tri k e v o u as too eas)'to be true ? E ls er v her e t he s u tra s s tre s s a g a i n a n d a g ai n that the seed of E nlight enm en t l a te .rt i rr e v e ry b e i n g m u s t be u' atered by se!fcultivation, that no teacher, human or divine) can cio the work on our behalf. Granted that those descriptions of Pure I-ands fuli of jewelled trees, gem-studded lotus pools and birds warbling the sac:ed teaching can be understood figuratively and putting aside the tact that such descriptions come oddll' from the

Buddhist Concepts Kuan Yin Sorne of

ES

lips oipeople who shareour belief in the A,l.ind'Only doctrine, there is anotherobstacle.How can you reconcilethe need for (tzil-li) with the Pure Land Sect'srelianceon otherself-power power (t'a-li)? It seemsso very illogical.' Ta Hai laugheddelightedly. 'I think, Ah Jon, you are still foreign-devil-man and cannotlearn to think like Chinese.Why you care about logi':al, not logical? Truth have plenty faces. As you seethings, so things are. As you expect things, so things your mind makethem so. You dream long come.t$/hy? Because time of jewelledparadise,you surely take rebirth there. You think wisdom help you reach formless world, you surely take rebirth there. You have learnt to recite Heart Sfltra, yes? So you know very well "Form is void and void is forml form not differ from void, void not differ from form." Then why you things ? I and my friends tell you and tell worry thesenonsense you and tell you that appearances all in mind. Why you not are understand Outside mind - nothing !' ? 'Yes, but - ' 'Listen, Ah Jon. Pure Land teacher say fix mind on sacred name or speak sacred mantra many, many times, then ygur mind becon:,e still, yes? All obscurationsdisappear.That s'ty, you know, plenty peopleget objectless awareness which is first step to Enlightenment. That is very good, nol' So why you carc how they get it? All of us Buddhists are looking for goal higher ttran man can seeor imagine. You agree?Good. Supposemy picture of goal is dull and your picture seemsto you much clearer,you know quite well that both those pictures must be a long,long way - a million milesand more - from truth picture. \X/ego one million mile walk; you start one inch in front of me not help you much, Ah Jon. Your tirlk about tztt-li and t'c/f sound very good, very clever, very wise to you ? To me, all nonsenseYou want to study Buddha Dharma, you must study ! mind. Oniy mind is real, but now you try to p:rt front door a n d b a c kd o o r o n i t ! S e l f ?O t h e r ? I n s i d e l O u t s i d e ? o w c a n H be? Somepeoplelook for Enlightenment mind. Somepeople in Iook for Bodhisattva. You find them different? Never can be ! Wh-v? Becausewhole universe live inside your bony skull. Nowhere elseat all. Amitabha Buddha in your skull. Kuan Yin tsodhisattva your skull. Ch'an (Zen) followersseekEnlightin enment frorn mind. Pure Land follorvers seek i: in Pure

86

Bodhisattva

cf Ccrmpassion

,lr

',

Land. What difference ? Two thoughts; one Source. You are philosopher, so think one way. Your friend iust love Kuan Yin, so think another. Different, yes ! Vrhat Cifference ? Trvo faint ideas, same shining truth. 'You seekstirring of compassion in mind, soon you find. Seek sh i ning c om pas s io n -tre i n gl i k e K u a n Yi n , s o on you fi nd. S upp o se ! ' ou r un out i n s tre e t n o \\' , te l l e v e ry b o d l ' must usc' scl L p o w er . not ot her - p o w e r; -v o u th i n k th e y u n d erstand? or tl -re1' sta n C t her e gapin g ? Y o u o u g h t to u ' e l c o me compassi onatc s Bu d dha' s t hous an c lw ' a -vo f te a c h i n g th o u s a n d ki nds of pt-opl c.' I believ e I lear n e d m o re fro m T a H a i th a n from an]' othcr ma n , but it was not a l l p l a i n s a i l i n g . H i s E n g l i sh rvasw orsc ti ratr I h a v e r epr es ent e di t h e re a n d my C a n to n e s e no better at that ti me . \ \ / e m anaged to ta c k l e a l l k i n d s o f a b s tru se subj ects,hei pi n g o ut t he wor ds w i th g e s tu re s ,d ra w i n g s a n d C hi nese rvri ttcn characters, but relying greatly on the kind of telepathic unde rstanding by which close friends can surmount most languagc barriers. With others of our group it was often easier, as some spoke English very well indeed. Asked why many Pure Land followers seemed to prefer evoking Kuan Yin rather than Amitdbha Buddha of whom she is but an emanation, one of them re p lied: 'Like you: they feel drawn to her. It is becauseof your nature. If you were a horse, you would be sure to invoke the F{orseH e a ded Hay agr r v a , w h o i s a l s o K u a n Y i n . If a l obster, you would choosea lobster deity, just as nagasinvoke serpent divinities. Picturing compassion in the form of a lovely woman is a reasonable thing to do. Amit6bha Buddha is compassion seen a s a noble qualit y , s h i n i n g a n d m a j e s ti c ; Ku a n Y i n i s compassion seen as intimate and a counterpart of gentle pity. Not having many heads in the Indian manner nor necessarily sharing Amitdbha's vastnessrshe appeals to humanists like you and me a n d f it s in well wi th o u r C h i n e s e c o n c e p ti o n of di vi ni ty.' From all of this I began drawing a conclusion that proved absolutely wrong, for when I voiced it they opposed it vehcmentl!' and I perceived that the waters u'e had entered \^'cre deeper than they seemed. 'Do you mean', I asked, 'that Amitabha, Kuan Yin and their vows tr succour sentient beings are really myths used to pcrsu a de unlelr ned p e o p l e to c o n c e n tra te u p o n thei r names and

Some Buddhisr ConceprsoJ' K'uan yin

E:

th u s ac hiev e one- po i n te d n e s s o f m i n d e v e n th o r-r.thunabl e ro p e rce i ve it s pr oper p u rp o s e ? ' Before the words were well out of my mour^h. I realise,l I h a d u t t er ed an eno rm i ry . T h e y g l a n c e d a r o ne another i n co n sre r nat ion- nor , I th i n k , b e c a u s e l i k e J o v i a ns i n a si mi l ar si tu a ti o n t hey ex pec te d a s h o w e r o f th u n d l rb o l rs to greet thi s b l a sp h em y , but bec a u s eth e y w e re a g h a s t th a t th ei r \\.av of putti n g tl i i ngs had led m e s o fa r a s rra y , o r p e rh a p s ther- rvere-j ust b e u ' i l d e r e db v m v o b t u s e n e s s . 'Make neimisrake,' cricd oid Mr Lao sharpll-. speaking in C a n t o n e s e i n h i s e a g e r n c s st o s e t t h e r e c o r c i s i r a i g h t . , t h " B u d d i r a s ,t h e B o d h i s a t t v a s n d t h e i r v o \ \ : sa r e r e a l . I t r - o u d o u ' o i a i t, vo u r . r , illbe bey ' o n d th e i r h e i p l ' 'Ilut -' 'L o ok at t his biack ' ," ' o o d e s k . Is i t rc a l , d o 1' ou thi nk?, d - 'Ye s, of c our s e- r e a l i n th e l i m i te d s e n s e th a t anv phenome n o n is r eal. Y ou ca n s e e a n d to u c h i t.' 'Go od. How abou t, s a y , j u s ti c e ? We a re to l c , for exampl e. rh.atBritain's legal system ensures you people a g,:eater measure o f j u sti c e t han is t o b c h a d i n H o n g Ko n g . Is yusti ce reai ?' 'Ye -es . I f v ou put i t th a t rv a y . J u s ti c e c a n b e quanti fi ed ro so me ex t ent and s ee n to e x i s t i n o n e p l a c e b u t n ot i n another. It would make sense ro say that all justice had been banishect from such-and-such a country.' 'Excellent. Though you cannor hurt your hand by banging it against justice, you do agree it is real. But a,/r1, ir it reai ? Be ca u s em ind c onc ei v e si t. If h u ma n b e i n g s w e re mi ndl ess enri ties like motor-cars, rhere could be no such thing as -justice. Whatever the m;nd conceivesthereby achieves realiq'. Supposc it were found that, after all, our narional sage) Confucius, haC no historieal existence, would it alter the fact of his overrvhelming influence on our country ? Conceived of in the way he is, he would have become a reality and his reported words and actions, as the causes of great effects, w'ould also have reality. Be sure that Kuan Yin's vow is real, rhat if vou earnesrly' d e si re r ebir t h in he r P o ta l a p a ra d i s e , y o u n ' i l l take bi nh there.' Su ch wer e t he c on v e rs a ti o n s T a H a i a n d h i s fri ends mosr e n j o ye d and gr eat wa s m y b e w i l d e re d a d m i ra ti o n of thei r rr' i sd o m. The ques t ions a n d a n s rv e rs re p o rte d a b o\-e may seem

j
I

88

Bodhisamta

of Cornpassion

obscure uniess one has a background know'ledge oi Mahayana Bu d dhis m . T he c ru x o f th e ma tre r i s a s fo l l ow s: According to that teaching, it is not profitabie to spend time on such questions as whether there was ever a beginning to the successionof universes that have been arising and reaching their end for innumerable aeons,or why sentient beings must revolve endlessly from life to life in this sad realm of samsara. What is needed is to direct one's attention to the present, thinking: 'This is horv things are; what is ts be done about them?' It is taught that reality has two aspecrs- the realms of void anc forrn - but that, due to obscurations arising from primordial igrrorance and from evil karma accumulated in past lives, we fail to see that nothing can exist independenrly of everything else, that all entities (including people) are transient, murable, unsatisfying and lacking in own-being.It is the iliusion of possessing an ego that leads to such obscurations as passion, lust and inordinate desire. From these in turn spring a longing far continued indiaidr.ral existence which keeps beings revolving in the round of birth and death, reaping over and over again sorrorv, frustration, disappointment, griet adversity. Could one but be rid of all ego-born delusions, ne would see himself as a shadow pursuing shadows and eagerly seek an end to the round-norin extinction, but in Nirvdna, the glorious apotheosis in which illusory egos are no more. The way our lies within each sentienr being's mind in the form of latent wisdom-compassion energy (Bodhi). This is so because so-called individual minds are not truly apart from Mind, the Plenum in which everything exists forever and forever in the form of 'no thing'. When entitics vanish, nothing is lost, for they had no ultimate e xi s t enc ein t he f i rs t p l a c e , b e i n g n e v e rth e l e ssreal becausenot divorced from the Void. Liber at ion is a c h i e v e d b y En l i g h te n me n r, the frui t of transce n ding all r - go- d e l u s i o n .A p o w e rfu l re c h n i que fo. attai ni ng i t i s m edit adon (b e tte r c a l l e d c o n re m p l a ti o n ) rvhi ch resul ts i n a turning o\-s-fof the mind upon itself, the e:<pulsiorr obscuraof ti o ns and r ec ogni ti o n o f o n e s e l f a n d a l l b e i n g s as bei ng rvhol l y rvithout self or anything describable as orvn-being. Thus the effort has t.; \,e self"efforr. No wise guiu, no high diuirriry ..rt accomplish chis revolution on one's behalf; it must occur of itself. No*' comes the surprise and seeming contradiction.

Some Buddhist Conceptsof Kuan Yii;

89

A,Jherents of the Pure Land School seek a way out through 'Pure Land' ',vhere they can give themselves over rebirth in a to the great task of seeking Enlightenment under ideal conditions, there being no hindrances, but only powerfulll' iavourable influences. Exoterically it is taught that the Buddha Amitabha (like some others such as Kuan Yin) vowed to save all beings who call upon him wholeheartedly by admitting them to a I'ure Land, this being his compassionatemeans of assisting those weak in self-power or too ignorant to understand horv to use it Esoterically it is recognised that the Pure Land is no other than Pure Mind, the condition of all minds when purged of ego-born obscurations. But this distinction between the exoteric and esoteric understanding of the doctrine is not simple or sharp-cut. Even exceedingly erudite Buddhists such as Ta Hai hold that the various Pure Lands, including Kuan Yin's Poiala, do in a sense exist aS places, since mind has thus conceived them. This seemingly startling departure from logic is somervhat less puzziing 1f one accepts that a// entities' are mental uliimately more or less real than any other. creations, 1.rone that cf A devotional approach, like 'West, Pure Land followers, is being too reminiscent cji currently out of ituort in the the Christian and Jewish faiths which many people no lolger find acceptable. Few Asians share this antipathy. Even Theravada (southern) Buddhism has a greater element of devotional practice than is generally recognised by W-esterners'The samc i, trrr. of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism, many of whose most ardent followers (including rhe great Daisets Suzuki) have affirmed thc validity of the Pure Land doctrine and regard Pure Land practices as a parricularly efficient means of attaining E,nlightcnment . E v en t oda y , th e Pu re L a n d S c h o o l h as a much greatcr: following among JapaneseBuddhists than any other, as it haci i n c hina pr ior t o th e s u b me rg e n c e o f a l l re l i gi on beneath thc \\,aters of the Red flood. Under present circumstances, Pu": L a nd pr ac t ic e m a y n o r b e rv e l l s u i te d to th e west; neverthel ess, i ts c r iiic s am ong W e s te rn Bu d d h i s ts w o u l d do w el l to pondcr ihe implications of Mahayarra philosophy more deeply beforr: dismisiing Pure Land teachings, as they sometimes do, as being .onttaty to the spirit of traditional Buddhism' As Asian Buddhists have alwayJ understood, different kinds of peoplc need to make widely different approaches to the same truth'

go

Bodhisamta of Compassion

This is possible because one is not dealing with understanding, which is to some extent governed by the rules of logic, but with a practice that, if properly performed, will achieve results howan ever one may initially conceive of it. A man who preSSeS light switch will succeed in turning on the light, even electric if h e h a ppens t o be u n d e r th e i m p re s s i o n th a t h e i s sw i tchi ng on th e radio. To ret ur n t o K uan Yi n . I b e l i e v e my fri e n d ' s poi nt about invokrrrg the tsodhisattva ernbodying rvisdom-compassion in a fo rm rvell s uit ed t o a p e o p l e ' s c l tl tu ra l tra d i ti o ns w as a good o n e ; b ut , ir r m y opini o n . th e re ma y a l s o b e a n o th er reason for giv th e p re f t - - r enc e en to K u a n Y i n b y p e o p l e w h ose bel i efs are -fhe vi sual ge n e ra ll- v line r v it h th o s e o f th e Pu re L a n d Sc h o ol . in pr es c r ibec lf or m e d i ta to rs i n th e Ami ta y u s S utra i s ven' i sa ti o n difficult to perform in comparison with the popular manner of me d i ta ting upon K ua n Yi n . Wh e n e n g a g e d i n t he sutra-type meditation, one has to builci up a complicated picture involving, fo r e xam ple, t he m en ta l c re a ti o n o f e i g h t p o o l s fl ow i ng i nto fo u rte e n c hannels ,ea c h u ' i th th e ra d i a n t c o l o u rs o f sevenj ew el s; lotuses, each with Seven jer,"'els in each pOOlthere are 6OOTOOO a n d e a c h pos s es s inga g i rth tw e l rre ti me s th e d i s tance covered by an affny in a day's march ! Arnitdbha's height equals that sa me d is t anc e m ult ip l i e d b y th e n u m b e r o f s a n d - grai ns i n si xt1, thousand rnillion milliort rivers each of them the size of the Ga n g e s ! I t is wr it t en th a t a l l th i s , a n d v e ry m u c h el se besi des, has to be visualised as clearly as one sees his hand before his e ye s! The m ind bog g i e s -w h i c h i s i u s t w h a t i s i ntended, fcr, as with Ch'an (Zen) koans, the purpose is to exhaust the mind to th c p oint wher e it i s j e rk e d i n to a n c w d i m e n s i on. W hen succe ssfu lly per f ot ' m ed, th i s ty p e o f v i s u a l i s a ti o n l e a ds to a sudden transformation of consciousness, thereby opening up ne\l' realms hitherto far beyond the uttermost bounds of perception. Sti l l , the t as k is daun ti n g . T h e s i mp l e c o n te m p lati on of K uan Yi n d es c r ibed in t he c h a p te r o n me d i ta ti o n ma y perhaps be l ess effective, but is certainly bctter suited to the limited competence of ordinary meditators. Th i s v ir w of t he m a tte r \u a s s u g g c s te dto me by a pamphl et I discovered in the very embryonic library of the schcol-room for novices in the Hua T'ing Monastery near Kunming. Localll' p ri n te d , it was t he r v o rk o f a s tra n g e-l o o k i n g m a n w ho occasi on-

Some Buddhist Conceprs of Kual

Yin

9r

al l y p a i d us v is it s . Ca re l e s s l y d re s s e d , mu c h g i v e n to l aughtcr at u n e x pec t ed m om e n ts , h e rv o u l d h a v e i m p r essed me as sl i g h tl v dem ent ed, bu t fo r h i s re p u ra ti o n fo r rv i sci om-a great nl a n y holy m en in Ch i n a ' s h i s to ry a re re p u tc d to have rnade ju st su c h an im pr es si o n c f d a ftn e s s o n rh e i r rl o ri ' stai d cont e rn p o ra r ies . Unable to re c a l l mo re rh a n th c g e ncral purport o f th e p a m phlet , I have h a d to fi l l i n th e d e ta i l s fro i rr mf i magi nati o n , b ut m y v er s ion i s fa i th fu l i n s p i ri t to rh e ori ei nal . It h rc gan wit hr s o me i n fo rma ti o n re g a rd i n e rhr-- rvri i cr' s id e n ti ty, bir t h- plac e, fa mi l y a n d s o fo rth , a n c l th en pror-r' eded t l n L h c ! , r - r l l o w i nlgn e s : i 'r\ty father and grandfather, Confucian scholar:, of thc old s cl i o o l , look ed on B ud d h i s ts w i th d i s fa v o u r, b e l i e r-i ng rhcm ro d e l u d e people r . r ' it h lu ri d ta l e s o f ma g i c . It rv a s through mI' rnother - an unusually highly literate woman frorn a i'illage near Ta L i -that I c am e up o n th e p ro fo u n d d o c tri n e kno\\' n as " the v o i d n e s s of non- v oid" . N o t th a t s h e h e rs e l f h a o m uch i nteresr in su ch pr of undit ies . A d e v o te d fo l l o u ' e r o f th c P ure Land S : h c o l . s h e c a r e d n o t h i n g f o r m e t a p h y s i c s ,b u t i t u ' a s h e r c u s : - = : : ' - ' . ' ' . , . ' : a : : . , - 3 :' : d C h i s t n ' o r k s t h e p e d l a r n ' h o s u p p l i e d B - - : . : : r ' : r . : t r - : : : : g . \ s a s n a l l c h i l d I l e a r n e dt o r e c i t e t h e : : - r - : : , : = - - . . H a : - : : - i , : : - l : : l : h a u c c h a l m a n v h u n d r e c l so f B : : 2. ; : - - " :- g: = -' .i a -.-st s .a re i :o r i e a r o f m1, father' s ll - - I - - * . ' - .= . : : - - . : : : : - : : i ' 3 ; : h a - o : i e - p c i n t e dr e p c ' i i t i o no f t h i s ' -- - : ':: j:.:-;:---:::::!el::censureliberationfroni the ror:nd : .-- - - - : , : : : a: : . O:;e rv h e n m 1 ' c l a s s ma te s in the mi ddl c - - . .-.=::j =::oi:if irvoking Amitabha Buddha they jeered r . --.:irrt.:.'ihat: to rvin back their esteern, I tcok to bring.- :- : .::- ,:i,-cl BuCdhist rvorkswhich they had to admit rvould :ri : ::3 ulCer s t anding o f e ru d i te s c h o l a rs .Pre te ndi ng I under::;'{c liiese rvorks rrr}self, I came to study them in all serionsr.--SS. beiiev ed t hen th a t th e Pu re L a n d p ra c ti c e s' as sui tabl e I r:1 1 'fo r g' om en, peas a n tsa n d s i mi l a rl y i l l -e c i u c a t ec p,gspl e,and r.aC turned instead to such works as The Pure Conscior,sness Treatise, the Avatamsaka and Lankhvatara Sfitras. lt'hey' availed me nothing, their oniy eflect being to disturb my mind,, so I re tur ned t o inv c k i n g A m i ta b h a Bu d d h a , b ur not u' i thout re fl e cti ng s m ugly t h a t my u n d e rs ta n d i n g o f thi s practi ce \\'as now at a "higher level" than my mother's ! Hor',- ignorant I m u s t h a v e s e e m e dt o h e r ! " H i g h e r " a n d " l o w e r " . " d e e p " a n d

8,..;, --;ggn'a of C omp assi ott ^- ' . a' ' , ' , h a : h a ' ,' e th e s e d u a i i s ms to d o w i th knorvl edge, TH ? "Gr-*4:s:a::;:::3 . ' f : - - r . " 5- r ' ^ l i s ::n tc a l e c tu re o n Pure Land contempl ation by a famous Tripitaka ^\'lasierw'ho fired me with ambition p ilSudi.rr if,n2['t of un;,nag)nab)e vastness. This, to, got me nowher e. Hav in g p a i n tu i l l ' b u i l t u p a h u g e and gl i tteri ng backtre g r ounc l r : f im m e n s :, h e a v i l y b e j e r.v e l l e d es and l akes, i had ; r ea ti n g i m a g e so f th e T h re e IIol y Ones. N o sooner to s et abour on l':sd I starts--d Amitabha Buddha than the background slipped at v ay ; s t ar t ing o n K u a n Y i n Bo d h i s a ttv a , I l ost A mi t6bha; $t ar t ing on . \ , la h a s th a maB o d h i s a ttv a , I l o st K uan Y i n. It w as all heyin,i *y po\r'er. Only conceit hindered me from going bac k ' t o s im ple re p e ri i i o n o f th e s a c re d formul a, w hi ch my mother had rrever for one day abancioned' ' O ne night I d re a me d o f b e i n g s h i p w recked, of cl i ngi ng to a Sparin a furiously raging Sea.Mountainous waves curved about uPorr a s.rlore
=-: -:k= .'l'ritbring dragons \lntil) at rasr> r was cast

queire 1rom iore,:r jade was rg;e a of that watered foaming by


casca<)e-s of nzilk-w']zic,: gz<tricy. 7'he *+.itzgs of birds and insccts

siHnEerrhly 0yerlooliing L0fiti; Sf heaury, rfie roc,lry nljil fI]I-

l -: d a jeg' elled s h e e n ; rh e s p o tte d d e e r h a d coats of w hi te and

erimson How couldI doubtthati had comeupon the seafur.


girt paradise' Potala ? Awed, but joyous, I climbe.d swiftly torvar ds t he c r es r o f th e h i l l . 'I had been observed, for a young girl came running Corvn the slope ro greet rne. Her charming little feet seemed scarcely to t ouc h t he r ock s o v e r rv h i c h s h e s p e d . When she turned and si gnalled r r e t o fo l l o s ' h e r, I h a d d i ffi c u l ty i n keepi ng up and w as ir k ed t o no ti c e h o rv to rn s h e w a s b e tween good manners and an ur gc t o b u rs t o u r l a u q h i n g . O n o u r reachi ng the n:outh of a gr eat t ur qu o i s e c a v e rn , s h c ra n i n a nd soon di sappeared

ca'e, its ciu: of pink and ii'hire Ioiu. T-:r-:::

,o. place skirring iake by a cf-gofd-flccked anerm0f blue, fir rvhich ran inro rhe ,.\.ater
hidden beneath masses : : r . : : : ' : r s - . r : l r i g h tp e n e t r a t e c r

frorn

rzjerr', )esving

rrte to fdlos-

a-s bc'.sr I codd.

\X/e had

come

b c y ' o n d h e e i r r r a r - . - .. - . : - r - . , . i : . . . - = : : : a t e c . . i r r o u g h r i by bright sunshineand a dericate fragrancefilled the air. rn tne centre was a throne-shapedrock. Though ir had neither cushions occupant, knervit for the Bodhisattva,s nor I own and, kneeling, bo*'edmy ireadto the gleaming silversandat its foot.

gz

BoChisatna of Cornpassion

"s hallow" , \ ' / ha [ h a r-e th e s e d u a i i s ms to do w i th kno,uvl edge, rv is dom , unders ta n d i n e ? ' onc e I *' ent to l i s tc n to a l e c tu rc o n P u r e Land contempl ation by a f am ou s T ri p i ta k a M a s te r rv h o fi red me rvi th ambi i i on to v is ualis c s c e n e so f u n i m a g i n a b l e v a s tn e ss.Thi s, too, got me n owher e. Hav in g p a i n fu l l y b u i l r u p a h u g e and gi i tteri nf backg round ' : f im m e n s .:, h e a v i l y b e j e * ,e l l e d 1 r.., rnd l .k.i I ttuo to set iberur -'rearing images of rhe Three IIoly ones. No sooner had I started on Amitabha Buddha than rhe trackground slipped a t v ay ; s t ar r ing o n Ku a n Y i n B o d h i s a ttv a, I l ost A mi tdbha; starting on lvlahasthEma Bodhisattva, I lost Kuan yin. It was all beyond my power. only conceit hindered me from going back'to simple repetition of the sacred formula, whicf, my mother had never for one day abandoned. 'one night I dreamed of being shipwrecked, of clinging to a spar in a furiously raging sea.Mountainous waves curved about m e lik e wr it hing d ra g o n s u n ti l , a t l a s t, I w a s cast upon a shore o f unear t hly bea u ty . o v e rl o o k i n g th e ro c k y coasrrahi l l of turquoise rose from a forest of jade that was watered by foaming cascadesof nrilk-white purity. The wings of birds r.rd i.,r..,, h a d a jer . r elleds h e e n ; th e s p o tte d d e e r h a d coats of w hi te and crimson fur. FIow could I doubt that I had come upon the seag i r t par adis e, P o ta l a ? Aw e d , b u r j o y o u s , I cl i mbed sw i ftl y torvar ds t he c r c s r o f th e h i l i . 'I had been observed, for a young girl came running corvn the slope ro greer me. Her charming liitle feet seemeclscarcelv to t ouc h t he r oc k s o v c -rrv h i c h s h e s p e d . w h en she turned ani si gnalled m e r o fo l l o ri ' h e r, I h a d d i ffi c u l ty i n keepi ng up and was irked ro notice horv torn shc was between good hrrr.r.r, a n d an ur gc t o b u rs t c -ru l a u g h i n g . o n o u r r eachi ng the n:outh r o f a gr ear t ur qu o i s e c a .u ' e rn s h e ra n i n a n d soon di sappear" d , from vierr',,ieavrng rnc to foilor,r,as best I could. we had- come to t his plac e by s k i rti n g a l a k e o f g o l d -fl u c ked bl ue, an arm of rvhic h r an inr o r h e c a r-e ,i ts b i u e rv a re r h i d d en beneath masses o i pink and ii' hi te l o tu s . T h o u g h n o d i re c t s unl i ght penetratecl b c y ond r he elr ra n c c , th e c a v e w a s i l l u mi n ated as i hough by b right s uns ir ine a n d a c l e l i c a refra g ra n c e fi l l ed the ai r. In the ce nt r e was a th ro n e -s h a p e d ro c k . T h o u gh i t had nei ther cu s hionsnor oc c u p a n t, I k n e rv i t fo r th e Bo d hi sattva' s ow n ancl , kn eeling, bo*' ed my h e a d tc th e g l e a m i n g s i lver sand at i ts foot.

s 5 ' , . ' S u C d h i s{t : i n c e P to f K u a n Y : " t 9 3 As I did so, my name wac spokenby a voice as melodious as distinct and long the tinkling of jade ornaments'the syllables drawn out. "'Cheng-Li, when my vow was uttered many aeonsago, I thought I had made things simple. Why do you srriae?Let go ! The ivhole MahayanaCanon containsno greaterwisdom than giving." threwisdom of leiting go. This is also called d-ana, 'There calnea swJetly laugh, then silence.I knerv I ioyous \\,as now alonein that shining cave.Already the magicalcolours \\'erefading into porvder-finecoloured sparksttrat vanishedone by one. Darkness followed and, stretching out my hand, I brushed it againstthe gauzecurtains hung around my bed. .Now I hive done with sutrasand pious practices.Day and night I recite the Bodhisattva'ssacredname) reioicing.in the beauty of its sound. Not for me its recitation in multiples of a hundred and eight, asthough it were a duty. Does the runner its or courithis breaths the poet his words' or the streun ripples? why do you .rol You sentient beings who seek deliverance, When wrathlet go? When sad,let go of the causefor sadness. ful,"let go of the occasionof wrath. When covetousor iust-ful, let go olthe objectof desire.From moment to nloment, be free of setf.Where no self is, there can be no sorrow, no desire; no I to weepr rro I to lusr, no "being" to die or be reborn. The Whonl can they w,inds ofcircumstanceblow acrossemptiness. harm ?' Like many writings of this kind, it concluded with verses conveying the .rr.ni. of its meaning. I remember that the.v \\,ere 6ealtiful and made much of the magical setting the ringed rviih a gold-fleckedlotus pool, the turquoise mountain 'dragon-curving wav..es''. The io..rt of jade lea,resand the of poeticdescriptions this sort lendsitself to language Chinese and its *o,rorfllabic character saves the verses from being the qualities went on to epitomise heavyor ornat;. The verses and, at the or heart of cgmpassion ,pert;ining to e Bodhi-mind l i n e sa s : e n d . c a m es o m es u c h
Wrathful, banish thought of selfhood; Sad, let fall the cause of woe I Lus tfu l , s h e d l u s t' s m e n ta l o b i ect; V in a l l b Y s i m Pl Y l e tti n g g o '

94

Bodhisattva of Cornpassion

However, I am sure the original concluding verse was a great deai more arresting. Having received little personal instruction from Tripitaka Masters of the Pure Land School, I am not confident of having grasped the profound inner meaning of its teachrngs. I! does not do to conceive of Kuan Yin and her ?otala in the materialistic terms acceptable to the unlettered, who fully expect to be h o l d phy s ic al s plen d o u rs w h e n th e B o d h i s a ttv a, i n responsc to their frequent invocations, comes to succour them at the Rtoment of death; but nor should one treat the Pure Land sutras as rvholly allegorical, or suppose that the Pure Land practice is cf va lue only unt il t h c d e v o te e ' e n te rs th e P o ta l a' i n the sensc of re cognis ing it t o b e h ' i s o w n m i n d p u rg e d o f obscurati ons. O n e mu s t av oid an ov e r-ma te ri a l i s ti c c o n c e p t o n the one hand and a purely allegorical interpretation on the other. Were you to say that Kuan Yin and her Potala exist objectively, you would be scolded for talking nonsense; but claim that she is wholly a creation of your own mind and you will be taken to task for arrogance or laughingly reminded that the Bodhisattva existed a long time before you were born. Perhaps full understanding is a fruit not to be won without intensive Pure Land practice, forthere is certainly no logical solution to the riddle. A recent exposition of the main practice of the Pure Land Sect - sustained recitation of one of the devotional formulas is to be found in the writings of the Venerable Hsiian Hua, Abbot of Gold Mountain Monastery, San Francisco. It does not solve the riddle just discussed, for the Master was not eluci-' dating that point, but it does reveal that the purpose of reciting the sacred name is very different from that underlying most of the theistic practices with which it has been erroneously confused. Speaking of the recitation of Amitabha Buddha's namej h e sa y s : ' I f y ou m ai n ta i n y o u r re c i ta ti o n m o rn ing and ni ght without stopping, you may recite to the point that you do not know you are walking when you walk, you feel no thirst when you are thirsty, you experience no hunger when you are hungry, you do not know you are cold in freezing weather, and you do not feel warmth when -vou are warm. People anJ dhar mas (entities) are empry and you and Amitabha become one. "Amitabha Bu d d h a is m e and I a m Ami ta b h a Bu d d h a ." T he rw o cannot b e se par at ed. Rec it e s i n g l c -mi n d e d l y a n d s i n cerel y vri thout

t,

!
I

95 erroneous thoughts. Pay no attention to woridll- concerns. when you do not know the time and do nor kno\,\. the dav. r.ou may arrive at a miraculous state.' He also says: ,I)a]. andnfuht rve recite the Buddha's name and with each sound. rve thir* of Ar^ritabha. The phrase "Namo" means "homage". To rvhom are we paying homage? Ultimately we pay homsge rr-r ourselr.es! on the day when you entirely forget vourself, rhe Arnitabha of your own nature will appear.' These quotations l1ie of course applicable to the similar invocrtion offered to Kuan yin, n.hich m u st n o t be m is t ak en fo r a c ru d e e n d e a v o u r tc w i n a di vi ni n,' s livr:r.rr by flattery, but recognised as a po*'erful rechnio.r* io, Lranishing ego-born obscurations and coming face ro face tr-ith -Mind. Anorher illuminating saying by the same Tripiraka lvlaster ruRs: 'As I have told you many times, the Dharma-door of Buddha recitation is false, and so are (those o0 d1'ana (Zen) meditation and the Teaching School, the Vinaya .Discipline) Sehool end the Secret (Esoteric) School. you neecl r_rnly believe in it and false beeomes true; if you do not beliei-e, then the true becomes false. . . . Everything is created from rnind alone.' on the faee of it, this seems absurd. How can the false become true just by believing it ? Yet to the mystic it makes exceiient sense: for he recognises that any picture of what lies beyond the range of conceptual thought is bound to be too poor an approxinration to have intrinsic worth; therefore all ways of piituring the path and goal are of value only as convenienr sraid-ins for use until direct intuitive perception is attained. \-ierving the matter thus, one can ffrore easily understand wherein liei the effieaey of the rites for invoking Kuan yin. Yet, even should one concede this point in rclatic_rn recirato tion of the sacred name or of the Dharanr of Grear Compassion, ire may have difficulty in accepting whar is written in the Lotus Siltra and also in the sutra expounding that dhararu concerning Ku a n Yi n' s power t o sa v e b e i n g s fro m i n d i v i d u a i peri l s such as sh i p w r eek , f ir e, s t or m , w i l d b e a s ts ,d e v i l s a n d e r -en l i ti gati on. It must of eourse occur to orre that, were rhese po\i-ers real in a l i te ra l s ens t : ,t hen a s m a l l b o d y o f d e v o u t b e l i e v e rs, of w horn t h e re a re m any , ec uld h a v e s to p p e d th e J a p a n e se i rrvasi on of (-hirra or the subsequent advarrce of the Red Arnr..by causing \ r'L -a p o nso f all t o piec e s i n th e s o l d i e rs ' h a n d s ! S o, short of r

Some Buddhist Concepts of Ku,.zn yin

96

Bociisattaa

o1 ComPassion

rl

,';.

rejec t ing lhe c l a i m s m a c l ei n th o s e s u tra s ' o ne i s temptcd to seek s om e les : iir era l i n te rP re ta ti o n . Do t hos e br a v e g ' o rd s In e a n p e rh a p s th at cal l i ng upon K uan Y in wit h one- p c i n te d m i n d ma k e s o n e i mpervi ous to col d, i reat, hunger, lhrrsi, erc.) and leads to such total freedom from thc ' s elf, s u c h p e rt' e c r i c i e n ti fi c a ti on of the i ndi vi dual ' s b onls of in minci rvirh Mind, rhai litigarion and death by shipwreck a_ ? This a tiger's rnaw are to be ieared no mJre than dreams rat ionalis at ion i s c o n v e n i e n t, b u t i t d o e s not take account of t iier e har ing b e e n to o ma n v i n s ta n c e so f peopl e bei ng l i teral l y s av ed f r oin disa s t., i n th e n i c k o f ti m e b y cal l i ng on K uan Y i n for one to be able to discount them all as fabrications' What then? Can it be that absolute faith coniures from within oncself such po*-erful reserves in the face of danger that seemingly miracuious escapesdo in fact occur; or is something more myst er ious , E ! or e ' m a g i c a l ' i n v o l v e d ? Personally I like to think that the inner purport of th-e,passages abour-Knttt Yin's saving powers may be, in part, as iollows' Sustaine,J contemplation of the Bodhisattva as the embodiment' of pure ccmpassion inevitably affectsthe devotee's whole being' Seet<ing rro ,drr"rrtages for himself, Celighting to put himself /ays out for others when urged to do so' he comes in some \ [ o r es em ble t h e T a o i s t tu g .t o f o l d - me n so ungreedy, so easi i y satisfied u-ith simple ioys, so loath to take oflence or put themselves fonvard unless pressed, so far removed from every kind of aggr es s iv e b e h a i ' i o u r a n d fa c ti o n a l i sm that they rverc abl c A , o pr t r t heir l i v e s i n s e re n eo b s c u ri t-r-. tt racti l l g no un' uvel corn at t ent ior : = t io m ro b b e rs , g o y e rn me n t a u t hori ti es or pol i cemen) m a k i n g ; : o e n e m i e s ,h a r b o l r i n g n o g r u d g e s - i n s h o r t , c a t r s i n g not t he i: as t o ffe n c e to h u m a n s , a n i m a ls or ghosts, thcy l i vecl f r om da1- t o d a 1 ' u n tro u b l e d b y s a v a g ebeasts or extorti oncrs, a s af ef r oE r he p ri s o n e r' s Irra n a c l e s n d s tr angersto the gl i tteri ng ' Immortal s e x e c u ti o n e r' S s n ' o rd . T h e s c w ere the hor r O r o: r he , , r - homic = - c o u l d n o t fre e z e n o r s u n b e a ms scorch' . C al ami ti es rarely it- er.er carne their wat'. But r,vhether this interpretation presents :t:Iore than a fraction of the Sutras' truc mcaning, I do not knori-. In a commentary on the Dharani Sutra, the Venerable Hsiian Hua relares a typiial srory of Kuan Yin's saving power. A cerr ain der - t , . . o f h .rt w a s p a s s i n g th e n i g ht at an i nn w here the

Some Buddhist Concepts of Kuan Yin

97

landlord rvas in the habit of administering drugged wine ro rhe rvayfarers who sought his hospitality and stealing into their rooms by night to rob and even murder them. This particular guestr however, was too faithful a Buddhist to touch wine; nor bcing drugged, he awoke to find the landlord advancing upon him knife upraised; but at that very moment came a heavy tianging at the front door. Hurriedly withdrawing, the iandlord opened up to find a burly policernan-like individual wiro polit ely as k e d h i m to c o n v e y to o n e o f h i s guests-the very one he had been on tlte point of murdering - that an old friend of such-and-such a name desired him to drop by in the morning. 'I-rernblingly discarding his fell intention, he delivered this .message soon after it was llght. The wayfarer, though he gave no sign, had no difficulty in recognising the syllables cf the visitor's 'name' as a quotation from the Dhdranr of Great Compassion. In other words, the policeman-like individual had either been Kuan Yin herself or a being sent by her to prorecr a good man rvho had long madc a practice of reciring that dh5ranT! Thar the Venerable Hsiian Hua should in one place equare the celestial Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with the devotee's pwn mind and in another relate a factual srory of Kuan Yin's saving power rvell illustrates the difficulty of arriving at a satisfactory c onc ept ion o f th e n a tu re o f th o s e c e l e sti al bei ngs.

FF
lLl :

'-+

--t

Chapter 6

Rites Sacred
T.he nrysterLeztsotntd o{ Kttatt Yirt's ltattttl I s h o l y l i k e t l z e o c c e n t ' si l n u t c l c r I{o orlzcr like ir irt rhe z.'itrltl.l [-trtus Sutrl

During my early yearsin China, I once journeyeddou'n the vesselmuch on River, having taken passage a w'ooden Cassia largerthan a sampanbut not so large as to be properly called a junk. On the first part of the trip the sailsu'eremostly furled, little canvas beingneededto carry it through thoseswift \4raters. the lying alongthe gunwales either side. to still fess greatsweeps The powerful current had becn a curseand was now a blessing to the crew (a grandfather, two sons,their wivesand severai his children) for, old and young, they had performed the up-river journey trudging doggedlyalongthe slipperybank, bodiesbent double as they hauled at the ropes harnessing them like draughrl-horses their boat. Setting out from Kweilin b1' to moonlight, we arvoketo find ourselvesamidst the weird beaut-v of Yang Su's grotesquelyconvoluted mountains, of wtrich a proverb says:'Though Krveilin'sscenery unequalled Chinese is in this world, Yang Su's is even better', which may be taken to imply that Yang Su is part of heaven.If so, then heavenis a place very well worth visiting. Among my fellow-passengers a black-gowned, was shavenheaded, *izened little personwho lookedso wisethat one might easilysuppose him a greatTripitaka Master ratherthan an ordi* nary monk. Inspired by this man'scharm and the magicof those extraordinary surroundings,I spoketo him freely of the affinity that had drawn me to Kuan Yin. mv doubts about the claims

l 1r I
t

S.2.''.--i Riics

gg

a..

rnad e i n som e of t he r e x rs re c i te d i n h e r h o n o u r a ; :i mr. Lrei no : 'afi l e cib 1 ' t he v ar y ing a c c o u n ts o f h e r tru c n a tu .-. u" r:i " ;-i i .-: : c n e d a t r e n r i v e i y ,h e r e p l i e d : .\'o u th ink t oo r nuc h .' T h e n , i ro l d i n g u p a l o tus i l o* .er hc had picked at darvnfor his de'orions, he ex.laimcd: -Kuan \-i. rs here in ti'ont of vour nose. Smell !' -I-hough he said no more on the subiccr. I rcc,.::trscd rhar t ) iltl scl l tcnc e as t he m ost i m p rc s s i v c s e rn to n I i ra .i -.-.. hcai * 1 l 'l-h a t th c f r . ' s hnes sar is i n g i n th c c a rl t' n r,--.,rn i nfrc ,::: Jc* . i r.i rg g h c a v i l l ' u p c r n t h c g i a n t l e a v c sc a r p c t i n g a l t t t u s p , . : : j i s Kuar1 \ ' i n ' s f r a g r a n c e ,o r t h a t t h c l o t u s - s p o t l e s s p . , u r i t i . , - : i s i n s irom t i - r c t i d ' r u t i - i s p r e - e m i n c - n t l yh e r s y m b o i . h a d . t . , i . L i ,rr.. es mu ch as enr er ed his h e a d . Q u i te s i m p l r. h e h a c toi c mq. that, in o rd e r to k no' r her , I s h o r.rl d i e l d m ' * -h o i e h rci ^rgro Ji r,_,ct y r x p c r i e n c c ) r o t h e s a c r e dr i t e s , f o r e x a m p l e , t o t h e c h a n t i n g of rhose p a ss ages doubt e d , to th e s o n o ro u s c l a .g c l f rronze.-rhc I st a cca tothr ob of t he u' o o d e n -fi s h d ru m, th e g o l d e n ca;rdl e-l i ght playing upon her image and z,uhateuer else night rn,itti_f;stiii;ct.f t o a mi n d pr oper ly r ec e p ti v e ; i f a l l o w e d to i v o rk rh.i i r magi c unimp e d ed. t hes c u' ou l d b e s t re v e a l th e B o d h i sart' a' s reat natu re . His advice recurred to me through the 1'earsas oF.\portunities for follo*'ing it arose. Now and then, ,i-h.r, left'ro ,r* or.l' devi ce s i n s om e hous e w h e re I r.l ,a s g u e s t, I w o u i,l bc .struck a b}'a su d d e n int im at ion o f Ku a n y i n ' s p re s e n c e a n d kno* - ri -i thou.t looking that, behind a screen or in some recess or corner partly concealed from the rest of the room, stood a shrine to her. Pe rh aps it would p ro v e to b e a tri fl i n g a ffa i r-i ust a foot_ *'ide altar-shelf or a glass and blackwood .rbi.r.t no larger than a fair-sized tea caddy containing a small srarue of her in sno*r, porce l a i n , a m iniat ur e i n c e n s e -b u rn e r, a p a i r o f t:n1. candl esticks and a couple of little flo\^,er-\,ases match. i,o*-ers and ro a ferv prettv trifles reminiscent of the sea such zS t-rrrarnnts of 'pca rl o r c or al. E v en if s mo k e \r,e res ti l l a ri s i n g fro m an i ncense st ick l i t fo r m or ning or e v e n i n g d e v o ti o n s , I i v o u l c kncrr- thar t ha. l 'a s not t he r eas on fo r my a p p re h e n s i o n o f i i c i presence, sinceh o u se- s hr inesm ay c c n ta i n a l i k e n e s so f a n v o n c of chi na' s inn u me ra bie deit ies an d y e t a ro u s e n o s e n s e o f a broodi ng prcsence A t t i m e s t h e e x p e r i e n c ew o u l d b e s o p o r r . e r f u l i h : : . h a c s h e

r oo

Bodhi.s;ma

of Cornpassion

s u d d e n l y 'r r a r e r i a l i s e d , I w o u l d h a v c d e e m e d t h a t a l m o s t l e s s : : - : : = : : - o u : : r a n r h e f a c t o f h e r a c t u a l l yb c i n g t h e r e a n d y e t n o t ; : . l a : . e t o - 1 i v s e n s e s .T h i s o c c u r r e d m o r e t h a n o n c c d u r i n g =-'..'.':sitso piacesknorvn as 'halls of virtue'-a grcat feature : : : 5 o u r h C h i n a . S e r v i n g o c c a s i o n a l l ya s h o m e s f o r t h e a g c d , b ut m or e of r en a s d w e l l i n g s fo r c o m m u n i ti e s of men or w omen living in ser,ri-retirement from the s'orld, rhey were to be found rn t he s ubr r r bs o f m a n v c i ti e s , a s th e y a re ro thi s day i n rhose p ar t s of S c ' ut he a s tAs i a rv i th l a rg e C h i n e s e communi ti es. one com es upon an o rn a m e n ta l g a te w a y g i v i n g access to some pleasant spor rvhere upw'ard-sweeping roofs peep frorn among a grove of trees. They are in fact small temples backed by courtyards rvith dormitories or rows of cell-like rooms occupied by recJuseswho may be dressed in sober monastic gowns. one's sense of Kuan Yin's acrual presence has nothing to do with the appearance ciher shrine or the architectural features of the surroundings, because very similar places may give one the feeling that she is nor and has never been there; she is dra',vn, I think, by the purity of the inmares, their unassuming simplicity, their endeavours to live compassionately thinking no harm to the smallest insecr let alone eating animal flesh, and the gentleness of their ways ro one anorher and all about them. one has but to look into their eyes to know the fruits of devotion to Kuan Yin. This attirude of joyous devotion is also prevalent in Japan, where Kuan Yin Bodhisattva goes by the name of Kwannonsama. My favourite memories of a recenr visit to rhar country are of bands of pilgrims plodding on foot from one holy place to anot her in a p l e a s a n tl y w o o d e d , m o u n ta inous regi on..Thei r rvhite pilgrim surcoats gleamed like patches of snow against the sombre green of giant pines and cedars towering above a gre)f e xpans e of m as s i v e c u rv i n g ro o fs . In th ose sol i tary pl aces, except for th.- ;ries of birds or the soothing sound of water rumbling down a slope, a marvellous stillnessreigns-a stillness made all t he m o re i m p re s s i v e b y c o n tra s r wi th the occasi onal boom of an age-green temple bell cf vast proportions. But v-rith the pilgrims comes a sudden spare of cheerful noise - shuffiing foot-falls, the thud of pilgrim staves upon rhe rugged path, the rinkle of the bells they carry suspended from their garmenrs and the laughing charter of simple folk who feel pcrfectly

R Sacred ii;-, ::: that every stepof'the way bringsthem nearerto rebirth assured Pure Land. The in Amida (Amitabha)'sor Kwannon-sama's in tiny fragments joyful serenityof their faith is often expressed of rotrg known as waka, which are longer than haiku but iust in songs honour TheseincludeSome allusions. asrichln delicate which the appropriateone is sung on of of Krvannon-suna, arrival at eachof thirty-threetemplescontainingnotableimages For example: of that Bodhisattva. 'The spirit wishing for the next life may be light. lllor so the Buddha's pledge,firm as a rocky mountain.' or 'Having left our native placeand come at last to this Kimiyedera temple,how closearewe now to the Capital!' lwhereinthe in signifuing Kyoto, meQns fact the last utord, though seemingly will surely lead theml Kwannon-sama Pure Land to which bY Another oithese little songsimpliesthat Kwannon-sama, provides pilgraciously transforming ordinary appearances' It runs: of [rims wiifr a foretaste the beautyof her Pure Land. 'Looking againthis morning, I realised wasbut morning dew it just like upon the rnossin this Oka-deratemple garden it rvas
shining: c4rstaT !'

to Yet another, addressed Jundei-one of the many-armed absoluteconviction of the forms of Krvannon-sama stresses reliability of her vow to deliverall beings,no matter what their failings: 'Howevergreatour loadof evil karma,it surelycan be remedied by prayer-so firm this Jundei Hall!' I am sureJapancontainsmany erudite Buddhistswho shdre of the more subtle Chineseinterpretations l(uan Yin's nature) but I know too little of them to be ableto adduceasmanv comin parisonswith the Bodhisattva'sdevotees China as I could wish. To witness a full-scaleperformanceof Kuan Yin's rites, it is best to visit a large temple, whether in China or Japan or

ro2

Bodhisatrua of Cornpassion

one of the neighbouring countries, during any of three grear annual festivals which fall respectively on the ninereenthd", of the second, sixth and ninth l.,nar months. First .o-., h., 'birthday' (a surprising tern when one reflects that she is not .r historical personage but born of a ray of light issuing f.om Amitabha Buddha's eye) I next comes the feast..celebrar[rg hcr vo w to r er ounc e Nirv a n a ' s fi n a l p e a c e * ' h i l c a n y bei ngssti i l * 'a n d e r in s am s ar a' sr .o u n d ; a n d th e n fo l l o * ,s th e i ' eastcJebra_ ti n g h r- r as s ' r m pt ior ro f Bo d h i s a th ' a h o o d . o n c e I w as fortunatc e n o u g h r o u' it nes s s u c h a fe s ri i -a la t a l a rg e te mpl e on the sea_ e o a sr i n t he v ieinit l' o f A m o l ' , a p l a c e i v i th th . .rr.r" l l ovel v ch i 'e sc *of s but no ta b l c fo r r,r' a l l s u i l t o f re c l bri ck b i nsteai . 'f g re '1' c leanlines s b .-' i n gc o n s i d ere d a n e s s e n ti al .o.,rr,..p* , of i n n e r pur ir v , t he H a i l o f th e T h rc e Bu d d h a s a nd the speci al sh ri n e to K uan Y in ha d re c e i v e d _ r.,+ a s w e e p i n g and a scouri ng that not a speck of dust \4'asto be found trrere. Moreover, th'c l!.tr and lay-re:iuses u'ho had come in from round about to jo i n th e m onk s . in c el e b ra ti n g th e fe s ti v a l h a d m a de a poi nt of taking a rituai bath - but 'u'hether or not in the ,.", I do not re me mb er . when the time came for the great evening rite, candles blazgd, clouds of perfumed smoke rose from a dozen censers di sp o se d t hr oughout th e p u b ri c p a rrs o f th e te m pl e, and the altars were decked r'irh a rich profusion of fruit ,rri flo*,.rr. Those takjng part beronged to forrr separare communities rnonks wirh jade-clasped kasa (togas) of brown silk or fine cloth woin over full-sleeved go*'ns of black cotton in a fashion thar recalled the yellow robes \l'orn by Buddhist monks in tropic"l countries; nuns' also sha'en-headed and in black robei uut witt discernible hints of gleaming *'hite under-jackets at throat and s l e e ve s ,an unwont ed s m a rtn e s s a p p ro p ri a tc to the r:rccasi on: fernale reelusesin ecremonial robes oipt"i' white; ,.0 "-rJ-rry q q o n l e l ik e m y s elf , d re s s e d fo r rh e mo s t p a rr i n tradi ti o,ral ch i n e se s ilk en gowns, b u t n o r ri .i th o u t ,,p ri rrk ti n g of -.n i ' w e sre rn - s t y le s uit s , A i l b u t th i s ra s t g ro u p h " d c e ri ai " l t;;; fied rhemselves not merely bl' abruti6ns, but arso by a period of siient conrerrrplation to-banish *,orldiy rhoughts and every orher kind of thought extraneous ro the iit"r. T:he app.rrrrr.L o f th e whole as s em bly w a s c l e a n a n d ri c h l y s o mb re, ,her. t,.i " g n o o ste R t at ion of anv k i n d .

J'.2.'r.'.iRrrc.t I 03 Summoned by the thunder of a gianr ,.jrum. : r i d e ' o t-u. s ce \ \'e n t to t heir appoin te d p l a c e s , mo n k s o n th e :l ghr oi a s s e m b l y$ ' i t h t h e o r d i n a r l ' l a y m e n b e h i n d t h e m . ituns on the left b a c k ed by t he r v h i te -g o w n e d re c l u s e s . E a c h . trn reachi ng h i s kn e eling c us hion, fe l l th ri c e to h i s k n e c ,sro u cni ng head to t h e g ro u nd; and, .when a s i g n a rra n g o u t frtrm rh e b r..nze sound_ ing -b o * 'I , t his t r iple ob e i s a n c ew a s re p e a rc d i n u n is..r-,. ,o.rgi , fi a t i e a st tr ' o hundr ed p e o p l e to o k p a rt a .d th e tr L.ei sance s a i complicated one) their movements \\'r.rc bcaurriuli' s'n_ c h ro n i sed t o ac c or d *' ith s i g n a l sm a d c b r s c ' c r' f f i ,ri . .-,t-* .,r, Lrr.rcussio'insrrume't. so in daysg'ne br. irad th.. nra.tlari's p ro stra tc d t her ns el' c s b c fo re th e So . o f i -i " n r.* r-, :... i hc tl a* .' lcvec in thc Forbidden Citv. Nor' a s\r'rct and_ ling_eringnote was srruck; t,_iir.. tirr.L.,,ofarl crl .rr nous r v oodc n -fi s h d ru m th e i ' c c ' s c p rirri l arL)se. r 'l cmn suc c es s ionof lo n g * d ra w n c a d e n c e s,r,o .., , l rr,.i ' rr-rrr, a , c h a n t a n d y e t n o t q u i t e a s o n g . A d d r e s s e dn o t : o K,ran yin but r o th e Dhar nr a Lor d (th e B u d d h a ), i t p l a c ,:< 1 th e i i rcs i n thei r pro p e r pc r s pec r iv e; f or , to h e r B u d d h i s t fo l l o rv e rs e r l casr. K uan Yin is not the central deity of a scparate cuh antl hr,r ,,;o;;hi; " w i th c o n fo rms in all r es pe c ts th e te a .h i .,g practi ce of Ma h a ya na B uddhis nr . "ni Excellent fragrance, Glorving in the nrecious tripoci, P er nr eat est he u n i v e rs e , An offering to the Dharma Lortl. M r y he' bles s e d l y e n d u re F or as long a s s k y a n d e a rth s h a l l l a s r ! M ay he bles s e d l y e n d u re F or as long a s s k y a n d e a rrh s h a l l l a s t I Hail t o t he Bo d h i s a trv a s I J or ne upon t h e s e p e rfu me d c l o u d s J 'fhc effulgence of holiness ancl virrue M ay be lik en e d to th e s e s p re a d i n g c l o u d s. - ' I - hr = B odhi- M i n d , i mme a s u ra b l v u " rt, S pr eads f or t h i ts s h i n i n g fi l a m e n ts . W e pay r ev er e n c e to th e D h a rma L o rd . P r ay ing t hat a l l ma y b e a u s p i c i o u s .
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Bodhisi.:tnva Compassicvt oJ I{ail to the Bodhisarrvas \\'ichin this canopy of perftimeclclouds!

At various stagesof the rites came other chants conducive to the stareof mind rvhich they were intendedto promote.poss_ ibly they included a curious iittle paeonconsisting of ten brief cjaculationsused with mantric forte to make iiopr.t at the level bey;rnddiscursi'e thought, eachconsisting(in "., ihe originar ehinese) of from rr1'oro four rersesvilables: Kuan Shih yin ! Hail, BuddhaI In him, a cause ! In him, an outcome! Buddha-Dharma_Sangtraoutcome! Lasring joy, ego cleansed ! Morning, think Kuan yin ! Ever.ing, think Kuan yin ! Each call from mind ! No call not mind-born ! clearly' one ;oald dra*' somekind of con^rected meaning from theseejacula:ions, it rvouldbe ludicro"rry but i.r.pt and convey no idea of rhe effect ar rvhich rhe word, aimed. P19sentl1' ".. silencefell and the assembly made ready. recire . ro the P'u Men chapter of the Lotus Sitra, *'hich everyone surel,rkne*' by heart as it is custornary devotees for to recite it every da1'of their li"'es.Firsr comesa sectionin prose which relates ho*'rhe Bochisa.ttva .\ksayamarimarle a foimar enquirv about Kuan Yin's saving powers) co rvhich the Buddha replied at length'Nexr Aksayamati recites somestanzas rvhichsummarise bolh his quesrionand the Bressed one's ,.prv. As the p*r. and 'erse sections co'er more or lessthe samegrouncr,I shall giveonly the ';'.-15* portion here,having translate.i f.o. Tripiit taka }laster Kumhra;T'a'schinese ti"o..r.rg of the original sanskrit, made in the third cen:ury AD. In monosyilabic chinese, the lines contain oni1, five syllabres each; recired rhythmicalll' and rapidly with great fervour, they produce a T".-! ''ors porverful effect than can be hoped for from the English version.The c-erie sounds beating.rpo' the ear, the

Sacred' Rite:

r c-i

brillianr Iigirts ,lpon the altar fadirrg into flickering shadows beneath a lofty roof and the heav-vodour of flowers and incense combine to create a rnagical atnrosphere in rvhich the miracles recited appear more credible. Towards the end, the rhyrhm quickens and, when the passagecommencing'True I(uan yin ! Pure Kuan Yin !' is reached, it changes from five equal beats to a r apid - - llt t u -w h i c h h a s a th ri l l i n g sound w henpoundei upon a grear block of carved and lacquered wood that gives forth a deep, hollow resonance. As rhe short lines with a strongly marked caesurastill follow in rapid succession,there is a feeling of mounting ecstasy: World-Honoured Lord and Perfecr One, I pray thee now declare Wherefore this holy Bodhisar Is known as Kuan Shih Yin? To this the Perfect One replied B y u tte ri n g th i s s o n g : The echoes of her holy deeds Resound throughour rhe world. So vast and deep the vows she made When, after countless aeons Of serving hosts of Perfect Ones, S he v o i c e d h e r p u re d e s i re (To liberate affiicted beings). Now hearken to rvhat came of it T o h e a r h e r n a m e o r s e e h e r fo rm. Or fervently recite her narne Deliv e rs b e i n g s fro m e v e ry w o e . W er e y o u w i th mu rd e ro u s i n re n t Thrust rvithin a fiery furnace, O ne th o u g h t o f Ku a n Yi n ' s s a vi ng pow er Vould turn those flames to \\'?tc-r ! Were you adrift upon the sea With dragon-fish and fiends around you, One thought of Kuan Yin's saving Dower Would spare you from the hungry waves.

'

ll !

{
I

r 05

Bodhisatna of Contpassion
S uppos e f r om M o u n t S u m e ru ' s p e a k Some enemy should cast you down, One thought of Kuan Yin's saving pow'er A nd s un- lik e y o u w o u l d s ta n d i n s p a c e . \ \ ' er e y ou pur s u e d b v e v i l m e n A nd c r us hed a g a i n s t th c Iro n M o u n ra i n ,

er ?l: ::?r-:ft*:l: J':: .'j"Jrg-io\4

\\ ' er e y ou am id s t a b a n d o f th i e v e s , Their c r uel k ni v e s n o rv ra i s e d to s l a y , One thought of Kuan Yin's saving po\4/er A nd pit y m us t re s tra i n th e i r b l o w s . Suppose the King now wroth r.vith you, -f he t r eads m an ' ss u ' o rd u p ra i s e d to s tri k e , O ne t hought o f Ku a n Yi n ' s s a v i n g p o w e r \\:ould dash rhe su'ord to pieces.
I

Wer e y ou c lose p e n t b y p ri s o n w a l l s , Your wr is t s an d a n k l e s b o u n d rv i th c h a i n s, O ne t hought o f K u a n Y i n ' s s a v i n g p o \\' e r \\ r ould ins t ant l i ' p ro c u re re l e a s e . Had y ou im bib e d s o m e fa ta l d ra u g h t And lay nou' at the point of death, O ne t hought o f K u a n Yi n ' s s a v i n g p o w e r W ould nullif y i ts p o i s o n . W er e y ou bes e t b y ra k s a -fi e n d s O r nox ious dr a g o n s , g i b b e ri n g d e m o n s , O ne t hc ught o f K u a n Y i n ' s s a v i n g p o w e r And none would dare offend vou. D id s av agebea s ts p re s s a l l a ro u n d With fearful fangs, ferocious claw's, One t hought o f Ku a n Yi n ' s s a v i n g p o w e r V/ ould s end t h e m h e l te r-s k e l te r.

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t
i

Scrir';.i Rrri.r S hould s er pe n rs l i e a th u ,a rr ),o u r p a rh E x haling noxi o u s s rn o k e a n d fl a m c . t hought o f Ku a n y i n ' s s a r i n g p o \\ c ,f 91. W ould m ak e th e m v a n i s h fa s t a s s o u n d . S hould r hund e r ro l l a n d l i g h tn i n g fl a s h . O r t ear s om e r a i n s c o mc h i s s i n g ..l o ri .r.r. O nr - .t houghr o f Ku a n y i n ' s ," i ,i ,.,g ii f-)L )\ \ W o u l d s t r a i g h r r v a yl u l l t h c s r o r m . T hough hr ein g so p p rc .s s e db r- k a rm i c \\.,.rr.r E,ndure innume--rabl sorr..,rr..r, e Kuan Yin's miraculous perccprion I lnables hc r ro p u rg e th e m a l l . I m t r ued wit h s u p e rn a ru ra l p o u ,e r A nd wis e in :-rs i n gs k i rfu l m e a n s . In every eorner of the world S he m anif es t s h e r c o u rrtl e s sfo rms . N o m at t er wh a t b l a c k e v i l s E a rh c r_ Yf " , hell- s pa w n e d d e mo rrr, s a v a g e b e a srs. W her ills of b i rth , a g e , s i c k n e s s )d e a th . K uan Y in will o n e b y o n c d e s rro ! rh c -m True Kuan Yin ! pure Kuan yin I Im m eas ur ably w i s e Ku a n y i n ! M er eif ul and fi l l e d w i th p i ry , Ever ronged-for and r.rrer.d ! O Radiance sporless and effulgent I O night - dis pel l i n g Su n o f \X ri i c i o mI O Vanquisher of storm and flame I Your glory fills the world ! Y our pit y is a s h i e l d fro m l i g h rn i n g , Your c om pas s i o n fo rms a w o n d ro u s c l o u ,j Whic h, r ainir -rgd o w n th e D h a rma * n e c ri i r . Ex t inguis hc s r h c fl a m e s o f rv o c .

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Bodhisatn'e of Compassion f ' o t hos e en m e s h e d i n l i ti g a ti o n Or trembiing in the midst of hosts T her e c or ne s th e th o u g h t o f Ku a n Yi n 's po\ver, W her eat ail h a rre d i s d i s p e rs e d . T h' ; m y s t er i o u s s o u n d o f Ku a n Yi n ' s n ame I s h o l y l i k e t h c -o c e a n ' s t h u n d e r No ot her - lik c i t i n th e rv o rl d ! A nc l t h. c r . ' t b re s h o u l d rv e s p e a k i t o fte n. Call upon it , n e v e r d o u b ti n g , Kuan Shlh Yin-sound pure and holy; 'fo thosc u'ho stand in mortal fear A neve:-*'avering support. To the perfection of her merits, T o t he c c nn p a s s i o ni n h e r g l a n c e , T o t he innn i tu d e o f h e r b l e s s i n g s , W or s hipping , rv e b o w o u r h e a d s!

Even more irnpressive \l,as the recitation of the Dharanr of Gre a t Com pas s ion th a t fo l l o w e d u p o n th e c h a n ti ng of the sutra. Kn o w n in Chines e a s th e T a Pe i C h o u , i t i s a m antri c utterance a n d h eld t o be t he m o s t p o * ' e rfu l me a n s o f i n v o ki ng K uan Y i n. L i ke a llm ant r as . it yi e l d s v e ry l i ttl e c o n n e c te dverbal senseeven i n th e or iginal S an s k ri t a n d n o n e a t a l l i n th e C hi nese transl i te ra t ion of t he s v l l a b l e s- o r, a r l e a s r, n o n e p e rcepti bl e ro the va st major it y of iir o s e rv h o re c i te i t. T h e Ve n e rabl e H si an H ua h a si n f a c t e x t r a c t e l a m e a n i n g f r o m e v e r v c h a r a c t e r ,b u t p c r h a p s t o b e t a k e n a s a l i s t o f p s - v c h i co r 1 ' o g i c c o r r e s p o n d c n c e s rather than as a iranslation. The apparent meaninglcssnesof s th e so unds is held to e n h a n c e ra th e r th a n d e tr act fror,r a rnantra 's p o\ \ ' er , s in: e r e c i ti n g m a n tra s l e a d th e m i nd to an cxal tcd l e ve l bey ond c onc e p tu a l th o u g h t a t w ,h i c h . rvere one to be o ccu pied r v it h m ea n i n g , th e s o n o ro u s s y l l a b l e s i nstead of promo ti n g objec t les s a w a re n e s s w o u l d s ta n d i n the w ay of i ts attainment. T.'ie Sanskr't text that follows here is Dr Suzuki's re co n s t r uc t ior i oi t h e l o s t o ri g i n a l fro m th e C h i nese transl i teration:

Sacred Rites r09 bodhisattNamo rarna-trayaya namah arya avalokiteivardya Sudhanatasya ory sabalavati mahakarunikaya rayr mahasattvdya namo riilakaf',ram -kfl vanim'arydry a avalokit J3vara lar.ntabha nama "s upheryasiyulnsarvasada rimatr.put.Srmi sarvatodhuS it a S tadyatha or.ndvaloki lokate kalati elili mahdthug, mabhatetu guru boclhisattvasabho sabho mara mara mabi maSiridhayum dhara dhara guru gamam ,.ri., turu bhaSiyati mahd bhaSiyati edhyehi Sina IniiiAi ivaraya iala iala mama bhamara mudhili hulu hulu pra lina elai;im bhaiaiari bhaia bhalim bharaSaya budhaya hulu hulu ,ri sara sara siri siri suru suru budhi budhi -u"Jfr"vr sitaya trilarana bhayamaTasvdhd. maitriye nrlakantha svdhd svahanrlakaqghi Svaraya sv6hamaha sitayasvih6 siiayaye svdhdsarvamahd astayasvdhd pranita svdha3n sidha mukhaya paqlalaya cakra asrayasv6ha padma ke3aya svah6 nllakarthe ttt*4 lty' svdhamobholi3""trr"v. svahSnamo ratna-traydya t.raha or.nsidhyantu mantra patayesv6hd lsvaraya avalok-ita under so powerful is this dhdranr, especiallyrvhen recited describing,that one's consuch circumst"r.., as those I arn sound, soars sciousness,borne aloft by the flow of mantric luminosity. Its effect that uprvards to a sphere of marvellous assertin .i.ni"g made ii easyto believethe passage the sutras it Bodhisattva Kuan Yi', fi'st pronouned ing that, when the devas, before the Buddha and his entourage of Bodhisanvas, whole earth humans, celestial creatures and ipirits, the trembled ThehighpointofKuanYin'sfestival,however'wastheinfrcm rituals of vocarionof her name)a practicenever omitted ranks before the altar, the thar kind. Standing in serried Yin P'u-Sa (Hail assemblyUegan,o Jh.nt NarnoKuan Shih and over again' to Kuan shih Yin Bodhisattva)in unisorlover graduallyquickened' starting at a slow and solemr,,.*po that chiming to-a note struck upon some Sweet-voiced In response and ordi:rary instrument, monks, nuns, rvhite-clad recluses their placesto forrr^a single laymen in that order slipped_from coiling and file for .irc.rm"*bulation. Like a great serpent file wound its way about the recoiling .tpo., iitelf, the long the temple hall, sometimes ci'cling th9 altar' sometimes the Presently starues behind it, always turni"ng clockwjse. r"biJ that the pattir of cloth-soled feet all but rhythm grew r.

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Bodhisatna

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changed to a run, at u'hich point the wording of the chant was shortened to a rerse and urgent Kuan Yin P'u-Sa, Kuan Yin P 'u -5 a .. . . F r om t he f ac e so f th e d e v o re e s ,I j u d g e d that many ,,\/ere expcriencing a manifestation of the Bodhisatn'a in their m ind s. Th en c am e anot h e r s w e e t c h i m e , rv h e re a tth e serpenti ne line d i mi n is hed as , one b y o n e , th e m e m b e rs o f each group s lip p c'<--l k t o t heir lo rm c r p l a c c s . T h e c h a n t, m ounti ng to b ac a cre sce ndo,c eas edabr u p tl y a mi d s t a s i l e n c e l o u d enough to hca r. \\/h o eould s ay in h o w ma n y o f th o s e p re s e nt ego-born t lel u si o n h ad giv en wr v to a g l o u ' i n g s c rc n i ty , a s tate of keen bur n b j t---; t les s awar c nes sa s th o u g h a b ri l l i a n t ra y w ere shi ni ng out u F.l n e v as t c x pal1s ,? f s u o rr' ? o S tra ri g e ly , E o o- r her p ra c ti c e rv i th i n th c e n ti re range of nretlrods for arousing pra:jira (supremc wisdom) has received rueh a h o s t ile r ec epr iorr i n rh e W e s t a s th i s o n e , despi te the \l'arm aeclaim of the Ctr'an (.Zen) Masters and Tibetan Lamas r rh o m so m any V es t er ne rs re v e re . S o m e h o u ' i ts i m m ense yogi c r, a l u c h a s es c apedt hem . Bu t w h y I Id e a l l y o n e w o ul d suppose rhat e h i l d r c n of t he W e s t, w e l l tra i n e d i n m a k i n g a sci enti fi c appro a ch t o t he s t udy o f n e w s u b j e c ts , u ' o u l d b e eager to exp e ri me nt wit h allt hey o g i c m e th o d s ta u g h t i n th e East, i nstead of ru sh i n g t o c onc lus ion s a n d v o c i fe ro u s l v e x to l l i n g some w hi l e rcj e cti n g o t her s wit hout tri a l . It i s tru e, howev er , t h a t i n th e F a r E a s te rn c o u n tri es w here t he va l u e of s uc h y ogic re c i ta ti o n s i s fu l l y a c c e p te d, opi ni ons as to how, why and under rvhat conditions the practice is effecti"'c differ widely. For example, in China it is generally (though not universally) supposed that invocation of the sacred name, unless accompanied by at least a firm determination to cultivate compassion and, above all, to avoid causing pain or suffering to cthers, will nor be effective I whereas in Japan there arc num b e rs o f dev c t ees be l o n g i n g to o n e o r a n o th e r of the P ure Land se ct s t her e r v ho ho i d th a t th e y o g a o w e s i ts p o w er sol el y t o th e va s t m er it of A m it a b h a ts u d d h a o r Ku a n Yi n , as the case mav be, from which it follor.r's that the moral srate of the devotee is irn ma te r ial. T hat t his v i e rv i s s o m e ti rn e sh e l d e v en i n C hi na is iliustrated by the follou'ing curious story, r,r'hichwas told me not long ago by a Tairvan official during a visit to Bangkok. ' As a child i was deep l y a tta c h c d to m v m o th e r, rvho easi l y p c r s u a d e dm e t o r e c i t c K u a n Y i n ' s h o l v n a m c h u n d r e d s o f t i m e s

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o\.eratdau,nandsunset,aSwellasduringidlemornentSatany r im e o f d a y. I did it not o n l y to p l e a s e h e r, b u t b e c a use I took ior granted that anything she recommended musr t'e excellent. Shewasarr'onderfulperson,bothaswifeandmothel.Though -.hchad adored my father during the tu'enrv years or so of their marriage n'ith a love that grew rather than diminishe.i, she did ; rr)t h e si ta te t o s elec t f or h i m tw o u n ,l s u a l l v c h a ::ri ng and ialen te d co nc ubines t o giv e h i m th e p l e a s u re u ' h i c h . : r her age, she could nc longer provide herself. Fcrr months atlrr the tu'o siris arrived. she used to joke gaily about the u'av h: doted on I t reir yo u th fu l eom pany , w i th o u t a h i n t o f j e a l o u s l ' . B ut * ' hen : ; rf atu a ti o nd r ov e him t o t h e p o i n t o f a l l o rv i n g th e c i c e i of these c rr ls ro u su r p t he pr iv ileg e s o f T ' a i -? " ' a i (ts i rs t L a C ' . " . she fel t - r u e l i y h u r t . U n i n t e r c s t c d i n s e x u a l l o v e h e r s e l f , s h r eh a d s u p ;.,lsl'd that nry father's attachment to her would remain un;ir ang e d b y' his enc hant m e n t w i th m e re b e a u ty ; b ' .-i des, had s h c n o t h e rs elf pr ov ided th e m e a n s o f th a t e n c h a n ti :l ent as an ac t of l o vc ? Ref or e long, th e e i g h te e n -y e a r-o l d c o n c ubi ne haci , ', ', 'it hFa th e r' s c onniv anc e , ma d e h e rs e l f s o i m p o ri a:tt i n' the liouse h o l d that m v m ot her \ /a sfre q u e n tl l ' h u m i l i a te c i l efore the s irva n ts-o r er : env is it or s I Sa d l y re c o g n i s i n g th a t L i e ; husband :o lo n g e r l o v ed her and f e e i i n g s h e h a d n o th i n g l e ft t o l i ve fcr, .: t e sp e n t h o ur s a da1' pr ep a ri n g fo r re b i rth i n a l o tu s -uratw oul d : e da y o p e. nin K uan Y in ' s p a ra d i s e . T o h e r j o 1 ' , h e: strength i-, rn fa i l e d and, wit hin a !' e a r o r s o , s h e p a s s e d a s -a r'Na tu ra l l y F at her t ook c a re to g i v e h e r th e e l a b c ra i e funeral r:lrtting the f'ai-T'ai of a man in his position, bu: i believe : r e on l y g rief he f elt u' as o n a c c o u n t o f h a v i n g to s' .ep apart : : o m h i s c o n c u b i n e s f o r a t i m ' ' -a s d e c r e e c b l ' t h e a : : ; : e n t r u l e s - , : deco ru m by whic h t he o b s e q u i e s o f th e d e a d a re g:o\:erned. . {s f or me , m y ey es \ \ r er ere d rv i th rv e e p i n gl b u t. n c : i ari ng i o . : ow a n g e r agains t m , v f a th e r, I tu rn e d a g a i n s t Ku ::: Y i ni "'Ku a n Yin B odhis at tv a ," I u ' h i s p e re i fi e rc e i l ' . " )' ou have : : if ic n a w a v m y m ot her q ' i th y o u r e mp tl ' b l a n d i s h l :3 ri ts ! Y ou , : : r , e n o Pu r c Land and th e re i s n o s u c h th i n g a s c c:npassi on : i t h c w o rl d ! " Does t his s e e m a n e x tre m e re a c ti o n : \\rhy had .i \','omarrso good and kind, a faithful devotee of th: CompasilonateL-trreandasblamelessasahumanbein*e;anbe,to : uf T e r so ? \\ ; hy had m ode rn e d u c a ti o n n o t o p e n e d .r1' el ' es to : he o b vi o u s t r ut h t hat ev e ry th i n g c o n n e c te d rv i th Ku a: Y i n * ' as

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p u re s uper s r ir ion., F ro m th e ri me o f m y mo th er' s dea:h, I aban_ d o n e d r ep: r it i' n o f th e s a c re d n a me l n s h e e r di sgust. 'In t hos : day s _ l * ' a .s l i v i n g i n c a n to n , w o rki .tf i ,-, the pro'incial Bureau of Foreign Aft^iirs and r,raking a .rr*for myself b y s k ilf ul r r andlin g o f th e Bri ri s h a u i h o ri ri J s i n H ong K ong_ me .n of ien r t 1r gr n , to rv a rd s u s c h i n e s e , b u r easy to get the l re tter of r 3G B US .' f th e i r e n ti re l a c k o o f s u brl ety, w hen they h e ctor ed u! . we us e d to ra u g h b e h i n d o u r fa n s. ci n comi ng our of mourning I was married off to a pleasant girl of the c1'c' family, chasen to cement a long-rtr.rding friendship between her fattier and mine. From be-ing serio"usly put out by my father's refrrsal to permit me to r.l..t my own wife, I soon became fond of her-so fond that, as you *ill ,.., I was ready to do extrene violence to a person whl presently tried to corrie between us- This person) as you may have guessed,was no other than my second Mother, the uprt"r, "concubine who had besotted Farher and driven Moth.r to her death. pretending a genuine afr-ection for my poor ying, that lovely and abominable creature did everything in her po*.r to undermine our love and respect for each other. what made it worse was that the woman had nothing ro gain from such behaviour. She rvas moti_ vated, I am sure, bl- a perverse fondness for mischief-making fgl hurnng an]'one around her who happened to be vulner"ll able. You know the sort of rvoman I mean. Hong Kong seems to breed them. Did I tell you Mother had first come across her i1 Ho_ngKoag ? Brooding over the wretched business night and day, I becarne obsessed with the notion of ridding our famill, pr er q, - m onsre ' -ri d d i n g th e ,,r' o rl d o f her, i n fact j A l l 9 f th e I l a ck ed was an abso l u te l y s a feme a n s th a t w o u ld have no unfortu n a te ef f ec : s on m \.s e l f o r y i n g . 'Th e f oiio*' ing )' e a r u ,h e n rh .- p u re Bri g h t Festi i .al camc rcu n d , our r r - hole fa m i l v d ro ' e o u t o f c a n i o n ro ,,s\\.c-ep rhc to mb s of ou: ' anc es to rs " , g ' h i c h l a y a t a n a u s p i ci ous spor i n rhe n e i g hbour inE hills , o c c u p -v i n g , ,i r.rb l e p o i ti on of on,. of rhe sma l ler c em er er ies tl re re . It w .a so u r c u s to m to l a-v roast pork, b o i l e d f owl and wi n e u p o n a s ro n e ta b l e a mong the romts as a n o fler ing r Lr t he a u g u s r a n c e s tra l s p i ri ts , w ho sup upon the i n vi si ble es s enc eof s u c h m e a ts . L a te r * ' e w o u l d take home u,i th us the coarse remains of the food from which the essencehad b e e n e x t r ac t ec and e a t i t o u rs e l ' e s . H c ,,,e v e r)o n that day Fatht:r

Sacred Rites

I I3-.

clecided we should have our memorial feast close by in a fold of the hills that offers a particularly fine view, but is isolated and out of sight of the crowds who flock to the cemetery for the festivat. White we were sitting there eating and drinking, we noticed a dozen or so rascally fellows in shiny black pyiamasuits rvho looked like professional ne'er-do-wells. Standing some distance awa)', they were observing us closely and mutierirrg to one another as though in trvo minds as to whether it would hresafr: tO rob such a big party as ours or not. Presently they bcgan elosing in uporr uS; so my father, smiling meaningly, suggested to t*o of my uncles that they have a little target practiceWine-jars were set up at a convenient distance and the three old men, drawing revolvers from their robes, shot the whole row to pieces with a single volley. By the time the echoep had diecl t*;ay, not one of those black-clad rascals was to be seen! They botlrered us no more. 'S-hortly after that I decided to stroll about to make sure that they ,u*r* not lurking out of sight somewhere. So it happened thai, quite by chanci, I ..n e upon my Second Mother who had apparentiy wandered towarcls{he lonely spot where I found fr.r, ttlting for a tree or bush - there are very few of them in those hills - behind which to relieve herself in suitably modest fashion. There was no one else in sight and nothing to prevent me from carrying out a plan that leapt fully formed into my mincl, that of bat[ring those lovely feirturesinto a.pulp, burying hcr valuables and leaving her body orl the hillside in full vierv of anyone who happened to pass by. Under the circumstances' no one woulcl douUt that she had bcen murdered and robbed had seen staring at us during our meal. A by the rascals ,uve cpportunitl' to do a\\'ay u'ith her had been thrust long-so.rght uv i6e g6ar inio my irands I Why do you look so shocked? l i is t hI plain d u ty o f a g o o d s o n to a venge hi s father or m ot her . ' M y ' only pr < ,,b l e m a sh o ' u v g e t re a l l y c losew i thorrt causi ng to rv her aiarm. Sft. must havc knon'tr very w'ell how I felt about h e r and, wer e sh e to c rv o u t) s o me o f th e others mi ght come j ew el l ery ru nning up befo re I h a d h a d ti m e to d i s p ose of her a to make it seem that she had been killed by robbers. As for there were plenty of stones well suited to such work' weapon, Walk ing f or war d rv i th a s mi l e , I s a i d : " s e c o nd Mother, i t' s not

r r -+ Bodhisattva of ContPassion

ir'. ,r* iust now- "

s a fe fo r yo u t o wander a l o n e l i k e th i s ' S u p p o s i n g th ose peopl c 'While speaking I drew very close'and, with my eye) markec rhe stone tliat would do my work. I am certain my face betrayed no hint of my intention-don't forget I had been a successful dipl o ma t f or s om e y ears . Ye t s o m e h o ;v s h c d i v i n ed w hat u' as passi n gi n m y m ind and i n tu rn c o m m u n i c a tc d th a t knorvl edgc no, s he dic ln ' t s c re a m o r d ra rv b a c k - n o thi ng of that io * ..b h Sort. On the conirary, slre stood ver\r still and, favouring me ryi th a b e aut if ul s m ile th a t mo me n ta ri l y to o k a l l the hardncss from her face, said placidly: "Chiu-k'u-chiu-nan Pu-Sa lai!" (Sa ye -fro m *S uf f er ing- S a v e -fro m* H a rm Bo d h i s a ttva come !) 'Fro m lips ac c us t om e d to m a l i c e th i s p ra y e r to K uan Y i n seemcd so incongruous that I laughed as I made to seize her'or, rather, I opened my mouth to laugh and no doubt it stayed open in sheer amazement, for an iron paralysis had seized me. dands raised to imprison her in such a way that her mouth would be tightly pressed against my chest to prevent her crying out, I sto6d as though turned to Stone,unable to twitch an eyelid, much less carry out my plan. I have never Seen a woman lo o k so happy or s o s e l f-a s s u re d . Smi l i n g p l e asantl y, shc thanked me for coming to her aid and turned her back on me. As she walked off to rejoin the others, her laughter sounded like the tinkling of jade ornalnents. Within seconds I regained my power of movement, but all thought of killing her had been shocked out of me forever. Who was I to pit Inv strength against the Bodhisattva's ? ,Yorf see how it is ? That rvoman was thoroughly immoral, a creature full of malice amounting to cruelty, the very opposite of thc common run of Kuan Yin's devotees. Yet she had rriump|ed over death for no other cause than absolute conviction of the compassionate Bodhisattva's desire to save every kind gf sentient being whatsoever. Had Second Mother been a devilor a vempire fox, it u'ould have made no difference. Kuan ex Y i n 's r-o m pas s ion t e n d s to th e w o rs t o f e v i l -d o e rs, though of c o u fs., she nev er as s is tsth e m i n th e i r p u rs u i t o f cvi l . A l w ays to She enuic-avours turn evil to good. For example, I resumed of her holy n a me th a t v c ry d a y a n d th anked her on r cci ta ti o n rny krrccsfor saving me from murder. What is more to the point, b u t n ru ;h les st o be exp e c te d , S e c o n d M o th e r ma dc no further

SacreC RirE.s r r_s . 1: rcmp ts to es t r ange Y i n g fro m m e a n d h a s m o re rhan once . hou 'n Yi n g a k indnes s a r s o m e l i ttl e c o s r to h e rs e l f. It may be : rar th e Bodhis at r v a has n o t o n l y s a v e d h e r l i fe b u t drar.r' nher -.'.'. trom the path of cruelty and malice. I shall ne\-er get to r!' iike th a t \\' om an but , as f a r a s m v k n o w l e d g e g o e s , s hc has committe d n o f ur t her abomi n a ti o n s s i n c e h e r l i fe \\-as spared. I iA th r'r's p as s ion f or her h a s c o o l e d a n d I s o m e ti nrcs n,oncl er '. r'i -rcth cr is bec aus es he i s p ro b a b l y a mu c h it n i c e r \\ -L)man than . i l t ' u s e r lt o b e . ' A mrrn k t o *' hom , q' i th o u t rn e n ti o n i n g n a rn L -s , passed oi r i . ir ir 5 t{rrv s Lr or r ' *dno s u rp ri s e . ' w e h a v e d l g ' a y s k norvn that ii. r::;r f i n : a' r : _. . all k in d s o f b e i n g ,' w a s h i s q u i e tl l - spokcn -'3rT:c::t. T:.: 3:i snroral arritude to recitation of the sacred name is . -::.'. , : . : . r c J in Chin a i s e x e mp l i fi e d b y a s tri k i n g comment ' :.:- :--- -:.: =;r t:' rhe Vcnerable Tripitaka Master Hsi.jan -: : r:. : ' . : i' - : : : : g lh e H e a rt o f Gre a t C o mp a s s i on D harani '; . - , : . : : : i' *: : s l h e C h a ra n l o f th a t n a m e , The sutra --.: :.:r:.:: e:: :i:les of a great assembll,of the -: , - : : : : : : : - : :- -= -a : 3 n C Su F e rn a tU fa lrvhi C h tOOk _ - : : . ' ' _ :- : . - . ? ' - - l : s : : : : . . :o 'lacif,' and Celight, all ': -:=:::eJ golden ravs rvhose . t : ! . : * : - - - - : : : : - . = .- = : 1 ' : : K - - ;*'- ": - ::,.: - * - - :: - : e : : = l - : : . a : C . g ' i t h the BleSSed -: i' l--i :-:-::-:-: : - . : . = .- - - : : : : g - - : : i e a : a : : C i . : l S l l i n g a l l -;'-a, ! : . : : : : : - : - : 3 : : - : . i . = - - - . ' a 3 : : : a _ a l . : ' l en : : s e l f . o r r s - - -:.. :.a : - - . : : - - - l: : - - l : -::= - = : T 1 :::a ::-R .a 1 ,-e ,1 - Tati ragata, ..--]''.=".i-t..-S::.-:-:i: -:.r-:s;:::; -\1::c? . i:aC imme- . : . : . ' . . . = : : : : : = . : : - " i - : r : : t = i e : g : t : j ts : e g 3o i a B o : n i s a t t v a ' s :: - ::: ! ! a: : ::.::::'t: -ri;iessed lhls noil' \l-ish, 'If in time r t-tr::r:I . = ic . : : a: : p o ' ,r' g ;i o b e n e fi l a l l b e i n g s : nl av l norr. ,-.- --lioi'..c-'i .,r'it.ti :housand hands, a thousand e1-es',a wish a : : ar h a d been ins t anr ly fu l fi l l e d . Sh e rh e n d e c l a red to the as se mb l y t hat t hos e g' ho c l e a v e ro th e d h a ra n l r.v i l l henceforth t gk e re b i rth f r om a lot u s (i .e . i n a Pu re L a n d ), n e ver from a '. "'rrrri tr,ut t hat c leav in g to i t e n ta i l s v o i c i n g b te n aspi rati ons, : : am e l 1 'th at r n a v er y s h o n ti rn e o n e w i l l : b e c o me acquai nted rlr rh a l l rh c lluddha' s t ea c h i n g s ; a tta i n th e e 1 ' eo f l r' i sdom; fern' ir , i -rr=i rrgs el] ' ac r c ls ss a ms a ra gp e rfe c t a l l m a n n cr of ski l ful s af : : -.'.'1 1 n s; crnbar k on t hc v e s s e lo f s u p re me rv i s d o m ; cscape from : i. ,' : . .1 ': .:. .l : i'

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Bodhisatnta of Compassion samsaric existence; attain to perfectconduct,perfectconcentra_ tion and the wayl ascendNirvana', -o,,.,rain; be free from conditioned activity; and unite with rtre ot arma-Nature_ Bo.9I. so saying, she made these vows before trre Buddhal 'world Honoured, shourcr any being recite and creave the to sacredDhiranl of Great compassioriand yet fall inro one of tlre three evil stdtes of cxistence, L,o* .ro, to enter upon Supreme Enligtrrenment. 'shouid any being recitc and crea'e to rhe sacredDharanr of Great compassioiand y., ,ro, be -Supr.*. reborn in any Bucrctharand, I vow nor to enter upon Enlightenment. 'should any being-reciteand creau.in rhe sacredDhiram of Great compass1"".""d t", ,ro, achievethe eroquence (born of) limitless samddhi, I vow not to enter upon supreme Enlighterunenr. ^'should_any being recite and creavero the sacredDharanr of Great compassion and yer not obtain in this very rife the frr-rits all thar he desires, of itr.., he canno, n.u. been (nroperry reciting and cleaving to) the Dharanl ;i ih. Flean of Grear compassion.He stroutaput away wrong-doing and put away insinceriry.' I{aving thus vo'ared,she averred that, by creaving ro the dhdranT, one may avoid ail forms of untim.iy a.rtt and artain rebirth under co:nditions highry conduciveto wise and virtuous living and the artainme.r,lr Enrightenment. Then did she cornmunicare ro the assembry tf,. ;.r;; of the sacred dhdrani,whereat the earth undeiwent six .onvr,tsions, jerveiled flowers rair-leddown, the Buddhas rejoiced and evir beings shuddered. Thc fruit ot'uttering the dharanr, she continued,is a hearr (or min,l--there is no distinctionin chin.r.j-.nr.acterised by: vast compassion, eq_uanimity, freedom from unconditioned a:ti'ity, absence all defilementsand of attachments,abilit-,.ro contemplatethe Void, reverence, humirity, no confusion) no disposition ro :li"q to (dualistic) views, anci a prenirude of unexcelledBodhi. However, one must first vow to deliver all sentient beings,. strictly observethe precepts and abstain from the fleshof sentient .ri"t.rres, for orriy rt J., *itt Kuan yin be_ stow protection. The sutra then prouid.s instrucdons for the mantric use of the dharanJin combating specific evils, com_

r r6

SacredRfres r 17 manding spirits, curing maladiesand so forth. It closeswirh the Buddha extolringthe dharanl to a rejoicing assembly. . Th9 language is hauntingry picturesque, but the content, though it inculcates the loftGit ideals,*"yitrike present_day readersas dwellingbverly on magic, until a-rr.y realisethat, tike the sacredtantras and othet *ysti..l texts, thl wording is op.r, to sc'veral levelsof inrerpretation. The venerableHsiiin Hua,, striking cornmentran more or lessas follows: ,one *ho ,*.li*, the dhararrl but is not compassionate in effect is the dhdrani; whereasone *hor. hean is filred with "r;;;;i,i;g .o-prrrio' rs reciring it even though no words are uttered !, . one may object that this interpretation u.gs1lr. question,for it seemsquite apparenr that people so .o-i"rrionate as to be deemedto be reciting the dharani *..asingiy in the v..r.r.ut. Hsiian Hua's sense do nor in fact out"'i" the ,aur"irt., promised by the surra.But do they not? In south.ast ariur"ut a certain time of the year, many ttrousandsof Budihis;;;;k, betakethemselves one by one to the solitude of jungie o, ;;;;tain, but never has one heard of their being bittJn uv ,n.r.., or mauled by wild animals.Benevolenr all-bei'gr, ro ,rr.yruiJ. in the jungles untroubred by thoughts or p.rir. -so, too, ao", a laymanby nature too unworldly to be capable of factionatism political, religiousor othei .u.rs.s, Iive out gl of espousing his iife without having reasonto fear the vite atientions of CIA agents) of the authoriries or who imprison dissicients .or,..rr_ ir, tration or 'liquidate' them. In this sense,at reast,the _camps doorsof prisonsgapeancithe executioner's sword is shattered.

Chapter7

Yogic Contemplative Meditation


'l'harefore shattld the rnind be.constantly fixed on her L o tu s S u tra

hill by Sheltered a horseshoe-shapcd in the heart of the Shan is an ancient Buddhist temple I was rung orchard country It fond of visiting for long weekends. is appfoached especially path that winds past mile upon mile of fruit by stotle-paved " ti.es which, in spring,are clothedrvith many-colouredblossom and, in autrunn) are bowed by their loads of peaches,plums and sha-lf pears.,Onecomesat last to the hill and recognises its jagged ridge from a hundred Chinese paintings of such for scenery, the Chineseeye delights in convoluted rocks and seesin them a whole menagerieof improbable animals- here a couple of shih-tzz lions sporting with eachother, there a tiger elsea handsome with a turtle, somewhere playing beneVolently ch'i encounteringits lin, these last being respectivelythe male and female of that extraordinary and illustriously omened the Chinese'unicorn'. creature, The temple,oncepatronisedby emperors,haslong fallen on hard times and, in the nid-I93os, boastedbut a single monk. Aged about fifty, he wore a roughly patched gorvn and, being of Shantungpeasantstock, might have been taken for an unbut for his letteredcountrymanemployedas temple caretaker, which told anotherstory. So narrow that the irises were eyes) they shone with humour and intelligenceand half-concealed, the lids Lad besidesan elasticquality, for suddenly the'eyes rvouldgrow round and surprisinglylargelike a demon's.I think

C o n t e m p l a t t t c ) ' g r - g r^ \ I c d i i a t i o r t r r 9 ; p ut t i n g o n a daem onic f ac e g a r.eh l m e n j o v i ri n i . b ,e s:C es addi ng force to rvh at ev er he hap p e n e d to te i m p re s s i rg t-r. S tl r' rl eol e. ' fhe fi rst ti me we m et ) I h a d re c e n ti v C trn ' rii :o r:: S.:u:;: C hi na r vit h my q u es t ions about Ku a n l ' i n ' s rru e ::a :-i e -:::eso.r' eJ,. . O ne e ve n i ng, af t er a m eal o f c o o k e d v e g e l a a :--s rr::... -'scup ar.1 l coarse ,re d d is h r ic e. I s po k e o f m1 ' a .fi -e c ti o n : ::a : B .-:::::a::' .-: lc a r r do f h o r r - t a k i n g p a r t i n h e r r i t e s u p l i f t e c ; : . e . a . : ; : : - : ; : I . . i : . n , r vcr l 'e r]' s ur c r v hv t ha t s h o u l d b e s o . 'Ri te s !' l t e ex c iaim ed, .u-ki s rn i l i n g a s th o u g h a i s o mc S :,-C rci Recitation of the Lcrtus Srf,rra The Dharanr of Grca: Crrri.,.t3s? I r i e ' , r r ?n r ' o k i n g t h e s a c r e e ln a m c ? A l l v e r ] ' : \ ' e n ' g o o i i , i f i ' o u r ir e l a zy o r=t oo ir r r . olv ed u ' i th th e rto rl d o f d u s r tc undertakr:hing s se ri ous ly . l' ou, s in c c y o u r a tfi n i ry u ' i rh rh e i l o dhi satn-a nr : st ste m f r om f ' or m c r liv e s , s h o u l d d o b e tre r th a n that - unl e ss i ' ou I',n o u 'their r r ur .s ignif i c a n c ea n d th e ma n n e r o f maki ng thern :- *ar fru i t - r hat , of c our s e, i s q u i te a n o th e r th i n g . Meanu' hi l e, . i l o l r d e s i r et o k n r , ' , rr h c B o d h i s a t t v a .m e d i t a t e I W i t h o u t m e d i ' - s t l c n . s t u C fi : t g t : . : t s u , l d h a ' : t e a c h i n g i s i i k e l e a r n i n g s w o r d : . . , : . .' , ' . ' i l : .j,: : , t = . - ; . 1 a : a i r : c k i l v o u r h a n d , l i k e l e a r n i n g i:-^i:'i-.".,.::1 s;.:::c:.j bou' but not an arro\\'in youf quiver!' a ^ --. =:::::::.' - : : : s ' . ' . ' : ' -i- i d i g n a n t l l ' , b e i n g y o u r l g e n o u g h n .-.-:, : ::.::-: ::.'. -:.:::13::ng Of r. hat I thOUght my rather -:-: .1t.: ;::a::!:.:i;s::a.if i f o n e m a d e a l l o w a n c e So r m v f - -; , --.:.:-. ::-.---=a:: still fairl]'new to such things. -- : : = : : = e: hei, p re te n d i n g to b e m i g h ti l y i mpressed. . : t----:- - - - - T - : - e onk v e n tu re to a s k y o u , Si r, j ust how i t r - " :.: - i::- a.. :agerness to learn from you.' : - -: !.:' , ' : ; e; : c e. ' I r emo n s tra te d , s tu n g b 1 ' th e h a rshnessof . : . : : :...'.t'i: proceeded to relate with moderare satisfaction horv - . - . =::::e ; and dis c ar ded o n e me th o d o f m e d i ta ti o n ?ri d then . : = : : : : r o n - ^a n o l d n u n a m e t h o d t h a t s e e m e dt o s u i t m e v e r y w e l l . L{: i i ste ir ed, s t ill r v it h a n i ro n i c a l e x p re s s i o n , e y es fi xed i n.::r::1'on my face as though able to read g'hat la1'behind it, : hc ir rw 'i n k ling or bs glint i n g i n th e l i g h t o f th e ta b l e , l amp. I-Ii s : ianne r i rke d m e and, in th e s i l c n c e th a t fo l l o rv e d , I rvai ted for : : rs co mme n t s f eeling ill a t e a s e . H i s re p l y , rv h e n i t came, w as ai t e rse a nd uns ] ' m pat h e ti c a s i t rv a s a b ru p t. ' S e ven parts !' _ c uod h e s hout ed. ey es b l a z i n g a n d ro u n d a s a l o n g-tongued i c mo n 's. His m eaning ba ffi e d m e , ' s e v e n p a rts i n e i ght' bei ng ihc Ch i n e s e idiom f or ' n i n e o u t o f te n ' . I s a t m u l l i ne i t over

'r r2o Bodlisatrua of Cornpassi,m wh e n , all of a s udde n , h i s fo re fi n g e r s h o t o u t a n d w as l evel l ed a t my fac e lik e a s wo rd . ' o n l y th e e i g h th p a rt c o u nrs' , he added severely and riren unaccountably roared with laughter until, seeinghe hac hurt me, he said more gently: 'Good fiiend, good friend, no need to be startled by this boorish kno.,ir-nothing, b rrt you do s ec r v hy s e v e n p a rts i s j u s t th e s a me as no parrs.' l {o d d i ng t or v ar c lsr he te a -k e ttl es i mme ri n g o n i ts charcoal stove, h e a d ded; " r hc wat e r rh e re ma y b e s e v e n p a rts heated, for al l I kn o w , but unr il it i s j u s t o n th e b o i l , w h a r s ort of tea coul cj you make wittr it ? Yo,u meditate zealously, devotedly - I arn sure of it - but has Kuan Yin confirmed your success?, 'Well-ah-that is-you mean I should expect a vision?, 'P'ei!'he snortcd conremptuously. ''what use could you make of that ! I mearrt do you know, now, who she is ?' 'That', f answered sadly, 'is just what I long to know and -' artd hope I shall rell you,'he broke in playfully, ,as though lruman speech were deva language. well, I'll tell you how. Atr you have to do is leap across samsara's bitter ocean in one bound, as Monkey once leapt from the Buddha's finger, and pay a visit to your original mind. so now you know hozu.As for zuhere,that is more diflficult, for mind's abiding place is norvhere, nor does it abide. Let the rolling ocean of thought be stilled. \w'hen your inind shines sun-like upon vast emptiness,the Bodhisattva will appe ar. You are the one ro accomplish the eighth part, but don't forget to be grateful ro your daddy here for reminding you ro throw away the other seven. How w a s yo ur walk t his mo rn i n g ? D i d y o u c l i mb a bove the mi st?' Th i s abr upt c han g e o f s u b j e c t m e a n t th e re w as no more to b e g a i n ed f r om him . s ri l l , h e h a d d o n e a l o r. It r vas j ust as w el l to b e rid of abs r , r r d o m p l a c e n c y a b o u t my ' p ro g ress' i n medi tac ti o n . Unt il t he r v ar e r i n m y k e ttl e b o i l e d , i t mi g ht j ust as rvel l remain stone colcl. And yet ? To boil, it must first get hot gradually. or not ? \\'ho could f-athomhis meaning ? Buddhists of the ch'an (zen) secr had been talking about that problem for more than a thousand years rvithout coming to any agreement. wh a t is s pec ially i n re re s ti n g a b o u t o u r e x c h ange thar ni ght is that here \\'as a monk obviously trained in ch'an who, instead of sccrnfully dismissing a Pure Land approach, saw the two as one. His remark about having to know the true significance of Pure Land rituals reveals that he believed them fullv effective

ContemplatiaeYogic Meditation

Lzr

if properly understoodarrd performed. Throughout China, I fouhd this sameregardfor all sectsand methodsasvalid means of coming faceto face with truth. If this book has a particular 'Do not for message Western Buddhists,it is: fall into the trap only at aaery superficial that are menningful of mahingdistinetions Ieael.Ch'an, Pure Land and Vajrayana are not threepaths to the samegoai, but threegatewaysto the s7mepath, or euenone gateway seenin uarious lights,' In bed that night, pricked by the stubs of fresh grass rvith whielr pillow and mattress had been hurriedly stufred on my arrival, but enjoying their fragrance,I reviewed the progress I had made so far. Vhile in South China, I had begun by attemptingone of the methods of medltation laid down in the Amitayus Sfrtra, only to abandon it as beyond my capacity (or chancehaving never led me to sit at the feet of a Mdster because, of the Pure Land Sect, I had not known how to set about it rightly). In that sutra, Kuan Yin appearsas one of the Three Holy Ones who form the obiect of the eighth contemplationset forth there. One has to visualisethree giant lotuseswhereon stand an image of Amitayus (a form of Amitdbha Buddha) flanked by thoseof Kuan Yin and Ta Shih Chih (Mahdsthamaprapta) Bodhisattvas;the rays of golden light emitted by their bodies illuminate innumerable iewelled treesI and, at the foot of these trees, appearidentical imagesof those three beings countless in number. This feat of visualisationis nothing to what follows in the subsequentcontemplations.In the tenth, for which the attention is directed wholly to Kuan Yin, her golden body has to be visualisedas reachinga height of eight hundred million million yojanasor, according to some interpretations,eighty thousandmillion million ! (Mr CharlesLuk informs us that one yojanais the equivalentof a day's march for an arny, but even if it were only a few centimetres,the total height would be quite bevond human conception.)Within the Bodhisattva'shalo are to be seenfive hundred Buddhas in Nirmanakaya form, each form rvith a following of five hundred otl:ers in Sambhogakaya Betweenthe Bodhisattva's incalculable number of devas. and an eyebrowsis a curl of sevencolours emitting rays of eighty-four thousand hues, in every one of whicir are countlessNirmanakayaBuddhaseachsurrounded by innumerable Sambhogakdya

: 12

Bodhisamta of Compassion

tsuddhas ! Each of the Bodhisattva's finger-tips has eighty-four : nousa n d ve r y dis t inc t line s -a n d s o o n !T h e s h e e r magni tude ',,,'as dismaying. Of course many people do perform such visualr s at io n sa n d it m ay be t ha t, h a d I b e e n p ro p e rl y i n s tructed at :hc time, I should not have been frightened away from them. I nor'.'know that the figures are nor meant ro be taken literall_v, : rre p u rp o se being ex ac t ly tl a t o f C h ' a n (Z e n ) k o a n s, namei v i,r stretch the mind be1'6t6 breaking point so that 'ordinary' con: eicu sn cssg iv es t v a1zr i ex tra o rd i n a ry c o n s c i o u s n e s s H ow ever, t . r his k n o wl e dge c ar ne t ( l m e to o l a re w i th th e rc s u l t th at I have nc ve r ma d e a pr oper s t ud y o f th a t te c h n i q u e o r l e a rn t from a ; c-rmp e trn tTr ipit ak a M as tc r w h a r rh e a d e p t i s rc a l l i ,'expected dr:, At th e t im c I had d e c i d e d w i th o u r h e s i ta ti o n that the .r-r : rchni e l u c w as not f or m e a n d h a d e n q u i re d d i l i g e n rl y about nlore simple ones. l)ne- day, during a visit to Canton, I had had an opportunitl' i o que sti o n an old nun wh o h a d ta k e n u p re mp o ra ry l odgi ng in a dark cell rvithin the. precincrs of Ta Fu Szu Monastery n'hich for some reason was no longer functioning. My speaking to he r, p o ss ibly r v it h a t ou c h o f l e v i ty , a b o u t th e h o pel essness of trying to cope rvith those vast numbers had earned me a scvcre glance; but, being a kind old lady, she had handed m e a cu p o f t ea and s aid e v e n l y : ' I d o n ' r k n o w a b out that, sir. The sutra puts it that wry, so you ma1' be sure rhere is a lot of sense to it. I do things orherwise because, being old and unlettered, I just have to do the best I can. You won't want to bother your head about the methods used by a useless old nun l i ke me . ' 'Wrong, Auntie. I am longing to know what you do. My friends told me you are devoted to Kuan Yin and so I have come specially to learn from you.' The rheumy eyes had peered at me ro see if I were mocking her, for she was as humble as she was old, a woman of peasant stock not used to being sought out by educated people, to say nothing of foieign devils iike myself. Satisfied, Shehad remarked: 'AS you r','ish,Sir, though I can'r think why your fr:iends should have senr you ro me. I expect r-ou will be disappointed. Here, take this fan. The rea's made vou sweat. Fanning will help to keep off the mosquitoes, roo. Have you ever seen so rrrany? Canton is full of greedy people.

--lr

Co n re tn p l a ti t' t \ro g i c ,\Ie d i ra tt,-tt: r23 That 's \\'h i ' we hav e s r r c h s \\' a rms o f m o s q u i to e s , I s omeri mes think . Gre e dy people r ebo rn , y o u k n o w . It' s a p u n i s h ment al l 1ight. Mosquitoes seldom get enough ro eat and.. n'hen inev cio find a good meal, the victim may squash them flat long before they've d ru n k t heir f ill. wha r w a s I g o i n g to s a !' ) o h } -ei . medi tat ion - th a t was it . ' T alk a ri 'c lik e m any old p e o p l e , s h e h a d e mb a rk e d ul on a r ambli n g sto r y about her 1 ' o u th , i n e n ti o n i n g tH e .,.-and ; t ppra ra Rce f hE r nat iv e v il l a g e , th c n u n :b e r a n d c h a racteri sti cs o 'r f her b rsrh e r s anr i s is t er s,a n d a g re a t m a n y o th c r th i ngs u,hi i c I h ad fo u g h t a los r ng bat t lr- r' i rh th o s e w i n g e c i i n c a r' a 1r.ns of g r c c d y s p i r i t si b u i g r a d u a l l v m y i n t e r e s t h a d q u i c k c n e c . A s a i ' o ung g i ri sh e had bc c n be rro th e d ; th e b o y h a d b e e n ki l l eci i n . : l o e a ls q u a b b l ea n d s h c h a d c o m c t o C a n t o n t o c a r n h e r i i r . i n g . r s a s e rva n t. Not hing not a b i e h a d h a p p c n e d ro h e r u nri l she wci l i n to her f if t ies r v he n h e r c u rre n t mi s tre s s . b l a m i ng her "r ' a s : o r t h c l o s so f a j a d e b r a c e l e r , a d g i v e n h e r a b e a t i n g a n c c r i r - e n h r r e r f ro m th e hous e. A f t er th q r Ah C h e n g , a s s h e n -as cal l ed, nad wandered about looking for u'ork some*,here too far from c ant on fo r th e unjus t c har g e o f s te a l i n g to c a rc h u p * .i rh her. o ne n i g h t she had t ak en s h e l re r i n a te m p l e d e d i c a re d to K uan Y in r vh e re two nuns r es id e d . In th e mi d d l e o f th e n i ght she r ad cre p t i n to t he s hr ine- h a l l a n d a d d re s s e dto th e B o d hi sattva a p r ay e r i n whic h des pair r r' a smi x e d w ' i th p e a s a n r c u nni ng. 'Ho l y Ku a n Y in, I ' m don e . \* o mo n e y fo r th e b o a t to nrorrow , :'ro strength to walk to the next to\l'n, no mone]' to sta\- here. N o t hing . Pe ople s ay y ou h e l p . I a m n o r s u re I b :l i e r-e them. .o just show me it's true I' while she was earning her breakfast by srveiping our the ; ourt ya rd a n d doing v ar io u s o d c i j o b s th e fo l l o rr-i n g morni ng, :: r ir ate -l o o k ing m er c hant c a me rrrn n i n g i n , s h o u ti n g t o no one :: pa rti cu l a r: ' T hos e r asc a l s h a v e l e fr w ' i th o u r n l e l rhei r i r olhers'- ! Nor , vu' ho' s goi n g to l o o k a fte r th i s l i trl e mi n s ? Gets i n t he wa -v* ll day -long. I ' d l e a v e h e r h e re ,,i fo n e o f v ou u' oul d a r ake t h e p ri ce of her k eep a n d a b i t o v e r to l o o k a fte r her ti l l I com e b a ck . A n1' of y ou o l d b l a c k g o w n s w i l l i n g , e h ?' T he re h a d been a m ix - up . T h i s c o a rs e -m o u th e d b u r not i l l r at ur e d ma n had been s t r a n d e d w i th s o m e b a l e s o f cl oth anc a two- ye a r-o ld niec e a hund re d /i u p ri v e r fro m h i s d e sri nari on. -\h Cheng volunteered ro go with him to look after tht chilcl

r24

IJocihisatr,,a of Compassion

a n d sat is f ied him s o w e l l th a t s h e re ma i n e c i i n i ri s servi ce as n u rse -hous em aid un ti l h i s d e a th a fe w y e a rs l ater. D uri ng al i that time she rvas treated as a human being and adequately paid I Never ciid she doubt that all this was due to Kuan Yin's intervention or fail to do reverence to the Bodhisattva morning and e ve n i n g. 'At first, you understand, Sir, I just recited Her name. It rvasn't enough. I wanted to seeHer. So I asked at the temple in K'ai Ping how it could be done. A monk there taught me a fine method. You sit down on a hill-top or anywhere high enough for you to see nothing but the sky in front of your eyes. Otherwise a blank wall will do. tWith your mind you make everything empty. There's nothing there, you say. And you see it like that-nothing, emptiness. Then you say, ah but there is something. Look, there's the sea and the moon has risen - full, round, white. And you see it like that-- sea, silver in the mooniight with little rvhite-tcpped waves. In the blue-black sky above hangs a great moon - bright, but not dazzling- a soft brightness, you might say. You stare at the moon a long, long time-. feeling calm, happy. Then the moon gets smaller, but brighter and brighter till you see it as a pearl or a seed so bright you can only just bear to look at it. The pearl srarts to grow and, before you know what's happened, it is Kuan Yin Herself standing up against ihe sky, all dressed in gleaming white and *'ith FIer feet resting on a lotus that floats on the waves. You see Her, once ycu know hor.vto do it, as clearly as I see you sitting there with rhe rvindow behind you - clearer, because Her face is nct in slradorv, also Her robes are shining and there's a h a l o r ound Her hea d , b e s i d e sth e b i g g e r o v a l -shaped hal o cast b -v H er body . S he s mi l e s a t y o u -s u c h a l o v e l y smi l e. S he' s so g l a d to s ee y ou t hat te a rs o f h a p p i n e s s s p a rk l e i n H er ei ' es. If 1 'o u ke ep - l/ our m ind c a l m b y j u s t w h i s p e ri n g H er name and n o t try ing t oo har d, S h e w i l l s ta y a l o n g , l o n g ti me. W hen S he d o e s g o, it ' s b1 get ti n g s ma l l e 5 . S h e J o e s n ' t g o back to trei ng a p e a rl, but jus t ge ts s o s m a l l th a t a t l a s t y o u can' t sec H er.. Then you notice that the sky and sea have vanished, too. Just sp a ceis lef t - lov ely , l o v e l y s p a c eg o i n g o n fo r e ver. That space stays long if you can dc without you. Not you and spaceJyou se e , j u s t s pac e, no yo u .' Towards the end of this, her eyes had closed; no doubt she

ContemplatiaeYogic Meditar.ion r25 wasActually seeing rvhatshedescribed. was one of the deeply It rnoving experiences rny life. Seeingher lie back againstthe of chair, eyesstiil closed,I had decided I must at all cosrsavoid breaking in on her peace;so, leaving a little 'incensemoney' cn the table, I had slipped quietly awaJ'. I supposeone could rvrire the instructions for performing that sirnplestend mosr beautiful of the Kuan Yin contemplations in the form used in manualsof meditation, bur thar would certainlybe no improvementon the old nun's vivid description. It is a form of contemplation of u'hich I have grown fond, though I doubt if I ever perform it as successfullyas she did. After some tbrty years of giving thought to ir, I cannot rhink of a single word that would add to the excellenceof her way of putting it. There are numerous conremplationssimilar to that on.. Fot example,in Japan some Shingon adeptsvisualisea moon risen from the oceanvery much as the old nun describedit, in which suddenlyappears the SanskritsyllableHRI - Kuan'Yin's brjamantra. From this HRI suddenly emergesthe Bodhisattva and the rest of the meditation proceeds on rather similar lines to the one described.Clearly the most vital part-as with Tibetan Tara meditations- is the attainment of a state of void in which adeptand void areone and indistinguishable; for thus the adept transcends plane of relative truth and attains perception of the truth's ultimate aspect the Great Void. Each time this is done successfully, further blow is struck at the persistentdelusion a of possessing self. The longer and more frequently he abides a in a stateof no-self,the firmer becomes perceptionof self's his intrinsic voidness. time, recognitionof the delusory nature In of the selfis carriedover into ordinary statesof consciousness; so that, even when attending to the businessof daily life, he 'fhis, retains that recognition in the depths of his mind. of course, a powerful influence his conductI whoeverworks has o:r at his job in the full knowledge selflessnesslikely to perforrn is of his tasksperfectly,with the work being done for its orvn sake and no thought sparedfor any personaladvantages be reaped. to Moreover, to act selflessly to act compassionately, comis and passionis preciselywhat is embodied in the conceptof Kuan Yin. It follows that Kuan Yin, for all her superficial resemblance to the goddesses other religions and to the Virgin of

126

CunPassion Bodltisatna o.l-

M a r1 l , i s n ot r ealll' t o bc th o u g h t o f a s a mo th e r o r a soverei gn qucen, but as a pcrsonification of the beneficent forcc that flou's f r o m Mi n d. O nc e t his i s g ra s p e d , th e re a l p o i n t o f P urc Land Ilucldl'rismis understood and whatever distaste one has hitherto f cl t fo r i t is bound t o w a n e .' T h e s u p p o s i ti o n th a t, to use the ' th e v e a n ti rh e s i so f B uddhi sm w orr-l s f a lV es t c r n u' r ite r, i t i s cl ry as o re l i n a r ill*undc - r s t o o d 'fa l l s a ti ' a 1 ' . I In th e * ' or r ls of an ic o n o c l a s ti cT ri p i ta k a Ma s te r r r.' ho camc a r l p ( . ) n ; L . a rls t e r i n l h c m i d s t o f a s e r m o n d u r i n g a v i s i t t o S o o 'The ?W ehotr': i;c1..::::l .iit''Jhtsatn'as hcrc and u'hat arethcl'? D o n e rt l ook t t r i: : : t t hi -rn a m o n g th e b c i n g s i n th e si x S tates o f e . c i s t c n c eg o i : . . t l u r . t . h u m a n s , a n i m a l s , p r e t a s a n d t h O s c . passi n g thr ough i. : : r . n o r a m o n g th e th re e re a l ms (of desi re, t o rm a n d f or m i: . . : : ic : . n o r v e t a m o n g th e e i g h te cn B rahmar ioka s (h e a v eps . ii, : - 'anl ' rv h e reb u t i n y O u r o rv n m i nds. To di sL:e ve rth e m , lc i 1' . . : : mi n d s b e s ti l l . In th e s ti l l n e ss resi des no p a r t i e l eo f s e l f o r t : h - r . T h e r e , p e r c e i v i n g M a n j u s r i ( e m b o d i ment of wiselorn . ]'ou ri'ill knou' him for Samantabhadra (a cti o n ); per c eiv i: : : S a ma n ta b h a d ra , y o u w i l l k n o rv hi m for Kuan Yin !' Vi th the Cant o: r s c n u n ' s m e th o d o f m e d i ta ti o n , I made progrcss that seemed to me sufficient until my complacency was shattered by the orchard country monk. Many years later when I j o u rn e y ed t o t he I nCo -T i b e ta n b o rd e r re g i o n s , I at l ast came upo n a m et hod of v ogi c c o n te m p l a ti o n i n w h i c h I coul d exul t s i n cei t p r om is ed s t ar t l i n g p ro g re s s ,b e i n g a S h o rt r )ath method f or a tta i n ing E nlight en n ,e n t i n th i s v e ry l i fe . It was as w el l , though; that I had given up hoping for a clear exposition of K u a n Yi n ' s t r ue nat ur e . T h a t th e T i b e ta n l a l n a s knew l i ttl e or nothing of the Bodhisattva b1' that name and in that form u'as of n o si g nif ic anc e,f or I re c o g n i s e d h e r a s b e i n g e ssenti al l y an aspectof Avalokita and Tara. of rvhom they had much to teach ; t hc tro u ble u' as t hat , li k e th e C h i n e s e mo n k s I h a d questi oncd s o p e rsi s t ent l] ' , t hey sp o k e o f c e l e s ti a l Bo d h i s a ttvas now as beings exiSting independentl!', no\\' as creations of our orvtr minds. I believe the difference, so notable to orle r,vith Western up b ri n g ing, nev er ev e n o c c u rre d to th o s e h o l y men w hosc meditations had taught them a verv different mode of thought, le a d i n g t hem t o c om pr e h e n d Su b tl e tru th s b e 1 ' o n d the undcrs ta n d i n g of or dinar ) ' , u n tra i n e d mi n d s .

Contemplatiue Yogic l4ediratiort

\27

At m1 ' s pec ial r eque s t, I re c e i v e d ra ra -* ' h o i s al so K ua.n Yin-as mv idam. Flenceforth, I learnt ro centre m1' meditation on her, to see her not onll' as a projection of m1' o\\'n mind, but also as the being I might become through 1'ogic union rvith her. \rri th t his s or t o f m e d i ta ti o n o n e d o e s n o r \\-aste ti me enq u i ri n g int o t he r ea l n a ru re o f th e b e i n g i n v o k e d. u.ho may at th e o u r s et be v ier t ed i n a n y \v a y o n e c h o o s e s- a s e goddess, lb r e xa m ple. T he is s rn c e o f th e p ra c ti c e i s n o t r c knoq, ti rat Lre i n g ,tr ur t o bec , - - n:ee r; rv i ttr th e m e rg i n g o f i denri ti es. al l h que sri o nir r gr v ill oi c ou rs e b e s e t a t re s t, s o th e re i s r:o need for ii ir: thc first piacr. r{o rv a nd iv hv r hr : p a rti c u l a r m e th o d o f y o g i c c c)nrcmpl ati on i: so p o u- c - r f ully eJ ec r i v e i s d i ffi c u l t to d e s c ri b e; i t must be rrcco mp a niedby gr eat c h a n g e s i n o n e ' s rv h o l e a tti r ude of mi nd an d i n n cr lif c . on ihe o th e r h a n d , th e s k i l fu l m e a ns empl oyed in th e yo ga c ould eas i l l ' b e s e t fo rth , \\' e re o n e a urhori sed to r e a ch i t. what I f eel a b l e to s a y o n th e s u b j e c t has al ready ap p e a re d in ot her boo k s ; b u t, b y g re a t g o o d fo r tune, I have since come into pu-''ssession a Chinese yogic re\r pertaining of ro Kuan Yin herself, though I believe it to have once been a Tara contemplation and that, taken from a Tibetan source, it rvas subsequently adapted to Kuan Yin for use b1. her Chinese devotees. It is worth setting down, even if onll- as a literary curiosity, for such rexts pertainingto Kuan Yin must be rare. I.Jnfortunately it has been oversinrplified, being indeed the simplest tantric sadhana I have ever seen, but this is no disadvantage to it as an illustration of the kind of 1'ogic ;nethods used in Vajrayana practice. Known as 'Three Kuan Yin visualis a ti o n s I n one' , ir g' a s re n d e re d i n to C h i n e s e fro m rhe Ti betan b}' the venerable Abbot Jen wn of the Monasteq' of Anrrta ( sw e e t Dew) in B angk o k , a n d th e fo l l o u ' i n g i s mv E ngl i sh translatron of his text: T'HR.EE KUA\
PRELIMINARY

,.1

YIN

VISUALISATIONS

I\

ONE

Afte r cl e ans ing bc Cl' a n d m i n d , tro l d a n i n c e n s e -raper i n the le ft h a n d and c aus e ihe fi n g e r a n d th u mb o f th .- ri ght hand to form a circle bi placing them tip to tip. \'isuaiise at the po rn t u 'h er e t hum b and fi n g e r m e e t a ' ,v h i te OM. Thi : suddenl v

rz}

Bodhisataa of ComPassion

becomesa budding lotus with which one traces the s1'llables thus causing OM tH HUM o,r!, the tip of the incense-taper to spread out forming an immeasurable the perfumec smoke to the of purity. Next, iaising the incense-taper 'May {ore;;pil; these b-othhands,mentallyrepeatthesewords: irela rvith to the fragrant clouds form offerings to th9 T{ple Gem, Buidhas, Bodhisatrvasand Gurus of the Ten Directi'ns and Three Times !' Havirrg planted the taper in the censerwith the left hand: one now *ut .t four prostrations,first to the Vajra to Guru, ne.1{t the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in turn'
FIRST VISUALISATION

Sit before a siatue of the Buddha, preferably in lotus posture) orherwise in any comfortable position, so that the rite may be perforrned tranquilly rvith a pure alq. pe.acefulmind. At the '.roo,r, of of 5-ourhead ipp.u6 a white OM; in the-re.gion your thesesylrhroar, a ied AH; closeto your heart, a blue HUM; lablesemir rays of those three colours in all directions' Thereby all the evil karma wrcught by self and others since beginningless time is expellectin the form of a black liquid which seepsinto rhe grounb until nor a drop is left. Thus are your body, speech ancl mind transformed into the Body, speech and Mind of lovely and overflowingwith compassion' Kuan Yin, excluisitely the lbtus mudra (handshcld at breastheight, thumbs Forming and finger-tips rogerher, bur hands arching a\\'ay from each other uJ fot it pottiUle so as to resemblethe tw1!qt:t:-gl-E lotus ( > ), viiualise the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM and causerhe mind to revolvefrom syllableto syllablethus:

I-Iulr
left MA shoulcler cro\i'n NI throat OA't hc'art .l\'l,E navel right PA D shoulder 2

I /f
I

t6
i -

Presentll'rearrange the syllables mentally,and revolve the n:ind from one tc another thus:

Contentplatiae Yogic Meditation


left ME sho:rlder OM crown MA throat HUM hcart I,AD navel
f

rz9

right NI shoulder 4 (B ackview)

The more these revolving visualisations are repeated, the more marvellous the resuits, VISUALISATION SECOND Visualise within your breast a lunar disc, bright and pure rvithin and without. Suspended in the void b.efore you appears a pink Iunar disc enshrining the syllable TAM, which is so immeasurably brilliant that it illuminates the entire realm of form. Suddenly this syllable is transformed into a likeness of Kuan Yin, white in colour, with one head and two arms; upon her head is a five-petalled lotus-crown on which can be seen likenesses of the five celestial Buddhas. Her legs are folded in the iotus posture. Pearls aclorn her wrists and ankles. Three strands'of iewelled ornaments encircle her neck. Upon her crow", 1_Y}j,,.. OM; at her throat, a red AH; close to her heart, a blue FIUM, wherefrorn rays of those three colours blaze dow.n upon y-oY" These, blending with rhe rays emitted by the oM AH HUM adorning your own body, enter your head by an aperture at the apex of ihe crown which opens to receive them. The figure of Ku an Y in s us p e n d e d i n s p a c e b e fo re y o u now C ontracts; bccoming very small, it follows the rays flowing in through the aperture at your crown and merges with your person so that yo u and s he ar e o tte a n d i n d i v i s i b l e . Nex t , wit h t he ti p s o f th e th u mb a n d ri n g -fi nger of your ri ght h a n d c onioine, l, tra c e th e s y l l a b l e sO M A H HU M on 1' our l cft hand. Mentally create a pearl and, rvith your left hand, trace th os e s am e s y lla b l e s u p o n i ts s u rfa c c , s i rnul taneousl y contemplatingthe syllablesrvith your mind and uttering them r+rith your lips. Then visualise yourself holding the pearl close to your breast with the thumbs and forefingers of both hands. -L!f doing, softly recite the mantra oM MANI PADME HUI,I (many times).

r 30 Bodhisatna of ComPassion
THIRD VISUALISATION

Visualise the syllable OM blazing upon your cro\tr'n,pouring 'six forth white rays and illuminating all senticnt beings in the statesof existence so that their errors of bod-v,spccch and mind are purged. Shining in the regicrnof your heart is a blue HUM 'comfort to all sentient whose rays fill the rvhole earth, bringing bci n g s. \I r it hin t he , : ir c l e o f th e l i g h t i t s h c d s a re to be seen as m a n y P u r e L a n d s a s o n e c a r c st o v i s u a l i s c .T h e n t h e w h i t e a n d permeate to the lorvcr rcgion the trluc rays enter vCur ero\l'n anc-l of yo u r body ' . Us ing th e s a me mu d ra a s b c fo re, reci te OA 4 h {AI.-l i t r A DM E HCf t c o n ti n u o u s l l ' . T h i s d o n e , ri se and makc 'Hail to thc Bodhisatn'a s three obeisance, chanting eachtime: Ku a n Sh ih Y in I ' F ina l l l ' m a k e th re e mo re o b c i s ances'chant'Hari to the Triple Gem, to the Eternal Buddhas,Dirarma ing: a n d Sa n ghas of t he Te n Q u a rte rs !' eoLoPHOl,j Th c me rit of per f or m i n g ttri s ri te b ri n g s a b o u t th e transformat i o n o f s ent ient beings e v e ry w h e re . It o b l i tc ra te s t he sufferi ngs o f th e T hr ee ( lou' er ) Sta te s o f E x i s te n c e a n d e nsures s" vi ft a ch i e ve m ent of Unex c e i l e d E n l i g h te n m e n t. (En d o f th e ri te ) Th e i n s t r uc t ions giv e n a b o v e a re b y n o me a n s a s arbi trary as th e y ma y s eem . T he rv h rte OM, re d AH a n d b l ue H U M at crown, throat and heart respectively are encountered extensively in such yogas; for these sounds and colours are hcld to have yital correspondences with the psychic centres in those Kuan Yin's oiAvalokita's mantra OM three parts of the bo-d1'.. MANI PADME HUM is of course the best known of all mantras; and the directions for performing the sadhana, though fo m u ch sim pler t han t h o s e fo r s i m i l a r s a d h a n a s , l l ow a si mi l ar pattern. One cannot in a few paragraphs do justice to the subject of mantras. Suffice, then, to say that they are an essential support to the visualisations whereby adepts attain direct communion with the forces embodied in such concepts as Kuan Yin; and that the sadhanascontaining them are among the most powerful yogic methods known. Though the written description of a sadha n a ma y m ak e it app e a r to b e n o m o re th a n a m e ntal charadc,

Contemplatiae Yogic lvlediration

r3r

it i n vo l ve s m ar v ellous c o rre s p o n d e n c e sb e trv e e n th e rcal ms of form and Void. Re ci ta t ion of t he s a c re d n a m e , a p ra c ri c e I h a r-c descri bed in connection u'ith the rites, is properly speaking another fcrrm or equivalent of contemplative meditation and is the easicst\\-it1 a <,rf tta i n i ng one- point e d n e s so f mi n d . So me d e v rt ees -r.rre. t o ke e p t he s ac r ed f or m u l a re v o l v i n g i n th e i r m i nci s dar. ari d n i g h t , s o r h a r i r c o n t i n u e se v e n r v h c n , a t a n o c h e r ! e v c l o i . o . , sci o u sn c s s t hey ar c eng a g e di n c o n v e rs i ti o n o r c o pi ng rvi th the , afi a i rs o f daill' lif e . I f o n c a ttem p ts th i s o n e s e l f, the ti rst rcsul r is l i kcl 1 ' r o t r e eit her t ha t th e re p e ti ti o n b e c o me s c : cchani cal or t h a t o n c' 5 at t c nt ion t o a ffa i rs b c c o me s to o p c rfu n c i ,..r1' , but thri s di,'h cu l tv c an br - ov er c o me rr-i thp ra c ti c e : e s p e c i a l l r i f onc earns n o i r c ' s l i v i n g i n r v a v st h a t c i o n o t r e q u i r e g r e a t c o F r c i - ' n t r a t i oo r m u c h d i s e u r s i v ct h o u q h t . I n t i m e t h e s a c r e d f o r m u l a r v i l l c o n r inu e to r ev olv u' in t he m i n d e 1 ' c nrv h en o n e i s a s l c e p and drear-ni n g , A t m o m e n t s o f i r r m r r e r t d a r r g e r ,t h e m i n d r e m a i n s c a l m l l n o t h r e a t t o l i f e o r l i m b ' c a : rc a u s ea b r e a k i n t f ^ ec ' t - ' : ; : o f r e c i t a tion. A fri cn d of m inc \ l' a s o ::e b c l C e n o u g h to te l l a rvel l -k:ro\\' n T ri p i ta ka M as t c r of t h e Pu re L a n d S e c r th a t, i n ;' l i s opi ni orr, of r e r=-i ra tion t he s ac r e d n rn e i s a p ra c ti c e to o rncchani cal to be sp i ri tualh' ef f ec t ' v e . ' M e c h a n i c a lI ' e c h o e C : h e I l a s t e r , i m m e n s e l i ' s u r p r i s e d . 'H o w can t hat be ?' G a z i n e a t m v fri e n d a s th o u g h rvonderi ng w h e th e r he wer e per ha p s d e a i i n g rv i th a l u n a ti c , h e conti nued: 'rj l e a vi ng t o t he s ac r e c in a rn e re s u l rs s m o o th )y and easi l y i n on e -p o i n t ednes sof m rn C -th e v e ry s ta te w h i c h i - sought so a rd u o u sly by m edit at o rs b e l o n g i n g to a l l th e e i g ht school s of Bu d d h i s m , t o s a- v no th rn g o f T a o i s ts , H i n d u s and orhers outside the Dharma. Atiaining one-pointedness, )'ou will, so o n e r or lat er ac c or d i n g ro to u r c a p a c i ty . s e e ] -our B uC dha o r Bo d h is at t v a s t andin g b e fo re ]' o u -a l i v i n g b e i n g, garmenrs fluttering, breast rising and falling rvit\ the breath of life I or, if th a t i s not u' hat 1' oul o o k fo r, 1 ' o u w i l l e n te r th e n o n-dual state a n d d i scov er t hat , her e i n th i s n ' o rl d o f fo rm , y o u h ave attai ned to the great Void. Then ri'iil 1'ou know tangible furrns for q'hat ri re y a re - bubbles , m i ra g e s . d re a ms . J u s t a s y o u are nor no\\' d e e e i ve db] ' t hos e s no\l ' \' mo u n ta i n s h a n g i n g i n the sky, kno* ' ing th e m as y ou s ur e l l ' d o fo r c l o u d s , s o w i l l \,' ou recogni se

r3?.

Bodliisar,va of Compassirm

each object as a no-thing, not unreal, but ever-changing, transient, devoid of on'n-being.' 'Go od, V ener abl e , b u t rv h a t i f I d o b e h o l d the B odhi sattva standing betbre rne, garments fluttering in the breeze? Beautiful a n d s at is f y ing as t h a t m i g h t b e , w o u l d i t n o t be j ust another illusory appearance ?' When the Tripitaka Master, overtaken by a gale of laughter, h a d re c ov er ed s om e th i n g o f h i s g ra v i ty , h e s a i d poi ntedl y: ' To certain people sruck like ffies in the web of intellect, the experie n ce s hould be e s p e c i a l l y e d i fy i n g . Be h o l d i ng your ow n thought-form snriling dorvn at your bewilderment, surely you would reflect: "Since r,vith my own mind I am able to create a beautiful lady, is there a single thing mind does not create) including this sky, this hill, this sea?" No longer will you doubt what is said in the sutras about the nature of this world. Hurrying to your library, if you have one, you will turn to those sutras and at last perceive their wisdom, eyes no longer dimnred by opaque clouds of intellectual vapour. From that day on, your stu d i es y r ill be t iuitfu l !' My friend s'as impressed; but, not averse to learning a little mcre f:'om this ibrthright monk, he said: 'Does Your Reverence imply that peopie who have been spared an education see more cl e a rl y t han ot h: r s ? ' 'They will rncstly see the Bodhisattva as a deity who has cont cl e sc ended o r es ' ard th e i r p i o u s re c i ta ti o n s .R e j oi ci ng, they w i l l henceforth recite with redoubled fervour and assuredl-v be re b o rn in a P ur e L a n d .' The last sentence took rny friend aback, making him wonder whether this monk rvas as wise as he had thought. For, as he told me afteru'ards, he had supposed that Pure Lands were d a n g led lik e c ar r ot s b e t-o rcp e o p l e w i th i n s u ffi ci ent i ntel l ectual ca p a cit v t o im agine a l e s s m a te ri a l i s ti c s ta te . H ow ever) quesri o n s on t his point p ro d u c e d s u c h e v a s i v e a n sw ers that my fri e n d r v as dis appo i n tc d , s u p p o s i n g h e h a d c aught the monk o u t i n s om e \ \ ' av . Pe rs o n a l l y , I b e l i e v e th a t the monk, al l too u,ell as'are of the harm done by definitions which demean and arrnihilate the more subtle kinds of concept, was simply tollowing normal practice on such occasions, which is to discourage questions about rvhat can be properly understood only wherr direct perception is attained. Herein, I am sure, lies the reason

r33 for the difficulty I bad experienced finding any learnedmonk in rvho would expresshimself forthrightly on the subject of the Bodhisattvas' true natureand the realmeaningof the term 'Pure Land'. Both are to be experienced,not talked about. lfhere words are bound to mislead,silenceis best. How fully invocation of the sacredname takes the place of the conternplative meditation practisedby other secrscan be seenfrom the faet that, just as ch'an (zen) monks from time to time attend sessions uninterrupted meditation lasting for of seven,twenty*oneor forty-nine days,so do Pure Land devotees undertakelntensivemeditation for periodsof that length. often the meditation hall or recitation hall of a monastery is used. so stringent are the rules that, during a session, only three hours daily are spent in sleep! Allowing a total of from three to fou: hours for two short rituals, three simple meals, ablutions.and rest periods, the time spent in formal recitation is from seventeen to eighteen hours a day; and, as talking is not permitted at mealsor during the restperiods,it is likely that informal recitation takes up most of the time allotted for eating and resr. Thus invocation actually continues for around twenty hours daily. The effect of erasing exrraneousthoughts for such long periodsis highly beneficial. vast accumulations ego-centred of thinking, petty caresand real anxieties are obliterated. Freed from this burden, rhe mind becomesclear and bright like a mirror from which mist and dust have been lovingly rubbed away. No wonder such sessionsare effective in promoting realisationof realiw's true face- Mind !

(")rtntempiatiae Yogic Mediration

'ir

ChaprerI

and Reveries Dreams, Speculations


I rnhued.u'i tlt supenretural power Attd zuisein usirtg skilful ftteans' In enery eerner of the world She martifestsher cauntless forms. l-otus S[tra

sincethe night of Kuan Yin's havepassed on Close four decades fesrivalrvhen I felt a sudden recognition of something loved and lost, a hint of memory stemming perhapsfrom a previous life. Nothing would be gained by my revisiting the sacred mountain, evenif I had the opportunity. No longer do solemn sounds of mantric invocation and the wooden-fish drum's upon the air, onll' the immemorial haunting notesreverberate sigh of rvind in the bamboos,the mournful cries of sea-birds winging inland from the Eastern Ocean and, percnance,the from someneighset laughterof holiday-makers freefor the da-v bouring commune.What has come of my preoccupationwith to down the l ears? Needless write of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva how much I haveenjoyedthe artistn'with u'hich her likeness painted on s'all-scrollsor folding fans, is portrave.i, r.r,hether incisedon jade or ivo?y, ca,:vedin precious u'oods,moulded in bronze or fashionedin shining porcelainI rvere I to make Kuan Yin's laughterrvouldring out. much of this enthusiasm, 'surely know that a singlesmallkindnessis an offeringmore 1-ou statuecarvedby a mastercarver to acceptable rnethan a life-size jade?Have you no more to say?' in flawless I could arguethat I havegro\\;na little kinder with the years,

Dreams, Reaeries nd Speatlttions r35 a but th e n th at is t r ue of s o m a n y p e o p l e o f m i ' a g e a n d may u.el l result from a wdning of the fires of self-love ior iack oi fuel. from the lazy tolerance of a comfortably offold man ri.ho refuses to lct things bother him. or I could urge that Kuan yin, in her Tara form, has been the vehicle of my yogic conrcmplations, that I have visualised light from her menially created image floocling my being, that her mantra is often on m!- lips, but rv oul d sh e not r eply : ' A nd s o ? In u n i v e rs e sc o u n tl e s s i n number as Ganges sands there are gods and goddesseswho have hcard the vo i e e s of t heir dev ot e e s mo re o fte n . T h u s w ' a s i r i n your rv orl d 'wi rh - I s i: , A r t em is a n d A p h ro d i rc ; s o i s i r n o rr . w i th that Mary who is worshipped in man]- ciimes as eueen of Hcaven, s o t o o w i th K ali who r ejo i c e s s ti l l i n rh e b l o o d o f s a c ri ti ci al vi crims, a n d n r any , m any o th e rs .' ''fru e , Holy O ne, but I fa n c l ' th e i r d e ' o te s s d c n tcan them h y insi sti n g t har t he wor sh i p p e d i s e x c l u s i v e o f rh e t* - orshi ppers and therefore less than infinite. I, Holy One, havr- iearnt that vou are infinite, that you and I are one and that, like every s en ti e n t b e ing, I s har e y o u r o w n d i v i n i ty . I k n o w . rv e l l that the d ual i sm whic h div ides me n fro m th e i r g o d s i s a d e i usi on born o f t h e d ri ft ing m is t s of p ri m o rd i a l d e l u s i o n .' \\/ould she not laugh ar my making such a pompous affirmation while still so much affiicted by an illusory feeling of oth e rn es s t owar ds a l l th a t l i e s o u ts i d e my s ki n? ' D ear man, how you play with words I Your rongue, iong and coiling as a sea-serpent, is forever there to trip you. Do ]'ou not find that tiresome ?' In an actual conversation *'ith Kuan Yin, I should be sadly vanquished. Even supposing I have glimpsed, thanks ro my teachers, a tiny facet of the rrurh, there are more pitfalls in'olved in putting it into ri'ords than holes in a frshing-net. S ile n ce i s bes t , s ilenc e a n d tra n q u i l l i ty o f m i n d - a rni nd al ert but a s d e void of objec t as a l a n te rn b e a m s h i n i n g o n unrrodden s norv. Bu t t hen, if wc r ds a re n e v e r to b e u s e d , u ' o ui d not one be gu i l ty of hoat ding k n o n ' l e d g e l i k e mi s e r' s g o i C ? Though m ysti ca l tru t h is no s oon e r e x p re s s e drh a n i t v a n i s h e s i i ke w ater pourcd o n t o par c hed s a n d , ma y n o r s o me o f th e drops be glimp se d while f alling an d e n c o u i a g e a q u e s r fo r rh ei r ori gi nal s ource? Th e d i a l ogue s et f or t h a b o v c i s p u re l y ' i m a g i n a n ' . but there

r36

Llodhisatztu oJ' Crnnpussittrt

tre h a ve b c en ot her s whe re i n th e b o u rtc l a r-1 ' t* ' c en actual anci irrra g i n edhas been hard e r to d e fi n e. N o ri ' a n d th e n a medi tator fa l i s i n to v is ionar y dre a ms w h i c h , th o u g h g u i d c d at the start b y h i s own r v him , lea d to Stra n g ea n d u n fo re s e e rtconcl usi ons. Afte r a l l, if indeed t he c e l e s ti a lBo d h i s a ttv a sa re i n di vi si bl e f rom ?rc' m i n d , r, v hois t o s ay t h a t th o u g h ts s c c rn i n g l l ' \' o 1 r' l ntar)' oot i I rr" a se d i n to a n otabl e rer' ' eri e fro m ti me t o t im e ins p i re d ? O n c e hy th e f ollow' ing c ir cu m s ta n c e In Kanc hant t ur i, a p ro v i n c i a l to rv n l y ' i n g s o m e di stance to a th e e a st of t he T hai- R u rrn e s e b o rd e r, s ta trc l s s m al l templ e to Ku a n Y in t hat I c ame u p o n fo r th e fi rs t ti me j ust trvo years a g o . While bur ning in c e n s e th e re ) I n o ti c e d a C h i nese gentl eman anci trvo ladies r,vatching rne with sL\Ineamusement and ' We l l ! Of th e m a n y s trange thi ngs he a rC th e y ounger lad y s a y : below heaven, a red-fur devil offering incense to Kuan Yin is not the least !' I am not) as it happens, a hairy man and the hair or) my head is nearer black than red, but Southeast Asia-born Ch i n e se habir ually s p e a k o f We s te rn e rs a s th ough, besi des being devils, ',r'ewere all of us covered rvith thick red hair iike foxes ! Thinking to have a iittle fun, after rising from my knees, I na d e th em a lor v bor ,va n d e x c l a i m e d p o i n te d l y , usi ng a pol i te ' -f ' a i -T ' a i , h a v e y ou not heard fro n o ri f ic f or r r : a: r ied * ' o me n : that K.uan Yin is nc iess gracious to animals and deails than to h u ma n- beings lik e 1 ' o u rs e i f? ' 'fh i s r epr oof , s o un e x p e c te d l v d e i i v c re d i n th r' i r o\\' n tongue, pl I pro d u ce d s at is f ac t or y c o I' l s te rn a ti o n b u t th e r" ' r' c-rc- c' asant eic ieily c o u p l e a n d th e i r n i e c e rc c e n tlv ar:-i vedi re' ' n-r l te o p l e - - an P : n a n g i n N l a i a y s i a - a n d , t o m a k e a m e n d s I L ) ru n l l l t c i t l : . ' n a l r r : d e n c s st,h e l - r n s i s t e do n m y d i n i n g w ' i t h t h e m a r a n c e r c v i c 5 l Ia u ra n t r . v her er hey h a d a rra n g c -dfo r s p e c i a i v c q , --tari anot' ci l t' ' melon soup b e s e r v e dt o t h e l n t h r o u g h o u t t h e i r b r i c f s t a ] ' .O v e r a n d s o m e b o s ' l s o f c o o k e d l c t t u c e g a r n i s h c dw ' i t h ; n u s h r o l r m r . ' t r e c - c ; t r 'f u n g u s , M r s Y c o . t h c a beancurd,banrboo-shoclts nd . V o u n g c r i a c 1 1 'a s k e d w ' h c t h e r K u a n ! i n s o m e t i m c s S c n t n l c a u s p i c i o u sd r e a l n s . T h i s \ \ / a Sa r e a s o n a b l cq u c s t i r : n , f o r s u c h cirearnsare alrtong thc- reccgnised fruits of I'sgi. ;neditation on s a ch o se n being, but I g a th e re d i t ' " 1 ' a a p rc i u d c to S o:nCsuch e xp e ri e nc e of t heir o \\' n . An c i s o i t p ro v e d to b e , for N ' l ' i s [-ec, i h e a u nt , nor r ' t old m e th a t s h e h a d b c -e nto Ka n chanburi oncc

', ,'" r',.1/r,,,.;, Re,uertet ,spectt!aii,:)nSt::,1 ct.rtd, b cfi i rc and, af t r : r v i s i ti n g th e te m p l e rv h e re rv c had met, had had a.pcculiarlyvivid dream. sh c had f bund hers e l f s ta n d i n g i n a s e a -s i d e mpi e of pal ati al te F)roportions, magnificentiy decorated wirh gilded *oo,i-.u.ui n g , pear l and c or a i o rn a m e n ts a n d s i l k e n b a n ners i nscri bed rvirh invocarions ro tsr.uan Yin - a place ten thousand times morc sp l cn d iei t han any s i re h a c i s e e n i n h e r tra v e l s . i ts ,nost xtracrdiirary fcatr:rc was a large and empty throne where the image :;heir-rlcl have hr:ep,a throne so pert'ectly resembling a prodigious lotus gs to seem like a living flower wirh derv actuaily sparkling o n i ts s at iny pc r als ! s o ft m u s i c p l a y e d o n fl u re, dui ci mer and ce l l s w as pr ov ided b y i n v i s i b l e mu s i c i a n s a n d a n unknow n fragrance oi'surpassing sweetnessfilled the air. prostrating herself before tire throne, she rose to behold the thousand-arm.d K,ran Yin seated there in all her majesry, a grear panoply of shining emblems in her thousand hands, a nimbus radiating from her body that rvas brighter than the sun yet softer on rhe eye than moonlight. Gazing sadly and not without severiry at the kneeling lady, the Bodhisatrva pronounced the following words in tones of unimaginable sweetness: 'When you were a baby still knorvn as Ying-Ying, you suffered from a breathing sickness. and your good mother vowed that, should ycu be allowed to live, you and she rvould abstain irom the flesh of sentient beings throughout your lives. She kept this vow until the end, but you since your marriage have broken it daily for more than thirry !'e a rs. W hy s o ? T ha t i s n o t a s i t s h o u l d b e .' \\zhile Mrs Lee, shaken and abashed was casting about for an answer, the dream had ended abruptly and she had awake n e d , f ac e wet wit h re a rs . As i t h a p p e n e d , a l l her i mmedi ate family \\'ere Buddhist and had been so impressed by the clrear,r rc'l a tc don her r et ur n to P e n a n g th a t h e r h u s tra n d- the very man ''i'ho had rvooed her au,ay from vegetarianism because of the s o c i a i i n c o n v e n i e n c e s - h a d b e e n t h e f i r s t t o s u g g e s tt h a t t h e y :l l sti c k [ o ' a pur e d i e t' h e n c e fo rth , a n d s o they had. N ow , : cl i cvl ng t hat s o un u s u a l a d re a m m i g h t b e c rr nnected' ,vi th a p r:cu l i ar qualit y of t h e i ma g e i n th a t te mp l e , s h e and her husb a n d h ad br ought t h e i r n i e c e to w o rs h i p th e re i n the hope rhar rl l 'h re e of t hem r v o u l d h a v e i n s p i ri n g d re a m s . I4.uch impressed by the srory, I, toc, hoped for an auspicious l re a m t hat night , bu r h a d n o n e . A s to th e L e e s and Mrs yeo.

ll ll

I 38

Bodhisatn'u of Cotrtpa'tsiott

I c -n n o t s ar ' ,f or I lc f t t h c to rv n b c to rr- d a n ' n a n d c i i d not rcturn lat un ti l So m eday ' s er . t s1 'th c n . e n q u i ri c s a b o u t th e m w ' crc frui tlcss; at the rcmplc. thc onll' onc oi the old \\'omen caretakers ' io rvh ti h a p -, pened b' . -ab g u l k n t--wn o th i n g o f th e p eopl e I de' ;c r i b e d i . t d t . . . n e d r n r i J l i ' = u r p r i s e dr o h e a r t h e y h a d c o m e a l i thc w,a]'frornllalar::a :;: :li.'hopc that the in;age she dusted rv f t r,f i a .' . , *' ouldiiis i' l: . i ;fi tmS , H o rv e v e r, re tu rn i ng to IS angali krl k ti -ra ts am L' al" r i: r . t i t,-,:,J g tl i n g i n tg my C h i l e s c gardcn ttl l e l j p y t i r e c o r , rh c : r l - i : o r c s u n s e t . I d i d f a l l i r r t c la r c \ r e r i e s o ' a s t o n i S l ' r i n g l r,' ' t rI ' i : . 1 a t I c a n n o t h r ' l p s u p p o s i n g t h e r c \ \ ' a s : jome th i ng in *' l' r i: t h. ( l h tn e s c fa rn i l l ' h a d s u rmi s ed' I propcl sc I t o d e s c r i b et h c r ev e r i c a sa c c u r a t e l l ' a s c a n l b u t ' t o b c p e r f e c t l \ ' c ' cOnsci ottsl r' io i' ,h a t c x te n t i ts S e q rrc fl C \\/? S f r a n k, I c annot S iy b) ' m ) , or r . n m i n d . It c e rta i n l l ' ' s e e m e d to happen ofin cl u ce d it se l f. I rvas seated on Lrnc of those porcclain tubs s'hich ilr C h i n e s e g a r d e n sp c r f o r m t h ' : f u n c t i o n o f c h a i r s ' t h e i r b e a u t v s be i n g i m per v iouS t o t h e rv e a th c -r, o d h a p p e n e d to be facl ng r p .i t o f t he r oc k er ) , c o n ta i n i n g a s ma l l c h i n a fi g ure of K uar: Yin half hiCden b), ferns and drvarf bamboos' Prescniiv I tcll in to a st at e bet s ' een s l e e p i n g a n d rv a k i n g o i a k rnd i n n' hi ch dre a ms m ay oc c ur , t hou g h u s u a l l !' rv i th a C e rta i na m ount of consci o u s d ir ec t ion. A f t e. r a l i ttl e ri ' h i l e . i s e e m e d to be standi ng be fo re K uan Y in in a ittg . c a v e u ' h i c h . o n a c c o u n i of the sound of d i sta nt s ur f , I t ook to b e th e H a i C h ' a o C a v e on P ' u T' o I sl a n d , though it m a1'ri ' e l l h a v e b e e n o n e o f my o wn i magi ni ng. Except for my sensing that the figure seated on a rock in front o f me ra d iat d a t r em en d o u s a n d a \\' e s o mep o w e r' she appeared more )ike a human tban a goddess,being dressed in head-dress an d ro b e of plain w' hi te c l o th w ' i th n o o rn a m e n ts or embl ems of a n y ki nd, nor any t h i n g l i k e a n i m b u s . o n l )' a s o ft gl ow ' that ma d e e v er ) ' det ail of he r p e l s o n c l e a rl y 'r' i s i b l e a g a inst the darkIIesSbehind. Fil\ed norv rvirh a delicious sense of rvell-beir-rg a n d e xc eedingly h" pp y , I.m a d e to p ro s tra te m !' sel f, but she mo ti o n ed m e bac k and s a t rv a tc h i n g m y e x p re s s i o nr.vi tha smi l c a s th o u g h r i' ait ing f or m e to s p e a k . F e a ri n g to s pend ti me on co u rte o u s pr elim inar ie s , l e s t s h e v a n i s h b e fo re I had donc, I b l u rte d out t he , lues t i o n th a t h a d o c c u p i e d m y mi nd on and o ff e ve r s inc e our f ir s t e n c o u n te r. '$ fh o and uha, ar e v o u , H o l v On e ? '

D re e n ts , R e z ;e ri ea rtti Sp t-i .r ,J/tol l s I39 :, L)o cs i r s c em s t r angc t h a r, a ftc r a l l th t-rs c \.c a rs . i sti l l neei j ccj to askthat questi'.? sfte'didnor scern ro ir-,]"t s... lor insranrrv t h c r c c a m e d r i f t r n g i n t o r n 1 'm i n d r h c familiar chlrcsc oror...b u'hich runs: 'Whar can a rr.ell_frog knou. ..i the skr.,s i m r r r e n s i r y ? 'm e a n i n g i n t h a t c o n r e x r ; . c a n , uln.l.. -i"a;i._ s ''. -'c ro g r as p t hc inf inite ? ' o f c o u rs e i :o tr E r.c :i a s a ci rri ;. i hsri fclt trttnc,contemprfbr parsons a n d s c h o c - . , 1 - n - i a s $c i r u r t .rs s F $ k ea s r h u u g h p e r f e c r l y t a m i l i a r w . i t h God', ,, ii.. ;;j';;;;t, r n i s s c r 'tlh c i r i m p i o u s n o n s c n s ea s b c i n g o f l e s sB C r t r r - r itih a n r h r , t r r r u r n r u r i n go f b c c s . N o w ' , e m b . l d e n e d b v h c r r , . . : ; : n i ' gs m i i c , I c.'tinucd: 'Hory c)ne. I vcnturc ,u rupp,rr. , ou are kno*.n. or ar l*ast dimly perceivcd, b)' many *.ho har-c :ror as much as h ca rd )'o ur nam e. A r e 1 ,o un o t th c ,u .,.." o f a ri ..,i sdonr ti .m the first intimations of blissful rhusness ro a Bui.iira,s Com_ p l et e U n e x c e l l e d E n l i g h t en m c n t ? A r c 'ou not i:^c mr:ther of. a l l d e i t i e s ?A n d , t h a t b e i n g S o ,b e s i d e " r , " i , r g o n . , , .l i h a l l c e l c s _ t i a l B t r d d h a sa n d B o d h i s a r r ' a s .a r e ' o u . r r r a l s ot h a : r . h i c h s c r n c callBrahmaand othersthe J a d e E m p e r o r . g t L a n .- i : r i r . e h ,G c . d) ' S h o c k e d b y m ) ' o \ \ . p l s n e r i : r . . I w . a t c h c di e s i nei face gro\\, s t e r n . H a d I i n a d v e r t e n t l , .i.a l ^ e r i n r , t . , \i 3 : Buc;lists take tc b e t h e m o s t d a n g e r o u so : : a 1 e : r u r r s a : u a r l s r n rct\r,een \\.or_ ship p e r a nd wor s hippec ? H a ; I b e tra r.c d Se -r,' -Ic, l i ngeri ng fragme n r o f t heis t ic t hink i n s ? No ! He r s m ile did not fa i e . Sh e k n e rr- I h a d n o r derneaned her b y co n fus ing her *' it h G o d o i a trri b u te d ro h e : rhe hi decus cruel ty o f c r eat ing a r i' or ic i : r' n i c h c re a tu re s l i v e r.r. devouri ng o ne a n o th er ' s f les h ! Rat he r I h a d me a n r rh a r th e n u -rri on God of is born o f a f aint pr es ent im e n r o f rh u s n c -s r, o i r' t,i .h K uan yi n herse l f a n d t he ot her c el e s ri a rBo d h i s a trr.r, .r. e ;n b odi ments that sp ri n g f or t h f igm t he c e p th s o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s . p ercepti bl e to t h e i n n e r ey e and not d i s :o rte .l to fi t i n * ,i th th e a n c i ent Jerr,_ l s h co n ce p t ion of a c r ea to r Gu -,da n d o n e s e p a ra i c from hi s . r e a t u r e s .T h u s n e s s , b e i n g i n c o n c e i v a b l e to min:s subject to r o r m a l h u m a n l i m i t a r i o n , . i - r t ri o b e c o n i e m p l a t e c in symbolic l o -rt : a l l th e gods and go. i J e s s e si n th e .,.,i .,e rre a r,- r efl ecti ons o i M i n d ' t h e c o n t a i n e r a n c c o n i a i n , : d ,o r 'elicles r-: rhe benefi_ :ent tb rce s pr oc eec r ing ir o m i r. S e e m i .g l y mi . :h o ught \\.as acce p ta b l c.A s t hough r o i l i u s tra re th e ti u th o f c :.,.i nl ty ,r.i tn : nnume ra b l e as pec t s ,t he Bc ' ' d h i s a rt' as ta rtl e d m c :i , rrrani festr t g h e r s c l f i n a v e r i t a b l e r ' , . h i r lo f t r a n s f o r m a t l o : r : . appearing

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BodJis;rn'a ai CoTnPasston

n o \i 'a SA v alok it a r v it h e l e l ' c n h e a C s ,n o \1 'a s th e mi rror-beari ng' rta n v-a r m c c i Chc n- T' i , n o rv a s ttre h o rs e -h e a d ed H avagnva, n o \v a s T ar a. now a S a te rri fy ' i n g w ra i h fu l -s e e m i rrg dei ry not u n l i k e Y a m a n t a k a ,t h e b l u e , b u l l - h e a d e d C o i r q u c r o r o f D e a t h , n o w a s t h e h a n d s o l n ey o u t h M a n j p s r i - a l l o f t i r e s ea l t e r n a i i n g u vi th many unnam c a b l e fo rms :, rn a l e a n c i f.e m a l e,horrendous a n t l s u b l i r n e ,o n e m e r g i n g i n t g a n o t h e r l i k e t h e c h a n g i n g o a t I te rrts i i r a c hild' s k ale i C o s c o p e A t th e l a s t, s h e appeared as N tl ne a v as t , s er e e m p ti n e s s i n to i v h i c h rh e c a r-eand i ts surTh i n g , om F , o . t . t . l i t t g s p r e s e n t i y d i s s o l v e d . o r a b r i e' f m e s se n t I f e l t t e r r o r ; I-n ' trurst i nto ti nv xr th e n th e- s k l, andhas c o n s ti tu e n ts o f m y to ta l anni hi l ati on ! fra g me nt s and wer e s \\re p t a l o n g i n to of Relovering as frorn a long swoon, though possibl-v- less th-an as betore u'ith Kuan Yin a second's duration, I saw everything se a re d on her r oc k l a u g h i n g n e l o d i o u s l y . T h en her fi gure b e ca m e indis t inc r e n d w a s l o s r i n rh e s u rro u n di ng darkness) wh i ch gr adually r ecc d e d , g i v i n g p l a c e to tw i l i g ht that qui etl y fad,-'dinto nighr. Fuily awaki and with scarcely time to feel the pangs of that tra g i c ior lor nnes s ' w h i c h fo l l o q ' s s u c h s e p a ra ti o ns, I suci denl y befan exulting irr the conviciion of having iust received a mo rn e nt ous r ev elat i o n . My mi n d rv a sb u rs ti n g wi th the nove!ry ' B ein g s s h o u l d c h o o s e th e i r o w n emboC tments o f th e t hought : o f d i vinit y ' and t ir c r v o rd s th e m s e l v e ss e e me d to thunder i nI tmy ' is e a r s . ' O f c o u r s e ,o f c o u r s e ! ' I s h o u t e d , ' o r s o i t s e e m e d ) . t o r ejec t th e a b s u rd c o n c e p ti o n s foi sted on us as n o t e nough ch i l d ren. T hey m us t b e re p l a c e d g ' i th s o me th i ng abl e to pour fo rth ins pir at it n glo rv i n g a n d s p a rk i i n g l i k e th e magi cal ei i xi r so u g ht by T aois t ige s , l i k e th e n e c ta r o f i mmo rtai i tl ' that i l ou s t r o m K u a n Y i n ' s v a s e! S i n c e i m p e n e t r a b i e m i s t s p r e c i u C c u s from conceiving of Thusness as It Is, since our svmbois arc a b i l l ion billion y oj a n a s fro m th e re a l i ry d e p i cted. w e must at l e a stseekr v or t hy c m b o d i m e n ts o f i ts s p l e n d o u r . rY e must cease u n ctu ous ll' ex pos in g c h i l d re n ro b o ri n g s e l rnons' to affi rmari o n s of bit ief in r v h i c h w e h a v e l i ttl e o r n o fa i th oursel vc' s,to n o ti o n s of v engef ul d e i ti e s b e fo u l e d b y th e s mo k" of burnt offera i n g s, t o s y m bols < . ,f g o n i s i n g d e a th q u i re o p p o si te to a chi l d' s i n b o rn c onc ept of n rh a t i s g c ,o da n d b e a u ti fu l a n d i cyous. C hi l dren'S innate perceptiottt *.ttt not be smothered but set free I H a d this iong ago b re e ns e e n to , o rtr mo d e rn w orl d w oul cl not

D r e a n t s ,R e u . . r i c a n d S p e c u l a t i o n s I 4 I s p ro vi d e s c m any hid c o u s i n s ta n c e so f th e c o n s e quences di sof ca rd i n g s pr ir it ual be l i e f a n d s p i ri tu a l e n d e a v our. Our contemporaries rvquld not be so ready to accept the coarse findings of their senses frr reality itself I The mountains of evil *ro.,ght h y th i s s t ult it y ing e rro r w h i c h n o w ri s e o n e v ery ha.nd w oul d n e ve r ha' r e c onr e int o e x i s te n c e! O u r c h i l d re n rnusi be saved fro m tas iing t he bit te r fru i ts o f c y n i c a l u n b e l i ef. H ow ? 'We m us t br , r ild u p c n th e i r n a tu ra l s e n se cf aw e and $7e must tel l re ve re nc e,t heir beli e f i n s p i r;ts , g o c i sa n d t-a i ri es. th e m i iank ly t hat , s i n c e fe w ' c a n b e h o l d a n d none ci cscri be re a i i ty - a v as ! and g i o ri o u s i mme n s i ty i m m e a surabrl yfurrher th a n the f ur t hes t s ta rs a n d n e a re r th a n th e e y ebrcw s to the e ye s--they r nus t c ho o s e fo r i t s y m b o l s l o v e l y , gl ow i ng, j oyous as their mincls can make them. Horv happy their response if, b e fo re " s hades of t he p ri s c rn -h o u s e l o s ei n " u p cn thei r natural c i n tu i ti ons of all- per va d i n g b e a u ty , e a c h c h i l d i s encouraged to se e k a s y m bolic f or m u n i q u e l y a d o ra b l e to h i rn, a fornr to b e co me t he obiec t o f h i s rv o rs h i p a n d th e v e h i cl e of ri :ysti cal p e rce p t ion t hat t r ans c e n d sa l l s y m b o i s . T h e p u rsui t of spi ri tual p e rfe c r ion) no longe r g ru d g i n g i y a c c e p te d a s a i i resome duty, w i l l b e f illed r v it h lau g h i n g z e s t.F i l l e d rv i th j o y o u s aw e) chi l dren rviil press forvard with an enthusiasm that ma1: carry them in th e sp ac e of a s ing l e l i i e -s p a n to th e g l o ri o u s apoth(:osi s of mysti c al enCeav our- En l i g h te n me n t :' I w onder if I hav e a t a l l s u c c e e d e di n c a p tu ri n g the exal tati on that burnt into my mind as the tropic night closed s'wiftly do*'n u p o n my gar den, lea v i n g ro c k s a n d p l a n ts b u t fa i ntl y i l l umi ned rvhich drerv from the porby lights shining from the r.r'indorvs ce l a i n f igur e of K uan Yi n a s o ft a n d g h o s tl y g i eam ? I r,ventto bed later in the evening still intcxicated with that glorious re ve l at ion; but r v ith th c n e x t J a y ' s d a u ' n i n g . aftcr a hcavt' sto rm, c am e t he def l a ti o n th a t s o o fte n fo l l o rv s i n rts turn. Longing to recapturc somethingof my previousmood, I visited rhcra i n -s oak ed gar dc n i n th e e a rl -v o u rs , o n l y tt-rfi n d di sconsol ate h b a mb o os and t r ees w i th d ri p p i n g b ra n c h e s l r)u ' eted as though in admonition. Dank sprays of bcurgainviliae let fall thcir 'fhe sky prepared to shed more sodden florvers and sighed. te a rs. To a liz ar d t ha t p a u s e d to s ta re a t me w i th col d hosti l i ty, I a d m it t ed hav ing g i v e n \\' a y to g ro s s p re s u mpti on. H ow haci I d a red t o dr eam of s o l v i n g th e i l l s o f th e rv o rl d by advocati ng

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Bodhisatna of Ca,npassiott

a re tu rn t o what m en o f l e a rn i n g c a l l ' p ri mi ti rre s upcrsti ti on' ? A b o ve a ll, ho' nv ould I s u p p o s c th a t mo th e rs a n d fa thers w oul d c r i' i l l i n g l y allo*' c hildr e n to c h o o s c th c i r o r.r,n o d s ? g b -l o w ,two v ear s lat c r, I a m l c s s s u re th a t mv mi nd w as not t r u l y i n sp ir ec t hat . ' r ' e n i n g . I rc m c -mb c r h o u ,, o n m), fi rst vi si t to thc mountainous hornclandof thc Adamantine vehicle of' I l u c r d h i s m , ' a i r i r v e r a .i ) r ' l L ' t i p f ' ' . h i c h e n r b r a c e s h e a r e ar o u n d \ o t Gangtok, Kalinrpr:rrr. Darjccling, I had bcen struck bv a p i r c r r o m e n o n' j r \ ' ; l , l : , : t o r h c c h o o s i n g o f o n e ' s o w n e m u o a i 'l'i,,: nrcnt of dir,.inr:i' ,iroicc plac,-'d efore Tibetan neophytes b ra n g e s rv idc ll' ; i: r : ; ' : r i i ru s rs o f ti i v i n i ti e s o L e v e r), conc;i \,;bl c a s p c c t - h i d c r " ' u i , . r ; . , , ' , :,,' 1' r a t i r f u o r b c n i g n . o f t h e s e 't,h e o n c r l t h a t ca l i s f or t h s p: ; iai .i c i ' .ri o ' i s c h o s e n a s th e i dam thcncef crrthto bec om . : , r : r : . . s ' m b o l o f c i i v i n i tv , b u t th e actual yogi c 'ehi cl e fo r c on' ir ; : : : a; c to fa c c -* ' i th rh u s n e s s ! In ttror" r.,].ro u n d i n g s , b) ' a; : : : , - . : :' ,. f c i rc u ms ta n c e ) I h a d g a i ned a good o part of such ins:s:.: as I ha,.'errio Kuan yin's nature-not in i ch i n a rvh er e s he : t . l: - ; . r i n s r)m a n l h e a rts , b u t a m o ng T-i betans t o rvh o m ( ex c c c : r : r . , . : ::-i a l ers p trc t s C h e n re s i g so r A val oki ta, i a o r c l s ea s T a r a . s : : . . u i k n ( ) u . n l B u t t h a t i s n o t t o s a y . h a v e I e \ r e rc o n l c t o a i . : . . ' - : : : t r s : a r - r d i n g o f h e r n a t u r e . \ { ' h e t h e r o r no t my o\ 4' n S uplt r s : l i .-.' :r. r fo rth i n c o n n e c ti o n $.i th my :c r e v e r i e ,i s a c c e p r c i ; s : ; : . ; f ; u i : o f c o r r e c t i n t u i t i o n , I c a n c l a i m no \\'a rrant v of it s : ' : : : : : i u ;l V c n d o rs c d b y a n _ vc h i nese monk o r T i b e t a n l a r n a . T r ' . : : , . : : o u n c e r n c n t s o f m y t e a c h e r sh a v c alrva ysb een s o ar n' ll' , . : .:.:: i : to ri u g g c s tn o i rre c o nci l abl e di fiere n ce bet ween Ct r n;--' :' .' ::.f ' f K u a n y i ' a s i n ci cpend..rri r. c e x i s t i n g , a n da s i n d i r ' : s : : . . ' : : , r m r h e d e v o t c e ' so w n m i n d . T h c r , r 'o u l d ce r t ainly go aiong ' .' ,' ::h c \,' c n c ' ra b l e s u a n FIua' s rh H statL* m e n t th a t , in pay ing ho n i a -: ro s u c h b e i n g s , \v e a re ul ti matel v pa yi n g h om age t o our s r' l ' i s . .u t ta k i n g th a t to me an that thel . d o n o t e x i s t i n d c p e n o c n r ^ ' .r' : a n ' s c n s e u , o u l d b e t o aourt , r ebu ke ; yet s o r v ould a c i i r.-c :S i 2 i c -rn e oto th e o p p osi te t effect, name l y that t hey do ha ' e a :r rn c i e p c n d e n t e x i s i ..r.. of thei r o'"vn l By thes e m 1' s t ic a i l v l :j t,n .c tj m e n th c tu ,o c oncepts arc not d e e me d m ut uallv ex c i u s i v e : i r i s h e rc th a t w e s ,.r., ,rri " i .rg w ith i ts i n s is t enc e on ir r c c o l c i l a b l c - l o g i c a l c a te g o ri esforms ai obsta cl e to under s r andi n g . ' fi rc o n c \r.a ' to ..a i h the truth i s t o a b a n d o n d i s c u r s i ' c a i g u n i c . r a n c a p p r o a c hi t y o g i c a l l y , that i s t o s a y b y c u l t i v a r i n q c i i r - r c to - . . . i r i i o n .

D rta n ts , R c t.c rre sa rtd Sp ecul ati orts r43 An a n c c dot e f r o- m rn y ' ra s t d a 1 ' si n p e k i n g (rq + g) i tustrate; the problem well. I had gori. ,o take a farcrie, look at pai 'a szu' a Mongol temple wiitr a ve{v fine chori.:rr(reliquary tower) which I had not'isited since before ,i.,.r*rr.'o.,.. teeming rvith I a ma s' i t now wor L-a d e s e rte d l o o k ; th e r.r,. i * .s sti rl i n resi _ d e n ct--l ook ec l - s eedy a n d n e g l e c te d ; u ,rr i h .1 , rr .el comed me h o sp i ta bll' wit h r c a an d s ti g h i ry r" ..* " .i ^ l o u g rr-c akes fri ed i' o i l . Ti r es e wer e s erv c d o ., , ro ri ta b i c ,ro rrrra rr.hi ch \\.c sar cro ss-rr' gged a br ic k s l e e p i n g -p l a rfo rm on c o ' c re c i ri .i th fi ne but w rre fu i rl' dir apidar ed c a rp e i .. d r. ." ;;;;;i o ,, ,...." c to thei r ih vo u ri r.' B odhis at t v a , A ' a ro k i ta . r* .h e rc a t rrrc seni or i ama r cl a tcd a t ar e about his te a c h e r, a p a o -T ,o u v o u th rr.ho, at the age of t*'erve, had foilo"ved his o\4'n t.ucrr.-. to Urga *.here the' li' e d i n a t em ple t hat w a s re a l ry a fe ' c c d .rr.i o .rrL - dorred w i th )'* tts (fe l r t c nt s ) f r om rh e m i d s t o f ri ,h i c h ro s e a b ri ck p.uy..hall buiir around a srarue of the Bodhisattva in his .t.u.n_ headed

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aspecr-He-who-sees-I"-iri-b*.'.,io,-,r. speaki'g chinesein the flat roneless Mongor *;;;;;. anci using the chinesename'Kuan yin, for the Bodhisaiw". th. ora -"rr] somethins r,is t.a.h.is chitdr.,ooJ of J;;r, *;lti"-"1;scribed
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it c hanc ed t ha t, h a v i n g d i s p l e a s e d h i s i ama by some c a r e e s s n e so r o t h e r , h e w a s c o m m a n d e d l s t o p a s sa n e n t i r e n i g h : 'ra ki n g g r and pr os t r ati o n s b e fo re K u a n y ;;, s rarLre_not rhe or d i n a ry k ind but t hr o* ,i n g h i m s e l f re p c a ,.J i y , a t fu i l l ength on th'- floor. Need I say,it *,is exhausring ro. child ? Tor.varcis mi d n i g h t he des is t ed a n d s a t w a ri r-.. u fo . a "c u s h i ' n, ready to sp ri 'g r-l p at t he f , r s t in ti m a ti o n o f .' o * .o .,.;, The altar lamps cast fitfur shadorvs anc. " p p rouch. as therc \rras .o knowir:g wh a t mi g h t be r ur k ing i n th e s u rro u n d i n g d a rk n c s s) he became afraid and started gabbling Kuan Yin's mantra. presently in t h': co rn c r hou: ing t r r e s h ri n e o f th e g ,ro rJ i r,, d c i ri r-s, he sa,,r, thrc'c pairs of fier1' e'es and, though l-t. ,ri.J to beiieve thev l\rc;e no more than the jcw'elled e'cs of inragcs ..;;h, ;fi; ligh t stre a m ing f r gm t he a l ta r, h e g re r' fe a rtu i l c s t rhe guardi ans i'ere about to sprir:g out and p.rrrlrh his ffie,i i" resting from ir is p ro str ar ions . weil d ri i l e d i n mo n a s ri c o ;s c i p ri n c, he w oul d so(,rr r s k being dev ou re d b v th e rc rri b r. ri g " * a i a n s than reave t he p ra l 'er - hall u' it hout h i s l a ma ' s p e rm i s i i o o ; h e had to bear his tcrro r, t eet h c hat t er i n g s o l o u d l rl th a t h c s e c ,rrc dto hear the

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r a t t l e o f b o n c s . A t i a s t , r e c o l l e c t i n gr v h a t h e h a d b e e n r a u g h i o f s u c h m a t t e r s r h e c e a s e dh i s g a b b l e a n d , c o n c e n t r a t i n g u ' i t h all his mighr, urrcrcd Kuan Yin's mantra just once fron hls heart as loudli' as he dared - OMMMA,{M.,\'IMN,1 NLA\ I PADME HU},TMMA,IMMMMMMMMM !II 'Instantly a living replicaof the gilded image, alike in all res p e cts e x c ept t hat it w a s s m a l l e r a n d h a d th e col our of pure g o l d , g lided f r om beh i n d th e a l ra r a n d , ro u c h i n g hi m upon rhe cro\r/n, sent \t'a\"esof bliss flo*'ing don'n*'ards to tlre extremities of h i s body t hat c ; au s e d n k a n d l i mb s ro ri n g l e w i rh del i ght. tru 'Irr th e hour bc - f ored a u ' n . rh e n o i s e sma d e b y p eopl e sti rri ng in the kitchen .r-oke him from a dreamless sleep while he 'nvas a ctu a i l y in t he ac t of ma k i n g a g ra n d p ro s tra ti o n and he reccl lected that he haci been performing them all through the night I Yet even no\\- his movements were as effortless as those of a !\'restler ne*-lv risen from a night's rest !' As this story drerv to its climax, the old monk watched my fa ce w i th innoc ent de i i g h t, n e v e r c i re a m i n g th a t there mi ght be pe o p l e in t he u' o: ld mo re l i k e l y to d i s b e l i e v e rh an be edi fi ed by th i s ar t les s t ale of th e Bo d h i s a trv a ' s c o mp a ssi on. P hrasi ng my question cautiously, I enquired whether the golden irnage vrould have been seen by anyone rvho had happened to enter th e p ra y er - hall ai t ha t ti m e . 'Assu r edlr ' ! ' he a n s r.v e re d i n s u rp ri s e . ' O u r B odhi sattva rvo u l d n ot denv t hat fe l i c i ty e v e n to a rh i e v i n g Ki rgi z nomad, a rvo rs hipper of t he g o d A -I-a (Al l a h ).' 'So the im age $' as n o t b o rn fro m y o u r te a c h e r' s ow n mrnd ?' Pu zz led, t he oid m a n c a s r m e a re p ro a c h fu l l ook as though b e g i n ning t o \ \ ' onder rv h e th e r, o n a c c o u n t o f h is patched and ra g g e d gar b. I c oulc i h a v e s o l i trl e re s p e c r fo r h i m as ro suF,pose h i m a l i a r . ' \ ' o u r n ' o r d s a r e s t r a n g e .D o e s n o t K u a n Y i n a i r v a r ' ; e: . r i s t n a n d o u r s r d e p e o p l e ' s m i n d s ? ' E a g : r l - vI* a s s e n t e da n d h a r m o n y w a s r e s t o r e d , b u t i n * ' a r d l v I rn a rv elled t o nor e th a t h e \\' a s u n a b l e ro p e rcei ve an i n,()ngruilv tha: must be immediately obvious to a Westt--rncr's nrin.l. To mosr of us it rvould seem thar either an occurrence i s n ' r i : r d - o o r na n d , i f s o , r ' i s i b l e o n l y t o i t s c r e a r o r ; o r e i s e i t i s n i a i c r iaili' r eai and th e re tb re v i s i b l e to a i l . Si nce then, of C t r u r S rI h a v e l e a r n r n o t r o b e s o s u r e t h a t t h e t w - op o s s i b i l i t i e s . arc mu:uailv ex-Iusive.

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a Su c h s t or ic s c ann o t b r- d i s ;m i s s c c l s fa b ri c a ti o ns,for thel ' are o ftcn t old by m en w h o rv o u l d s c o rn to l i e. T o K u an Y i n' s devotccs thes e t hings ha p p e n a n d , u ,h e th c r th e y o ccur aS materi al ma n i f es t at ions t hat c o u l d b e p h o to g ra p h e d o r as psychol ogi cal e xp e r ienc est hat on l y s e e tn to b e l o n g to e x te rnal real i ty, they a re e qually m ir ac le s . V e ry re c e rl tl y I c h a n c ed upon a cl ear t:xa mple of a t hir d m o d e o f b e i n g , n e i th e r w h o l l y i nternal nor cn ti rely ex t er nr l. A v i s i ti n g l a ma fro m N e p a l , an E ngl i shman b y b i rt h, t old m e la s t m o n th o f a n i n c i d e n t th a t occurred w hen, o n e night dur ing a v i s i t to En g l a n d to s e eh i s m other, he happ e n ed t o s har e a be d ro o m w i th a b o f i n h i s e arl y teel l s. S o as not to draw lrnnecessaryattention to himself, he performed his e ve ning y oga m enta l l y a n d th e n c o rn p o s e d h i msel f for sl eep. In thc morning the boy declared thal. *'aking several times, he had noticed with amazement a covering of light over his roomrnatets bed and that, when at about midnight the lama hao got up to relieve himself in the bathroom, the light had followed a n d ret ur ned wit h h i m. N o w th i s b o y , th o u g h o bvi ousl y a chi l d rvi th unus ual ps y c h i c p o w e rs , k n e w n o th i n g o f B uddhi sm and had no idea that a lama, before going to sleep, invokes his idam ' v a i ra -te n t' ) a p ro te c tive coveri ng that a n d c r eat esin his m i n d a i s h e l d t o r em ain in p l a c e u n ti l m o rn i n g . T h e fa ct that the boy, u'ho had never heard of any such thing, perccived the vajrate n t, or at leas t it s ra d i a n c e , Su g g e s tsth a t w ' hat i s,vogi cal i y vi su a lis ed m anif es ts i ts e l f i n a rv a y th a r i s n e i t her rvhol l -vconfi n e d t o t he adept ' s o w n mi n d , n o r s o s o l i d l y materi al as to bc vi si ble t o ev er y bod y . I b e l i e v e th e k e 1 ' to m a n y mysteri es i s to be found here. Th is inc ident m a y i n d i re c tl y th ro u ' a i i rtl e l i g ht upl rn thc-mann e r i n whic h m onk s a n d l a m a s c o n c e i v c c ' rfa cel esti al B odhi they cxi st B sa ttv a' snat ur e. No k n o r,,' l e d g c a b i e u d d h i S t Supposes t p r e c i s e l - t ' i nh e s e n s e h a t t h i s p r i n t e d p a g c e x i s t so r i n t i r e s e r t s c t th a t A pl, r odit e wa s b e l i e v e d to e x i s t a s a d i v i nc i nhabi tant of N ,tount O ly m pus ; b u t th e re i s p l e n tl ' o f e v rd enceto suppcrt a too subtl c: i o bt-co n v ic t ion t hat t he re a re m o d e s o f e :< i s te n c e r c l a s s e d v i t h t h d t o f p h y s i c a l o b j e c t s ,) ' e t t o o c i e a r l y p e r c e p t i b l e to the s ens esof p s y c h i c a l l y g i fte d o r y -o g i cal l ytrai ned thi rci p a rti es t o be dis m i s s e d a s p u re i m a g i n :ti o n . I do not mean that th e nat ur e of t he la m a ' s v a j ra -te n t p ro v i d e s a cl ose anal ogy ttl th e nat ur e of K uan Yi n , tb r I d :e m th e te n t to be but one of

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Rodhisatn'a of ComPassiort

l f i ng bci rvtci r a rr,i d eand pr ogr es si v e l ys u b tl e ra n g c o f c n ti ti e s w h o l l y p s y c h i c c a tc g o ri e s.Thc- purpd\i ' ,i r. i rtt y *r t . r ] r l and t h a r r h er c a r c o f r e l a t i n g t h e a n e c d o t cw a s m e r e l r ' t o i l l u s t r a t e scve ra l *nd. t of bei n g ' too sublime to L'rc I hesitate ro go further. There are n:rattL-rs . k n o rv l e d ge N ot bei ng d :1 1 .r o - wn ur . les sin t h e l i g h t o f c e rta i n h e a d fo r a rvesomchei ghts' a rn a n o f m uc h ar t ain me n i I h tt' . n o -l-r: ope rvisti to go write i1 ignoraDr:ciTla!' co harm' sirould i d c , T h e s ' a -V s to p racti se a ]:qa o n frcm hc r e, book s rv i i l n b t there are certal i l l ca d i ng t o dir e c t per c e p ti o n . F o r th i s , h o v ;e v e r, mu s r l i v c fru g a l l y a n d chastel y l est hc p * re q r, ir it . r . r [ . , o .p r s s l y' compassi onsq u a nr J c rhis ener gy ; a n a h e .mu s t a c t s e l fl e p. r T . ., i n rp a rti a l i ty to rv a rd s a l l s enti ent bei ngs u ,* ty and wit h scarcel-vbe made Morecrver) entrance to the yogic path ^can earlier Stagesma)' without a teacherl but some account of its Yin or Tara as the be of interest. ffrr, one should take Kuan it is traditionally taught vehicle is by ,ro -.".rs essential, but some others, such that these two 6"irg, are easier to woo than of wisdom' as the shy Manjusri, embodiment rhe idam or indrveistager. At the outset, it is necessaryto woo divinity, even ri"g deity as though he (she).were an external offerings, such though on. -ry k".o*' that this is not so. Pure but never the flesh as incense,flowlrs and water, must be made, supported b:' of sentient beings. 81' the power of visualisation treasures- namell' all that waier is converted into ;""r;;r;the , q u a l i ti es and propero n e h as of body , s pe e c ha n d m i n d , a l l g o o d i ma g i n a b l e p re c i o u s thi ngs i ncl uda a ti e s, all m er it s , as ^w e l l .s l l a nd moon' .It i s i "g i fr . univ eis e it se l f, o rn r-..,te d * ' i th s u n this stage that the itilm be vierveC as Vo?i.uff' desirable at "he (she) really 'alued the kind of ofrerings one mlkes lnJ.rgtt created' (onc to ki ngs , t hough m o s t o f th e m a re i n fa c t me n ta l l l ' to tnan's primitive of the p.rrpor*, ma1,be to provide a response w orshi pper, dei bei b u t deep_s eat ed i e f i n d e i ti e s e x re rn a lro rh e who required the ties who nrake royal demands, like Artemis burnt ofterings blood of pigeonr,'o, Jehovah u,ho rejoiced in death of his son as the price and demanded the suffering and teachers founc of human ,.d.rnption. Perhaps earl.v Buddhist th e tra d i ti o n a l p ra c ti c e s of ne$' converts i t a d v is able t o " . l. p t P erhaps l ruman i a n d t r ans m ut e t hem b y s ta g e s n to p u re r fo rms .

I.1: p s y c h . r l o g v r i l l r c q u i r c s a q u a s i - t h c ' i s r i a p p r r r a c ha r r h c s c bcginn i n g . I r 1onot k not l' . It i s a l u ' a y s b r' s r ro fo l i o rr.rh c i nstr,ra,i o.r. 's o 1 ' o n e 1 ' t l g i c l a l ia d y a l c c C t c a c h e r s . ) y ' l- hc .5 i i r,1 '.: , . t . i, t t t t is rn v rtc d to p a s s t' ro m a n r cntal l l . crcatc-.1 t h c a d c p t ' s b o d t ' f o r a s p a c e ,t h a t t h e p c r f e c r u n i c n i n r a g , :i n t c l d r m n f ' \ r ' t; ' s i r i p p c ra n d r v c ; r s h i p pd e a v b e a c c o n r p r l i s h e i n a m a n r r r ' rL l , " i t c a c i s . t t u r a l l ] ' f r o m s t a g c 1 . A i t h i s p t r i n t . t h c ' a d e p r l n n l i l ]' :i ill be un; t \ \ ' are t-rc rmd i rc c t c s p c ri c l l c e -ti l r-' uei r hc u' i i l : , r r r , - ' lk n o r l i i t h e o r c t i c a l l l ' - t h a t i d a t n a n J \ \ ' L r r s h i p p e rh : , r ' e r n r v L r L . c e na l - r 1 1 r t , ) . \ l i r , g . , - . h c i , i . t r t t h a v i n g a g a i n b c ' c ni n i ' i t c . i . i s r c t a i n e d i n t h r ' , _ T to ;.ri 1 ,:ptbodv t it r as io n g a s h e fe e l s a L rl e c o n d ttct hi msel f con's role as a Bodhisatt|a. free from the : ; ( . ) r l i r i r t i ] - $ ' i r hs e x a l t c d hi ( l c a s ti r i n t c f s c l f - c c n t r c dt h o u g h t o r a c t i o r r . T h t p e r i o d o f u n i o n i s g r r d u a l l v i n c r e a s e da n d t h e d e t e r n r i n e d a d e p t m a v e l e c t t o - s p c n tu p t o s e v e ny e a r s i n s o i i t a r l ' s c c l u s i o n .I h : b e t t e r t o p e r l fcct th c div ine qualiti c s o f c o m p a s s i o n ,e q u a n i mi tr' . c-gol essness a n d sr - lf or t h. ' Sra g .'.; . T he union r e m a i n s p e rma n e n t a n d q i v es bi rth to di rect mysti c al per c ept ion o f th e i d e n ti tl ' o f s e l f a n d o th er, of the real rrr o f fo rm and t he G r ea t Vo i d . W i s d o m a n d c o mp a ssi on are uni tcd a n d th e pat h t o E nli g h te n m e n t i m m e a s u ra b l l ' shortened. Amo ng r eader s o f th i s fi n a l c h a p te r) th e re rvi l l be nonc' : I doubt m y s i n c e ri ty . A l l a re w e l c o m e to suppose me h o p e. r . r ' ho th e vi c t im of er r or s a n d d e l u s i o n s re s u l ti n g fro m the i nexpert u sc o f 5' ogick nowle d g e ; a n d u ' h o i s to s a !- th e l' u' oul d not be j u sti n e d ? if , ho' , v ev e r, e re a re a n v u ' h o h a v e fo l l ou' ed me thus th fa r a nd u' hc ac c ept rv h a t I h a v e u ' ri tte n a s b e i ng reasonabl e, I o \r'.'t he' m an apolo g y . H a v i n g o ffe re d g l i mp s e s of the B odhi sa tt\.aK uan Y in at m a n -v l e v e l s , s i a i ti r-rgrv i th her as a goddess o f frsher - f olk . i hav e b ro k e n o ff i e a v i n g h e r a shadow y fi gure to th r end. I am s or rv fo r th a t, b u t u ' h a t c a n I do ? i must not i r t r ; c t ta c i i m a x t o t h e q u e s t . T h e r e i s r c a l l l ' n o \ \ ' a v i o g o f u r t h e r , s l i , r r to f u n d e r t a k i n g t h e a p p r o p r i a t e ! ' o g a r i g h t u p t o i t s f i n a i : ; t a g ia n d a c h i e v i n gd i r e c t i n t u i t i v e p c r c l ' p t t o n . T o t h o s e r r ' h o . . i t ,i h i s s u c c e s s f u l l r 'h e r s e c r e tr i ' i 1 1 o s t s u r e l v b e r e v c a l e t 1 . m .

I)rL c ? l rs ., c t,c ri c .s rrd S p .. cul ai orts R a

:-it

Roihtatn,a

of Ccrmpdssion

O n e t h i n g i s c e r t a i n- t h o u g h p u r s u i t o f r h c I l o d h i s a t r v am a v a t fi rs t be m ot iv at ed b y a n i d l e rv h i rn , i f c a rri c d through i t l eads i o e x a l t e d h e i g h t s o f m y s r i c a l e x p e r i e n c c .\ \ ' h o i e u n i v e r s e s ' fo g e th er b e co r neplay t hi^r gs o f th e a d e p t' s m i n c i . u' i rh thc i njoy of in c re a s i n gi d e n ti fi c a ti o n r' ,' i ththe B odhi sarn' a d e scribable co me s per c ept ion o f th e i d e n ti ty o f s e l f a n d o th cr. l nsi gni frcanr fo o t-. ir illsar e s uc c e e d c db y c l o u d -rv ra p p c d p e a ks and the path, b e c o m i n g e v e r s t e e p e r a n d m o r e h a z a r d o u s ,l c a d s t h e n c e t o cxp a ns esof pur e s n o w a w fu l to c o n re m p l ate unri l prcs" v h i te e :l tl y lit by a r os ea reg l o rv . T h e g i o rv b e c o m e s a shi ni ng l i ght, th e sh ining iigir t a b i a z c o f s u d d e n u n d e rs ra n di ng, anci ttren i Be y ond t hal lies a s ta re tra n s c e n d i n g th e furthesr confi n,:s o f conc ept ua! t hou g h t. N o w d o e s th e C o mp a ssi c,nate cdhi B sa ttva t er r if y , being a t l a s t re v e a l e d a s o n e rv i th an i mmensi ty ioo vast for finite beings to contemplate. The cow'ering ego shrieks and, fighting for its very being, rends mind and body rvi th agonis ing pain s . ' Ba c k , b a c k l ' i t w a i l s . ' Before us l ooms i n sa nit y , an oc ean o f i n c o n c e i v a b l eh o rro r rv h ere i n rve shal l di si n te g rat e ! F ler e lies th e e n d , a b o u n d l e s s n o th i ngness) an unsp e a k ably f ear f ul a n d h i d e o u s v o i d w h e rei n \1' e shal l be sh a tter ed, dis s t ; lv e d , a n n i h i l a te d ! A i e e e e e e e e eeeeeeh !' Ere long t he ego i s n o i n o re . c a u g h t b y ra -v s f the cl ear Li ght o o f R ealit y , it s hr iv e l s , s h ri n k s a rrd i s u tte rl y consumed, N or,r, i s th e B odhis at t v a f u l l ,v re r,' e a l c dH c r e rs rr.v h il e . devoree,by no me a n s annihilat ed, h a s u n d e rg o n c a n i n fi n i te expansi on and c o n t a i n sw ' i t h i n g ' h a t h e h a d o n c e d c - l u d e d l v i s r a k e nf o r ' h i m m 'a s e l f m y r i a d r n y r i a d u n i v e r s e s , T h u s n c s ss o ' a s r a n d c o n r p r c a h e n s i v e t h a t n o r o n e g r a i n o f ' o t h e r n e s s 'r e n a l n s . H c . n c c r o r r h a n ct er nir y of bliss , th e u n u tre ra b l e b i i s s o f \i ri ' ana -- i j r::i i i i b e rat ion - S Upc r r ,' c .o!e S

Apipendix

The Frincipallconographic
Forms of the Bodhisattva
As Kuan Yin In China, Japan and neighbouring couniries, female dspictions of Kuan Yin predominate, generally in idealised human fonn with one head and two arrns. Her long robe and charactelistic hood-iike head-dress may be white or coloured. The splendid ornaments sometimes adorning head, throat, rvrists and ankles are a conventional symbol of her Bodhisattvahood, but these are often lacking so aSto achieve a chaste nun-like effect. Some depictions are devoid of clearly defined sexual attributes and occasionally she is shown in male form; for instance, in veiy old paintings or those in ancient style, the face may be lightly bearded, The commonest male forms reveal the full splendour of a Bodhisattva, the garments and ornaments being similar to th o se of anc ient Hi n d u ru l e rs . When ths figure is depicted standing, the feet may rest upon giant lotus petal that is perhaps floating upon the sea, or on a the calyx of a huge lotus bloom, for this flower is especiall-v a ssoc iat edwit h t he e mb o d i m e n ts o f c o m p a ssi on-A mi tabha Buddha, Avalokita, Tara and Kuan Yin - thcugh, as one of the most wide:pread of Buddhist symbols, it may also appear among rhe emblems of many other Buddhist deities. Kuan Yin's bociy ',vhen standing is often gracefullT curved rvith one sh o ulder held a littl e h i g h e r th a n th e o th e r, the head sl i ghtl y inclined and the hands hidde;r by long sleeves,unless she stands u,ith one hand raised, the other pointing downwards in the attitu d e of benedic t io n . Vhen she is depicted sitting down, both feet may be placed qn the grognd, oi the right leg may rest on the left thigh or

r 50

Bodhisatna

of CornPassion

else be raised so that the foot rests upon whatever she is sitting on, or the right foot may be slightly extended, Tara fashiop, as though she is about io rise from meditation' So me tim es s he is s e e n a l o n e , So me ti m e s a tte n d ed by S han 'T's'ai. a handsome youth or child, and b.v Lung Nii, the Dragon M a i d e n , holding out a g i a n t p e a rl , Or s h e ma y a p pear to the r igh t o f a t r init y k t t ot ' n a sth e T h re e H o l l ' O n e s , rv i th A mi tdbha gu a a n a in t he c ent r e a n d ' M a h a s th a ma p ra p ta (T a S hi h C hi h) Bodhisattva symbolising perfect activity to the left. H e r p r inc ipar em ble mi a re a p re c i o u s v a s e h e l d i n one hand an d a w i l lor v s pr ay hel d i 6 th e o th e r, s y m b o l i s i n g respecti vel y 'sw e e [ d e w' ( ais o k t t ow n a s a n ti ta ) m e a n i n g th e n e ctar of w i sdom and compassion, and secondll' her willingness to sprinkle it u p o n the heads of a l l w h o i n v o k e h e r a i d ' A child seatedon her lap or a group of children playing about her symbolises her ability to bestow children of the desired sex endowed with many perfections of mind anC body A seascapeor running water in the background suggest her sea-girt paradise, Potala or Potalaka Mountain' ai the Chn-T'i Kuan Shih Yin, she has eighteen arms, and

mirrors are much in evidence. As the Holy One, shestandswith one arm raisedin benediction. As the Bestowerof the Wish-Fulfilling Gem, she sits upon a lotus throne, one foot raised,four arms. cheekrestingon her hand. As \Tillow Kuan Yin, she sits beneatha rvillos' tree, a spra-v of willow jn her right hand, her left hand held to the chestpalm outwards in Tara fashion. the As a vehiclefor contemplative ]'ogs,sheresembles u'hite, (q.*'.). Similarll" in Avalokitesvara four-armed one-headed, almost any of her multi-headed, multi-armed forms, she is who is, as from the Bodhisattva, barelyif at all distinguishable it were,her other self. This is the casewith the thousand-eyec Kuan Yin, whether with one head or eleven. thousand-armed There are many other less common forms, of which two of the most interestingareKuan Yin riding upon cloudswith bow, arrows and shield in her hands to make war upon evil (never however);and Kuan Yin depicted upon unfortunateevil-doers, like a Buddha-figureseatedin meditatiorg but almost exactly

The Prt'rtcipal Iconogrt;phic Fornts

r5r

'

rvi th a t r ul. v enor m o u s b e a rd I \l o re o v e r. s h .- is i denti fi ed rvi th -I" ou th e t hr ee- headed H a 1 ' a g n v a u n C e r :h e n a m c \l a (H orseH e a ded) K uan Y in . In just one context iand onlf ir Japar . Kua;: i'in is actuail-v g i ven t he t it le B r . rd d h a ;b 1 ' s o me s rra n g r c h a :r :-:. she has corne to be numbered among the thi-:esn Bu:::as lnvoked bv Sh i ngon dev ot ees d u ri n g o b s e q u i -,-S ::c :-::.-. i ,..: Kuan l'ir:'s principal embltms -l 'h c f r r ilor v inglis t h a s b e e n ta k e n fro m a C h i :i c:rc cdi ri on ,-rfthc Hcart of Dhiranl of Great CompassionSirrra: I T he W is h F u l fi l i i n g Ge m, s i g n i fy i n g a trai nmenr ot' al l rr ' hoI es om er . r ' i s h e s . z A r ope, r v her e u ' i th s h e b i n d s a l l h a rm fu l i :i rcumstances. ' e * ' e 1 1 e d o r i - I .c o n t a i n i n g c u r e s f o r m a l a d i e s . b 3 A : .r s ' , r ' c : i. f or s u b c u i n g \\' a te r s p i ri ts . 5 A vajra or nvo-heacled adamantine sc.ntreJ sometimes \\ ' r ongly c alled a th u n d e r-b o i t. fo r s u b d u ing ci emons. 6 A vajra-dagger, for bringing about the capitulation of e nem ies . I One hand held out with fingers and thr:.mb pointing uprvards so that it somervhat resembles a borvl, for subduing fear. 8 A s olar dis c c o n ta i n i n g a b i rd , fo r b a n i s hi ng darkness. 9 A lunar disc containing a rabbit, for counteracting poison. io A bow, signifying a glorious career. I I An arrow, to bring friends nigh. 12 A u'illow branch, fo.r driving a\\'ay sickness. I3 A r v hit e br us h o r fl a g -s h a p e d d u s te r, fc r bani shi ng hardships. r4 A' long- lif e' v a s e ) s i g n i fu i n g a i l th a t i s v i rtuous and l ovi ng. r 5 A dragon-headed tablet, for subduing u'iid beasts. r6 A n ax e, s ignif y i n g p ro te c ti o n a g a i n s t o p p re ssi ve authori ti es. ri A jade br ac ele t(s o me rv h a tro u n d e d a n d y e t roughl y tri angular), to obtain filial service from sons and daughters. i 8 A u'hite lotus, signifying the attainment of merit. r9 A blr r e lot us , s i g n i fy i n g re b i rth i n a P u re Land. zo A precious mirror, signifying prajfia, n'isdorr-r.

r.

r5z

tJodlu.s-^.-.rt Compassion o,f

2 i A p u r p l e . - r r u s ,s i g n i f u i n gt h a r o n e w i l r b e h o r dt h e l l o c i h i * s3iivas. ?z .{ jcwellec bowl of t*rit,-for ,:sca'ing from pits. 27 A cloud or nve colours,for enteri"g"r;or. rhe way .f the irnmortals. 21 h q'ater-botrrc restingon the parm,for rebirth in a Brahma_ l,rka (nebulousheaven). 21 A red lorus, ibr attaining rebirth in a deaa-roka heaven (a less absrraertharr a Brofrma_toka). z6 A halberd' for counteracting rhe effects of people,s dis_ honesty. 27 A conch-sbelr,for sur''moRing deua.i (gods)anci beneficent spirits. e8 A clrrb, to u;in command of spirits. 29 A rosary, s-herewith to call upon rhe Buddhas of the -fen Quarters to come swiftry to one's succour (i.e. to wercome one ro a pure Land). 3o A vajra-toppedbell, rvherewithto achieve marveilousmusical accomplishments. 3r A precious sear,wherewith ro obtain the gift of eroquence. 32 A hook, wherewith to commana trre protection of benevolent deual and dragon-krngs. 33 A monk's iron-tippJd staffJ signifuing a compassionate desire to prore.t oth.r.. 34 Trvo handspalm to paim but not quite touching, signifying capacity to revere and love all sentient beings. 35 A Buddha figure surrounded by . ,ri,,'U,rs arrOseatedon a lotus, signifiing spending life ,fr., hre ruittr the Buddhas alw'ays on:'s side. at 36 I palatial pariiion, signifying that one drvells life after life in the palace of the Buadnas. 37 achie ve rI i 3 8 t ::;c]]u';,] : llT:_'13 :'.*.;,h,: signito-ing i;;;i'-"?* srea earnng ttrai

*::.1*:-:1=LBy ""i iri. ,",'l*in. ::l$i ::::, cease to turn for-us. wh;;l il,;;;H; J; I i danarrooo,,r,. will never
to rvrist with the fingersnearty horizontal

,n

,iitr, f;::,,t:'T::*^Lr:..:s|1 reft,. rhe ; B;iil;;;l'# 1a "r,a. eudohiJ;i;:'?.'; fo,,"**o"ing 1::::* i"1-, lit""*,
success anaining Enlightenment. in

l:r^nTgr_::rr

'i-he

Prirtcipal lconographic Forws

t53

40 A bunch of grapes, for ensuring bountiful harvests of fruit . and c r ops . "ir The hand held open, fingcrs pointing downrvards rvith thc nectar of rvisdom and compassion (known as sweet dew) pouring from the eye in the centre of the pahn, wherewith to assuagehunger and thirst. 1?, P-ight hand resting on the left, palms upward, signifying power to subjugate vengeful spirits in all the innumerable univ er s es .

or Finely wrought statues paintingsof Kuan Yin may depict principal handsholding theseemblemsor formher forty-two ing these mudras. The initiate may use the enrblems and mudras, each with its appropriatemantra' to attain the ends they signify. a As Aualokiteiuar (Aa alokita) whereAvalokita Nepal and partsof Siberia. In Tibet,I\{,ongolia, are invariably rnale; Kuan Yin his aspects is deeply revered, is unknown, female attributes being ascribed only to his p Tara. However,he shares ith Kuan Yin the elevenemanation, thousandthousand-eyed headed(and also the single-headed) armed forms, the headsbeing arrangedin three ascendingtiers of three surmounted by trvo single heads,one abovethe other, of which the topmost is a Buddha-head signifying that he is an emanationof Amitabha Buddha. This multi-headed multi- -fhe-Onearmed form is sometimesknown as Ekdda3amuka Vho-Looks-In-All-Directions. Like Kuan Yin, he is alsc identified with Hayagrrva,the so-calledHorse-Headed. For the purposesof contemplative Yoga,he is visualisedas possessing one head and four arms. In this form, he is rvhite in colourand seatedin the lotus posture; Iwo of the arins are extepdedhorizontally from the shouldersas far as the elborv, the forearms rising vertically and the right hanci clasping a rosarv,the left a lotus stem; the other pair of handsmeet palm to palm at his breastin the attitirdeof prayer. This is the yogic aspectto rvhich the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM pertains. tVhen Avalokita appears one of a trinity of Bodhisattvas' as

,.t

/\

r54

Borlhisamta of Compassiott

he is u su a lly f lank ed bl' Ma n j u s ri :' e m b ' o d i m e n to f w 'i sdom) and Vajra p a n i ( em bodim ent o f p o s ' e r), b u r i n a n o th e r tri n i ty he and Ma n j u sri a r e ac c om pani e db J ' M a i tre l ' a Bo d h i s a ttv a who i s dest incd to bec om e t he B u d d h a o f th e n e x t a e o n . In h i s lr aCm apani ( L o tu s B e a re r) a s p e c t, h e a ppears as a cir .rrmi n g y out h hear ing a l o tu s . O th e r d i v i n i ti e s w i th u' hom he i s h e l d t o be m or c or le s si d c n ti c a l a re S i mh a n a n d a (the Li onVeirc.t-=d r d) , \ ' agar s v a ra (P ro m u l g a to r o f th e Eternal ) and I-o Lokci v'a ra, t hc as pec t h c w e a rs c h i e fl 1 , i n s trc h c ountri es as {lan rb o d i a and t he f or m e r C h a mp a i n So u th e a s t Asi a. There ilrc Oth e rs . A s r.'i th K uan Y in, m u i ti p l e e .7 c ss i g n i fy p o w e r to see al l sulTcri n g sin t he univ er s e s i n -' u l ta n c o u s l y ,mr.rl ti p l earms symlroliseinfinite power to succour, and a Bucidha-head.at the apex of his rnany heads indicates that h.cis an emanation of r\mitabha Budci h a or of t he s upr e me w i s d o m-e n e rg y , B o d h i .
t

. r- l irj

:i)::.:::i:i

o f T a r a ' s a p p e a r a n c ei s g i v e n o n p a g e s 5 3

.4: ,\[tao Shan 'fhe Chinesenun-princess, Miao Shan, has no specialcharacteristics emblemsthat areknown to me, unlessthe white birci or into which she ; e3::aa>muted that stre rnigtrt escape{torn tret burning prison. She is generallydepicted in the long robes of some part or a royal'princess, in a shorter robe that e4poses of her wide silk trousers,and with high-piled hair elaborately arranged.Unfonunatell' so many Chinese ladies of antiquity closelyresembleher in these particulars that it is dif;frcultto identify her for certain, unlessby the calligraphicinscription of or by representaticns one or more incidents from the Miao Shan legendsforming pan of the background. I,{omenclature are used Chinese.names Kuan most r,videl-v The Bodhisattva's Yin, Kuan Shih Yin and Kuan Tzu Tsai, of u'hich the Can-

1,

r,.

Tlie Principal Iconographic Fornts

I55

Yam and Kwoon t6nese variants are Kq'Oon Yam, Kwoon Sai In Viet-Nam her name is pronounced Quan Am' In Cfti Cttoi. as Kwannon Bosatzu cr Kwan1^po.r, she is generally known rendering of ,,on S"-a, the former suffix being the Japanese is an honorific' goditit",tva, whereas the latter T he Ti b et an nam e f or Av a l o k i ta i s C h e n re s i g s '

Gtrossary

unciear irom the context are Oniy fc,reignrvords sornetimes given. All are Sanskritexceptthose marked C (for Chinese,\. or J (for Japanese) T (for Tibetan). Asura Brja-mantra Bod (T) Bodhi Brahma Chanc (T) Deva DhEranI Hsiu-ts'ai (C) I(owtorv (C) Lama (T) Li (C) Lo-fu (C) Maha.vana Nlantra Plou (C) M.udra Naga Nirminakaya Nirvana P'ei ! (C) Praifra Preta Sadhana A titan at war with heaven. Syllablecontaininga deity's essence. Tibet. The urge to wisdom, compassion and Enlightenmenr. SupremeFlindu deitY. Tibetan beer. A generalword for deities. (see Mantra) Civil serviceexaminationdegree. To prostrateor a prostration. A monk or layman learnedin religion. Third of a mile. Nluleteer. Northern or GreaterVehicle Budcjhism. syllablesoi great pclver. A group of sacreci lessthan an acre' Land measure', Sacredhand gesture. Serpent-like being with sorne humair characteristics. Body of Transtormation)one of the three bodiesof a Buddha. metaphysical 'I' stateof bcing beyc'nd Ultimate hrlissful 'other'. and of An expression scorn. Wisdom. Trairscendental ghost. Tantaliseci Contemplativerite involving visualisation.