Tuesday 20 September 2022

Goddesses: Guanyin - The Bodhisattva of Compassion

I think many of us could do with a little compassion in our lives at present, so here's a photo of a statue of Guanyin, bodhisattva of compassion in Chinese Buddhism. I took the photo when I went for a last look at the Feminine Power exhibition at the British Museum last weekend. The words below it read:
"Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who guide others towards nirvana, the ultimate liberation from the self and worldly suffering. Guanyin means Perceiver of Sounds as the bodhisattva is believed to hear the cries of the suffering and appear before them to administer aid. Known in Japan as Kannon and in Korea as Gwan-eum, Guanyin has the power to take on many forms - male and female, young and old, bodhisattva or layperson."
The statue shows Guanyin meditating while making the gesture for patience with her hands. I know patience is something I could personally do with more of some time. The description at the museum also makes the comment that, as Guanyin transcends gender, the bodhisattva can aptly be thought of as "they" rather than "he" or "she".

Feminine Power - The Divine to the Demonic closes on September 25th and I recommend going to see it in the next few days if you can. However, the catalogue that accompanies it is full of information about goddesses and other divine women, and is well worth reading if you go or not. In the near future I also intend to blog with some of the material from the Goddess workshop Laura Daligan and I ran at the British Museum this summer.

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