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Guanyin. BODHISATTVA GUANYIN (KUAN-YIN) GUANYIN Avalokitesvara (India), Lokesvara (Cambodia), Lokanatha (Burma), Natha Deviyo (Sri Lanka), Chenresig (Tibet)

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Presentation on theme: "Guanyin. BODHISATTVA GUANYIN (KUAN-YIN) GUANYIN Avalokitesvara (India), Lokesvara (Cambodia), Lokanatha (Burma), Natha Deviyo (Sri Lanka), Chenresig (Tibet)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Guanyin

2 BODHISATTVA GUANYIN (KUAN-YIN) GUANYIN Avalokitesvara (India), Lokesvara (Cambodia), Lokanatha (Burma), Natha Deviyo (Sri Lanka), Chenresig (Tibet) Kennon or kwannon (Japan) Kwanse’um (Korea) Quan-am (Vietnam)

3 GuanyinGuanyin: Guanyin Feminization and Historicization

4  The Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara entered China with the translation of the Lotus Sutra  The protagonist of the chapter 25 of the sutra, titled “Universal Gateway of Guanshiyin” and the subject of visual depiction  Popularity grew quickly and became protagonist of an expanding corpus of indigenous sutra, miracle stories, and visual works.  Glorified as a universal savior and a miracle worker AVALOKITEŚVARA TURNED INTO GUANYIN

5 Artistic representations, dating from 10th century, as portrayed in the Guanyin jing are found in Dunhuang cave: mural Paintings Illustrated booklets Sculptures All feminized images of Guanyin inspired new female divinities in post- Tang times:

6 The Princess Miaoshan The Queen of Heaven, or Mazu The Princess of Azure Clouds (Bixia yuanjun) The Unborn Mother (Wusheng laomu)

7 Although perceived as male in early times, Guanyin was in fact androgynous, neither specifically female nor masculine His masculine image motivated the creation of a prestigious Deities of Daoist pantheon named the “Heavenly Venerable Savior from Suffering ” (jiùkǔ tiānzūn 救苦天尊 )

8 Polychromed Wood 95 x 65 inches (241.3 cm) Chinese Shanxi Province Liao Dynasty (A.D ) Guanyin and Gender

9 Guanyin, Late Northern Song Dynasty ( )

10 Feminization of Guanyin and Gender Relations Guanyin’s feminization in the context of traditional Chinese culture and of gender relations Why must Guanyin have become a goddess anyway?

11 Chinese image of male/female differences –Chinese conceptualization of the quality of compassion: it is a female/maternal virtue –Chinese cultural tradition defines: intellect and reason as masculine traits, whereas emotion and feeling as feminine ones

12 Bodhisattva, large wood sculpture, Song Dynasty In a Chinese family: father is regarded as strict, mother compassionate (Yanfu cimu) Wisdom is an attribute of father; compassion, that of mother

13 Indian view: –Mother, symbol of wisdom –Father, love –Wisdom is a dominant feminine quality –Compassion, masculine

14 Guanyin Must be Feminine: other rationales Absence of powerful female deities –Nu Wa, Queen Mother of the West were short- lived –Male gods dominated the pantheon of Chinese folk religions –A female Guanyin is the mother figure par excellence; she “loves” indiscriminatingly

15 1000-armed Kannon 1000-armed Kannon (Senju Kannon) 8th century, Fujii-dera (in Osaka)

16 Tibetan form of Avalokiteśvara ( Four-armed Chenrezig) Vietnam, Hanoi region

17 Avalokiteshvara in South Vietnam (8th and 9th century Bronze, Museum of the history of Ho Chi Minh City), Seated statue of Senju-Kannon, Kyoto, Sanjusangen-do

18 Guanyin’s abilities: Transformation in the sense of polymorphism – thirty-three forms –Can transgress all distinctions of gender, age, social or spiritual status –Can be a Buddha, Brama, a Brahman, an elder, a rich man’s wife, a sovereign or a simple official, a minister or a monk, a boy or a girl, a divinity, a yakşa or a nāga,

19 DAOIST VERSION OF THE GUANYIN JING The Scripture of the Savior from Suffering A Daoist apocryphal scripture written in response to Buddhist Guanyin jing, which is the 25 th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, “Universal Gateway of Guanyin” A new Daoist deity named the Heavenly Venerable Savior from Suffering (Jiù kǔ tiān zūn ) was created in emulation of Guanyin.

20 Content of the Text Preached by Heavenly Venerable of Primordial Commencement (0r Heavenly Worthy of Primordial Beginning, Yuánshǐ tiānzūn 原始天尊 ) to a divine audience His abilities Transform his body in as many forms as there are sands Can be an immortal lad or a jade maiden, a lord- emperor or a sage, a Heavenly Venerable or a Perfected One, a vajra king, demon king, Heavenly Master, Daoist master,…medation master Has innumerable supernatural powers, countless metamorphoses

21 The text describes four of his transformations from a young man to:  A Heavenly Venerable holding a willow branch and pure water bottle  A Lord-emperor holding a scepter  A Perfected One carrying a divine light  A barefoot woman wearing a five-colored brocade costume and holding a gold sword Jiuku tianzun Guanyin

22 Assumes different roles and bears appellation for each role In heaven, he is Deity of the Happiness of Great Unity On earth, he is Great Benevolence In hell, he is the Lord-Emperor of Solar Brightness When chasing away the evil of heretic ways, he is Raja-lion (lion king) In the infinite Office of Water, he is the Lord- Emperor of the Abyss

23 The text stresses the importance of invoking the Venerable’s name, and the scripture one can avoid the Eight Hardships and get through difficulty or peril, be saved from thirteen critical or perilous situations Different people will benefit from the deity in different ways… It aims to reveal Jiuku tianzun’s bodhisattva- like qualities to all sentient beings His mission is exactly like Guanyin’s, to save all who are in danger or in dire predicaments

24 The text was known in the Song, and the popularity of the Jiuku tianzun cult was revived acquired a dominant place in Daoist mortuary liturgy, notably the ceremonies for the “Universal Salvation” festival, or the Pǔdù 普度 in the “lake of blood” (xuě hú 血湖 ) rituals, performed for the posthumous redemption of women who, having committed sins of femal blood pollution, were believed to have fallen into a fearful lake of blood

25 A DAOIST SCRIPTURE & A DAOIST BODHISATTVA Daoists have to show that the Scripture of the Savior from Suffering is unarguably a Daoist text and Jiuku tianzun is a genuine Daoist deity, who Embodies the Dao and a cosmic divinity imbued with all the Yang forces Dwells in the east, the world of Great Happiness, and named “the essence of the Nine Yang” (jiǔyáng zhī jīng 九陽之精 ) Descends to earth on the third and ninth days of each month

26 The deity is of exceptional charisma and can only be described by typical Daoist vocabulary: The most saintly (sheng) The most venerable (zun) Noblest (gui) The most efficacious (ling) His compassion is on a par with that of Guanyin He is the savior of beings tormented by a long list of perils:

27 Disease, calamity, slavery, shipwreck, thunder, familial conflict, political problems, bandits, wild beasts, risky childbirth, obstacles to religious practice, imprisonment, condemnation to hell, and corvée labor… He answers instantaneously and directly to anyone who is in danger and calls for help, winning the title of “Heavenly Venerable who Responds to the Calls [of the World]”

28 How to get his help? Prayer: Invocation of his name, as many times as possible Recitation of the Scripture of the Savior from Suffering

29 Jiuku tianzun’s abilities: Transformation in the sense of polymorphism a thousand changes and ten thousand transformations Infinite transformations (as many as there are sands of the Ganges) can transform to minor Buddhist divinities, although he prefers to maintain his Daoist identity.

30 Images used basically in rituals: Mortuary ceremonies Production of images follows common mortuary rules For the “seven sevens” service: based on Buddhist funeral rite schedule numbers of images correspond to the forty-nine days of the intermediate existence First seven: one single images Second seven: two images Third seven: three images …. For the “hundredth-day” service: 100 images

31 Mobile images: Mass-produced images have been used as votive offerings to Daoist temples since the Tang dynasty His images in different forms have been mass-produced since the Tang for personal, devotional use Painted, molded, sculpted… His images were installed not only in temples and public sanctuaries, but in a faithful’s private “pure chamber” for meditational and devotional practices

32 Numerous images and statues have been created and recreated since post-Tang Often depicted as seated on a nine-headed lion and holding a willow twig and a cup Often found in a Daoist temple sharing the hall with bodhisattva Puxian (Samatabhadra) and Wenshu ( Mañjuśrī )

33 SamatabhadraMañjuśrī


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