kwan yin in thereavada pratice

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kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:24 am

we have statues of her and some fortune telling stuff at my temple (though ive never seen anyone touch the stuff) and ive seen many statues of her in temples in thailand

is this just a thai thing (chinese imigrants?)?

i'd like to know more about her in relation to theravada....
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby mountain » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:09 am

Kuan Shih Yin Pusa is the female form of Avalokithesvara. I used to live in Miami,Fl and many chinese as well as vietnamese there were devotees. Also in Sri Lanka I met some Theravadans who also were devotees. I think its cross cultural. To give some balance I did meet one Theravada monk who called my practice debased.
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby mountain » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:25 am

One final thought. Have you read "Bodhisattva of Compassion" by John Blofeld? It is an excellent place to start. Do you feel an attraction to her? There should be some material more pertinent to your question in The Journal of East Asian Buddhism.
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:32 am

yes ive read it, i practiced with a japanese zen monk for 1/2 a decade too, im quite aware of her from a mahayana perspective... its her in a theravada contxt that interests me
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:05 pm

I don't think she is, but I know the Kuan Yin statue in the British Museum is from Sri Lanka this is from the time Mahayana was more dominant there.
I think it will mainly be for inclusion of Mahayana followers where their isn't enough room for both sects to have seperate temples. this is only a guess and I could be wrong but it makes sense to me at least.
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:22 pm

im thinking she might be there the same was ganesha is in thai buddhism, or 4 faced brahma
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:24 am

Greetings JC,

There is no mention of Kwan Yin in the tipitaka or the commentaries, though I suppose people can (and will) do what they like.

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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:57 am

i was talking to my girlfriend about how thai people see her, and it is similar to how they see ganesha (they call him pra picanet) or 4 faced brahma, shes not a buddha to them like in mahayana...
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby piotr » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:34 am

Hi,

In Burma he/she is called Lokanat. Worship of this bodhisatva/deity is a residue of Northern Buddhism, which was present in the Burma prior to the domination of the Theravāda school.

    The Myanmar historical record shows that the King Anawratha was known to embrace the worship if Avalokitesvara, Loka Nat. Even after the introduction of Theravada in Bagan ( 849-850 ce ) the northern region of Myanmar followed the Mahayana Buddhism. It is believed then and continues unit today, even after the acceptance of Theravada Buddhism from the south, King Abawaratha continued to worship the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara / Lokanatha .
    To the people of Mynamar Lokanat represent peace and prosperity.

    In Pali, Loka means people in general, and Nahta means heavenly being, so it translated as the deity who is believed to keep eternal watch over the world, with his benevolence and wisdom to protect the people in the kingdom and bestowed good fortune.


http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cache:pe ... =clnk&cd=7
http://www.usamyanmar.net/Buddha/Article/Loka_Nat.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalokites ... da_account
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby thornbush » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:53 pm

Agreed totally that Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (known to Mahayanists also as Samyak Vidya Dharma Tathagata) or 'Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa' is not mentioned in the Pali Canon. But may I submit a personal story here that in my years of entrenched Christianity, if I had not had those recurring dreams or fixated mind images of Him (which i tried so hard using various Christian methods to get rid of but failed), I would not have gone on to investigate the Dhamma via accesstoinsight.org back in 1997 or known the Dhamma in my first encounter with the Pali Canon then. So my personal credit to Him for being a Dhamma raft then.

Yes, I noticed that in some Thai Theravada temples, generous allocations were made to house Guan Yin (alongside with some other popular figurines, perhaps out of cultural diversity and religious openness of the Thais to such?

I know of one Thai temple which has the Royal Thai Embassy's patronage in my country whose Chief Abbot consented to having a beautiful side shrine to house a beautiful statue of Guan Yin and the story which I heard was, as a result of a dream to the Abbot, he decided to include Guan Yin in the temple compound.

:focus:

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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:26 pm

Kwan Yin is a Mahayana figure, but still part of Buddhism so I always have images and statues of her in my altar, meditation rooms. I like how she provides a 'feminine' component to the devotional figures and for me can represent not only compassion, but that women are our equals in the Dhamma, capacity for enlightenment, and for the great female disciples we have had in the past and through today.
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby Bankei » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:32 pm

There is a mini Kuan Yin boom in Thailand at the moment. Many temples have small Kuan yin shrines. One example is the temple at Huay Kwang in Bangkok. They actually have a large shrine on the temple grounds.

many people include kwanyin statues on their shrines and some refuse to eat beef.

I also have seen evidence of Taiwanese groups who hold meetings and ceremonies regarding kwanyin. maybe one of the new relgious sects of Taiwan?

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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby Mexicali » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:07 pm

Kuan Yin actually predates the arrival of Buddhism in China and was later retroactively identified with Avolekitsvara. She has a very cross-cultural appeal; when I first discovered her, I just thought of her as an Asian Virgen De Guadalupe, another feminine figure of mercy.

It's my understanding that in some temples shared by Mahayana and Theravada adherents, there are Bodhisattva statues but that devotion/worship to a Bodhisattva is, in the Theravada viewpoint, useless at best. In my personal experience, there is something comforting about Kuan Yin, as an idea, but realistically it's just goddess worship by another name.
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:14 pm

Bankei wrote:There is a mini Kuan Yin boom in Thailand at the moment. Many temples have small Kuan yin shrines. One example is the temple at Huay Kwang in Bangkok. They actually have a large shrine on the temple grounds.

We have a couple of Kuan Yin statues in the garden of our local Wat...

Bankei wrote:many people include kwanyin statues on their shrines and some refuse to eat beef.

Perhaps I'm dense, but what is the connection with Kuan Yin and beef? Most of the Thai people I know don't like red meat. I'm not sure why --- when I have enquired they just say they don't like the taste and I don't recall seeing a Thai person bring red meat to the Wat (plenty of pork, chicken, fish, etc...).

Mike
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby appicchato » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:10 am

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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby Bankei » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:49 am

Hi Mike

My Thai wife is a Kwanyin devotee so I just asked her a few questions. She refuses to eat beef and doesn't allow anyone in our household to eat beef, including me. Pork, chicken and fish are ok, though she wants to phase meat out completely.

She said the specific reason is because of her devotion to Mee Kwanyin. Kwanyin's parents were cows (???) and the cow is a large animal close to the human in terms of body and emotions etc. She said cows even cry and once she was at a market where someone had 2 cows, the first one was being killed for meat and the second one was waiting and she seen tears in its eyes. So she bought it for 3,000B ($100AUD) and donated it to a temple to live out the rest of its life. (The temple later gave it to some poor people to assist in the ploughing of fields, on the promiso that it not be killed).

My wife has also been influenced by some books she has read on kwanyin.

I am not sure, but had assumed this all comes from Chinese influnce - because of the pronounciation and the style of statues etc. I also assume that there are some rich Taiwanese religions who produce books etc. Once I was eating at a market stall in the countryside and a van pulled up with some thais and Taiwanese devotees in it. They were organising a meeting regarding kwanyin - maybe some sort of ceremony. But I declined their invitation to attend. These people were completely vegatarian though.

I think, but don't know for sure, that the Kwanyin devotees are also mainly female.

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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby Individual » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:08 am

Bankei wrote:She said the specific reason is because of her devotion to Mee Kwanyin. Kwanyin's parents were cows (???) and the cow is a large animal close to the human in terms of body and emotions etc. She said cows even cry and once she was at a market where someone had 2 cows, the first one was being killed for meat and the second one was waiting and she seen tears in its eyes. So she bought it for 3,000B ($100AUD) and donated it to a temple to live out the rest of its life. (The temple later gave it to some poor people to assist in the ploughing of fields, on the promiso that it not be killed).

My aunt is a farmer who raises cows, among other animals. When I see them, they always seemed to be dumb animals. They don't make facial expressions, always have those dumb cow eyes, and their random bleating "mooo!" couldn't possibly be interpreted as reflecting one emotion over another. Day after day, they sit in a line, hooked up to milking machines, chewing cud, and pooping. Pigs are definitely smarter and more human than cows. After all, pot bellied pigs can be domesticated and used as pets. About the crying cow, it's possible the cow's eyes were dry and the woman misinterpreted it.
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:10 am

Thanks for the thoughtful post Bankei, I didn't know about he cow connection.

The Kwan Yin statues I see in Thai Wats are certainly like what I've seen all over China.

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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby zavk » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:41 am

Hi friends,

Yes, the association between Kwan Yin and not eating beef evolved out of a certain Chinese folk tale which was mixed with Buddhist elements. The folk story goes that Princess Miao Shan's father will be born as a cow for many lifetimes as a result of evil doings. Princess Miao Shan is believed to be a recarnation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, or better known as Guanyin. You can read about Princess Miao Shan here: http://ezinearticles.com/?Kuan-Yin---Go ... &id=103504

I cannot explain why Kwan Yin has been accepted in non-Mahayana traditions. However, I do like what the characters Kwan Yin connote. In simplified Chinese it is 观音. It is the shortened version of 观世音 (Kwan Shi Yin), which means something like 'Concern for the cries of the world'.

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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby Nadi » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:26 am

Individual wrote:My aunt is a farmer who raises cows, among other animals. When I see them, they always seemed to be dumb animals. They don't make facial expressions, always have those dumb cow eyes, and their random bleating "mooo!" couldn't possibly be interpreted as reflecting one emotion over another. Day after day, they sit in a line, hooked up to milking machines, chewing cud, and pooping. Pigs are definitely smarter and more human than cows. After all, pot bellied pigs can be domesticated and used as pets. About the crying cow, it's possible the cow's eyes were dry and the woman misinterpreted it.


I don't think that cows not having facial expressions means that they don't have emotions. On the contrary you can observe the love a cow has for her calf and they too, like say dogs or cats, respond to gentleness and compassion. And their 'moo' as you put it takes on different forms according to their emotions. Maybe stepping out of your conditioning of seeing them as milk producing 'things', and seeing them as fellow sentient beings would change your point of view.
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