kwan yin in thereavada pratice

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby thornbush » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:26 am

zavk wrote:I cannot explain why Kwan Yin has been accepted in non-Mahayana traditions.

Well I can think of some:
1. From Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra, on Avalokitesvara per se:
http://www2.fodian.net/old/English/0262_25.html
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva said to the Buddha,
"World Honored One, how does Guanshiyin Bodhisattva roam through this Saha world?
How does he speak the Dharma for living beings?
How does he carry out this work with the power of expedients?"

"Inexhaustible Intention! Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has accomplished merit and virtue such as this and, in all manner of forms, roams throughout the land, saving and liberating living beings.
"Inexhaustible Intention, such is the self-mastery and spiritual power of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, who roams throughout the Saha world."
Listen to the practice of Guanyin,
Who skillfully responds in all places.
With vast vows, as deep as the sea,
Throughout inconceivable eons,
He has served many thousands of kotis of Buddhas,
And has made great, pure vows.


2. Cultural concessions
As mentioned by those before, in some countries, even in Theravada temples, some have given a place to Guan Yin as some sort of benevolent 'guardian', beneficial to both the temple/monastery and the community there, especially where those exposed heavily to Chinese Mahayana Buddhist practices or even folk Chinese religions. If I may go as far as saying that where the benefactors/committee of those Theravada temples are from Chinese Mahayana Buddhist backgrounds or they have a strong inclination towards Guan Yin, there is a tendency to 'give in' to such 'popular' cultural practices.
To divert, I was told that another example is the Phuket Vegetarian festival where the Thais were heavily influenced by the Chinese as the religious origins of it started with the Chinese folk cult of the Nine Emperors but were later fused with the worship of other deities, both local Thai and those borrowed from the Taoist side. And I have seen that they normally kick off the Vegetarian Festival with Paritta blessing of the Bhikkhus first, like the Skanda/Murugan festivals, where the Sri Lankans normally have a Buddhist Paritta chant first before they honour that Indian deity.

3. Mixed Buddhist Tradition practices
There are some Theravadins who include certain elements of Chinese Mahayanist practices in their Dhamma practice and Guan Yin is often the most popular of them all. For example, in my country, especially in the Northern States, where the ethnic Chinese are the majority after the Malays, often, there is a syncretism of Buddhist practices amongst the Theravadins there to include Guan Yin as if it was a 'natural' thing to do, mainly due to the strong flavour of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism co-existing with Theravadin practice. Often, both from sides, there is a lot of mutual patronage and collaboration in terms of organising Buddhist events, gatherings, Kathina offerings and so forth. Some Theravadins I know regard Guan Yin as a personification of metta, karuna and other forms of wholesomeness beneficial for their practice.
Nowadays, we have temples which allows other Buddhist Traditions to practice in the same place. It may be Theravada or Mahayana based, but it is open and welcoming for other Traditions to be included as well. I know of one temple in my country where it is from the Chinese Mahayana Tradition but in its monthly activities, I see Theravada and Vajrayana monastics invited, Dhamma/Dharma programmes and ongoing meditation sessions organised as how their Traditions specify it. It certainly attracted great numbers of adherents from all 3 Buddhist Traditions to that place. Even in launching a renovated Shrine in the premises, all 3 Traditions' Monastics were invited for offerings and blessing.

Ok this old cat is rambling :rolleye: back to practice :tongue:
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby Individual » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:30 pm

Nadi wrote:
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.

I agree, but I'm not saying they don't have emotions or feelings... I'm simply denying that their emotional expressions or intelligence are close to humans.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:30 pm

Some scholars assert that Kwan yin, in the form of Avelokiteshavara, is a representation of the much earlier "Waralden ol-may" or "Man Observing The World" found in ancient Siberian and Finnish texts, one of 7 Sages - a line of stars in the Big Dipper that all premodern cultures kept a close eye on.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:07 pm

There are many reports of cows crying, also bulls. On the Amish farm where I occasionally purchase cheese (my one dairy indulgence) the cows roam freely and are quite affectionate. I scratch their heads and they rub against me. I could never consider eating either them or thier relatives, but I'm one of those hippies you hear about.

A friend of mine years ago told me he knew a woman who worked at a slaughterhouse who walked out one day when a cow looked her way and started crying. She told him the cow was making a moaning sound in her throat and had tears running down her face. I asked him if after seeing this, his acquaintance became a vegetarian; he said no--it didn't move her that much. She still ate at McDonalds almost everyday. Kamma will catch up to her if she keeps that up. :P

There is also a very moving story told by Ajahn Brahmavamso about a prisoner who worked in the prison slaughterhouse who turned to dhamma after seeing a cow crying. Heartbreaking on many levels. Can be read here:

http://prabhupadanugas.eu/?p=3578

J
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:50 pm

Native American traditions hold that animals have a full range of emotions and intellect, and that it is us humans that are stunted and can no longer hear the emotions/thoughts of animals as a result of some pronounced change the took place in our development - a devolving change that humans mistakenly perceive as "superiority".
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: kwan yin in thereavada pratice

Postby Mexicali » Fri May 01, 2009 5:04 pm

pink_trike wrote:Native American traditions hold that animals have a full range of emotions and intellect, and that it is us humans that are stunted and can no longer hear the emotions/thoughts of animals as a result of some pronounced change the took place in our development - a devolving change that humans mistakenly perceive as "superiority".


I believe that animals are complex and aware in ways we may not be fully aware of, but I've yet to see anything that leads me to believe that they're intellectually anywhere in the same realm as humans. Gary Snyder was talking once about how some indigenous cultures have shamans whose role is to sort of channel the animals and plants to make their voice heard at a meeting, and all I could think was "sounds like you just gave the Shaman a couple extra votes in the matter".
"We do not embrace reason at the expense of emotion. We embrace it at the expense of self-deception."
-- Herbert Muschamp
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