Flowers are growing miraculously from the statue of Kuan Yin at a temple near Seoul in South Korea.
The miracles have started and Buddhist monks are gathering to wait and pray for the event that will change all of our lives...
"Flowers that bloom only once every
3,000 years are budding on the head of a sacred Buddhist statue."
Buddhist priests in South Korea "say the legendary flowers blossoming on the forehead of Kuan Yin the Compassionate" only appear "when the 'Sage King of the Future' (also known as Maitreya, the future Buddha--J.T.) comes into the world," which one Buddhist leader called, "a delight that gives joy beyond description."
"The Miracle of the Flowers, as it's now being called, happened in the Chonggyesa Temple," in a suburb of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. "Tens of thousands of
pilgrims are flocking to see the white blossoms on the tip of the eyebrow of the shining, gilded statue of Kuan Yin."
"'Kuan Yin is a gentle Buddhist deity who refused to enter paradise (Nirvana--J.T.) because she heard the cries of suffering humanity,' says religious expert Dr. Kenneth
Ireland 'She is acknowledged to save the soul of everyone on Earth, turning her back on none.'"
'''Many are now saying that the monastery of Chonggye-sa could become the Buddhist Lourdes because many cures are being performed there.'"
"According to the monks, 21 threadlike stems are growing from the statue of Kuan Yin, each with a tiny white flower 'no bigger than the tip of a ballpoint pen.'"
"This is the first time in the 1,000-year history of the monastery that the flowers have blossomed."
"'Buddhists say sighting the flowers is like witnessing the birth of Buddha,'" he added.
"Experts say it's unthinkable that the 500-year-old statue of Kuan Yin, gilded every three years over the (original) woodwork, could produce growing flowers without divine intervention."
"'Botanically, the flower is related to the ficus,' says botanist William Grant, 'There is just no way it could take root in the statue.'"
"Dr. Ireland says the flowers are regarded as divine in India, Japan and China and are believed to bloom only when a momentous event is about to happen."
"Buddhist monks are currently keeping a prayer vigil at the statue, waiting for the event that will change mankind's future forever."
Kuan Yin Statuary
Kuan Yin... Legend/History "The Compassionate Saviouress"
Kuan Yin is the compassionate Saviouress of the East. Throughout the
Orient altars dedicated to this Mother of Mercy can be found in temples, homes
and wayside grottoes and prayers to her Presence and her Flame are incessantly
on the lips of devotees as they seek her guidance and succor in every area of
Still very much a part of Eastern culture. Kuan Yin has awakened interest in her path and teaching among a growing number of Western devotees who recognize the powerful presence of "the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion," along with that of the Virgin Mary, as an illuminator and intercessor of the Seventh Age of Aquarius.
The long history of devotion to Kuan Yin provides insight into the character and example of this Lightbearer who has not only laid down her life for her friends but taken it again and again as intercessor and burdenbearer. For centuries, Kuan Yin has epitomized the great ideal of Mahayana Buddhism in her role as "bodhisattva (Chinese p'u-sa)--literally a being of bodhi, or enlightenment," who is destined to become a Buddha but has foregone the bliss of Nirvana with a vow to save all children of God.
The name Kuan Shih Yin, as she is often called, means literally "the one who regards, looks on, or hears the sounds of the world." According to legend, Kuan Yin was about to enter heaven but paused on the threshold as the cries of the world reached her ears.
There is still much scholarly debate regarding the origin of devotion to the female bodhisattva Kuan Yin. Kuan Yin is considered to be the feminine form of Avalokitesvara (Sanskrit), the bodhisattva of compassion of Indian Buddhism whose worship was introduced into China in the third century.
Scholars believe that the Buddhist monk and translator Kumarajiva was the first to refer to the female form of Kuan Yin in his Chinese translation of the Lotus Sutra in 406 A.D. Of the thirty-three appearances of the bodhisattva referred to in his translation, seven are female. (Devoted Chinese and Japanese Buddhists have since come to associate the number thirty-three with Kuan Yin.)
Although Kuan Yin was still being portrayed as a male as late as the tenth century, with the introduction of Tantric Buddhism into China in the eighth century during the T'ang dynasty, the image of the celestial bodhisattva as a beautiful white-robed goddess was predominant and the devotional cult surrounding her became increasingly popular. By the ninth century there was a statue of Kuan Yin in every Buddhist monastery in China.
Despite the controversy over the origins of Kuan Yin as a feminine being, the depiction of a bodhisattva as both 'god' and 'goddess' is not inconsistent with Buddhist doctrine. The scriptures explain that a bodhisattva has the power to embody in any form--male, female, child, even animaldepending on the type of being he is seeking to save. As the Lotus Sutra relates, the bodhisattva Kuan Shih Yin, "by resort to a variety of shapes, travels in the world, conveying the beings to salvation."
The twelfth-century legend of the Buddhist saint Miao Shan, the Chinese princess who lived in about 700 B.C. and is widely believed to have been Kuan Yin, reinforced the image of the bodhisattva as a female. During the twelfth century Buddhist monks settled on P'u-t'o Shan--the sacred island-mountain in the Chusan Archipelago off the coast of Chekiang where Miao Shan is said to have lived for nine years, healing and saving sailors from shipwreck--and devotion to Kuan Yin spread throughout northern China.
In Buddhist theology Kuan Yin is sometimes depicted as the captain of the "Bark of Salvation," guiding souls to Amitabha's Western Paradise, or Pure Land--the land of bliss where souls may be reborn to receive continued instruction toward the goal of enlightenment and perfection. The journey to Pure Land is frequently represented in woodcuts showing boats full of Amitabha's followers under Kuan Yin's captainship.
Amitabha, a beloved figure in the eyes of Buddhists desiring to be reborn in his Western Paradise and to obtain freedom from the wheel of rebirth, is said to be, in a mystical or spiritual sense, the father of Kuan Yin. Legends of the Mahayana School recount that Avalokitesvara was 'born' from a ray of white light which Amitabha emitted from his right eye as he was lost in ecstasy.
Thus Avalokitesvara, or Kuan Yin, is regarded as the "reflex" of Amitabhaa further emanation or embodiment of "maha karuna (great compassion), the quality which Amitabha himself embodies in the highest sense. Many figures of Kuan Yin can be identified by the presence of a small image of Amitabha in her crown. It is believed that as the merciful redemptress Kuan Yin expresses Amitabha's compassion in a more direct and personal way and prayers to her are answered more quickly.
The iconography of Kuan Yin depicts her in many forms, each one revealing a unique aspect of her merciful presence. As the sublime Goddess of Mercy whose beauty, grace and compassion have come to represent the ideal of womanhood in the East, she is frequently portrayed as a slender woman in flowing white robes who carries in her left hand a white lotus, symbol of purity. Ornaments may adorn her form, symbolizing her attainment as a bodhisattva, or she may be pictured without them as a sign of her great virtue.
Kuan Yin's presence is widespread through her images as the "bestower of children" which are found in homes and temples. A great white veil covers her entire form and she may be seated on a lotus. She is often portrayed with a child in her arms, near her feet, or on her knees, or with several children about her. In this role, she is also referred to as the "white-robed honored one." Sometimes to her right and left are her two attendants, Shan-tsai Tung-tsi, the "young man of excellent capacities," and Lung-wang Nu, the "daughter of the Dragon-king."
Kuan Yin is also known as patron bodhisattva of P'u-t'o Shan, mistress of the Southern Sea and patroness of fishermen. As such she is shown crossing the sea seated or standing on a lotus or with her feet on the head of a dragon.
Like Avalokitesvara she is also depicted with a thousand arms and varying numbers of eyes, hands and heads, sometimes with an eye in the palm of each hand, and is commonly called "the thousand-arms, thousand-eyes" bodhisattva. In this form she represents the omnipresent mother, looking in all directions simultaneously, sensing the afflictions of humanity and extending her many arms to alleviate them with infinite expressions of her mercy.
Symbols characteristically associated with Kuan Yin are a willow branch, with which she sprinkles the divine nectar of life; a precious vase symbolizing the nectar of compassion and wisdom, the hallmarks of a bodhisattva; a dove, representing fecundity; a book or scroll of prayers which she holds in her hand, representing the dharma (teaching) of the Buddha or the sutra (Buddhist text) which Miao Shan is said to have constantly recited; and a rosary adorning her neck with which she calls upon the Buddhas for succor.
Images of Avalokitesvara often show him holding a rosary; descriptions of his birth say he was born with a white crystal rosary in his right hand and a white lotus in his left. It is taught that the beads represent all living beings and the turning of the beads symbolizes that Avalokitesvara is leading them out of their state of misery and repeated rounds of rebirth into nirvana.
Today Kuan Yin is worshipped by Taoists as well as Mahayana Buddhists--especially in Taiwan, Japan, Korea and once again in her homeland of China, where the practice of Buddhism had been suppressed by the Communists during the Cultural Revolution (1966-69). She is the protectress of women, sailors, merchants, craftsmen, and those under criminal prosecution, and is invoked particularly by those desiring progeny. Beloved as a mother figure and divine mediatrix who is very close to the daily affairs of her devotees, Kuan Yin's role as Buddhist Madonna has been compared to that of Mary the mother of Jesus in the West.
There is an implicit trust in Kuan Yin's saving grace and healing powers. Many believe that even the simple recitation of her name will bring her instantly to the scene. One of the most famous texts associated with the bodhisattva, the ancient Lotus Sutra whose twenty-fifth chapter, dedicated to Kuan Yin, is known as the "Kuan Yin sutra," describes thirteen cases of impending disaster--from shipwreck to fire, imprisonment, robbers, demons, fatal poisons and karmic woes--in which the devotee will be rescued if his thoughts dwell on the power of Kuan Yin. The text is recited many times daily by those who wish to receive the benefits it promises.
Devotees also invoke the bodhisattva's power and merciful intercession with the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM-- "Hail to the jewel in the lotus!" or, as it has also been interpreted, "Hail to Avalokitesvara, who is the jewel in the heart of the lotus of the devotee's heart!" Throughout Tibet and Ladakh, Buddhists have inscribed OM MANI PADME HUM on flat prayer stones called "mani-stones" as votive offerings in praise of Avalokitesvara. Thousands of these stones have been used to build mani-walls that line the roads entering villages and monasteries.
It is believed that Kuan Yin frequently appears in the sky or on the waves to save those who call upon her when in danger. Personal stories can be heard in Taiwan, for instance, from those who report that during World War II when the United States bombed the Japanese-occupied Taiwan, she appeared in the sky as a young maiden, catching the bombs and covering them with her white garments so they would not explode.
Thus altars dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy are found everywhere--shops, restaurants, even taxicab dashboards. In the home she is worshipped with the traditional "pai pai," a prayer ritual using incense, as well as the use of prayer charts--sheets of paper designed with pictures of Kuan Yin, lotus flowers, or pagodas and outlined with hundreds of little circles. With each set of prayers recited or sutras read in a novena for a relative, friend, or oneself, another circle is filled in. This chart has been described as a "Ship of Salvation" whereby departed souls are saved from the dangers of hell and the faithful safely conveyed to Amitabha's heaven. In addition to elaborate services with litanies and prayers, devotion to Kuan Yin is expressed in the popular literature of the people in poems and hymns of praise.
Devout followers of Kuan Yin may frequent local temples and make pilgrimages to larger temples on important occasions or when they are burdened with a special problem. The three yearly festivals held in her honor are on the nineteenth day of the second month (celebrated as her birthday), of the sixth month, and of the ninth month based on the Chinese lunar calendar.
In the tradition of the Great White Brotherhood Kuan Yin is known as the Ascended Lady Master who bears the office and title of "Goddess of Mercy" because she ensouls the God qualities of the law of mercy, compassion and forgiveness. She had numerous embodiments prior to her ascension thousands of years ago and has taken the vow of the bodhisattva to teach the unascended children of God how to balance their karma and fulfill their divine plan by loving service to life and the application of the violet flame through the science of the spoken Word.
Kuan Yin preceded the Ascended Master Saint Germain as Chohan (Lord) of the Seventh Ray of Freedom, Transmutation, Mercy and Justice and she is one of seven Ascended Masters who serve on the Karmic Board, a council of justice that mediates the karma of earth's evolutions--dispensing opportunity, mercy and the true and righteous judgments of the Lord to each lifestream on earth. She is hierarch of the etheric Temple of Mercy over Peking, China, where she focuses the light of the Divine Mother on behalf of the children of the ancient land of China, the souls of humanity, and the sons and daughters of God.
More Story and Legend of Kuan Yin / Quan Yin.........
Often seen alone or next to a statue of Amitabha Buddha, Avalokitesvara
Bodhisattva--in Chinese also known as Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy--is the
most popular and most venerated Buddhist figure besides Amitabha Buddha and
Sakyamuni Buddha. A popular Chinese saying illustrates this aspect:
"Everyone knows how to chant Amitabha Buddha, and every household worships
Why is this bodhisattva popular in so many Chinese families? It may be because Kuan Yin is represented as a female with an appearance that embraces the qualities of compassion and motherly love. In addition, because many Buddhist scriptures state that one can invoke Kuan Yin's assistance by simply calling out her name, people feel that this bodhisattva is very approachable.
According to the Huayen Sutra (Buddha-vatamsaka-mahavaipulya Sutra), Kuan Yin uses all kinds of ways to attract people: she makes gifts, uses words of love, and transforms herself into persons like those that she deals with. The "Universal Gateway" chapter in the Lotus Sutra lists thirty-two typical forms in which Kuan Yin may appear. For instance, if a boy or girl is about to gain some enlightenment, Kuan Yin transforms herself into a boy or a girl to teach the child. If a monk is about to attain some enlightenment, Kuan Yin transforms herself into a monk. In short, she can appear as a monk, a nun, a king, a minister, a celestial being, or a normal person like you and me. The purpose of such transformations is to make people feel close to her and willing to listen to her words.
"I am cultivating this method of great compassion and hope to save all living beings," Kuan Yin said. "Any living being who calls my name or sees me will be free from all fear and danger. I will activate that being's spiritual awareness and maintain it forever."
Sakyamuni Buddha confirmed Kuan Yin's vow: "If a suffering being hears the name of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and earnestly calls out to the bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara will hear the call and redeem that being from his suffering" ("Universal Gateway," Lotus Sutra).
In other words, this bodhisattva's main attraction for people lies in her efforts to eliminate suffering and to make people live in peace and harmony. This kind of immediate benefit and the ability to receive protection or help simply by calling the bodhisattva's name, similar to children receiving an instant reply when calling their mother, have contributed to Kuan Yin's great popularity.
Male or female?
Probably because of Kuan Yin's great compassion, a quality which is traditionally considered feminine, most of the bodhisattva's statues in China since the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618?07) have appeared as female figures. In India, however, the bodhisattva is generally represented as a male figure.
In Chinese art before the Tang dynasty, Kuan Yin was also usually perceived as masculine, though literary and anecdotal evidence from as early as the fifth century points to a sexual transformation of this bodhisattva. By the tenth century, Kuan Yin's statues were becoming increasingly feminine, and by the Ming Dynasty (1368?644), the transformation into a female deity was complete.
In the end, what is Kuan Yin, male or female? In Buddhism, the universe is divided into many realms. For instance, there is the Realm of Desire, the Realm of Form, and the Realm of Formlessness. The Realm of Desire includes the human realm with all living beings on earth. Above it is the Realm of Form, and above that the Realm of Formlessness. The beings in these latter two realms are considered celestial beings. The beings in the Realm of Form have outward appearances but no desires, and the beings in the Realm of Formlessness, have, as the name implies, no outward appearances. Without physical forms, the beings in the Realm of Formlessness have no gender distinctions. However, the beings in all three realms still undergo reincarnation. Arhats, bodhisattvas and Buddhas (beings who have reached three progressive stages toward enlightenment), on the other hand, have jumped out of the cycle of reincarnation and no longer have true physical forms. A bodhisattva like Kuan Yin may therefore appear in either male or female form. Statues of these beings merely help us feel their presence.
The Kuan Yin statue
Kuan Yin may be shown either in a standing or in a sitting position, but on top of her crown there is always an image of a Buddha, which is generally thought to be Amitabha Buddha. In her hands, Kuan Yin may hold a willow branch, a vase with water, or occasionally a lotus flower. The willow branch is used to either heal people's illnesses or bring fulfillment to their requests. The water symbolizes the cleansing of people's sins or illnesses. Kuan Yin's right hand often points downward, with the palm facing outward, the posture of granting a wish. This is the typical image of Kuan Yin in China and Taiwan.
Many other forms also exist. The expression "thirty-three forms of Kuan Yin" in Sino-Japanese Buddhist art refers to thirty-three different appearances of the bodhisattva. For example, besides holding a willow branch, Kuan Yin may also be depicted as standing on a dragon's head in a cloud. However, these other forms have no basis in Buddhist scriptures.
Like Manjusri, Kuan Yin may have once been a Buddha with the name of "Brightness of True Dharma." However, there is little information on this topic.
Although most scriptures refer to Kuan Yin as a bodhisattva, some entries reflect a different view. The Peihua Sutra tells a story about a father-son relationship between Amitabha and Avalokitesvara. When Amitabha was a ruler in a previous incarnation, he had a thousand sons, and the eldest was named Pu-hsun. Pu-hsun vowed before the Buddha of his time that if suffering people would call his name, he would hear them or see their suffering, and he would try to eliminate their misery. When the Buddha heard Pu-hsun's vow, he praised him by saying that he would be named "Avalokitesvara." He also said that when Amitabha Buddha entered into nirvana in the future, Avalokitesvara would succeed him and become a Buddha who would be known as "Universal Light-Issuing Tathagata King of Merit Mountain."
Since people can simply call Kuan Yin's name for help without having to go through any ritual or ceremony, this bodhisattva is the most popular figure in China and other East Asian countries. One of the most well-known forms of the bodhisattva is the one with a thousand eyes and a thousand hands. The thousand eyes allow the bodhisattva to see the suffering creatures in this world, and the thousand hands allow her to reach out to help them. Thus, this depiction is a popular symbol for the Tzu Chi Foundation, which tries to relieve the suffering in this world through the "thousand eyes and hands" of its volunteers.
Actually, everyone can be a Kuan Yin. You may say that you don't have a thousand eyes or a thousand hands or that you lack magic powers, but it is your compassion that can transform you into a Kuan Yin. With your eyes and hands you can help others, and with your compassion you can bring peace and tranquility to this planet.
A sacred island, a place I plan to visit in the future...
Kuan Yin also has a sacred place in China: Potala Mountain. This mountain is located near the city of Ningpo, in Chechiang Province on the East China Sea. It is actually an island with a radius of about thirty miles. Nowadays the island is full of temples. It is said that during the Liang Dynasty (A.D. 520?57), a Japanese monk by the name of Hui Erh stole a Kuan Yin statue from Wutai Mountain in central China, hoping to take it back to Japan. But when his boat approached the island of Potala, it simply stopped moving. Feeling that it was the bodhisattva's will, Hui Erh presented the statue to the islanders. Later, more and more Buddhist temples were built, and more and more stories of Kuan Yin's miraculous interventions circulated among the people, making Potala Mountain the sacred ground for this bodhisattva.
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