Kansas City has the best one
We are in Kansas City now visiting family and are in close proximity to one of the best sculptures of Kuan Yin in the world. Like all icons of deities, its principle function is to get us in touch with the energy of the deity itself. The Kuan Yin at the Nelson Atkins Museum in KC does this better than any I have seen in my whole life.
When we were in New Zealand a number of years ago, we visited a Kuan Yin sculpture park that had numerous depictions of her. I was so inspired, I actually did a painting of Her when we arrived in Australia.
All of the sculptures were of white marble. Nearly all of them had a presence. The emanation of peace and quiet was very strongly felt, and as a result the blessings of Her came upon me. What is this compassion that She gives to the world? I am approaching this Kuan Yin energy now that I am in Kansas, about to meet Her face to face once again.
Twice I have painted Kuan Yin. This one above I painted in Sydney, Australia, when we were teaching an LRT there. The painting below is of a more “Chinese version” I painted in Singapore.
Lotus Sūtra of Avalokiteśvara, the other name for Kuan Yin
The Lotus Sūtra (Sanskrit Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra) is generally accepted to be the earliest literature teaching about the doctrines of Avalokiteśvara. These are found in the twenty fifth chapter of the Lotus Sūtra. This chapter is devoted to Avalokitesvara, describing him as a compassionate bodhisattva who hears the cries of sentient beings, and who works tirelessly to help those who call upon his name.
The Buddha answered Bodhisattva Akṣayamati, saying: “O son of a virtuous family! If innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of sentient beings who experience suffering hear of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and wholeheartedly chant his name, Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara will immediately perceive their voices and free them from their suffering”— The Lotus Sutra
The Lotus Sutra describes Avalokiteśvara as a bodhisattva who can take the form of any type of god including Indra or Brahma; any type of Buddha, any type of king or Chakravartin or even any kind of Heavenly Guardian including Vajrapani and Vaisravana as well as any gender male or female, adult or child, human or non-human being, in order to teach the Dharma to sentient beings. Folk traditions in China and other East Asian countries have added many distinctive characteristics and legends to Guanyin c.q. Avalokiteśvara. Avalokiteśvara was originally depicted as a male bodhisattva, and therefore wears chest-revealing clothing and may even sport a light moustache. Although this depiction still exists in the Far East, Guanyin is more often depicted as a woman in modern times. Additionally, some people believe that Guanyin is androgynous or perhaps without gender.WIKIPEDIA
Kuan Yin and us
Kuan Yin, also known as Quan Yin or Guanyin, has a prominent place in our home. Although She is often noted as a He, or androgynous, we consider Her a She. On our Divine Mother Altar, we have a replica of the Kuan Yin from Kansas City. Sondra picked her up at the crystal convention in Tuscon, Arizona.
The Relaxation of Divine Awareness
One of the best qualities of Kuan Yin is Her relaxation. Her pose, with forearm resting over Her knee, is a classic gesture that speaks of stillness and silence. She is in automatic meditation. This is the benefit of having her in our home. She imparts peace and quiet.
We also have a standing Kuan Yin, carved out of wood. This photo below gives you a sense of Her scale and presence.
Divine Awareness comes from an attention paid to the emptiness of a still mind. Kuan Yin is definitely aware of this vast, unlimited mind space. She is considered the compassionate one, the one who can hear the lament of humanity and respond with love and forgiveness. Her other name, Avalokitesvara, actually means “She who hears the cries of sentient beings.” She is a manifestation of the Divine Mother who responds with compassion to our needs.
The Nelson Atkins Museum’s Kuan Yin
What makes the Kuan Yin at the Nelson Simon Museum in Kansas City the most powerful one I have seen? First of all, the curators have placed Her in a special sacred room, with a wonderful mural behind it from a monastery. She has an aura of holiness built into Her environment.
I am fortunate that my sister lives in Kansas City, so we can have our pilgrimage to the Kuan Yin every couple of years. Housed in the Nelson Atkins, She has a room all to Herself, adjacent to the Chinese ceramic room. All is good. She has a home where many visitors can come to receive Her blessings.
Here she is in Her full glory, “hearing the cries of humanity” for grace and compassion. Just looking at her face can bring us to stillness inside of our hearts. She is able to invoke peace beyond understanding. And She can bring us to an inner peace as well. This is Her blessing.
We go to see Her soon. I am so delighted. May She impart Her blessings to you through this Post.