Happy Blessed Avalokiteshvara Day!

Today is the nineteenth day of the second lunar month. It is a sacred day for the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, widely known in the West as Guanyin, the Chinese “Goddess of Mercy.” Strictly speaking however, Guanyin is not a goddess; bodhisattvas are enlightened beings, and deities are not. Furthermore, the portrayal of Guanyin and her Japanese counterpart Kannon as being distinctly female came comparatively late in the history of East Asian Buddhism. In fact, in Japan Kannon (Guanyin) is usually portrayed as a a very androgynous youth, rather than a woman.

That is your free history lesson for the day! OM MANI PADME HUM!

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A Very Feminine Kannon/Guanyin In the Zōjuji Pure Land Temple, Tokyo

6 thoughts on “Happy Blessed Avalokiteshvara Day!

  1. Nice to read this! I also celebrated it today! πŸ™‚ Did you do anything specific for today? If you don’t mind me asking this of course. I ask because i did a simple celebration written by myself, i don’t really know how people in temples celebrate this day… I actually have a draft to post about today.

    1. I didn’t do much, sad to say. 😦 There’s a Fo Guang temple not far from me, but I didn’t make it out there.

      I *did* do some chanting of the mantra this morning after my refuge, and of course I wrote this up! πŸ˜€

      1. I chanted the mantra too! πŸ™‚ I don’t have any temples in my country, the only thing close to it is centers with activities like meditation and such and they’re far from me. Sigh

      2. Aww…I’m sorry. I live in a very conservative part of the United States that’s known as the “Bible Belt” because of the predominance of Conservative, evangelical Protestant Christianity. There are “blue laws” in a lot of the South that, for instance, outlaw the sale of alcohol. Where I live, you can’t sell alcohol before noon on Sunday.

        However, in my particular area, there are also a lot of Buddhist and Hindu immigrants from Southern, Central, and East Asia. There’s even a Hindu Temple close to me!

        But I should point out that all the really big temples are pretty much for the immigrant communities; the Fo Guang temple’s services are in Chinese, not English, and most of their clergy speak English as a second language. So I have to be very conscious when I go there that I’m an outsider.

      3. Uau, that sounds very strict. In my country you can even see people drinking alchool early in the morning (not a usual thing ofc but it happens). But it’s a little country unlike the US so we don’t have such diversity as you. I imagine it must be a bit awkward to go to those places… πŸ™‚ But interesting too πŸ™‚

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