Synopses & Reviews
This portrait of the Buddhist embodiment of compassion is both an informative study by a leading scholar of Buddhism and an engaging account of the author's search for the mystical significance of the goddess. An object of joyous devotion in Chinese folk religion, Kuan Yin is revered for her saving power: it is said that anyone in distress who calls on her with sincerity will be rescued from suffering and harm. On a deeper level, Kuan Yin symbolizes the liberating energy of compassion, which is an indispensable aid in the quest for enlightenment.
John Blofeld evokes the charming presence of Kuan Yin through colorful anecdotes, personal experiences, and descriptions of Buddhist rituals and legends encountered during his travels throughout China. At the same time, he offers a learned account of the goddess's history and importance in Chinese thought and religion. He explores the origin of the Bodhisattva of Compassion in India and Tibet, in the form of Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan: Chenresig), a male deity who evolved into the gentle mother/maiden figure of Chinese Buddhism. Meditation and visualization techniques associated with Kuan Yin are given, and her principal iconographic forms are described. Illustrated with images from Chinese and Tibetan sacred art, the book also contains translations of devotional poems and yogic texts. Bodhisattva of Compassion is undoubtedly the most complete and illuminating picture of Kuan Yin available.
Kuan Yin is revered throughout Asia as the personification of compassion. In China it is said that anyone in distress who calls on her with sincerity will be rescued from suffering and harm. John Blofeld provides a compelling portrait of Kuan Yin through colorful anecdotes, personal experiences, and descriptions of Buddhist rituals and legends. He also offers a learned account of the goddesss history and importance in Chinese thought and religion, along with translations of devotional poems and yogic texts, images from Chinese and Tibetan sacred art, and meditation techniques associated with the bodhisattva of compassion in her many guises.
She is the embodiment of selfless love, the supreme symbol of radical compassion, and, for more than a millennium throughout Asia, she has been revered as “The One Who Hearkens to the Cries of the World.” Kuan Yin is both a Buddhist symbol and a beloved deity of Chinese folk religion. John Blofelds classic study traces the history of this most famous of all the bodhisattvas from her origins in India (as the male figure Avalokiteshvara) to Tibet, China, and beyond, along the way highlighting her close connection to other figures such as Tara and Amitabha. The account is full of charming stories of Blofelds encounters with Kuan Yins devotees during his journeys in China. The book also contains meditation and visualization techniques associated with the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and translations of poems and yogic texts devoted to her.
About the Author
John Blofeld (19131987) was a world-renowned scholar and writer who devoted his life to the study of Eastern religion, especially Taoism and Buddhism.