Friday, September 30, 2011

Quan The Am

"The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara practiced wonderful wisdom and attained Enlightenment completely free of attachment. He entered emptiness, unobstructed, through the gate of liberation. Since there is nothing but Emptiness, (including the body, mind and all that exists), a Bodhisattva is never moved by eulogy or ridicule, slander or fame. Even war, famine or the bubonic plague are dismissed by him or her as illusions taking hold through karma. Letting go of all that seemingly exists on its own, independently of the mind, sets forth brightness; and the one experiencing it will not be intimidated."

From Dharma Master Lok To's Introduction to his translation of The Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra.

Statue of Quan The Am Bo Tat in the courtyard of Long Khanh Temple, Quy Nhon City. Any tour of Vietnam should include this beautiful and little-visited place.

The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is, of course, the deity more commonly known as Kwan Yin, or, in Vietnamese, Quan The Am.
Notice that Master Lok To refers to the Bodhisattva as "him." This causes much confusion, because in popular imagery Kwan Yin is almost always shown in a feminine aspect, and most people believe Kwan Yin to be a woman. Technically, Kwan Yin is without gender, though in the earliest representations (as in the scriptures) she is normally a he.

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