Kwan-Yin

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Kwan-Yin (Chinese: 觀音, Guānyīn) is the female bodhisattva of compassion venerated by East Asian Buddhists. Another later name for this bodhisattva is Kwan-Shi-Yin (Guānshìyīn). It is generally accepted that Kwan-Yin is a Chinese version of the male Mahāyāna bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.

In the Theosophical literature Kwan-Yin is regarded as the female sixth principle (either in cosmos or man) while Kwan-Shi-Yin is not regarded as a synonym of the former but as the male aspect of this principle.

In Chinese Buddhism

In Chinese Buddhism, the female Kuan Yin (also Guanyin, Kannon, Kwannon), the pinnacle of mercy and compassion is synonymous with the male Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (almost exclusively called Kwan-Shi-Yin). The Buddhist canon states that bodhisattvas can assume whatsoever gender and form is needed to liberate beings from ignorance and dukkha. The "Goddess of Mercy and Compassion" is seen as the boundless salvific nature of the male Avalokitesvara.

In Theosophy

In one of her writings, H. P. Blavatsky defines Kwan-Yin as "the divine Voice of the Self . . . [which] was heard but in the sacred solitude of the preparatory mysteries."[1] Master K.H. relates Kwan-Yin to the sixth principle, either in cosmos or man:

Kwan-yin, or Buddhi the Spiritual Soul (the sixth Pr.) and the vehicle of its "Lord." It is Kwan-yin that is the female principle or the manifested passive, manifesting itself "to every creature in the universe, in order to deliver all men from the consequences of sin" — as rendered by Beal, this once quite correctly.[2]
Stanza VI.1 defines her as "The Mother of Mercy and Knowledge" that resides in "Kwan-Yin-Tien".[3] In her commentaries to the sloka, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky identifies Kwan-Yin to the female Logoi:
Kwan-Yin-Tien means the “melodious heaven of Sound,” the abode of Kwan-Yin, or the “Divine Voice” literally. This “Voice” is a synonym of the Verbum or the Word: “Speech,” as the expression of thought. Thus may be traced the connection with, and even the origin of the Hebrew Bath-Kol, the “daughter of the Divine Voice,” or Verbum, or the male and female Logos, the “Heavenly Man” or Adam Kadmon, who is at the same time Sephira. The latter was surely anticipated by the Hindu Vâch, the goddess of Speech, or of the Word. For Vâch—the daughter and the female portion, as is stated, of Brahmâ, one “generated by the gods”—is, in company with Kwan-Yin, with Isis (also the daughter, wife and sister of Osiris) and other goddesses, the female Logos, so to speak, the goddess of the active forces in Nature, the Word, Voice or Sound, and Speech.[4]

In the same sloka Kwan-Yin is said to be triple, as is every female logos:

The Mother of Mercy and Knowledge is called “the triple” of Kwan-Shai-Yin because in her correlations, metaphysical and cosmical, she is the “Mother, the Wife and the Daughter” of the Logos.[5]
A related term is that of Kwan-Shi-Yin. Although traditional Chinese Buddhism regards the latter as a synonymous of Kwan-Yin, Mme. Blavatsky and the Mahatmas maintained that these are two different entities.[6]
Kwan-Shi-Yin and Kwan-Yin are the two aspects (male and female) of the same principle in Kosmos, Nature and Man, of divine wisdom and intelligence. They are the “Christos-Sophia” of the mystic Gnostics—the Logos and its Sakti.[7]

See also

Online resources

Articles

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1989), 99.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 111 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 377.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 136.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 473.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 136.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 471.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 473.