I think we know what I am I saying and what I am not saying about Buddhist iconography. L’iconographie n’est pas bizarre en soi. Ha! It is not quirky in and of itself. Its presence as part of our cultural fabric is. Nous ne devons pas répéter, faisons-nous?No need to go over this ground again, right?
Guanyin is a deity of mercy and compassion. She is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. She has displayed a wish to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. Her name means “Perceiving the Cries of the World.”
Those of you who are Buddhists or have a working understanding of Buddhism can almost certainly detect in the preceding paragraph that I am not a Buddhist and have no working understanding of Buddhism. Meaning the less I say about Guanyin, the better. Wiser to let the photos do the talking. I will do that, put away my notes on Avalokiteśvara and just move on to the photos.
I showed the photos to my friend. He asked me if I wanted to talk about the parallels between the Bodhisattva Guanyin and the Virgin Mary. I said I didn’t. He accepted this answer without judgment. He said that delusions our endless. He vowed to cut through them all.
I asked him what he thought of the photos. He retrieved a photo that the one who would later send him away took on their trip to visit Guanyin of the South Sea of Sanya.
It is a large statue. He and she were among the tens of thousands of pilgrims who witnessed the enshrining of the statue on April 24, 2005, with the participation of 108 famous and respected monks from various Chinese Buddhist groups.