Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara [NOOK Book]

Overview


By far one of the most important objects of worship in the Buddhist traditions, the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is regarded as the embodiment of compassion. He has been widely revered throughout the Buddhist countries of Asia since the early centuries of the Common Era. While he was closely identified with the royalty in South and Southeast Asia, and the Tibetans continue to this day to view the Dalai Lamas as his incarnations, in China he became a she -- Kuan-yin, the "Goddess of Mercy" -- and has a very ...
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Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara

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Overview


By far one of the most important objects of worship in the Buddhist traditions, the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is regarded as the embodiment of compassion. He has been widely revered throughout the Buddhist countries of Asia since the early centuries of the Common Era. While he was closely identified with the royalty in South and Southeast Asia, and the Tibetans continue to this day to view the Dalai Lamas as his incarnations, in China he became a she -- Kuan-yin, the "Goddess of Mercy" -- and has a very different history. The causes and processes of this metamorphosis have perplexed Buddhist scholars for centuries.

In this groundbreaking, comprehensive study, Chün-fang Yü discusses this dramatic transformation of the (male) Indian bodhisattva Avalokitesvara into the (female) Chinese Kuan-yin -- from a relatively minor figure in the Buddha's retinue to a universal savior and one of the most popular deities in Chinese religion.

Focusing on the various media through which the feminine Kuan-yin became constructed and domesticated in China, Yü thoroughly examines Buddhist scriptures, miracle stories, pilgrimages, popular literature, and monastic and local gazetteers -- as well as the changing iconography reflected in Kuan-yin's images and artistic representations -- to determine the role this material played in this amazing transformation. The book eloquently depicts the domestication of Kuan-yin as a case study of the indigenization of Buddhism in China and illuminates the ways this beloved deity has affected the lives of all Chinese people down the ages.

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Editorial Reviews

Victor H. Mair
Without a doubt, Kuan-yin will surely become the starting point for all future research on this extraordinarily popular Buddhist figure. . . . The book is sui generis for Buddhist Studies.
William Theodore de Bary
A major contribution to our understanding of Kuan-yin (Kannon in East Asian Buddhism, giving a most lucid account of the concept of the compassionate bodhisattva and of the religious practices devoted to this 'Goddess of Mercy´ as she has become popularly known in the West.
Booknews
Y<:u>'s massive, closely printed volume on the Buddhist bodhisattva of Compassion and the history of her transformation from an Indian identity as the Avalokite'svara, will be of interest to both specialists and non-specialists interested in the history and practice of Buddhism, particularly in China. Y<:u> (Rutgers U.) provides an account, based on lengthy research in China and the US, and including discussion of Kuan-yin imagery, of the scriptural sources for the cult; indigenous Chinese scriptures; domestication to China of Kuan- yin through miracle tales, monks, and indigenous iconographies; the ritual of great compassion repentance; the story of Princess Miao-shan and the feminization of Kuan-yin; pilgrimage and the creation of the Chinese Potalaka; and aspects of Kuan-yin in Late Imperial China. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231502757
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/6/2000
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 872,745
  • File size: 35 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author


Chün-fang Yü is professor and chair of the Department of Religion at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She is the author of The Renewal of Buddhism in China: Chu-hung and the Late Ming Synthesis (Columbia) and coeditor of Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Map 28
Map 29
Map 372
1 Introduction 1
2 Scriptural Sources for the Cult of Kuan-yin 31
3 Indigenous Chinese Scriptures and the Cult of Kuan-yin 93
4 Miracle Tales and the Domestication of Kuan-yin 151
5 Divine Monks and the Domestication of Kuan-yin 195
6 Indigenous Iconographies and the Domestication of Kuan-yin 223
7 The Ritual of Great Compassion Repentance and the Domestication of the Thousand-handed and Thousand-eyed Kuan-yin in the Sung 263
8 Princess Miao-shan and the Feminization of Kuan-yin 293
9 P'u-t'o Shan: Pilgrimage and the Creation of the Chinese Potalaka 353
10 Feminine Forms of Kuan-yin in Late Imperial China 407
11 Venerable Mother: Kuan-yin and Sectarian Religions in Late Imperial China 449
12 Conclusion 487
App. A Stele Text of the "Life of the Great Compassionate One" 495
App. B Chinese Women Pilgrims' Songs Glorifying Kuan-yin 505
Notes 511
Bibliography 555
Index and Glossary 595
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