26 February 2013

Thousand-hand Guan Yin

Guan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion, revered by Buddhists as the Goddess of Mercy. Her name is short for Guan Shi Yin. Guan means to observe, watch, or monitor; Shi means the world; Yin means sounds, specifically sounds of those who suffer. Thus, Guan Yin is a compassionate being who watches for, and responds to, the people in the world who cry out for help.

Bodhi means wisdom or enlightenment; sattva means being or essence. Put the two together and you get bodhisattva, a being who is enlightened and ready to transcend the cycles of birth and death, but chooses to return to the material world in order to help other people reach the same level of enlightenment. This is the ultimate demonstration of pure compassion.

The thousand hands of this bodhisattva represent Guan Yin's many abilities to render assistance. There are a thousand eyes on these hands which give Guan Yin great powers to observe the world. Guan Yin also has many faces so she can become who people need her to be, not necessarily herself, because her help is given in a way that is literally selfless...

The ultimate message of this performance can be summed up in the following words from Zhang Jigang, the choreographer who put it all together:
As long as you are kind and there is love in your heart
A thousand hands will naturally come to your aid
As long as you are kind and there is love in your heart
You will reach out with a thousand hands to help others
Above text credit here.  Note - all of the performers in the above video were members of the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe, and all of them were deaf.

Reposted from 2009 because I've just watched the movie Samsara, and a similar performance was shown near the conclusion.

2 comments:

  1. This version, introduced by Jerry Lewis, is far superior.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q36LlQ7a1oo
    Why?
    It has the original music.

    Call me Ishmael.

    ReplyDelete

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