Putuoshan Island is dedicated to the goddess of compassion, Guanyin. Above she is depicted on the central altar in Puji temple with a smaller statue of Tara below her. Practitioners come in droves to pray for her mercy and offering gratitude for her blessings. Her large countenance creates a sense of awe when you enter the temple and there is a hushed quiet in the movement of men and women circumambulating her altar.
In September I will be returning to Putuoshan and other sacred sites in of Guanyin to guide a 12 day pilgrimage sponsored by True Nature Journeys. Please check out: Sacred China and consider joining us!
Announcing a rare opportunity to journey to China next September to visit sites sacred to the Goddess of Compassion, Guanyin. We will travel together as a small group of pilgrims and practice mindfulness to enhance our receptivity, wisdom and compassion.
The image above is from the Dazu grottos where we will see many beautiful statues and reliefs carved into caves and cliff sites. These sacred images from the 7th – 13 centuries are well preserved and still have their original paint. We will also visit Anyue, Qingcheng and the island of Putuoshan, dedicated to Guanyin since the 9th century.
For more information on this pilgrimage, lead by Deborah Bowman and sponsored by True Nature Journeys, click this link: Sacred China.
For those of you looking for an armchair experience and lots of photos of these rare site, stay tuned to this blog in the coming months!
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving.”
Guanyin Altar at Yangzhi Monastery on Putuoshan Island
Putuoshan Island off the coast of Shanghai is one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China. Each mountain is dedicated to a particular Bodhisattva and Putuoshan is dedicated to Guanyin, the goddess of compassion.
Last month I visited the many temples dedicated to her at Putuoshan and spent a week studying with Dr. Chun-Fang Yu, Columbia University’s scholar on the Guanyin. We studied the transformation of this deity from male into female over many centuries in Chinese history. While in certain settings Guanyin is still depicted as male, at Putuoshan she is primarily considered female and tied to the Chinese folk legend of Miaoshan, a young woman who is transformed into Guanyin through her exceptional sacrifices.
Guanyin Statue in reconstruction at Fayu Temple on Putuoshan Island
I’ll be sharing more of the story of Miaoshan later in this blog and also for the C.G. Jung Society in Denver on Oct 4. Learn more about the talk at www.thefemalebuddha.com
Guanyin: Archetype of Liberation and Love: Friday Oct 4, 7 p.m., First Divine Science Church, 14th Ave. and Williams St., $15 at the door, $10 for students and seniors