Kuan-yin (Perceiver of Sounds), or Kuan-shih-yin (Perceiver of the World’s Sounds) is the Chinese name for Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, . Source Version, Kuan-yin: the Chinese transformation of Avalokiteśvara / Chün- fang Yü. Yü, Chün-fang, New York: Columbia University Press, c Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Aug 1, , Beata Grant and others published Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokiteshvara.

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A major case study of the Transfirmation concept of upaya By far one of the most important objects of worship in the Buddhist traditions, the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is regarded trasnformation the embodiment of compassion. While he was closely vaalokitesvara 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 study, Chun-fang Yu discusses this dramatic transformation of the male Indian bodhisattva Avalokitesvara into the female Chinese Kuan-yin — from a relatively minor figure in the Tranformation 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, Yu thoroughly examines Buddhist scriptures, miracle stories, pilgrimages, popular literature, and monastic and local gazetteers — as well as the changing iconography reflected teh Kuan-yin’s images and artistic representations — to determine the role these materials 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 avalokitsvara the lives of all Chinese people down the ages.

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? He has been widely revered throughout the Buddhist countries of Asia since the early centuries of the Common Era.

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Kuan-Yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara

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Home and the World: A Court on Horseback: Customers who viewed this item also viewed. The Kuan Yin Chronicles: The Evolution of Compassion. Accessing the Power of the Divine Feminine. Encounters with Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion. Review A major case study of the Mahayana concept of upaya Columbia University Press September 15, Language: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara on your Kindle in under a minute.


Don’t have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 9 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Still working on this meaty piece of scholarship. As noted,Kuan Yin has achieved a bit of cult status in the Western world.

Kuan-Yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara by Chun-fang Yu

This book could serve as a corrective but it is a slog in places, and requires a more than basic knowledge of ancient Kuan-iyn, Tibet, and assorted dynasties in China. The writer continues to refer to the Kuan Yin figure as a “goddess”which isn’t in Buddhist theology. This is more a “how did Kuan If come to be,” without answering an unspoken question of what happened in Late Tang early Sung China that facilitated a change in the narrative of the bodhisvatta and why has this transformatuon continued avalokitsvara the western world with such intensity among the believers.

I was dismayed to learn the author has located so many ancient requests for Afalokitesvara Yin that include wealth and sons The narrative of Kuan Yin among my educated American friends is somewhat different. This is a quite dry and academic text, that gains in incredible detail, meticulous source references and attention to minutiae, while losing something in dryness and a failure to truly bring to life this most beloved of Chinese Mahayana Bodhisattvas.

Not to be avoided – and a must for every devotee of Kuan Shih Yin. One person found this helpful. A wee bit too scholarly. As the author states, western interest in eastern religion, and feminism has greatly expanded the interest in Kuan-Yin, but it also misappropriated, either smearing her and other female goddesses into a translucent light blue, elevator muzak “great goddess”. This makes learning more about the worship and kuan-yi of this goddess a treacherous course, transformagion a lot of books in the market not really discussing anything of the fascinating unique Chinese beliefs avaookitesvara fact, this can be said about the entire “neo-pagan” mavement.

Having recently travelled with my wife and in-laws to Hong Kong, and escorted my chinese wife and mother-in-law to the Wong Tai Sin temple during the Chinese New Year, I wanted to learn more about the indigenous beliefs and history of Guan-Yin, and eventually decided on Chun-Fang Yu’s book.

Like Walter Burkett’s Greek Religion, it is not a light, fluffy telling of tales, but a detailed exploration of the goddesses origin, sources and changes in both myth and ritual over time. She starts with the original, the MALE indian bodhisattva Avelokitesvara, and the source suttras, and then discusses how it became a female goddess.


The text is amazingly well researched and thorough. However, the additional pleasure in the novel comes from Yu’s own personal experience with Guan-Yin, starting with her grandmother, and this direct connection is interwoven throughout the book, so chinfse of a dry scholarly approach, we have a book created by an author whose approach to a loving topic is not to kusn-yin over it, but to pursue it in full depth.

I can’t think of a better tribute. Finally, here is an historically-oriented, multi-disciplinary view of Buddhist practice and iconography that is well-written and impeccably researched. Yu looks at Kwan Yin through a Chinese-American lens, carefully examining past scholarship and then giving her own persuasive appraisal of the Chinese cult of the Compassion Mother.

Examining the bureaucratic hierarchy of Chinese society, Yu concludes that there was “too much yang and not enough yin. Yu’s command of art chnese and iconography deserve tremendous credit. Her discussion of lay buddhism and Chinese folktales is absorbing. Avalokitesfara you are at all interested in a more intellectual, historical look at Chinese Buddhism, give this book a look.

Well worth reading by those interested in the history of Chinese Buddhism or in having a deeper understanding of the part Kuan Yin plays in the lives and hearts of many. Malcolm Hunt, Brisbane, Australia. See all 9 reviews. What other items do customers buy after viewing this item? The Evolution of Compassion Paperback. There’s a problem loading this menu right now.

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