100 Poems and Images of Kuan Yin – The Goddess of Mercy
During the first week of July, 2005, transiting Sun (confidence) conjunct my progress Sun formed a favorable aspect to my natal Sun in the astrological birth chart. In the meantime, transiting Mercury (communication) and transiting Venus (creativity) both conjunct my natal Saturn (responsibility) also formed a favorable aspect to my progress Mars (action). Under those transits, my creativity and sense of structure were enhanced. The joy and increased vitality brought from those favorable transits gave me the good energy to start a new project, Kuan Yin Oracle, which consists of one hundred poems and images of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
I started doing the pencil drawing of Kuan Yin and then doing the translation of these 100 poems into English. Among these 100 graceful images of Kuan Yin, No. 1 – No.91 are the simple pencil drawing done during 7/1/2005 – 7/17/2005, and No. 92 – No. 100 are the Chinese ink painting done in 1993. I love to do the drawing/painting of Kuan Yin. And, it brings me great joy to share these graceful images of the Goddess along with her popular poems for inner peace and self-healing.
Kuan Yin, also widely known as Kuan Shih Yin, is revered by millions of Chinese around the world. She is the most popular among the Chinese pantheon of deities and is the female manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion. For some people, the human conditions is one of suffering, pain, confusion and spiritual emptiness. The timeless wisdom of the Goddess of Mercy will bring you spiritual pathway to joy, peace, and enlightenment. The Goddess oracle will comfort you with the hope and self-confidence, and inspire you to reach deep into yourself to achieve your inner dreams.
The Mystery of 100 Poems
The one hundred poems have been associated with Kuan Yin for centuries. You can find versions of these poems being used in many Buddhist temples around the world. In just about every traditional Buddhist temple, you can observe the use of 100 small wooden (or bamboo) sticks. Those 100 sticks, each having a number from 1 to 100 and a poem associated with the number, are kept in an auspicious small pot (or bamboo tube), and are placed in front of a graceful statue of Kuan Yin. A pair of Jiaobei Blocks, or Moon Blocks, are also placed next to the small pot. The Jiaobei Blocks, which are wooden divination tools in crescent shape, are used in pairs and thrown to answer a “Yes” or “No” question. The elders are especially fond of using the Jiaobei Blocks for obtaining a guidance.
Let us image. At the temple, you wish to ask the Goddess for advice about your family affairs. Having made your obeisance and offerings, you tilt the pot, shaking it until the sticks begin to move up. The art is to shake it in a special way that gradually a few sticks rise higher than the rest, and begin to teeter on the edge. You will then pick up the highest one, then you refer to the poem for guidance. At the temple, there are wise persons to help you interpret the poems. After finishing, you will put the stick back to the pot.
There are several levels in reading the poems based on individual perspectives. Here, I give you the literal meaning of each poem, and its implied meanings related to the issues of life. And, I use a spinning wheel which is the simplest way to draw for a number. After spinning the wheel, refer the number at 12:00 noon position to the poem with a same number for guidance. You are welcome to print this page and use the wheel that I have designed. The other method is to use 100 drinking straws, and follow the same procedure of using 100 sticks.
I suggest you to repeat the drawing process three times to get 3 numbers. The first number is related to your past, the second number to the present, the third number to the future. Before spinning the wheel, sit still for a few minutes, contemplating the issue about which you are seeking guidance, allow yourself to abandon any attempt to control the outcome, and then spin the wheel.
In going to the oracle for help, you are abandoning all attempts to reason or rationalize your way through a situation. Instead, you are allowing the flow of Nature to speak to you by giving up your attempts to make sense of your place in the cosmos. Whatever poem you obtain, it always remains within your willpower to change the course of the future by altering what you do and to some extent who you are.
The Kuan Yin Oracle is just one among a considerable array of divination books containing poems, usually ascribed to a major or a local deity. The 100 poems, like the I Ching, are also preoccupied with guidance: addressing 100 different archetypal human situations through Kuan Yin who has experienced the world and the way of all things. These poems are correspondingly more personal than what we have in the I Ching.
All of these divination books fulfill the same basic purpose: to provide divinatory insights and guidance. As such they are the continuation of a line which began with the development of the I Ching. Among these divination books, the Kuan Yin book containing 100 poems or sayings is one of the most commonly and most frequently consulted. These collection first appeared in the thirteen century and have changed little in style and format from that time. Many famous poets sought through their poetry to express the virtue, compassion and wisdom of Kuan Yin. These poems themselves are capable of speaking to us in their own ways.
Kuan Yin, or Kuan Shih Yin, is the Compassionate Bodhisattva, the One who Hears the Cries of the World. In Chinese, Kuan means “look,” Shih means “world,” and Yin means “sound.” Indeed, Kuan Yin is the One who Hears the Sufferings of the World. Over the centuries, many have heard Kuan Yin‘s voice, many have met Kuan Yin’s image in their hearts. Kuan Yinhas touched and shaped their lives (including mine), offered hopes, and brought out the potential within those who suffered or felt hopeless.
Here, in her own quiet and compassionate way, the voice of Kuan Yin can be heard again in these poems which offers us the wisdom, and companionship. Although Kuan Yin is not really a miracle worker or a magician, she is a compassionate companion who works best with what you are or what you could become.
You are sincerely invited to see her wisdom through these 100 poems and images, just as Kuan Yin is in her presence. And, her virtue, compassion and wisdom can be offered to you who have never met her before. Although these poems offer no definitive answers, they bring you the messages of hope, self-confidence, and suggest possible ways forward. It is still you who will take the action with the guidance of a wise person who you can trust, such as Kuan Yin.
May the peace, the clear-sighted wisdom of Kuan Yin be with you, and may the Kuan Yin Oracle bring you closer to a pure state of mind and achieve a sense of peace here on earth.
Kuan Shi Yin
(By: Jason Ranek, 05/15/2010)
Unrepelled by tears,
Touching the river’s
Like spice from joss
Sticks, you standing
In leaf-lit timber,
Poised on one foot – –
Perfection – – you:
Mounting a golden
Lion, hands two
Lotuses, mouth to kiss
The running sores
Of the afflicted,
And riding bareback
The dragon of human
Your elixir vase.
Praise of Kuan Yin
Avalokitesvara (Kuan Yin) Bodhisattva,
Honored and worshipped by all,
As the fully Enlightened One.
Her great vows are profound and vast.
On the turbulent sea of life,
She provides the ferry-boat to those in needs,
And guides the way.
She brings the comforts to the sufferers
who invoke her name sincerely and mindfully,
And bestows blessings.
She, the Most Merciful and Compassionate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva,
Manifests herself and showers mercy just in time in all realms.