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From Buddha's love to humanized love : on the aesthetics of bodhisattva Kuan-yin images

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Author

Wang, Zhong Yao

Date

2002

Volume

3

Pages

203-209

ISSN

1530-4108

Abstract

Avalokitesvara is one of the most famous figures in Chinese Buddhism, but the Bodhisattva is commonly known as Kuan-yin (perceiver of sounds) or Kuan-shi-yin (perceiver of the world's sounds). In order to understand why the Chinese see Kuan-yin in this way, it is helpful to regard the Chinese views of the universe. According to Chinese Buddhism, all sentient beings are endowed with Buddha nature, and there is no essential difference separating Buddha from ordinary people, so the Bodhisattva has also a humanized nature. As Buddhist art is intimately connected with the spiritual lives of the faithful, the images of Bodhisattva Kuan-yin have played a decisive role in shaping the devotees’ visions of the Bodhisattva. The aesthetics about Bodhisattva Kuan-yin images provide strong evidences to that Kuan-yin has been worshiped by both monastic and lay as a figure of humanized love.