Posted on: November 2, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0


Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Sanskrit: Avalokiteśvara) in Vietnamese beliefs is a Bodhisattva with great compassion – a pronoun mentioned in Mahayana Buddhist texts; and followers of Mahayana Buddhism all believe that he is a bodhisattva symbolizing love and salvation.

In the religious culture of the Vietnamese people, the image of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara In the form of a woman is the most common, perhaps this is the main method of worship of the Vietnamese towards Avalokitesvara since ancient times.

Bodhisatta female form

Expression through classics

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara With the great vow to save and save him according to the circumstances, he transformed into a body depending on the scene, so shaping him in a fixed form is something that sounds absurd, but it can be said that the mind of the Vietnamese people He was only used to attaching him to the body of a woman with the gentleness and compassion of a mother, from which he also had the common name “Mother Avalokitesvara”. This event can be derived from the content of the Sutra of Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower when the Buddha preached about Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with a great vow: “The Buddha taught Bodhisattva Endless Intent, good men, in which world should people be? When he converted with the body of a Buddha, the great Guan Yin transformed that body and preached the Dharma;… Those who should be converted with the female body of the bourgeois, laymen, ministers, and brahmins, the great masters. transform those female bodies and preach the Dharma.” [1]. It is understandable that he manifests many forms, because sentient beings have ten thousand generals but their minds are not the same; Like a physician who gives medicine depending on illness, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara also embodies compatible bodies for sentient beings. But it is not by accident that our Vietnamese people often have a lot of sympathy for Bodhisattvas through the body of a woman; and the image of the Bodhisattva in the expression of his hand holding “peace and willow branch” has become a symbol of protection like a gentle mother watching over her children in the world… The explanation for this expression is due to literature. The culture of our people which upholds the mother, the mother as the soul of the children, of the family and of the country.

Talking about “Mother”, according to the extraction of the Nom script, “Mother (媄) belongs to the female family (女): woman, combined with the word american (美) means beautiful or virtuous. So for children, a mother (媄) is a beautiful and virtuous woman.” [2]. It can be seen that, in terms of writing, the mother’s virtue has also been expressed in the nation’s writing style, which is a beautiful and virtuous woman, which is the starting point of birth, of the nation that clearly manifests itself. especially the image of Au Co’s mother – the Mother of our nation. With the noble values ​​of such a “mother” image, it is natural for our people to worship Avalokiteshvara in the woman’s virtue, because with that form, the Bodhisattva becomes close to God. masses than ever before.

The reverence of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with a female form not only does not limit his qualities

The merits of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Manifested through fusion with indigenous beliefs

The mixture of foreign religions and indigenous beliefs is an important feature in the spiritual life of Vietnamese people. It can be explained that it is the moderation in the virtues of the Vietnamese people that has created this confusion, so that the transmitted religion has the opportunity to blend and develop with the Vietnamese spirituality, as stated: “Religions, when introduced to Vietnam, if they want to survive and develop, they all seek to localize to match the polytheistic and pantheistic religious consciousness of the agricultural inhabitants.” [3]. Therefore, the universalization of worship Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in the form of a woman is not outside the manifestation of that confusion, because Vietnamese culture often emphasizes the role of women in the field of spiritual beliefs. The divinity incarnation of the female figure appears in many Vietnamese beliefs and religions, expressed through the ancient custom of worshiping Goddesses and Mother Goddesses. About the Goddess can be mentioned the nature goddesses Cloud – Rain – Thunder – Lightning, later combined with Buddhist thought to create the god Phap Van, Phap Phong, Phap Vu, Phap Loi, Phap Dien; on human god belief, there is a symbol of the goddess Au Co, who is the mother of the nation; the system of worshiping the Mother Goddesses of Tam Phu, including the Mother Goddesses of Thuong Thien, Thuong Ngan and Mother Thoai; The Four Palaces system includes the order of Mau Thuong Thien, Thuong Ngan, Mau Thoai and the last is Mau Di Phu. The special feature of the Models is that they have the function of governing regions and areas of the country, including: airspace, land, water, and forest areas. These important positions are usually assigned to men in the world, but in spiritual beliefs they belong to women. This is very special because this governance for the Vietnamese is “… very important in the lives of the inhabitants of wet rice farming.” [4] and it determines the security and destiny of the country.

Thus, in the spiritual perception of Vietnamese people, women play a very important role. The reverence of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with female form not only does not limit his qualities; On the contrary, it also helps to affirm that the Bodhisattva’s position in the Vietnamese mind is very important and noble. Because the female form of the Bodhisattva has merged with the image of the sacred woman of the Vietnamese people – that is the “mother” of the Fatherland from time immemorial.

The title

The title “Buddha Buddha” or “Mother of Avalokitesvara” is the clearest evidence showing the deep and intense reverence of Vietnamese Buddhists for him.

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is always available in our hearts

Qualities of Bodhisattvas in the form of a woman

Compassion is as powerful as thunder – Kindness is as gentle as a cloud

First of all, it is necessary to recognize that Buddhism has long been integrated with Vietnamese culture to become the belief of the masses and the religion of the Vietnamese people with its own identity. Therefore, the practice of consecrating a certain image in Buddhism is not only a means of approaching and disseminating Buddhism in a diversified way in Vietnamese society. Specifically, here is the image of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in the symbol of a woman, not only that, that woman is also a separate “mother” of the Vietnamese people for generations.

From a character that means beyond all forms of Buddhism, is the category of the upper form meaning “Metaphysical separation of signs”, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara It is simply called “mother” by folk folk but very sacred. The same name “mother” is very suitable for Avalokitesvara’s virtues with “Compassion as powerful as thunder, loving kindness as gentle as clouds”, the mother of endless love and protection like never ending. water “in the source outflow”. When the image of the child lowers the Bodhisattva with the image of the mother, it can be seen that the visualization of the Bodhisattva becomes easier in public perception. This is both an active incarnation work as well as a massization of faith in Avalokiteshvara. Because of the position of a bodhisattva with a very important position in Mahayana Buddhist philosophy with related sutras imbued with transcendental nature, it is difficult for the masses to have wide access, especially to the masses came from ordinary people in the old society. Above all, when the Vietnamese respect the “mother” as the sacred soul of the country, like the precious country, the image of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in the perception of the ancient Vietnamese is also respected.

In folklore, if anyone has any wish, they come to his statue to pray, and the Bodhisattva in an open-air standing position with “holding a vase containing orange water” has been a classic symbol in worshiping beliefs. worship Him. For that reason, his sacred image is expressed in many forms such as: Quan Am Song Tu, Quan Am Thi Kinh, etc. These appearances are to match each of the Bodhisattva’s qualities corresponding to wishes. of believers.

The bodhisattva's virtue of patience, handed down by folk in many variations, is a reflection of the Vietnamese people's dreams and ability to constantly rise in adversity;  as well as have the function to soothe weak and hurt souls with the compassion and patience of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

The bodhisattva’s virtue of patience, handed down by folk in many variations, is a reflection of the Vietnamese people’s dreams and ability to constantly rise in adversity; as well as have the function to soothe weak and hurt souls with the compassion and patience of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

The meaning of the image of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

On the other hand, bodhisattvas in folklore are often revered because of his great compassion. There’s nothing a Bodhisattva doesn’t listen to – nothing a Bodhisattva doesn’t help in his vows and, of course, his inspiration could not have been achieved with a impure mind, with a narrow human selfishness. petition. That is also the reason why religious prayers to Him are sometimes misunderstood as an exchange of low faith by some. In the scriptures, his great compassion – great compassion is expressed through the Buddha’s words, “Good man! If there are countless hundreds of thousands of thousands of billions of sentient beings who are suffering from suffering, and wholeheartedly proclaim the name of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, he will listen to that sound and liberate them all.” [5]. This proves that in order to be saved by the bodhisattva, it is necessary to have sincere reverence and one-sided prayer to be inspired.

Also of note, the bodhisattva’s loving-kindness qualities include all variations of his form. It’s just that in spiritual culture, Vietnamese people often favor this virtue of the Bodhisattva in the form of a woman.

The acculturation images of Bodhisattvas in folklore with the virtue of patience

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with his vow to save birth without hindrance has been received and transmitted by the folk with different bodies, typically Bodhisattva Quan Am Nam Hai, Quan Am Dieu Thien or Quan Am Thi Kinh,… In particular, the Quan Am Thi Kinh’s story was adapted into a poem and circulated widely in the world. Thi Kinh has a husband Thien Si, because of her husband’s unjust accusations, she has to go through many humiliations. In the story, after suffering injustice, the Buddha prophesied to be Avalokitesvara. The story depicts the sufferings of life but also expresses the truth of “suffering to the end” that Thi Kinh has received.

Or the story of Quan Am Dieu Thien about the life of a princess who was originally from a royal family…

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