What is special about worshiping the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara statue, which I call a feature of Vietnamese Buddhism? When we worship a Buddha, a bodhisattva needs to understand the meaning of their image.
Now, Buddhists, how do you imagine the image of Avalokitesvara? First of all, I would like to ask Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is a male or female statue?
But in The Pumen Sutra say bodhisattva is male or female?
– Neither male nor female.
The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, depending on the essential needs of sentient beings, wants him to save him, if he is a male person asking for help, he is a male incarnation, if a woman is asking for help, he is a female incarnation, to the wealthy.. .
He randomly appeared to save all. So it is not mandatory to fix the image of him as a woman, so why do most of the temples worshiping Avalokitesvara have female images? That’s what we need to understand.
In Vietnam, in the past, old people often taught their children to always remember their parents’ gratitude. If a dignified father teaches his children to be dignified, they are called a dignified father.
A gentle mother often admonishes her child gently, not scolding, not hitting, so it is called a mother, meaning a gentle mother. Father is strict, mother is gentle. Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara practices compassion, often saves sentient beings’ suffering, so people often praise him as the Great Compassionate Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.
His great compassion is always comforting, reminding, admonishing, bringing a source of happiness to all sentient beings. Wherever there is crying, there is suffering, He comes to save. Therefore, he represents the compassionate mind. Compassion is close to the love of a mother, so people make a statue of him as a woman. That is a symbol of compassion, not that he is really a woman.
One more point, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara holds a vase of nectar in his left hand, and a willow branch in his right hand. You chant The Pumen Sutra There is a sentence: “Namo is pure, calm, positive, willow, Quan Am Tathagata, nectar, and vows”.
“Pure peace” is a pure vase, “Loi yang willow” is a drooping willow branch, “Avalokitesvara Tathagata’s nectar is in the heart” is the nectar of Lord Guan Yin sprinkled on the mind. The original meaning of that sentence is a pure vase containing nectar, thanks to the willow branches sprinkled all over to make people’s minds cool. That is the prayer of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara that we always bow in twelve prayers. These are images that represent the bodhisattva’s vows.
In a pure vase containing nectar, the nectar represents compassion. Wherever this water is sprinkled, it will spread love there, cooling and soothing all the sufferings of sentient beings. The feature of nectar is both sweet and cool.
Peace of mind is a virtue. Just as a Buddhist keeps the five precepts, by keeping the precepts, he is pure and pure. People who do not keep the precepts never have genuine love or compassion.
I’m just giving a small example, like a person who commits a killing precept, can he have compassion? If you break the precept of killing, you can’t be called a compassionate person. Or someone who violates the precept to steal, can you call for compassion? – No. Until you break the precept to drink alcohol, can you be compassionate? – No. Because compassion must go hand in hand with clear wisdom, drinking wine and drunkenness cannot be lucid. The Vietnamese people called the drunks three cool, at that time they lost their temper and were no longer sober to do good things to help people. Therefore, if one of the five precepts is broken, there is no compassion. In order to increase our compassion, it requires us to keep the precepts.
Therefore, pure morality represents pure peace. From the pure vase can contain nectar. People with pure morality contain compassion.
What is the willow branch for? The willow branch is soft and supple, so it’s hard to break. The wind shakes it in that direction but it doesn’t break. Hard branches are easily broken when exposed to strong winds. Thus, the willow branch represents patience.
Wanting to spread compassion to all sentient beings to be happy, but without patience, compassion is difficult to realize. Why? The closest thing is the Quan Am pagoda here, Buddhists have a heart to build because they think they build this temple so that their brothers and sisters can focus on Buddhism and have a place to worship Buddha, chant sutras, and listen to the Dharma. Then set up the Quan Am Association to sponsor the temple, have enough means to survive for a long time. That is compassion. If there is a meeting, there is a meeting. In meetings, there are discussions, but in discussions, there are many disagreements. If you lack patience, compassion can break.
When we love people, want to help them come to the path to practice, our hearts are pure and happy, that is compassion. But without the virtue of patience, it is difficult to protect the Buddha’s work for a long time, so it is necessary to have patience. When there are disagreements, there are people who are not moral, we also try to ignore it patiently, in order to get along with each other to help build each other up. Thus, it is possible that the Buddha’s life can be long-lasting.
If you have compassion but lack patience, that compassion will not last long and will not bring benefits to sentient beings. Therefore, patience and compassion always go together. Without one, the other cannot be realized.
In the countryside in Vietnam, on the full moon of the seventh month, they give gifts to the poor and sick. Suppose you Buddhists give alms to two hundred people, two hundred votes are distributed to poor people who come to receive gifts. Someone you have already given, they come back to ask again. So in the end, there were not enough gifts, the people who came later did not have gifts, they cursed themselves. Buddhists do charity work because they love them, but they end up swearing at you. If you don’t have patience, in a situation like that, you’ll probably swear to never do it again. It is clear that compassion without patience cannot be fulfilled and cannot be permanent.
Therefore, the Bodhisatta used poplar branches to sprinkle nectar, symbolizing patience and suppleness. Without poplar branches, nectar cannot be sprinkled. In the same way, if you have compassion but lack patience, that compassion will not last long and will not bring benefits to sentient beings. Therefore, patience and compassion always go together. Without one, the other cannot be realized.
When Buddhists worship Quan Am, when they are too troubled, they should pray to the Bodhisattva to sprinkle nectar for their children to stay cool, right? That’s asking, begging, but don’t forget that we worship Quan Am to remind us to follow His compassionate behavior.
If you want to learn compassion, you must first keep the precepts clean. Then, generate compassion and compassion for sentient beings, and to practice that mind, you must have patience. It is a shining example, good character. Every Buddhist who comes to bow to Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara always remembers these three things, how good it is.
Vietnamese Buddhists have the characteristic of wanting to bring their love to help people in a long-term and persistent way, so they worshiped Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with such an image. Therefore, the spirit of compassion and patience is a very essential spirit in the present life.
Vietnamese people who worship the Buddha or the Bodhisattvas who are exposed to the sky all remember that meaning, it is very good, the Buddha Dharma is so bright. One temple worships Quan Am, many temples worship Quan Am, to express the spirit of Vietnamese Buddhists yearning to practice compassion and patience. That is the key goal of the Vietnamese Buddhist spirit. I repeat this true spirit so that Buddhists do not forget the meaning and purpose of their Buddhist study and practice….