Kuan Yin: Accessing the Power of the Divine Feminine
by Daniela Schenker
Sounds True, 2007
pp. 160, $22.95
Kuan Yin, the Eastern goddess of compassion, is more than a bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is an enlightened being who has attained the wisdom of the Buddhas but chooses to stay in this world to support sentient beings so that they may achieve their own liberation. But Kuan Yin, says Schenker, is a mahasattva. “They have achieved enlightenment but are still active in this world, endowed with special powers and the ability to act beyond natural laws. They may be called upon for help at any time.”
And Schenker’s lovely book (the art is by Antonia Baginski,) provides many means in which one can invoke Kuan Yin for aid. A history is given of the origins of the goddess — she was at one time male — and then the book goes on to help provide the reader with more experiential knowledge of the goddess and her many attributes.
Thirty-three images of Kuan Yin from her many manifestations are provided for contemplation. You may use these images almost as one might use an inspirational card deck, opening the book at random and finding which aspect of the divinity might support you. For example, I turned to “Kuan Yin of Serenity,” where she peacefully sits atop a rock amid restless ocean surf. The keyword for this scene is anchoring or grounding. The advice given is “…In this painting, she is as firm as a rock and looks fully centered. You may tune in to her, re-anchor within yourself, and find peace — no matter how high the waves.” This is interesting as I am currently trying to “ground” between a few projects that seem to be scattering my energy.
The book goes on to provide mantras, meditations and visualizations, including a full moon visualization. Advice is given on creating a Kuan Yin altar — either the traditional way or one done in a more intuitive fashion.
Throughout, I was impressed by this book’s simple elegance in the way that it was obviously written with much influence by the goddess herself, compassionately and without judgment.
And what I’m listening to now: Also, from Sounds True, I am listening to — or rather moving around to — two new eminently danceable releases. Priyo’s Gypsy Moon features a hypnotic Afro-Mediterranean beat and sultry Spanish guitar. And Jai Uttal’s Dial M For Mantra collaboration with Rara Avis and Shaman’s Dream makes it possible to dance your devotions with tracks like “Ganesha Windmix” and “Shri Krishna — Desert Dwellers Mix.”
— Review by Diane Saarinen