6/3/11

Goddess of the Week: Guanyin

Guanyin - St. Louis Art Museum - St. Louis, Mi...Image via WikipediaDeb needs a goddess to help her through a really tough time brought on by her mother's cancer diagnosis. Only one goddess will do: Guanyin, the Chinese Buddhist goddess of compassion and Mercy.

Poor Guanyin. Her father was this totally cruel king, and so she grew surrounding by suffering. One day her dad says to her, "You need to marry this ugly-gross dude over here because he's really rich and powerful and that works for me."

Guanyin's says, "I'll marry him, but only if by doing so my marriage will help solve three problems: the suffering caused by aging, the suffering caused by illness, and the suffering caused by death."

Her dad's like, "What's the fun in marriage if it stops suffering? Put on a white dress. I'm taking you to the temple."

She refuses to marry and eventually guilts her dad into letting her live in a temple. But--Ha-- she only thinks she's guilted her dad out. Her dad has a plan! He tells the nuns to give her the worst work possible and to never let her sleep or rest. Cinderella like, animated baby animals take up her chores. So her dad demands she be executed. Blameless Guanyin takes on her killer's guilt (to spare him) and, now filled with executioner-guy's bad karma, descends to hell, which, in her presence instantly becomes paradise. So obviously the demons running hell don't want her.

She's sent up to Nirvana and is just about to enter when she hears humanity crying out in suffering. She shakes her head and decides to wait at the entrance for the rest of us. Just then, her head explodes and she grows eleven new ones to hear us better. Then her arms explode and she grows 1,000 to hold us better.

Now, we can't all be Guanyin (my one head causes me enough trouble; I can't imagine how I'd torment myself with 11), but we can remember Guanyin's lesson. Suffering is like oxygen. It's the one thing all of us share, and it's not optional. It's part of the E ticket ride that is your life. Our choice isn't to suffer or not to suffer, it's now to respond to the hardships we encounter.

By themselves, copper and tin are soft, so-so looking metals. Combine them and put them in a fire for a long time and you end up with shiny, beautiful, hard--unbreakable--bronze. Leave that bronze out and it develops a gorgeous patina that is always unique. To become like bronze, to become unbreakable and beautiful and ever unique, alas, we must go through the fire. That's what you're doing now, Deb. You're going through the fire. And--hard as it is to believe because you are already lovely and resilient--when you come, you, and your mom, will shine even brighter and stand even taller.

Channel this goddess: When times are time, when every step seems a mile wide, when you need to show a little compassion and mercy to yourself and the people around you.

Need a goddess? I got goddesses! Post a comment explaining what you need or want a goddess for. Check back in a week or two and see what you got! It's fun! It's free! How often can you say that?
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17 comments:

... daisy... said...

Without suffering we wouldn't know what happiness feels like... I hope Deb will find hers. I can't even imagine what it's like to see someone you love going through such an illness... I send her all my love and I hug her!

Rois said...

The position the Goddess is seated in represents "I am ready to spring into action to aid you." Her knee is bent and ready.

Sending Deb lots of love,compassion and support.You can do it.Take care of yourself too.Know you are not alone.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Another helpful goddess. But...

"Channel this goddess: When times are time..." Please interpret this for this canine. What time is that?

Star said...

Yes!

Susan Campisi said...

Such true and powerful words, Margaret. It's devastating to see someone we love suffer. Deb, I hope this goddess gives you comfort and strength.

Joanne said...

I'm sorry for Deb's difficult times, and hope the goddess and all our thoughts reach her with much strength and hope.

Lo said...

to Cafe Pasadena.....picky, picky....you know perfectly well she meant
when times are tough.....

Petrea Burchard said...

Beautiful, Margaret. I love the metaphor about bronze. I'll remember it.

Sending you good thoughts, Deb.

Shell Sherree said...

I'll never look at copper, tin or bronze the same way again, Margaret. Thank you. I'm sending my best wishes to Deb and her mother.

claire said...

I had never realized that Guanyin had had such a rotten time. But the Goddess of Compassion she became out of all this...
Turning into bronze... Hm...

My prayers to Deb and her mother. And to anybody else who finds herself in such a situation.

Blessings.

Daisy said...

Along with Guanyin, and all the goddesses here, I send you Deb, my
loving thoughts and supportive prayer.
Barbara and Daisy

Cafe Pasadena said...

I thot so Lo. But, lo & behold in these times, I can't assume much anymore - nor am I surprised by much of what I see.

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Margaret! Thank you so much!!! I had a busy busy weekend and am just now catching up on blog reading and saw your lovely post.

I laughed, I cried, I feel very touched by your message. Thank you, my friend! This is awesome. I'm going to read it again...

xo

martirose1 said...

I can't wait to stand taller and shine brighter! What a beautiful, clever post. Daisy is correct in saying we wouldn't know what happiness feels like without the suffering--good days are definitely brighter and more appreciated now! Thanks so much for the lift!

Marti - Mom to Deb@PaperTurtle

Shanna said...

Deb, you have my sincere compassion. It is really hard to see someone you love and are close to suffering. Big hug.

Margaret, this is a truly extraordinary post. It touched me very deeply. You truly have a genius and the wisdom to go with it.

Desiree said...

This is better than fantabulous--
I love the image, with her flexibility and tranquility, and I love the retelling of the myth.
Beautiful--

Pasadena Adjacent said...

The best to you and yours Deb.

I really enjoyed this goddess. So calming