Friday, July 19, 2013


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The literal translation of Guan Se Um is Perceive the Cries of the World. In China, it's been shortened to Kwan Yin but the original translation of Avalokiteśvara was Kwan Shi Yin.

In Korean, the "Se" part is taken quite literally, too. It's an aspect of Korean Buddhism that I've never fully taken to, crying to the Bodhisattva. Nope, I usually just choose to vent my displeasure to the unfortunate ears of my friends rather than the one who has been named for a superhuman ability to listen.

Realizing this made me aware of a different aspect of the Bodhisattva's compassion. Not only does she ease the world's burden by listening to our cries, she also helps by saving the unaccustomed ears of those who would otherwise have to listen.

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