Song_Virgin Mary and Guanyin_Recommended

Song_Virgin Mary and Guanyin_Recommended - The Constant and...

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Unformatted text preview: The Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess: Goddess Traditions of Asia Edited by Deepak Shimkhada and Phyllis K. Herman Cambridge Scholars Publishing The Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess: Goddess Traditions of Asia Edited by Deepak Shimkhada and Phyllis K. Herman This book first published 2008 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing 15 Angerton Gardens, Newcastle, N135 2JA, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library QTY 0F s3 a a 6% Copyright © 2008 by Deepak ; fiakPQIllis K. Herman and contributors lu * z = 93 Cover design by Sushil lfa‘ 'it, o,$SA, [email protected] $¥$e (’33 AN" All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (l0): l—847l8-390-5, ISBN (13): 9781847l83903 gm-._,_ .“9, ,... LN“- a,.--i..-.§. =3 ., A w»: “an...” .«%._...<v,~_ A)“ grain-ope. ‘~_4«-3w«.§<—A;‘;$vw<w~ TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements ................................................................................ ..viii Preface ...................................................................................................... ..1x Introduction ............................................................................................... .. 1 Part I In the Beginning Chapter One ............................................................................................. .. 10 Issues in Studying Mago, the Great Goddess of East Asia: Primary Sources, Gynocentric History, and Nationalism Helen Hye-Sook Hwang Part II The Malleable Goddess: Historical Transformations of the Goddess Chapter Two ............................................................................................ .. 34 Dakinis and Yoginis: On the Origin and Development of an Early Medieval Indian Buddhist Goddess Tradition David Gray Chapter Three .......................................................................................... .. 54 Sita Masala: From the Vedas to the Kitchen Phyllis K. Herman Chapter Four ............................................................................................ .. 65 Kannon: The Goddess of Compassion in Japan Kenneth D. Lee Chapter Five ............................................................................................ .. 81 From Kuan Yin to Joan of Arc: Female Divinities in the Caodai Pantheon Janet Hoskins vi Table of Contents Chapter Six ............................................................................................ .. 101 Between Bodhisattva and Christian Deity: Guanyin and the Virgin Mary in Late Ming China Gang Song Part 11] Meeting the Goddess: Economics and Politics of the Goddess Chapter Seven ........................................................................................ .. 122 Meeting the Goddess: Religion, Morality, and Medicine in a Fishing Community in Hong Kong Forty Years Ago E. N. Anderson Chapter Eight ......................................................................................... .. 135 She Dances Madly: Towards a Ritual Political Economy of the Goddess Piya Chatterjee Chapter Nine .......................................................................................... .. 147 The Politicization of an Icon: Durga/Kali/Bharat Mata and her Transformations Mary-Ann Milford—Lutzker Chapter Ten ........................................................................................... .. 165 Come One, Come All, to the Fair of the Mother’s Transformations! Some Glimpses of Kali and Her Temples in West Bengal June McDaniel Chapter Eleven ...................................................................................... .. 185 Lakshmi and Alakshmi: The Kojagari Lakshmi Vrata Katha of Bengal Bidyut Mohanty Part IV One and Many: Multiplicity and Manifestations of the Goddess Chapter Twelve ..................................................................................... .. 204 The Goddess and Ecological Sensitivity: The Cultivation of Earth Knowledge Christopher Key Chapple .. ,__.q.,... Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess vii Chapter Thirteen .................................................................................... .. 220 Goma: An Embodiment of the Goddess Deepak Shimkhada Chapter Fourteen ................................................................................... .. 228 Sarasvati: Goddess of No Husband, No Child Maigorzata (Margaret) Kruszewska Part V Myth Making and Serving the Goddess Today Chapter Fifteen ...................................................................................... .. 246 The Modern Legend of Miaoshan: The Development of the Sangha of Vegetarian Nuns in China Chia—Lan Chang Chapter Sixteen ..................................................................................... .. 273 The Body of the Goddess, Eco-Awareness and Embodiment in Hindu Myth and Romance Sthaneshwar Timalsina Notes on Contributors ............................................................................ .. 290 100 Chapter Five Fig. 4. Chants to the Mother Goddess and the nine female immortals at the festival held for the mid autumn harvest moon at the Court of Heavenly Reason temple near San Jose, California. Photograph by author. 2...» ..._._. A H~. i... H..,w~,«_a_l._A..Mn-.A+ CHAPTER SIX BETWEEN BODHISATTVA AND CHRISTIAN DEITY: GUANYIN AND THE VIRGIN MARY IN LATE MING CHINA GANG SONG In his apologetic work Daiyi pian (In Place of Doubts, 1621), the late Ming scholar-convert Yang Tingyun (15574627) attempts to clarify the doubts regarding the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Roman Catholic Church. He specifically points out three symbolic identities—the virgin, the mother, and the savior—when he discusses a picture of Madonna and the Child that had been recently introduced by the Jesuits. Yang then makes a cautious conclusion: “As soon as Christ was born, he obtained his perfect body and perfect power. One should not look at him in terms of the difference of small and big, how dare one say that he is an infant? As to a match of the Holy Mother and so—called Guanshiyin in popular terms, the latter is surely not equivalent to the former?” Yang’s conscious distinction between the Virgin Mary and Guanyin revealed his worry at the inter—religious confusion of his contemporaries, since he himself once experienced a hard time as a devout lay Buddhist. On one hand, although the two figures originated from two different religions, they were often blended with each other in the late Ming period (15905—16403), largely due to similar iconography and characteristics such as compassion, purity, and child-giving power.2 On the other hand, since the Jesuits, according to their missionary strategy in China, mainly targeted Chinese scholars and officials, to equate devotion to Virgin Mary among the elite with the worship of Guanyin in popular culture would I Yang Tingyun. Daiyi pian, in Tianzhujiao dongchuan wenxian, ed. Wu Xiangxiang. Taipei: Xuesheng shuju, 1979. 592. 2 Standaert, Nicolas. Yang Tingyun, Confucian and Christian in Late Ming China. Leiden: Brill, 1988. 123-124. 102 Chapter Six become a serious breach between the upper and the lower classes in late Ming society. The Jesuits were aware of this confusion, but their missionary strategy fostered this misunderstanding, and their clarifications were not strong or consistent. As long as the confusion did not lead to “dangerous idol—worship,” they would tolerate “friendly” misunderstandings of the Chinese commoners. It served the cause of a broader conversion to Christianity, and in one way reflected the conflict and negotiation between Catholicism and native religions. However, this inconsistency did not affect the rapid growth of the Marian cult in China. As it turned out, the Virgin Mary in the late Ming religious arena was represented as a mild competitor, cloaking the aggressive substitution for Guanyin, whose identity by that time had gone through a complicated history of indigenization. These two religious icons, though having sharply different foundations in Europe and China, were paired for a striking appropriation during their late Ming encounter. Using both visual and textual sources, this presentation uncovers the paradoxical relationship between Virgin Mary and Guanyin. A series of important questions emerge: what roles did the Virgin Mary and Guanyin play in their respective religious and cultural traditions? How did the Jesuits represent Mary by utilizing the popular Chinese belief in Guanyin? Did certain external factors—changing social psyche, political vacuum, or religious syncretism—affect the complex process of Mary—Guanyin exchange and competition? By concentrating on these factors, we will be able to take a closer look at the religious life in early seventeenth—century China. Adaptive Iconographies Avalokites’vara by the late Ming period has been transformed from a noble, male-looking bodhisattva (though originally supposed to be asexual) in Mahayana Buddhism to a feminine deity for all Buddhist believers, monks, nuns, and laymen alike.3 The Chinese name Guanshiyin, more widely called Guanyin, means “the one who listens to the sounds of the world.” It clearly points to her unconditional compassion to save all sentient beings that call upon her help in time of disease or misfortune.“ 3 Yii Chfinfang. Kuan—yin: the Chinese Transformation of Avalokitei'vara. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. 294. 4 Sun Changwu. Zhongguo wenxue zhonga’e Weimo yu Guanyin. Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe, 1996. 70~73; Reis-Habito, Maria. “The Bodhisattva Guanyin and the Virgin Mary,” Bua’dhist—Chris/ian Studies 13 (1993): 62. Between Bodhisattva and Christian Deity: Guanyin and the Virgin Mary 103 in Late Ming China One of her most popular images during the late Ming period was that of the White-robed Guanyin.5 In a print collection titled Guanyin sanshi ’er xiang (Thirty—two Forms of Guanyin, 1622), all thirty-two images have a decidedly feminine look, shape, and gesture. They wear white robes, the color white being a symbol of enlightenment, only a few of them decorated with flower designs. An exemplary image from this collection shows that this White-robed goddess is standing on a lotus leaf above the wavy sea. Her affectionate face suggests a feeling of peace and calmness. Her firm standing on the lotus leaf indicates her power to help people safely sail through the “bitter sea of suffering,” which divides the mortal world and the Pure Land. The visual representation is so compelling that a viewer may forget the distinctions between divine and human, temporal and eternal, and the finite and infinite.6 It is not surprising that Gu Yanwu (1613—1682), a Confucian scholar who lived through the Ming*Qing transition, particularly noted, “Among the deities who enjoy the offerings of incense in the temples and monasteries under heaven, none can compete with Guanyin. The Great Being has many forms of transformation. But people in the world mostly worship that of the White—robed One.”7 The popularity of the White—robed Guanyin was also found through her child-giving power that in fact had scriptural basis, for example, in the Lotus Sutra: The Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds possesses great authority and supernatural powers For this reason, living beings should constantly keep the thought of her in mind. If a woman wishes to give birth to a male child, she should offer obeisance and aims to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds and then she will bear a son blessed with merit, virtue, and wisdom. And if she wishes to bear a daughter, she will hear one with all 5 Kenneth Ch’en proposed that the Chinese White-robed Guanyin originated from Tantric tradition of White Tara. However, Yfi Chunfang argued that the “white robe” and sexual transformation of Guanyin could have been a Chinese creation mainly influenced by indigenous scriptures, miracle stories, and arts. See Yt'i, Kuan-yin, 248-253. . 6 This image is no. 19 form of Guanyin. See Mingdai muke Guanyin huapu (Model Collection of Woodcut Guanyin in the Ming Dynasty). Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1997. 129. The original woodcut is held in Anhui Provincial Museum, China. 7 Cu Yanwu. Guzhong suibi (Random Notes Taken Amid the Reeds), in Hanshan xianguan congshu, Vol. 61. Here I use part of Yti Chfinfang’s translation in Kuan- yin, 253. 104 Chapter Six the marks of comeliness, one who in the past planted the roots of virtue and is loved and respected by many persons.8 Deeply influenced by the Confucian patrilineal mentality, the Chinese supplicants would have without doubt chosen boys rather than girls when they called upon Guanyin. The White—robed Guanyin, also regarded as the Child—giving Guanyin, was therefore frequently represented holding a boy in her arms.9 During the late imperial period, the overlapping iconography continued to exist and gained great popularity in Chinese daily life, as can be seen in a Qing print used for sacrificial offering.10 The worship of Guanyin became a shared practice not only among the elite but also among the commoners in late imperial Chinese society. The feminized image of Guanyin absorbed various elements from Chinese culture. It meanwhile showed a capability to adapt non—Chinese representations, for Buddhist scriptural traditions indeed provided a basis for the goddess to take different forms and save different types of people, who could be either Chinese or non-Chinese. This dynamic nature enabled her to even assume certain Western forms. In. a painting attributed to the famous Yuan literati Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322), Guanyin is represented in a very uncommon style. Not only does she wear a black garment, but also her hair—dress and deep eye sockets reveal a non—Chinese feature. The artist also seems conscious of the light effect on the figure, a technique scarcely seen in traditional Chinese paintings. Though the child held in her arms and the other child standing next to her have noticeable Chinese features, the exchanging glances between them and the mother are not a normal Chinese composition. It seems that in this painting only the white bird and the jade vase with a willow branch suggest that the female figure is Guanyin.H If one considers the fact that the Franciscan missionaries came to the Yuan court at the end of the thirteenth century, while Zhao 3 Watson, Burton, trans. The Lotus Sutra. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. 300. To keep the same female gender of Guanyin, I change “him” to “her” in Watson’s translation. 9 See, for example, Chen Lianqi, ed. Lidai Guanyin baoxiang (The Sacred Images of Guanyin through Various Dynasties). Beijing: Zhongguo shudian, 1998. No. 25. The painting is said to be drawn during the Ming, but the artist is unknown. '0 Wang Shucun, ed. Guanyin baitu (A Hundred Images of Guanyin). Guangzhou: Lingnan meishu chubanshe, 1997. 22. The title is “Baiyi Songzi Guangyin” (White—robed Child-giving Guangyin). This leaflet is categorized as a zhima (paper horse), a term used in funeral ceremony for paper figurines and paper money to be burned on behalf of the deceased. “ See Chen Lianqi, ed. Lidai Guanyin baoxiang, No. 20. Between Bodhisattva and Christian Deity: Guanyin and the Virgin Mary 105 in Late Ming China Mengfu was serving Kublai Khan, one will tend to connect this unusual image of Guanyin with the Franciscan iconography for the Virgin Mary.I2 Art historians are now attempting to establish an iconographic link between Guanyin and Virgin Mary that pre-dates the Ming dynasty. Lauren Amold’s recent research suggests that the Franciscan Madonna of Humility may have inspired the Chinese depiction of the Child-giving Guanyin.13 If one compares a mid-fourteenth century gothic painting of Madonna of Humility to the aforementioned Ming painting of Child— giving Guanyin, one will certainly see similar symbolic renderings between the two.14 By sharing the identity of a compassionate, maternal intercessor between two worlds, the Chinese goddess Guanyin might have started an inter-religious adaptation of Christian iconography for Virgin Mary even before the arrival of Jesuit arts in the late sixteenth century. Besides Marian iconography, an increasing number of Westerners coming to China during the late Ming also became models for mimicry. No other form of Guanyin possesses a more sensational visual effect than the one depicted in a Ming print collection titled Cirong wushisan xian (Fifty—three Manifestations of the Compassionate Face [of Guanyin]). In this particular image, Guanyin takes the appearance of a European man. Although the exact source is not traceable, the image definitely originates from Western models.I5 It is a perfect example of cultural hybridization. The oval frame is decorated with lotus flower designs, but the mustached man in it has a high nose, deep eye sockets, long hair, wearing a tight, black medieval style suit, and holding a wand in his right hand. His sight boldly meets a viewer’s attention, another technique scarcely seen in traditional Chinese portraits. However, the child holding the palms to his ‘2 The most successful Franciscan missionary to China at that time was Giovanni di Montecorvino (1247—1328), who won the trust of Mongol rulers in China and secured a foothold in Beijing. See Yuanshi, Beijing: Zhongguo dabaike quanshu chubanshe, 1985. 68, 128. '3 Arnold, Lauren. “Folk Goddess or Madonna? Early Missionary Encounters with the Image of Guanyin,” in Encounters and Dialogues: Changing Perspectives on Chinese-Western Exchanges flom the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, ed. Xiaoxin Wu. Nettetal: Sankt Augustin, 2005. 227—238. M An exemplary image of Madonna of Humility is the one painted around 1350 by Guariento di Arpo (ca. 1310 -1370), now held in the Getty Center Museum. '5 Gao Ruizhe suggests that this particular image of Guanyin looks very similar to a portrait of King Louis XIII (1601-1643) painted by Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674). It is now held in the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. See Gao Ruizhe, Qingchu Guanyin huapu Cirong wushisan Xian banhuayary'iu (A Study of the Early Qing Collection F ifty-three Manifestations of the Compassionate Face [of Guanyin]). M.A. Thesis. National Taiwan Normal University, 2005. 106 Chapter Six right, the vase with a willow branch, and the half—shown bird along the frame, all indicate his identity as “Guanyin?” The dramatic representation demonstrates how the Buddhist goddess, “miraculously” transformed, could adopt new cultural elements for a religious end. Unlike Guanyin, the Virgin Mary did not have any scriptural basis that could allow the adaptation of her iconography in different cultures. However, the spread of Marian cult in Europe since the Middle Ages resulted in a process of localization in which the Virgin likewise assumed a variety of forms depending on different religious, cultural, and artistic tastes. A quick comparison of one European illustrated book and its Chinese reproductions reveals how the Virgin. Mary icon was adapted for the intended audience. The source of imagery is a book entitled Evangelicae Historiae Imagines (1593), containing 153 copper engravings and contemplative texts for each picture in the companion volume.‘7 The selected picture “annunciation” is the first plate among others, and it is the highlight of Virgin Mary’s life which connects the trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit. In the picture, Angel Gabriel is depicted descending in the midst of shining clouds, where God announces Christ’s birth in the human world, and approaching Mary’s house to deliver the divine message. Mary stands in prayer and obediently accepts God’s will.18 Around 1619, the Portuguese Jesuit Joao da Rocha (1583-1623) published in Nanjing...
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