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guanyin paper - Elizabeth Sobel Japanese Culture Joan...

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Elizabeth Sobel Japanese Culture Joan Ericson February 25, 2007 Prayers of Compassion: Guanyin Through History The statue of Guanyin stands about 2.5 feet high and approximately 1.5 feet wide. The carved wooden surface holds traces of bright colors that once covered the statue completely, and the forehead shows a round indent where the figure was once embellished with a jewel. It is labeled as “Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated in Royal Ease”. Carved sometime between 1000 and 1100, during the Liao dynasty, the statue originates in Shanxi, China. Guanyin is dressed in tied robes that bare his chest and forearms. One hand lies behind his butterfly-position legs, and one hand is extended forward to the viewer, the delicate wrist adorned with two thin bracelets. His face is distinctive and expressive yet serene, topped by a triangular headpiece or hat. Guanyin is worshipped by East Asian Buddhists as the Bodhisattva of compassion. A Bodhisattva is someone who has almost reached the highest level of enlightenment, but returns to earth to help others achieve Nirvana. Some believe Guanyin
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