Kwan Yin and Compassion

"May harsh speech from my companions
remind me to use sweet words always.
If stones from evil minds are cast at me,
let me send in return only goodwill.

As a jasmine vine sheds its flowers
over the hands delivering ax blows
at its roots, so, on all who act
inimically toward me
may I shower the blossoms of forgiveness."
- Paramahansa Yogananda

On my meditation altar, I have a statue of Kwan Yin, who is the Goddess of Compassion. She is known as the one who "hears the cries of the poor," and the story is told, that as she was ascending to heaven and heard the cries of ones in need on the earth, she vowed to return until every last person obtained enlightenment.

The particular statue I have, shows Kwan Yin in the "pose of royal ease." One of her knees is bent, and her arm is extended over that bent knee. This pose is illustrative of one who has a fierce dedication to a meditation practice and has reaped its benefits.

When I look at this statue, it is a reminder to exercise greater compassion in my own life. Every day we have opportunities to do this more deeply - and sometimes very simply.

I also wear a bracelet given to me by a friend with the image of Kwan Yin on it. Today, one of my students commented on the bracelets I wear - the Kwan Yin, and a mala of rudhraksha beads. I explained to her the meaning and symbolism behind both.

As we enter into an incredible week - Holy Week for Christians - and Passover for Jews - with a Full Moon thrown in for good measure - may we be reminded to enter more deeply into the mysteries of our faith, and re-new our commitment to living more compassionately - always willing to extend both love and forgiveness to the least among us - and to all those who have hurt us in any way. May we do this without expectation - and may we in turn, atone for all those we have hurt and not been compassionate towards...

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