Although we walk by a Buddha or Kuan Yin figurine throughout life, the statues are reminders, but do not explain the story of each of these legends. Many times these two deities are displayed in temples next to one another as their works are so similar to one another.
In Buddhism, karma is what keeps individuals coming back to earth time and time again rather than enjoying the serenity of Nirvana or Heaven. In order to break the cycle of being reborn, one must live a completely good life and reach the state of enlightenment.
The Buddhist’s version of the Virgin Mary is named Kuan Yin. She is known as an enlightened person who has chosen to stay on earth, rather than enjoy the fruits of Heaven. Her name is Sanskrit means “born of the lotus” and is displayed in many figurines as she holds a flower in her palm. The lotus is known to grown from an area that has no nutrients and is widely known as a symbol for rebirth.
Her choice to stay on earth is to protect those of us who are still on here has made her name synonymous with compassion, kindness and mercy. Though her statues depict different versions of this idol, she always is thought of as a peaceful and calming entity.
At first, she was represented in the form of a man but eventually began to be portrayed as a woman and has since been prominently displayed in temples throughout the world. Some stories tell that the most recognizable Kuan Yin is a representation of a Chinese princess from 700 B.C. who was a saint and is draped in a robe in prayer. Other times, statues of this deity have a lotus flower in hand and other depict her pouring water from a jug as a symbolic gesture to the nectar of life. She is a thin and beautiful woman in most of her depictions and though is very powerful but has a radiance of grace and peace in her face.
While many Gods are thought to punish humans for their sins, Kuan Yin is quite the opposite. Being an enlightened being and not a God, she wishes only to help people fulfill their karmic duties so that they will stop having to repeat the lifecycle and is even thought to help with those struggling with fertility. Throughout the world, she is thought to be a savior and is worshiped in temples and homes all over.
Known best for his round belly and bald head, Buddha is much more than a bronze statue that sits on an alter or in an art lover's home. While anyone can become a Buddha by obtaining enlightenment, there is one Buddha who is the most well-known. Buddha Shakyamuni.
Born into a royal family in 624 B.C. in the kingdom of Nepaland is said to have known 64 different languages, he gave it all up to help people finish their karmic cycles; much like Kuan Yin.
Similar, to the story of Jesus in which he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights alone, Buddha ventured to the woods along to reach an enlightened state. Buddha Shakyamuni gave up his royal rights and wealth upon doing this. He cleared his mind from all his worldly delusions so that one day he would be able to help others do the same. He was presented with temptations of women and worldly possessions as Jesus is said to have been, but was unwavering in his desire to rid himself of all negative and material thoughts.
During this time, Buddha was in search of enlightenment; or becoming fully human. His intent was not to become a God, but to become fully aware and thus a complete human. His goal to become enlightened was purely so that he could help the other mortals on earth in leading the best life they can.
Once he reached this state, he created a doctrine for people to follow in order to lead the best life possible. In this religion people do not worship a person, but rather try to completely live life without doing partaking in bad acts. It is said that those who claim to be enlightened should be doubted, while those who are on a continuous journey to better the world and themselves are the ones to trust.
The Buddhist religion is thought to have started some 2,500 years ago in India and Buddha Shakyamuni who was born in Lumbini (inside Nepal) is the founder of this movement. The guidelines to being a Buddhist are simple, "Abandon all negative action; create perfect virtue and subdue your own mind." It is one of the most modern religions in the way that it is a logical approach to life and is easily applied into everyday life.
The path to enlightenment is a very simple life. Buddhas throughout the world who have followed Buddha Shakyamuni live a fully compassionate life in which they look to themselves for happiness. In the Western society, the prominent way of living is a view in which material goods bring happiness. Statues and figurines are daily reminders for all those who display them and are each thought to attract luck, love and a beautiful life.
Both of these Buddhist icons are examples of how to free your life of karma and live a pure. Place Kuan Yin and Buddha next to one another for luck and are reminders of a good life. So next time you rub the Buddha's belly for good luck and fortune you will know his history. To invite luck into your own life, see Mrs. Lin's collection of statues and candles and place them throughout your home and office.
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