Picture taken by Author, Jace Loi
I was not raised to be religious. Yet I could not resist getting this elegant Guanyin statue when I first saw it.
Till today I don’t call myself a Buddhist or an atheist… or whatever. Yet I found profound spirituality in my own simple journey. I don’t do rituals or worship either but am always open to teachings or teachers to embody. I have never had a Guanyin at home. I do have a couple of small Buddha statues. For me, Buddha is the reminder of clear seeing, wisdom, and equanimity, which were themes in my earlier journey.
观音 (Guanyin or Avalokiteshvara)— these individual Chinese characters meant to see and listen/sound. And Guanyin is also a common symbol of compassion, mercy, and kindness, as she listens to the cries and sufferings of the world. These had been significant themes for me in my personal growth, especially during Covid times.
I eagerly sent this picture to a friend who is well-learned in Buddhism, and he said that this particular posture is referred to as 观自在. I love it, for 自在 means at ease. It was why I was so drawn to it in the first place, the embodiment of utmost ease and openness.
And he added this symbolic message for me –
“Not only listening to the sounds of cries in the sentient world… but also listening inwardly to the serenity within”
As I allow the words to seep into my body, everything else fell away.
The moment was complete and whole.
Quiet and at ease.
I love that spirituality for me is felt, and not understood in the mind but experienced directly through the senses. Which means there is nothing to attach to or believe in. The truth reveals itself in the moment of surrender and ease…
As long as we open… as long as we listen.