The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Kannon- is the Buddhist Ideal of Beauty
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Of course a European can feel dismay of such a horrifying image of Dakini. Of course her ferocious look and decoration of skulls point on warlike spirit and character, but I repeat once more, as they do not make any harm to people. On the contrary, they are ready to help Buddhism adherents and let them into deep secrets of dharma. Well, once Dakini passed spirit of knowledge to one ascetic as he attained perfection. And this ascetic established her cult.
Dakini are faithful to Buddhism. Image of a severe, menacing, wise and beautiful fighter for the faith is not usual for the European mentality, but it is rather perfect and harmonious for the Buddhist one.
We must remind you that inner world as well as appearance or image of a Buddhist woman is really unusual to a European way of thinking. These characteristic features arise from Indian canons of Beauty those are far away from the modern model business. Female canon of Buddhist Beauty has a great and deep history and there are 18 categories for attractiveness.
They are included, among those: chunky bottom of the body, belly with three folds of fat…So, lucky holders of these characteristics may forget about overweight as well as diets and be proud as they fit the Buddhist Ideal of Beauty.
Traditionally in our frame of mind Tibetan Buddhism is associated with Dalai Lama image. For our story it is important fact that Dalai Lama is considered by Buddhists as reincarnation of Bodhisattva –Avalokiteshvara that represents compassion.
Bodhisattva personifies total compassion, and because of this compassion upon all living creatures Bodhisattva rejected an opportunity to achieve Nirvana. Bodhisattva again and again comes back to the World of Suffering in order to that all people find finally salvation. There are lots of images and names for Bodhisattva in different countries. I do not know whether you will be surprised, but in Japan Avalokiteshvara is esteemed in female image under the name of Kannon.
Kannon – is a merciful Mediatress, every human being can ask for help. She is one of the popular Japan Gods in Buddhist mythology. She appears with thousands of hands and of many faces. She needs thousands of hands to save sinners.
Her many faces have a motivating meaning too: three compassionate faces, turned towards well-wishing creatures; three angry faces- towards malevolent creatures; three sharp-toothed faces, appealing to take to way of Buddhism and a smiling face.
Kannon laugh means a conscious understanding of worldly vanity. Thus, we may say that Kannon personifies an infinite mercy and demonstrates deep knowledge of human nature. She comes to an old man in the old man image, to a woman – in the woman image, to a monk- in the monk image. And none of the believers are embarrassed of her greatness and power.
Finishing our short acquaintance with the female images in Buddhist mythology, we would like to draw your attention to that, in spite of the difference between Buddhism and Europe regarding Beauty, Good etc (as all these religions have different cultural and traditional basis), if we observe closely into threatening, frightening, at times sharp-toothed faces, we will see that wisdom, irreconcilability to evil and willingness to compassion.