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Formal Analysis of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
A Chinese sculpture of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is a piece of art belonging to the Avery Brundage Collection of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. The Chinese form of this sculpture is Guanyin which was made in the 12th century. Different cultures portray this piece of art as male or female. In Chinese culture, Bodhisattva is expressed as a male. This masterpiece is an expression of compassion of all Buddhas. There is a thought that these forms of expression help others to follow their spiritual goals. The original Avalokiteshvara is traced to India. Buddhist art counts more than thirty representations of Avalokiteshvara. It is believed that in every culture, this piece of art has its own meaning. Guanyin is meant to hear the sorrows of humanity. This form of Bodhisattva was chosen to set free all the creatures from suffering.
In the Chinese representation, Guanyin sits in the position specific for royalty. His left hand is in a gesture of gift grounding. He is dressed in luxurious clothes as he was a Prince or a representative of the royal family. Guanyins garment is smooth and fluidly carved. Jewels crisscross his chest. His look is full of elegance. Guanyin is a perfect example of the 12th century culture. This work of art is believed to have great powers; in ancient times, it was used to help relieve souls from sufferings. In this representation, Guanyins eyes are closed. People have always been wondering why Guanyins eyes are closed and in what way he hears sorrows and relieves from them. It has always been a secret in what way it is possible to understand peoples sorrows when there is no eyesight. People have always wondered how Guanyin can release soul from negative emotions. He has never seen mothers grieving and has never experienced painful tragedies. It is believed that Guanyin never chooses the only person she wants to help. Guanyin helps all the people who come to share their painful experience. Despite the fact that this form of Avalokiteshvara is presented in a royal position, it is meant to hear the souls of everyone who asks for its help. At the same time, visitors can feel the majesty of Chinese culture. This sculpture is believed to have enough powers to hear all the souls and understand peoples tragedies. It is saturated with activity aimed to bear the grief and pain of others. It was created to save people from loneliness and make them get away as far as possible from grieving. Western cultures are not used to this form of Avalokiteshvara. However, it represents various Buddhist images. It is not a surprise that his name means the Lord looks down with compassion. It is believed that today Avalokiteshvara exists in a form appropriate for a common human. Maybe nowadays it exists in a form of a drunk man in the bar willing to hear confessions full of pain and sorrow. Moreover, there is a thought that when people decide to help others go through grieving and pain, they are becoming the hands of Bodhisattva. In Chinese temples and monasteries, Bodhisattva is usually represented as a young man who could possibly belong to the royal family. In most cases, he is sitting in meditation as in the magic process of souls elaboration. Some sources state that Guanyin symbolizes vegetarianism. For this reason, it can be found in many vegetarian restaurants. It is believed that vegetarianism and Guanyin are directly connected in a spiritual way. As Bodhisattva has more than 30 forms according to different cultures, it is common to find a Bodhisattva with many arms. It is a symbol of Bodhisattvas generosity. He helps everyone who wants to feel relief. Guanyin strives to help everyone and has no limit in her friend list. It has millions of friends all over the world in the form of people who asked for its help. Guanyin might be the only friend who devoted all her time to saving others from solitude and loneliness. People suffering from ignorance can easily come to Guanyin and tell about their grief and sorrow.
Guanyin is usually presented in the form of a member belonging to the royal family as it is believed that they reincarnate in Bodhisattvas. It is thought that a compassionate and loving person can easily be a provider of Guanyins mercy and kindness. Guanyin is believed to be the source of freedom, love, and compassion. When there is nobody to talk to, Guanyin is always there to help. This form of Avalokiteshvara is the mix of unconditional love and compassion.
In conclusion, it is important to say that sculpture has a great influence. Bodhisattva has helped millions of people all over the world set free their souls from grief. Its help is limitless and is aimed to give kindness and love. No matter what culture will ask for Guanyins help, it will help everyone who seeks for care and understanding. When I attended an exhibition of Asian Art Museum, I felt this warmth of care spreading inside my soul. I went out of the museum feeling relieved and comforted. People may take Guanyins help skeptically, but I call it a miracle. If someone decides to experience the same feelings, it is better to attend museum to see Guanyin.