STATUES OF BODHISATTVAS
Bodhisattvas are “beings firmly established on the Path to (and of) Enlightenment.” The cosmic Bodhisattvas are personifications of the Great Compassion (Mahakaruna) and Great Wisdom (Mahaprajna) of the Buddha Nature. They exemplify aspects of Enlightenment that we can find within ourselves through spiritual training. The Bodhisattvas represented in Buddhist statues and pictures are so at one with the Buddha Nature that they no longer cling even to enlightenment itself. Their lives thus manifest Compassion and Wisdom right in the midst of the world of suffering, and they choose to remain in this world in order to help beings find and walk the Path of Liberation. Thus, while having the form and doing the work of a Bodhisattva, each is already unselfconsciously manifesting the essence of Buddhahood.
At present we offer several statues of Kanzeon Bodhisattva. We will extend our line of statues in time to include statues of Jizo (Kshtigarbha) Bodhisattva, Fugen (Samantabhadra) Bodhisattva, and Monju (Manjusri) Bodhisattva.
STATUES OF KANZEON (AVALOKITESWARA) BODHISATTVA
“Avalokiteswara” means “He who hears and responds to the cries of the world.” In ancient India, Avalokiteswara was thought of as male. In China, the Bodhisattva came to be thought of primarily as female and was called “Kwan-yin." In Japan she is called “Kanzeon” or “Kannon.” In many statues of this Bodhisattva, neither maleness nor femaleness stands out distinctly, showing that That which the Bodhisattva truly is transcends all opposites. Kanzeon is so identified with Great Compassion (Mahakaruna) that his/her name is for many Buddhists synonymous with It. While having the form, and doing the work, of a Bodhisattva, Kanzeon manifests the essence of Buddhahood. This is shown in many statues of the Bodhisattva in the placement of a tiny sitting Buddha at the top of the head.