Saturday, May 8, 2010

Quan The Am Bo Tat

One of the most common objects of popular devotion in Vietnam is this woman – Quan The Am, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.

In the West she is more commonly known by her Chinese name, Kwan Yin. Shrines to her are to be found everywhere in Vietnam, in people’s houses, on streetsides, in temples.

She embodies the qualities of compassion and unconditional love. Vietnam’s culture has a great reverence for the mother, and people indulge in a great deal of devotion directed toward this idea of the Divine Mother – one of her appellations is Me Hien, the Gentle Mother.

I love this idea of the sacred feminine, and it is one of the aspects of Vietnamese spirituality that draws me constantly back.

I grew up a Protestant boy in rural North Queensland, and reverence for the Holy Mother was not something I had ever encountered in my past.

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