Becoming Kuan Yin, Stephen Levine
Stephen Levine

Becoming Kuan Yin

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In his long career as a poet, Buddhist teacher, spiritual advisor and writer, Stephen Levine, has changed our understanding of death and dying. In BECOMING KUAN YIN, Levine's first new book in many years, he turns to the legend of Kuan Yin, the bodhistitva venerated by East Asian Buddhists for her compassion. In BECOMING KUAN YIN, Levine shares the tale of Miao Shan, born centuries ago to a cruel king who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. This is the story of how Miao Shan refused to follow the path her father had in mind and, instead, became Kuan Yin, the first acknowledged female bodhisattva who is revered by millions. Levine weaves together story and practice and helps readers discover their own infinite capacity for mercy and compassion under difficult circumstances. This book will have resonance for Kuan Yin's millions of followers as the friend of the dying and those who work with them. "e;Becoming Kuan Yin follows her very difficult and remarkably beautiful path to Bodhisattva and ultimately completed Buddha nature. It is a semi-fictional tale composed of myth and the true nature of practice. She was Miao Shan, a gifted human being on an arduous merciful path, long before she came to be referenced as a celestial."e;-from the book KUAN YIN Review from Publishers Weekly Best known for his work on dying, teacher and author Levine (A Gradual Awakening) explores the legend of Kuan Yin. This beloved Chinese manifestation of the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion vows to help all sentient beings escape suffering. Retelling the story of her origin, Levine recounts how, when Miao Shan refused her cruel father's orders to marry, he sentenced her to harsh labor at a convent. Yet as she faced increasingly severe hardships tending the sick and dying, her compassion grew, until she finally became the bodhisattva Kuan Yin, "e;she who hears the cries of the world."e; He uses Miao Shan's legend as a starting point for a meditation on compassion for self and others, noting that "e;[h]ealing is to reoccupy those parts of ourselves abandoned to pain."e; Noting that Kuan Yin has been described as the "e;first acknowledged female Buddha,"e; Levine identifies similarities to the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Levine's writing isn't quite up to the task of lyrical celebration, but this short, heartfelt book offers hope in the face of extraordinary pain.
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131 printed pages

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