Ven. Master Hsuan Hua on Kwan-Yin:


A Kwan-Yin seven-day recitation session was held and Master Hua led it.  At the bottom of every page is "next", click on that to continue reading:



Views: 638

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Master Hua on the meaning of Kuan Shih Yin:

The word "Kuan" means "contemplate." The word "Shih" means "world." The word "Yin" means "sounds." So the name means "Contemplate the World's Sounds."

The feminine Kuan Yin is thus the higher aspect, being pre-world or pre-manifestation, dealing only with "sound" or vibration.  Kuan Shih Yin "sees" or contemplates manifest realms or worlds.

"The feminine Kuan Yin is thus the higher aspect, being pre-world or pre-manifestation, dealing only with "sound" or vibration.  Kuan Shih Yin "sees" or contemplates manifest realms or worlds."


An ingenious explanation, my friend, and one worthy of a Theosophist. But does Master Hsuan Hua ever distinguish Kuan Yin from Kuan Shih Yin? Or, like everyone else in China, does he treat these as synonymous names of the same deity?


Also, Mahatma letter #59 associates the original male Avalokitesvara with the seventh principle, and the later female Kuan Yin with the sixth principle. Thus, Kuan Yin would be the lower aspect, not the higher aspect.

Am only a philo-theosophist David. Or maybe just a Sophist. 

Kuan Yin the lower only "contemplates" the unmanifest "sounds" (or aspects) in any realm, thus completing the union with her manifest nature.  Kuan Shih Yin "contemplates" only the manifest worlds or "sounds"; thus completing the union with his unmanifest nature.

Like that better?

As for your Master Hua research, there is much online and in print by him on the subject - dive in and judge for yourself.


I have dived in and judged for myself, and I have never found a single Chinese teacher, or Chinese scholar, or Chinese person, who ever distinguished Kuan yin from Kuan shih yin. That is why I wondered if you had ever seen such a distinction, since you are very well-read in Chinese Buddhist texts. The fact is, from all available evidence, that "shih" was only added to make the meaning of the name clear to the Chinese when avalokita-svara was translated into Chinese in the early centuries of the first millennium C.E. To merely hear or contemplate sounds could mean all kinds of things, unless we specify that they are the sounds of the world. The compassionate Avalokita-svara is supposed to hear the sounds of the world, and to respond to them with compassionate action, as the famous chapter 24 of the Lotus Sutra shows in example after example. There is not the slightest evidence for the Theosophical interpretation of these names, Kuan yin and Kuan shih yin. It is a mistake, brought in by HPB, who was always ready to blame the Orientalists for misunderstanding things. She obviously knew the distinction between the seventh and sixth principles taught in Theosophy, since she is the one who taught us this distinction. But she did not know these Chinese terms, and jumped to the conclusion that Samuel Beal had gotten them wrong. It is HPB who got them wrong. If she really translated Stanza 6.1 from the Chinese translation, as opposed to simply using the Chinese terms as she (mis-)understood them from Beal, there should be some evidence for this distinction in the old Chinese texts. But I have not found a trace of any such distinction.


Sometimes your responses remind me of the old joke about the drunk looking for his lost car keys.  His car was parked 20 yards away from a street light, yet he was looking under the street light for his keys.  When asked "Why are you looking way over here", he said "Because the light is better here."

There is not the slightest evidence for many Theosophical interpretations; therefor the Theosophical interpretations are wrong?  And if the Th. interp. follows an existing text, then Theosophy is just culled and unoriginal. Great choices.

In the particular case at hand, the case is not HPB giving wrongly differing meanings to Kuan Yin & Kuan Shih Yin, which are ordinarily considered one entity - but WHY  she does so. 

If you dive a bit deeper into Master Hua's teachings on Kuan Yin you will see he says (as does the Lotus Sutra) that that beneficent force can be male or female or neuter or both or any other non-human being.  Your not finding "any such distinction" (involving the KY & KSY names) while there are many volumes you have not seen, not to mention oral traditions you know nothing about, is not definitive.

Putting aside the words, do you think HPB or her Gurus spoke a truth when it was said that Kuan Yin has higher & lower aspects? 

An old Mahayana sutra on Avalokiteshvara:

Near the end of chapter 3 and much of ch. 4 the amazing powers of the six-syllable mantra of Lokesvara are mentioned:

Virtuous man, even the name of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Mahasattva is difficult to encounter. Why? Because he donates to all sentient beings like their great parent, gives fearlessness to all the frightened sentient beings, and acts as a great virtuous friend of all sentient beings to enlighten and lead them.

Virtuous man, that Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Mahasattva has a Six-Words-Great-Enlightening-Dharani, which is difficult to encounter. If anyone can recite or be mindful of the name of it, he will be reborn in the hair pores of the Bodhisattva instead of sinking into transmigration, and, when he leaves a hair pore, he will then proceed to another hair pore and live within it. He will go on in such a manner, till he attained the stage of the perfect quiescence.

The mantra is OM MANI PADME HUM

And we know how important this mantra is for HPB too.

A curious thing is that tibetans draw each syllable of the mantra in a different colour, y correlation with Dhyanibuddhas, colours varies but a similar concept is explained for HPB regarding the relationship between that mantra and the principles (human and cosmic).


Yes, she did feature it in the ES Instructions. 

This sutra was the main influence on Tibet, regarding Chenrezi and the mantra.

You are speaking as one who has already accepted the validity of the Theosophical teachings. I am not. Although I, too, have personally accepted the validity of the Theosophical teachings, most of the people I talk to have not. These people make up 99.9999 percent of the world. Yes, as one who accepts the validity of the Theosophical teachings, I think HPB or her Gurus spoke a truth when it was said that Kuan Yin has higher & lower aspects. But how do I speak of this to those who do not accept the validity of the Theosophical teachings? Do I ask them to accept that Kuan Yin is different from Kuan Shih Yin? If in the source that you turn to for history, you read that the pagan or pre-Christian country is called England, while the Christian country is called Britain, would you ever trust that source again? The fact that this country was once pagan, and then became Christian is not in question. What would be put into question by such a faulty statement is the source of this information. The Theosophical teachings will forever remain only for committed Theosophists until such blunders are recognized and eliminated.

This thread was started with the intent to share a little of what Mahayana had to say about KY or Avalokit-svara.  I also gave one way to understand Kuan Yin that did not put in opposition Mahayana & Theosophy.  Bad me, I beg forgiveness.

Yes David I accept some of HPB & her Gurus teachings, but not all.  You have your own hobby horse to ride and I will not fit on it with you.

HPB's teachings have been held in contempt by the majority of mankind since she gave them.  The scholars of  the world are close to unanimous in their scorn, then and now.  If you wish to tilt at these countless windmills their approval represents - have at it.  But after you have corrected everything you can find - do not be surprised if nothing has changed in their views.


Search Theosophy.Net!


What to do...

Join Theosophy.Net Blogs Forum Live Chat Invite Facebook Facebook Group

A New View of Theosophy


Theosophy References

Wiki Characteristics History Spirituality Esotericism Mysticism RotR ToS

Our Friends

© 2023   Created by Theosophy Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service