PZI Teacher Archives
Yunyan asked Daowu, “How does Guanyin use all those hands
Daowu answered, “It’s like feeling behind you for a pillow in the middle of the night.”
“What do you understand?”
“The whole body is hands and eyes.”
“That’s very well expressed, but it doesn’t say it all.”
“What would you say, older brother?”
“All through the body are hands and eyes.”
—Blue Cliff Record Case 89
(transl. by John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland)
In one story about Guanyin, our patron saint of compassion, her head literally explodes when she tries to contemplate the suffering of all the beings left in hell. Fortunately, future-buddha Amitabha comes along and gives her more heads. But then when she tries to help, her arms explode too! So he gives her a thousand arms. Sunday Zen from June 19, 2023.
We are exhausted by our own agendas; in Chan and Zen the Bodhisattva of Great Mercy vows to stay until all beings are awakened. Her primary bond is with uncertainty. Your recipe for awakening is only for you.
How does the bodhisattva of compassion use all those hands and eyes? How do I express Guanyin? How is Guanyin showing up in my life? John Tarrant’s afternoon meditation & talk, Part 2 of this two-session Dragons of the Blue Cliff 1-Day Retreat. In the PZI Digital Temple, as recorded June 6, 2021.
How does the bodhisattva of compassion use all those hands and eyes? In some way, through the vastness of hands and eyes, the koan speaks of the vast currents of the universe that carry and hold us. John Tarrant’s morning meditation & talk, Part 1 of this two-session Dragons of the Blue Cliff 1-Day Retreat. In the PZI Digital Temple, as recorded June 6, 2021.