Author Topic: Avalokitsevara, his 33 avatars and Princess Miaoshan  (Read 1820 times)

Offline luny

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Avalokitsevara, his 33 avatars and Princess Miaoshan
« on: March 07, 2015, 04:14:17 pm »

I'm doing some research lately for a presentation at school about Guanyin Pusa but I'm kind of confused about some points concerning the life that lead Avalokitsevara before becoming a Bodhisattva, or when/why did he got his thousand hands, and which ones are his 33 avatars ?

The reasons why I encounter these problems :

1)I saw that Avalokitsevara was, before becoming a Bodhisattva, a Prince called BuXun according the Beihua sutra or Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka-sūtram ( sutra I can't find on Internet )but then I've read that he was the princess Miaoshan before that. But I can't find any sutra about it.  So I was wondering, which one is correct ?

2)I've read the Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra, which is said to deal with Avalokitsevara and his 33 avatars but I've also read in some websites different transformations from those I learnt. I thought that Avalokitsevara can incarnate a layperson, an Isvara, a young girl,an asura but then I can see elsewhere that he can transform as Guanyin with thousand arms, guanyin with the fish basket,guanyinand the flying lotus. So I don't know what to believe,to understand.

Therefore, is Avalokitsevara and Guanyin different entities ? Did Chinese modify Avalokitsevara story as adding new legends? Is Guanyin seen differently according the countries ?

If you know the answers to those questions, is-it possible to give me the references/the sources?

Thank you for helping me.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 04:34:44 pm by luny »

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Avalokitsevara, his 33 avatars and Princess Miaoshan
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2015, 08:45:09 pm »
Hi Luny and welcome to FreeSangha.

Avalokitsevara and Guanyin are seen today as being one and the same, but this occurred over many years and they certainly didn't start out that way --- for example,  the early version of Avalokitsevara actually had quite a following among some of the Theravada practitioners in Sri Lanka:

I've collected a fairly large selection of research material related to Avalokitesvara over the years, but I'm on my way out the door right now --- when I get back tonight I'll put together a sampling of articles, images, and other resources that you might find useful for your presentation. I'm also pretty sure that I have a PDF copy of the Karunapundarika Sutra, but it's on one of the old storage disks and might have to wait till tomorrow.


Offline Peter Vredeveld

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Re: Avalokitsevara, his 33 avatars and Princess Miaoshan
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2016, 05:18:43 am »
Does Avalokiteshvara really have 33 avatars?
I know Avalokiteshvara and Guan Yin are considered same but they are little different. But I didn't know there are 33 avatars.


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