Friday, July 31, 2009

The Goddess Kuan Yin

Kuan Yin is believed to have been the daughter of a wealthy, cruel man who desired her to marry for status. Gentle Kuan Yin, in hopes of gaining spiritual enlightenment, disobeyed her father and entered a temple. There, she quickly became known for her kind deeds and compassion. But her father was so angered by her act that he had the girl killed. For her good works while alive, Kuan Yin was brought to heaven where she could enjoy an eternity of bliss.
But as she searched for heaven's gates, Kuan Yin heard a cry from below. It was someone suffering upon the earth, someone in need of her help. Then and there she vowed never to leave humanity until every last person was free from woe. For this vow, Kuan Yin was transformed into a Goddess.
Today the goddess Kuan Yin is widely worshipped. She is believed to heal those sick of heart and body, mothers and children in distress, and even seafarers in storms.
To often in life we are overwhelmed by troubles. Sorrow encompasses us-and there is only so much we can do. For those beset by worries or illness, the merciful goddess Kuan Yin is a wonderful goddess to invoke.
Many believe that the magickal act of saying Kuan Yin's name helps the troubled gain comfort. Others choose to go on pilgrimages to the goddess's temple on the mountain of Miao Feng Shan; to win her notice, they shake rattles and other noisemakers as they pray.
The next time you feel overwhelmed with worries, spend some time in nature. Choose a place that is beautiful and serene; even if you live in a city, a quiet glade of trees is often only a train ride away. Bring with you a small offering of fruit or a flower for Kuan Yin.
When you reach your destination, take some time to walk around. The act of walking suggests the passage of time: Time will pass and so will your problems, as difficult as that may be to believe.
When you find a quiet spot where is in unlikely you will be disturbed, sit and unburden yourself to Kuan Yin. State aloud what is bothering you and why. She will understand, compassionate goddess that she is. Take your time. Remember, the act of saying Kuan Yin's name aloud is believed to bring peace to even the most troubled of hearts.
When you have finished, leave the goddess your offering - and thank Kuan Yin for her help.

This information about the goddess Kuan Yin came from my enchanting book:
Embracing the Goddess Within by Kris Waldherr.
This is a lovely book and has been a wonderful addition to my collection of pagan books. You all know what a shameless book whore I am...:)
Brightest Blessings,
The Celtic Witch

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Brief Introduction to the Beliefs of Buddhism

I want to apologize for this post taking so long to appear! To my defense I have been busy with my shop and I recently wrote a new article for Ye Olde Witches Brew. I now have my own blog there as well as starting a column where I take pagan themed questions from readers and post their letter and my answer on the column. If any of my readers here have anything they would like to see addressed on that column feel free to contact me through this blog or through the online publication!
With all that said, today's post is about Buddhism. I recently purchased a book on Zen and am greatly enjoying my read. I decided to share some of this with you.

The Enlightenment of the Buddha is central to Buddhism. The word "Buddha" means "enlightened" or "awakened". It refers to a fully enlightened being who has awakened from the sleep of ignorance or who is enlightened about both his or her own nature as well the nature of the world. Historically, the word Buddha is most often used to refer to Siddhartha Gautama, a prince of the Shakya clan in ancient India (sixth century BC) who, after a long spiritual struggle, had a great spiritual awakening and became the Buddha, the Enlightened One. As the enlightened sage (muni) of the Shakya clan, he also came to be known as Shakyamuni Buddha.
In his enlightened experience, the Buddha gained insight into the suffering or pain that pervades our existence. He discovered a new mode of awareness and way of living driven neither by the grasping of desire nor by the aversion of hatred. This enlightened awareness is free of the ignorance and delusion that is characteristic of our normal consciousness. It finds expression in a host of positive qualities, most importantly, great wisdom and great compassion. These are exemplified in the life of the Buddha.
The Buddha embarked on a long life as a teacher in Northern India in order to communicate this experience, with its liberating knowledge, to others. He founded a community of followers establishing the basic patterns of institutional life, meditative practice, and philosophical and religious thinking known as Buddhism.
The teachings of the Buddha are preserved in the Buddhist scriptures (sutras).

Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels:
The Buddha, who has realized enlightenment
The Dharma, the teaching of the Buddha
The Sangha, the community of Buddhist practitioners.

The young prince Siddhartha Gautama is depicted as having everything one could desire-wealth, bodily beauty, intelligence, a beautiful wife and child, abundant leisure time and so on-yet something was lacking in his life. Despite all that surrounded him, he was still troubled by the fact of death and by the fundamental questions of existence. Awareness of his own and others pain provided the starting point for Siddhartha's spiritual quest. A long search culminated in his becoming the Buddha, the Enlightened One.
It is said that when the Buddha had his awakening, his great enlightenment experience, he doubted whether he could communicate something so profound to others.
After some hesitation, he set out on his quest to teach the knowledge he had gained.
Rather then talk about his great experience, even though it is what made him the Enlightened One, Shakyamuni made the fact of suffering and pain the starting point of his teaching. Acknowledgement of pain is the entry point into a deeper investigation of reality, an opportunity to begin to know things as they are rather then as we might imagine them or wish them to be.
The truth of suffering is the first of the Four Noble Truths.

The Four Noble Truths:
The truth of suffering, dunkhaThe truth of the arising of suffering
The truth of the cessation of suffering
The truth of the path to the end of suffering

According to the Buddha, the cause of the angst in our lives is to be found in the patterns of clinging and aversion that dominate our minds and govern our actions. From moment to moment, we are driven by the desire to get rid of or avoid pain. So enmeshed have we become in patters of desire and avoidance that these patterns have assumed lives of their own and come to control our lives. We do not act in clear awareness, but under the control of often unconscious drives and emotions. Our actions, rather than satisfying our desires, often result in further frustration and antagonism.

That is a brief introduction to Buddhism. It is so much more then what I have provided here and I have found what I have read so far to be completely enlightening!
I hope you enjoyed the read and that it has inspired you to look further into this enlightening way of looking at life on your own. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Don't forget to let me know if you would like to be the first reader featured on my new column at Ye Olde Witches Brew. Send in your questions or what nots!
Brightest Blessings,