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Discovering Kwan Yin, Buddhist Goddess of Compassion: A Path Toward Clarity and Peace Paperback – May 12, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On one end of the spectrum of Western Buddhism, we have the likes of Stephen Batchelor and his Buddhism Without Beliefs. On the other end, some people choose to preserve the gods of the East. Sandy Boucher, author of Opening the Lotus and Turning the Wheel, turns her attention to the phenomenon of Kwan Yin (also known as: Guanyin, Kannon, Kwan Um, Chenrezig, Avalokitesvara), bodhisattva of compassion. Kwan Yin as comforter, healer, and female exemplar has been adopted as a personal deity by a growing number of Western women, whether Buddhists or not. In Discovering Kwan Yin, Boucher meets up with many of them, evoking stories of profound encounters, life-saving rescues, and long-term guidance. The wide-open spiritualism of Boucher's search leads her to a diversity of images, places, people, and experiences: Asian-American immigrants, a Chinese island, an extravagant tattoo, a Fulbright poet, a pagan goddess mass. For those seeking a divine presence in their lives, and a female one at that, Discovering Kwan Yin is a powerful initiation into a centuries-old tradition of soulful devotion. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Boucher, author of other noted feminist and Buddhist titles (e.g., Opening the Lotus, LJ 5/15/97) offers what she describes as the first book on Kwan Yin written by a woman. It is perhaps inevitable, in the surge of interest in woman- and goddess-centered spirituality, that books on the East's most familiar goddess should appear, and Boucher's work is a good beginning. Warm personal recollections and shared experiences shape this collection of life stories, songs, and insights, but Buddhist readers should be aware that Boucher's outlook reflects a largely American and even Californian version of Buddhism. For larger collections and those strong in feminist studies.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (May 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807013412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807013410
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I waited for months for this book to be printed. It was worth the wait. It is full of the tenderness and strength of Kwan Yin herself. The author's clear and sensitive prose and the simple format of the book make it a true gift. It has the history of Kwan Yin, legends, songs chants, resources...so much for such a little book. There is not a single wasted word. I especially enjoyed the various interviews with different women around the country who love Kwan Yin. I am a man, and although this book is subtitled, "A Woman's book of ruminations, meditations, prayers, and chants," I didn't for a minute feel left out as I read the book. It's a must have for anyone interested in Kwan Yin. By far the best book in English on Kwan Yin. Very sensitively done.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By David Makinster on March 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
If Sandy Boucher had presented this book as an academic text, a philosophical treatise, or a spiritual training guide, I would have rated this book much lower. But the key word is "discovering." As a communications professional and educator, as well as a Buddhist, I think you must evaluate a book in terms of it's intended audience and purpose.
When institutions lose sight of universal compassion as a living principle, when tradition is monopolozed by an aristocracy of scholars and clerics indifferent to the suffering of everyday people, then people rediscover Kwan Yin - "she who hears the crying of the world." Sandy Boucher has gathered the stories of several women who have "discovered" Kwan Yin in their own lives, in their own ways, for their own reasons.
Sandy Boucher steps back and does not impose an aggressive point-of-view of her own. She is non-judgemental, not because she is a flake, but because her main purpose is to tell the stories of a few women, and let those stories speak for themselves. The "discovery" of Kwan Yin is the discovery of how, in a multitude of ways, compassion becomes a living reality in the lives of these women, based on THEIR experience of Kwan Yin. A more scholarly, critical, or polemical approach would have weakened -- not strengthened -- this book.
Try reading it with a beginner's mind.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Levine on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
In her book, Sandy Boucher celebrates the goddess Kwan Yin, who is known throughout Asia as the Goddess of Compassion. Boucher begins by giving a short and accessible history of this goddess and then tells stories about women from both Eastern and Western cultures who have found support in her. She includes both classic rituals used to honor Kwan Yin and contemporary songs and poems written in her honor. This book will inspire a broad range of spiritual seekers including Buddhists, mystics, people struggling with illness and adversity, and women looking for positive role models. Kwan Yin is, in Boucher's book, an entity one can dialogue with and get comfort from. This is a beautifully written and uplifting book.
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