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Becoming Kuan Yin: The Evolution of Compassion Paperback – September 1, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Best known for his work on dying, teacher and author Levine (A Gradual Awakening) explores the legend of Kuan Yin. This beloved Chinese manifestation of the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion vows to help all sentient beings escape suffering. Retelling the story of her origin, Levine recounts how, when Miao Shan refused her cruel father's orders to marry, he sentenced her to harsh labor at a convent. Yet as she faced increasingly severe hardships tending the sick and dying, her compassion grew, until she finally became the bodhisattva Kuan Yin, "she who hears the cries of the world." He uses Miao Shan's legend as a starting point for a meditation on compassion for self and others, noting that "healing is to reoccupy those parts of ourselves abandoned to pain." Noting that Kuan Yin has been described as the "first acknowledged female Buddha," Levine identifies similarities to the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Levine's writing isn't quite up to the task of lyrical celebration, but this short, heartfelt book offers hope in the face of extraordinary pain.
"Good news: the cosmos is compassionate, and Stephen Levine is a trustworthy guide to the Universal Portal. Profoundly nourishing. A real treasure. Please discover and enjoy for yourself the pilgrimage of but a foot and a half--from head to heart. Absolutely #1." --Gary Gach, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
A "heartfelt book [that] offers hope in the face of extraordinary pain." --Publisher's Weekly
"Compassion is the root of healing. It's the doorway to the real miracle, which is an open heart. In this most extraordinary book, Stephen Levine shows us why, and how. Highly recommended." -Dean Ornish, M.D., Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute
"This book expanded our experience with Kuan Yin to a new level beyond our imagination. This is truly a masterful book that most assuredly will become a classic. In a very real sense, it felt to us that this book was written at the Gates to Heaven. We found no separation between Kuan Yin's commitment to her spiritual life and Stephen's and Ondrea's commitment to their spiritual life and journey. The Levines, in almost a magical way, make Kuan Yin and her life of compassion, loving kindness, and charity very much alive in every reader's mind." --Gerald Jampolsky, M.D. and Diane Cirincione-Jampolsky, Ph.D
"Stephen's transformational book about the life, teachings, and example of Kuan Yin has the rare power to change people's lives by shifting their reality. For months I have been enduring severe nerve pain, yet it wasn't until I read Stephen's book Becoming Kuan Yin: The Evolution of Compassion that my heart fully opened to practicing a profoundly merciful and compassionate approach to my pain." --Susan S. Trout, PhD, co-founder and President of the Institute for the Advancement of Service, Alexandria, VA Advancement of Service, Alexandria, VA
"This book has a heart of its own. A boundless heart. A clarified heart. A heart that bridges humanity. A poetic reminder that enlightenment is not a head trip--it's a heart trip. I felt my own emotional armor shedding a little more with every page. A beauty-full read!" --Jeff Brown, author of Soulshaping
"Using the myths and image of Kuan Yin and her dragon mount, Stephen Levine has given us grace-filled meditations and reflections on the practice of a fierce compassion that constantly stretches the boundaries and limitations of what we previously thought was possible." --Ralph Metzner, author of The Unfolding Self
"Kuan Yin smiles exquisitely in Stephen's writing. Blessings hide-and-seek between words and lines, eager to find and be found, console, heal, and inspire." --Paul Cash
"The stories of Kuan Yin here are truly captivating and liberating. Through these stories and his own insights, Stephen Levine encourages us to cultivate our own limitless capacity for love and compassion." --Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness
"I don't consider this wise and loving book as so much written by Stephen Levine as I do a clear message from Kuan Yin herself." --John Fox, The Institute for Poetic Medicine and author, Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making