Friday, May 30, 2008

Kuan Yin and the Pandas: Pagan Thoughts On Hard Times

Today, I would like to offer some updates on the earlier Panda Preserve post. This comes to us from the folks at Tree Hugger in an article about the destruction of the preserve:

China's massive earthquake this month killed as many as 80,000 people, leveled over 400,000 homes, and threatened dams and lakes, bringing out an unusual, grassroots goodwill in the process. It also affected a number of crucial sanctuaries for China's unofficial mascot, and one of the world's most beloved (and threatened) animals: the panda. While most pandas are safe at the famed Wolong Panda Reserve, which is part of a 7-sanctuary UNESCO World Heritage site, the sanctuary is so badly damaged that it will probably have to be relocated, staff told state media today. Nearly half of the base's 86 pandas have been evacuated to another sanctuary in Sichuan, eight have been sent to Beijing on a previously-arranged Olympic trip. and, after the capture of five escaped pandas, one is still unaccounted for.
.......The earthquake, which struck during the "love"-prone phase of some of the pandas' reproductive period, caused the pandas to freeze in trees and stare at the sky, resisting their handlers' entreaties to come down. Their unusual behavior reportedly began prior to the quake -- one group rose from a listless spell and began to pace back and forth -- leading to speculation that they knew that a natural disaster was immanent -- a skill that would put them in league with the Thai elephants that supposedly predicted the Asian tsunami of 2004 minutes before it struck.
My thoughts are with the people of China and Burma today, especially with the parents who lost their children when so many of the schools collapsed and the many people who are now facing floods and starvation.

Click on this UNICEF link to help the children affected by these disasters. Any amount you can give, no matter how small, can help.


Related Articles:

Kuan Yin and the Year of the Snake
Thoughts on disasters and how this Goddess helps us deal with hard times.


I first met Kuan Yin years ago in a small California mountain town called Weaverville. This historic mining town contains the famous Joss House, one of the oldest active Chinese temples in the United States...It is known by the lovely name of "The Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds" and it is dedicated to Kuan Yin.

The Chinese settlers who lived in California back then were surrounded on all sides by hostility, prejudice and mistrust. Their complex belief system was thought to be mere primitive superstition. This temple gave them a place where they could come together as a people, a place where they could share their experience, strength and hope with one another. It also gave them a place where they could seek out and speak to Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin teaches that mercy and compassion are for everyone. I believe this is why her worship spans centuries, cultures, geography and religions. This Goddess dwells among us here on earth and she understands our grief, anger, fear and hopelessness. She does not preach, she listens. She does not demand our obedience rather she lets her own actions light the way for those that wish to follow her example. She is love, compassion and mercy personified and we need her now more then ever.

Kuan Yin does not pick and choose; her love is for all beings, including those of us who bring our troubles upon ourselves...

...Whenever I am tempted to lash out in anger, I think of that Tong War. It reminds me that compassion is a dynamic force. My tradition teaches that this force must be directed outwardly, as well as inwardly, in order to be effective. For me, this means that I cannot fight intolerance or prejudice directed towards me with more of the same. I can defend myself and my loved ones, never you fear, but I can do so in a way that leaves my integrity intact. More then once the thought of Kuan Yin has kept me from playing the fool in someone else's game. This is what is meant by right action. It does not mean "no action" or "reaction", it means action that is taken from a position of wisdom, understanding and strength.
And in case you are wondering that picture of me was taken (ahem) some years ago.

Art: Kuan Yin with Panda by Sandra Stanton.
Click on the link to order one of her Goddess prints.

1 comment:

Hecate said...

Quan Yin, not a Goddess to whom I am predisposed, came to me once in dream. She was an older, incredibly hip, oriental woman w a younger male lover. She was just so kind and nice and decent to me. She lived in a home full of garden planters and fountains and glass. She was kind to my DiL who was hugely pregnant at the time. Since then, she's been such a v real presence to me. With silver rings on the "wrong" fingers of her long, lovely hands