Living for the Revel (catvalente) wrote,
Living for the Revel
catvalente

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Graven Images

We all, and by we I mean people with a buffet-style approach to pomo god salad spirituality, have figures we're drawn to. For me, one of them is Kwan-Yin, she who used to be Avalokitesvara and is Kannon in Japan, where she and I really got to know each other. Her temple at Hase-Dera is the site of an experience I can neither explain nor do I really want to recount right now--as I think I wrote in some novel, religion is like drinking, intoxicating but embarrassing in the morning. I also had a number of dreams involving the big A before leaving for Japan--largely warning me not to get married with a thousand frantically waving arms.

Alas for those who do not listen.

Anyway, Kwan-Yin is not very much like the other figures I resonate with. She's Mary, she's compassion, she feels the suffering of the world. This is not my usual schtick. But she has made herself present in my dreams and in my life in a way few others have, and eventually, you do learn to listen, even if you hold everything spiritual in a Schrodinger's Box and can't bring yourself to make a concrete statement of faith either way. At the base of it, there are symbols and symbols repeat and we are pattern seeking creatures and I see patterns everywhere. Kwan-Yin is a pattern in my life.

But there's something about this statue. (Icons are important, goddammit, no matter what they say. Graven images are what bind you to this world and focus your connective philotes and this world is what you've got to work with, whatever comes next.) I've never seen her in this pose before, and it strikes me deeply. It doesn't hurt that she's sitting on a pedestal covered in writing. But the pose is what gets me. It's casual and powerful and it says to me somehow: compassion is not without price. It costs me, and it costs you. You have to earn my love, but I earn yours, too. Didn't I tell you not to get married? Didn't I tell you to pay attention? God, you are so dense sometimes. But eventually, you get it. And sometimes, just sometimes, I get a break from all your damn suffering, and then I like to watch some House and eat ice cream. Chocolate cherry. Come here, curl up with me, and if you can guess who's going to get sick in the first three minutes I'll let you put your head on my shoulder and open up your third eye for you.

In short, I love this Kwan-Yin. This one is my girl. And when we recover from moving expenses, I want to bring her into my new house.

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