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October 07 2012

Japanese spirituality - the 33 forms of Kannon Bosatsu - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Interior Sendai Daikannon Statue, Sendai

One of the most beloved deities in Japan is Kannon, (Avalokiteśvara in Sanskrit). According to Buddhism, Kannon is a Bosatsu (Bodhisattva in Sanskrit), a being who attained the state of perfect enlightenment (Buddhahood), but remains in the world to help all the living beings to achieve salvation.

In Japan, Kannon is the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion and to help as many people as possible, she can appear in 33 forms. The best known form is the Byakue Kannon (the White-robe Kannon), the one represented by the statues from Takasaki and from Ofuna.

For a culture-interested traveler, there are not many places where you can see representations of all the 33 forms and there are even less places where you can take pictures of the statues… One of these places is the circular hall at the base of the huge Dai-Kannon statue from Sendai: here is a photo with just 6 of them, an enchantment for the eye and for the soul…

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