Kannon Bodhisattava (the statue)
Omandara Gohonzon (the object of veneration, behind the statue)
The statue is the Eleven Face Kannon Bodhisattva enshrined at the Kannon Temple of Nevada. Each far is different just like us; smiling, angry, frightening, compassionate, etc. His right palm facing toward us indicates willingness to help us anytime. The left hand holds a flower vase with lotus flower. A lotus flower denotes compassion and ready to give us water for life. His right foot is a half-step forward with an upward rased toe symbolizing that he is already in action. The ornament on his right hand is not a rosary but a jewel necklace that was given to him from Endless-Intent Bodhisattva as an offering. Kannon Bodhisattva broke the necklace into two and offered one half to Sakyamuni Buddha and the rest to Many Treasured Buddha because Kannon's powers are derived from these two Buddhas not from himself.
Ryoun Yamataka from Kobe, Japan, engraved this statue from a special Yakusugi (Japanese Cedar), which was over then thousand year old and only grown in Yakushima Island in Southern Kyushu, Japan. Yakushima is a World Heritage Site with dense forests of thousand year old trees, with the most famous known as Jomon, which is said to be over seven thousand years old. Threes over a hundred years old are considered sacred in Japan and wrapped in shimenawa or a symbol of the sacred consisting of a thick, twisted, straw rope with strips of white paper hanging from it. Therefore, the Kannon Bodhisattva statue of the temple is sacred and was alive for over a thousand years and will continue to be alive for another thousand years as a sacred statue. I appreciated Mrs. Jimyo Takahashi who donated it to the Kannon Temple of Nevada.
The reasons why Kannon Bodhisattva is so popular are because he (sometimes considered she) promises to save people from the seven calamities; suffering caused by fire, water, sickness, weapons, evil people, fetters, and thieves. Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra says when someone chants the name of Kannon Bodhisattva, he will hear the voice and come to the rescue.
It is said that the Lotus Sutra was composed during the first to the middle of the second centuries. The place was along the Silk Road where hundreds and thousands of merchants and traders traveled through deserts. These merchants and traders had to travel through countries of the wilderness, anarchy and chaos. Today if you dialed a telephone number, you will be able to get the police, fire department, coast guard, and ambulance, rescue crews, a medical doctor and a clergy instantly. However, without modern technology, people relied on their faith to help them through a crisis. Even today many believe n a savior of humanity albeit as Superman or Batman.
The true meaning of Chapter 25 is that we should be aware that each one of us is the Kannon Bodhisattva; that is, we have a job and contribute to society through our occupation while we receive many benefits from our communities. We live in a society of "co-existence and co-prosperity." The Kannon Bodhisattva statue with its many faces and arms holding various instruments symbolize the Ways of Bodhisattva who help others even sacrificing his or her own life.
It is my sole intention to enshrine the statue for you to realize the reality of our lives and act upon it. By reading and copying the Sutra is for you to realize the existence of the something great like Kannon Bodhisattva.
Written by :: Rev. Shokai Kanai
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