Qigong of Compassion
Cultivating the Grace of Kuan Yin
by Minke de Vos
Kuan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, lives in us when we feel mercy. Her name means “She who hears the cries of the World.” The world seems to be facing an emotional crisis. Rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are higher than ever. We urgently need to cultivate compassion. The Buddhas all agreed. “Who but a gentle mother could ever dream of bringing boundless love and comfort to all the people, easing the inevitable pains of human life?” Her energy is likened to Tara, mother of all Buddhas, and Mother Mary.
Kuan Yin has countless stories coming out of China, Japan, and other Asian countries, and is revered throughout the world. The Indian Bodhisattva* named Avalokitesvara was known as the Merciful Lord of Enlightenment, who chose to remain on earth to relieve the suffering of humanity rather than to partake of the pleasures of Nirvana. He transformed into a goddess with a thousand arms and eyes in each of her hands so that she could easily see what is needed in the world and act out of loving kindness.
We can cultivate the attributes of Kuan Yin as the Dalai Lama says, “The ultimate source of a happy life is warm heartedness. Even animals display some sense of compassion. When it comes to human beings, compassion can be combined with intelligence. Through the application of reason, compassion can be extended to all 7 billion human beings. Destructive emotions are related to ignorance, while compassion is a constructive emotion related to intelligence. Consequently, it can be taught and learned.”
The way to embody the grace of Kuan Yin is the way of living from the heart. In scientific terms, the system of “Heart Math” calls it “heart-brain coherence.” Through biofeedback we can follow how rhythmical and coherent our heart beats and breathing are. When we touch our heart and feel respect and loving kindness, at the same time breathing calmly and deeply, we observe a smooth pattern on the screen. This meditative work is known to support heart health.
What is compassion? The Taoist meditation for cultivating compassion fuses together the virtues of the Five Elements like love, empathy, forgiveness, the peace to listen, kindness to care, and the courage to act. This golden alchemical elixir is fused in the heart centre and then circulated in the energy channels in and around the body. In this way, we embody compassion. Embodying compassion and mercy makes the world a better place.
Master Lee, a modern Qigong master, was inspired to channel a movement form called “Kuan Yin Standing Qigong.” I learned this form and felt a feminine graceful energy move through me. This dynamic form includes fundamental aspects of Qigong: cleansing, balancing, and building inner strength. The benefits of practicing it go beyond health to developing spiritual qualities of all-embracing love, and supporting our journey home to our true nature.
The Tao is the way of living in harmony with the universe. Qigong is energy exercise, which brings more ease and flow to our bodies and lives. When we connect with our internal energy, we develop the ability to tune into the depth of other sentient beings. In the story of Kuan Yin, she loved and befriended animals like a tiger and healed a wounded wild boar.
Are you able to navigate through the ups and downs of life with an open heart? Kuan Yin made a vow to keep an open heart even in the most hellish conditions. Her songs transformed the most deaf and unseeing demons. Let us be inspired by her prayer: “For as long as space endures and living beings remain, until then may I, too, abide to dispel the misery of the world.”
The myth of Kuan Yin reminds us of the fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White. She was a princess and her cruel father tried to force her to marry. She refused and went to a nunnery, where she cared for the sick, beaten, and dying. Because she made her own choice, she became the patron of women’s rights.
“In almost every spiritual prototype, we have to go through hell on our way to pure awareness, indistinguishable from unconditional love, the Pure Land of our illuminated nature.” (Stephen Levine) Her father ordered her execution, and she went to hell and continued to alleviate suffering. She sacrificed her eyes to save her father and was resurrected with the power of a thousand eyes. Recall the story of Christ saving the sins of others and his resurrection.
If you study a statue or painting of Kuan Yin, she often carries a vase of healing waters, which she pours into the earth. So many people and places need this soothing medicine of compassion right now. Moving as a group, our prayerful intentions are multiplied and ripple out into the manifest world.
Minke de Vos, Senior Universal Healing Tao Instructor, draws from her extensive background in energy arts and her own soul journey and has dedicated over 30 years to spiritual embodiment, teaching, and healing work. She co-founded Silent Ground Retreats for long term, life-transforming programs. She has worked alongside Taoist Grandmaster Mantak Chia and is a Branch Leader of the Universal Healing Tao System. She is a certified Medical Qigong Master Therapist by the International Institute of Medical Qigong. She offers teacher trainings internationally in Qigong and Sacred Femininity. www.taotantricarts.com. She is also the author
of Tao Tantric Arts for Women (www.silentground.com). Minke de Vos and David Gyurkovics are offering a Qigong of Compassion retreat on June 14–16 at Ancient Spirals, Saskatoon. For details visit silentground.com (under calendar) and also see the display ad on this page.