Thursday, December 12, 2013

Honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe (Kwan Yin)

Pfc. Sandoval, Pat Macpherson, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; photographer Luis SincoMarc Martin, Los Angeles Times (, Dec. 12, 2013
NeoPagan and Wiccan women in front of flower-strewn Virgin Mary/Kwan Yin, Buddhist temple facing the ocean and Queen Mary, Long Beach, LA County, formerly a Catholic nunnery (Temple of the Goddess).
Juan Diego and the Virgin (SF)
In an annual ritual that draws thousands of people, Catholic faithful of Mexican and Central American descent swarmed La Placita ["the Little Plaza"] Church and nearby Olvera Street Plaza [Los Angeles' oldest market square] to celebrate Dia De La Virgen De Guadalupe ["Day of the Virgin who appeared to a man in Guadalupe, Mexico"].  
The crowded and colorful festivities are held in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe -- the universal symbol for Mexican Catholics -- who is said to have appeared in a vision before Mexican peasant Juan Diego about 500 years ago.

Buddhist "Virg Yin," Goddess of Compassion
La Placita celebrations included unbroken strings of worship services as well as offerings of flowers and votive candles that illuminated the darkness outside the church and kept the throngs of people coming throughout the long, chilly night.

According to popular Mexican lore, Juan Diego saw the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill in what is now Mexico City, on Dec. 9, 1531. The Virgin is said to have told him to ask the bishop to build a church on the hill. More

Day of the Divine Shepherdess (Los Angeles); Wisdom Quarterly (translation)
Shepherdess Mother Mary, Goddess of Compassion, Virgen de Guadalupe (
January 14th is the [Venezuelan] day of the Divina Pastora, the procession of the "Divine Shepherdess," the spiritual patron of Venezuela. The celebration is one of the largest in Latin America, together with the activities in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico.
It is a journey taken by more than 2,500,000 people performed in the church of Santa Rosa village, located between the Cathedral of Barquisimeto and Cabudare, a distance of about eight miles.
This route, with the virgin carried on the shoulders of her people, begins at noon and ends early in the evening about 367 kilometers from Caracas.
The pilgrimage is accompanied by songs, praise, and prayers from parishioners. Some walk barefoot, while others go down on hands and knees. 

A miraculous virgin
Mother Goddess (
The pastor of the church of Santa Rosa, Paul Fidel Gonzalez, said: "Devotion to the Divine Shepherdess is growing year after year." He added that this is evidenced by the increasing number of pilgrims who visit the town of Santa Rosa, the Shrine of the Virgin, an invocation of the Virgin Mary.
Veneration increases proportional to the size of the religious image with its hat, cane, and sheep around a throne and a child on her lap representing the infant Jesus (St. Issa). She fulfills promises of health, peace, love, prosperity, and more which many consider Miriam miracles. More

A Buddhist "Mary"?
Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
Kwan Yin, Yungang Grottoes, China (G-W-H)
It may be said that the real "Mary" in Buddhism would be Maya Devi, the great queen, the Buddha's biological mother.
In an interesting pre-Christian source for Mary's "virginity" (pure, unmarried status), the Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) looked down from the Tusita world and beheld a suitable woman who could give birth to him. She had refrained from sexual misconduct for seven generations back, so being "pure" in this sense. Abstaining from sexual misconduct is not the same as abstaining from sex. But that, too, entered the mythology by confusing Maya's dream of conception, seeing a pure white double tusk elephant entering her, with the future-Buddha's miraculous (but not technically immaculate) conception, attended by angels (devas).
Kwan Yin, the One Who Looks Down from Heaven
She gave birth as commemorated in Brahmanism like a Sal tree dryad. But she quickly went from being an earthly devi (queen) to a heavenly female devi ("shining one") in the Space World of the Thirty-Three (Tavatimsa). She passed away a week after giving birth. The Buddha was raised by her sister, also his father the king's wife, named Maha Pajapati. She went on to become the first Buddhist nun in history and so achieved a greater distinction than Maya by attaining enlightenment in this very life. 
However, Buddhists do not regard either sister as the "Goddess of Mercy and Compassion" who looks down from the heavens and hears the cries of the world. That distinction goes to the pre-Buddhist Avalokitatesvara (Sanskrit अवलोकितेश्वर), a deva (male) who metamorphosed into beloved Kwan Yin, the Chinese version of this ancient Indian deity. She is a manifestation of the divine feminine, a mother goddess, a source of comfort and inspiration to uncounted millions of Mahayana Buddhists, Hindus, and to a lesser extent Theravada Buddhists and Chinese atheists.

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