Goddess of Mercy is probably one of the most prominent and popular Buddhist and Taoist divinity worshipped and revered by people all over the world, especially those from Chinese background. In most Taoist temples, it is very common to find the portrait of Goddess of Mercy and alongside the portrait, there is invariably a couplet of poem which says, “In the middle of the purple bamboo woods lies ‘Kuan Zhi Zai’ (Goddess of Mercy is there). On top of the white lotus pedestal sits the coming Buddha (Ru Lai). ”
This poem relates to the portrait of Goddess of Mercy which portrays her standing on top of the white lotus pedestal or sitting leisurely among the bamboo grove. According to the legend she spent most of her time in the bamboo grove but this is just a literal interpretation of the poem. The portrait only draws Goddess of Mercy and no other Buddha and since the poem is placed beside the portrait, there must be deeper meaning that serves to enlighten people. The poem is a parable used to reveal one of the heavenly secrets that relates to our face, more specifically The Third Eye. The purple bamboo grove or woods in Chinese is “lin” and it implies a growth of vegetation that is not very dense. Purple bamboo is a type of bamboo which is very thin and elegant. On our face our eyebrows bear similar characteristics to the purple bamboo grove. They are very fine and orderly, unlike our hair. She revealed that the purple bamboo grove represents our eyebrows.
The first half of the poem is “In the middle of the purple bamboo grove lies Goddess of Mercy” which means that our own Buddha nature or Godly nature is there in the middle of the purple bamboo grove or in between the eyebrows. In other words, we must constantly see our true self and act in accordance with our true nature. In order to do this, we must seek to find this divine nature that is located in the middle of the purple bamboo grove or more specifically in between the eyes or eyebrows. This directs us to the very location of The Third Eye or The Divine Eye. Her forehead is always depicted with a red dot slightly above the middle of her eyebrows to indicate to us that there is a Third Eye similar to Indian women who placed the red dot on their foreheads.
Let us look at the latter half of the poem, “On top of the white lotus pedestal sits the coming Buddha. ” Lotus grows above the surface of the muddy water and Goddess of Mercy is usually portray standing on it and appears to be floating on the sea. This sea represents the sea of desires and sufferings. On our face, the mouth is also the sea of desires and is like an ocean that can never be filled up. The saliva is alkaline and tastes bitter, thus similar to sufferings. The shape of the lips is like the wave of the sea. Above the lips, we have a groove that is defined by two lines and it is like the stem of the lotus. At the end of the stem, we would be able to find the lotus which is our nose. On elevation, the nose appears to have three distinct petals, similar to the petals of the flower. When we smile, our white set of teeth resembles the white lotus that Goddess of Mercy is standing on.
On top of the white lotus sits the coming Buddha (ru lai in Chinese). Gautama Buddha used to say that, “on every face there is a Buddha. ” This implies that if we want to find our own Buddha on our face, we must solve this puzzle. The True Self which is divine is the one that is sitting on top of the white lotus pedestal. It is the coming Buddha that needs to be awakened. Upon initiation of Tao, this True Self is awakened and can become the Buddha or The Enlightened One. He is sitting there on top of the white lotus pedestal which is also the spot where the first part of the poem explains. Both parts of the poem point to this divine nature to the spot where we called The Third Eye or The Divine Eye. Why is the Third Eye so important and what is the meaning of initiation of Tao? During the transmission of Tao, it is transmitting The Three Heavenly Treasures to the recipient and this is what my Heavenly Teacher JiGong said:
“What the teacher has transmitted to you is the essence of the Three Heavenly Treasures – that leads one to Realization. What the teacher teaches is Truth and Supreme Learning – that leads one to Sainthood. What the teacher avoids and regards as harmful to the cultivation of Tao is the emphasis on ‘Shu-Liu-Dong-Jing’ – that leads one to Fanaticism. What the teacher denounces and disapproves is fallacies and faulty teachings – that leads one to Delusion.
“Shu-Liu-Dong-Jing” means the teaching of the Four Side Doors, practices done with skills and intent. They are not natural ways of cultivation and cannot help liberate oneself from the cycle of births and deaths. They are:
1] Shu: special skills – supernatural powers, witchcraft and all extraordinary skills.
2] Liu: various schools or groups that focus in geomancy (feng-shui), astrology, fortune-telling, crystal-reading, art of healing, temple-building and discussion of philosophies etc.
3] Dong: motion – external practice involving physical movements such as alchemy, martial arts, massage, etc.
4] Jing: quietness – internal practice involving the use of INTENT such as observation of energy flows, chakra-alignment, counting of breathing, seeking wellness or wonders through quiet-sitting etc.
Hence, a Tao cultivator must have:
1] A mind of Wisdom - to discern and detect the real and unreal.
2] A heart of Humanity – to receive and accept the self-renewed ones (those who wish to correct themselves and be new persons)
3] A spirit of Courage: to save and carry the sunk and lost ones (the ignorant) across the bitter sea of life. ”
T. A Chew realized that all of us have the divine nature situated at the place according to the poem of Kuan Yin. One has to be initiated with Tao by Heavenly Teacher JiGong in order to know the importance of the Third Eye or True Self. How to practise it in order to restore his divine True Self and there is no magic in the cultivation of Tao. Website: http://www.white-sun.com