Guanyin at Xhiangde

Places of Worship

Guanyin at Xhiangde

Guanyin at Xhiangde. 2018.

Guanyin is the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion.

Compassion is the opposite of fear. We often think of hate and love as opposites, but really, hate exists out of fear, and love stems from compassion. Guanyin is a symbol of love in its deepest form, therefore; in its purest realisation.

In Taiwan, Guanyin is everywhere. In high end galleries carved from tree trunks, the result of which makes her seem to emerge from the tree itself; carved from stone; made from ceramics; for sale as a trinket; towering as tall as a three-storey building, tucked away among a stand of bamboo at the back of a temple on top of a mountain, remote and otherworldly. She appears in the very way that the Taiwanese carry themselves, especially toward a silly, clumsy stranger.

Guanyin was my “white rabbit” during this solo trip along the east coast of Taiwan, and she was a reward at the end of every unknown path I ventured along. She was reassurance, and solace, and beauty.