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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Discovering Kwan Yin Search

Book Review:
Discovering Kwan Yin, Buddhist Goddess of Compassion

Author: Sandy Boucher
Trade Paperback, 144 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: June 2000
ISBN: 0807013412
Price & More Info: Click Here

Additional books by this author

For anyone who wishes to learn more about Kwan Yin, either as a bodhisattva or a Goddess, either from a historical perspective or a philosophical one, this book makes an excellent starting point. It gives a synopsis of the history in Asia by which the male bodhisattva Avalokitesvara became the first androgynous and then female Kwan Yin, absorbing or reimaging some of the indigenous Goddesses of the region. Further, several myths of human women either becoming Kwan Yin or becoming revealed as Kwan Yin are explored.

Moving on from the historical to the philosophical, several perspectives are included, from more traditional Asian to Western women. Difficult issues, such as the practice of praying to Kwan Yin for a son while abandoning any daughters at orphanages, are raised and considered, leaving the reader to draw final conclusions. And in the last chapter, Boucher presents several practices, again ranging from the traditional to the newly created.

There is also a thorough, though surely non-exhaustive, section on books and articles for further reading. It is clear that this book was written and designed to be used as an introductory textbook. It is primarily used as a text for Unitarian Universalist Women’s Spirituality workshops. (Beacon Press is under the auspices of the Unitarian Universalist Association.) Male readers can certainly learn as much from the book as can women. However, it would be well to keep in mind that it is a Women’s Spirituality text, and so gives little attention to the relationship men may find with Kwan Yin, focusing almost exclusively on women.

Reviewed by Diane DancingFirefly

Additional Books by Sandy Boucher

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