18/33 Kannon




Kannon is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese name of the Bodhisattva called Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit. Avalokitesvara is described in the Lotus Sutra as someone who always comes to this world to save a man or woman who cries for help. Kannon literally means “Regarder of Sounds,” and this expresses the character of Avalokitesvara who always responds to the cries for help of living beings in this world. Thus, Avalokitesvara is usually thought of as a symbol of compassion. But Master Dogen understood Avalokitesvara as a symbol of a life force that is more fundamental to living beings than compassion. So in this chapter he explained the true meaning of Avalokitesvara, quoting a famous conversation about Avalokitesvara between Master Ungan Donjo and Master Dogo Enchi.