The Woodpecker's Song

June 2013

Avalokiteshvara (Kannon in Japanese,Tchenrezi in Tibetan and Kwan Nin in Chinese ) is the name of the embodied compassion which should take place in the individuum practising the Dharma .The following text –Kanzeon – is a Zen Japanese invocation to Kannon-Avalokiteshvara which is recited daily in Hokoji,the Rinzai Zen Monastery in Japan where this female Zen monk was trained under the worldly manifestation of Kannon,Oi Saidan Roshi .To call for Kannon,the embodied figure of the universal compassion is at first a call for help :because we are aware of the difficulty to realize in on’es own consciousness this universal compassion .In the Buddhist iconography Avalo/Kannon is represented with numerous extended arms, each holding a different symbolic object, each arm being helpful and adequate to respond to the various demands of the various living beings.To respond to the demand of the others spontaneously and freely ,as the Avalokiteshvara/Kannon’s example induces us to do, appears to some as “ high idealistic” meaning utopic, impossible to realize. The Dharma shows the summit of the mountain to reach, - here the universal compassion- and with the view of the summit before our eyes, we start the climbing of the mountain at its foot , equipped with some helpful material. The helpful material here is this mantra recitation . Through it,and meditating on it , day after day we can extend our capacity to hear the need and often silent demand of the others,we progressively respond to what just now is needed to do- and do it, in spite of no gratitude for the given help , but above all, first we accept our helplessness to respond to the call of the Other One .Therefore this hereby recitation dedicated to Kannon sustains our aspiration to be able to help perfectly one day. We start the climbing of the mountain compassion by affirming the qualities of our fundamental nature,called the Buddha Nature -((tathagathagarbha), present in every living being., through which one day we’ll reach the inner capacity of Kannon/(Tchenrezi.)

In the zen Japanese tradition the Kanzeon text is considered as a short mantra,and rejoices the spirit of the well known shorter Mantra of the Tibetan tradition “Om Mani Padme Hum”. Here is the Japanese Text followed by this monk’s translation serving her practice for generating the universal compassion .:

Namu Butsu Yu-I / Yo Butsu En / Bo Po So En / JO RAKU GA JO/

So Nen Kanzeon / Bo Nen Kanzeon

Nen Nen yu Shin Ki/ Nen Nen Fu Ri Shin – Kanzeon

Pure,luminous,all- knowing and permanently present, all through the cycles of life and death, is in me the seed of a Buddha.I have faith in it as I have faith in the Buddha, the Dharma,and the Community of the Enlighted Ones.

O Kannon, Compassionate Bodhisattva perceiving all the sounds arising from the world,calling for help, -I call you too with this prayer:

thought after thought , -may the true compassion awake in me and inhabits permanently this mind !

thought after thought , - may I realize innerly the union of the vacuity and the compassion ,accomplishing the Great Compassion of the (Tathagatas)Buddhas.

To practice the Japanese text together with this translation-interpretation may awake your aspiration to compassion. At any rate Kannon’s name together with the associated image of it, create in your mind an inprint, be at first the aspiration to become a compassionate Bodhisattva. When time is ripe, (thanks to the practice of this recitation ) the move from aspiration to the inner realization of the Great Compassion will occur,- naturally,spontaneously impregnating your consciousness permanently. A Question of time,and self confidence. Recite it,invoke Kannon ,taste the particular flavor of this powerful mantra of “Kanzeon”. May this “ Dana” dear Reader,accompany you all this summer through !

A Woodpecker near your tree.

June 2013