Wonhyo and the Bodhisattva of Compassion

P1010519

Professor David Mason retelling the story of Wonhyo and the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Top photo: Sangmin sunim, our humble bodhisattva of compassion.

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4 Responses to “Wonhyo and the Bodhisattva of Compassion”
  1. That’s similar to a lesson I heard several times while attending a private Christian school as a kid. We were told that you could never know if the next person you meet is an angel or not, so you should treat strangers with respect.

  2. Yes, thanks. I wouldn’t be surprised if every religion has a similar tale and teaching. This kind of story shows up frequently in Buddhism — most commonly it’s Munsu-bosal / Manjusri the Bodhisattva of Widsom appearing in guise of a beggar or somesuch — several such divine-legends are sited at China’s Wutai-shan. And then there’s the parallel of the B of W avataring as a young boy washing King Sejo’s back at Odae-san Sangwon-sa, one of korea’s most popular and celebrated stories… [Wutai-shan = Odae-san in Hanja characters].

  3. anjinsan says:

    Out of curiosity, where is your source for such Wonhyo folklore (besides the Samgukyusa)?
    Interesting story!

  4. Sherwin says:

    Very interesting story, especially considering it echos the original legend of Wonhyo’s awakening whereby he mistakenly drank water from a skull. Though it seems that his original realization that all discrimination existing sole in one’s mind did not carry over into this story at all, in fact it seems quite the opposite. Perhaps the story implies that Wonhyo had back-slid form his original realization at some point? In any case, thanks for sharing ;-)

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