Wednesday, February 24, 2010



She sits like moonlight on the lotus leaves
As they float on the pond. She has no weight –
How heavy can a vision be? Her fate
Was not determined when the king sent thieves

To cut her down. Her spirit, some believe,
Stayed here, caught by the cries of throngs whose great
Grief her care now relieves. She brings a state
Of grace, they say; delusions can’t deceive

Her devotees. Her robe is white. Her mind
Is clear, so she has clarity to spare.
Awake to her, and she can guide you where

No hurt is left, and everyone is kind.
Take this last pain – tattoo her image there.
Commit to an eternal love affair.

--© 2009 by Jack Veasey

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated without the author's written permission.

This sonnet was inspired when I saw a roughly 7½-minute clip from the TV show “Miami Ink,” depicting a young man of Indonesian descent receiving an elaborate and beautiful tattoo of Kuan Yin on his back. Kuan Yin, for those who don’t know, is the Chinese Buddhist goddess of mercy. Legendary for her apparitions and known for healing and protective miracles, she is to the Chinese what the Virgin Mary is to Catholics. Her name is also spelled Kwan Yin and Quanyin.

The young man got the tattoo in honor of important women in his life, including his mother, who he says “gave up my soul to Kuan Yin” when he was born. Interestingly, the well-known tattoo artist seems to know a good bit about Kuan Yin. Perhaps not surprising, because Kuan Yin is the second most frequently depicted figure in Asian art, after the Buddha.

From the poster of the video, who calls himself jjll2006 on Youtube:
"This is a clip from the episode ‘Nobody likes a quitter’. I was lucky enough to have none other than Chris Garver tattoo a Kwan Yin on my back. This is my episode and story.”

I wanted to post the video itself here, but the user has removed it from Youtube and all other places where it was posted on the internet.

For more information on Kuan Yin, see my lecture/blog about her, posted on Eons two years ago:

I manage an internet group for Kuan Yin devotees at

1 comment:

  1. This is a very beautiful piece. What I really like is that while it is specific to Buddhism it says something general across all religions when they serve the needs of people effectively with mercy, love, and commitment that across all the many valleys throughout life. Great work and I can definitely hear your voice in the words.