One of the hallmarks of Mahayana Buddhism is the bodhisattva ideal. A bodhisattva is one who dedicates their existence to helping others. In our chanting of the "Homage to the Three Jewels," we pay homage to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, including many bodhisattvas and eminent teachers. Two of the most prominent bodhisattvas in our tradition are Kwan Seum Bosal and Ji Jang Bosal. Kwan Seum Bosal, known as Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit, is the bodhisattva of compassion. Born from a ray of light emanating from Amita Bul's right eye, Kwan Seum Bosal assists those who request admittance to the Pure Land. Kwan Seum literally means "perceive world sound," which is also translated as "one who hears the cries of suffering." She is often pictured with her head slightly inclined as if listening to the pleas of those suffering, and holding a flask containing "amrita," the nectar of compassion. She is also frequently pictured with a willow branch, which represents her willingness to sprinkle sweet dew on the afflicted, symbolizing her role as a healer. In paintings Kwan Seum Bosal wears white clothing and, like other bodhisattvas, is often adorned with jewelry, including a crown. She sometimes assumes a thousand-eyed, thousand-armed form. Each palm contains an eye so that the bodhisattva can beter see how to help those in distress. The gender of this most famous of all bodhisattvas is dependent upon culture. The Chinese Kuan Yin is usually depicted as female, and is sometimes referred to as the goddess of com-passion. In India, Avalo-kitesvara is clearly depicted as male. Contemporary Korean artists most often depict her as neither male nor female, but rather with feminine features and a wispy mustache. The beautiful Kwan Seum Bosal that is seated on the altar of the Diamond Hill Zen Monastery exudes a distinct feminine quality in her gentle gaze, elegant posture and graceful hand position, yet the mustache is also present. From a Zen teaching perspective, however, Kwan Seum Bosal's gender is irrelevant. The quality that is being represented by Kwan Seum Bosal is the compassionate wisdom which is within each of us. If you want to find the true Kwan Seum Bosal, look inside. Almost without exception, Korean temple compounds include a special hall dedicated to Ji Jang Bosal, known in Sanskrit as Ksitigarbha. Ksitigarbha literally means "womb of the earth." Ji Jang Bosal is said to have vowed as a young man to go to the lowest hell to help his mother after she died. He is the only bodhisattva to be depicted as a monk. Ji Jang Bosal is thought to help the deceased, especially children, and in some cultures, travelers as well. During funeral and memorial services we chant Ji Jang Bosal's name to assist us with grieving and to help the deceased in their transition. This bodhisattva is greatly loved by Mahayana Buddhists for his commitment to stay behind until no more people suffer in hell. Ji Jang Bosal is usually portrayed with a shaved head, often colored green, and holds a staff with six rings in one hand and a jewel in the other. This is the "wish-fulfilling gem," a magical jewel that grants all selfless requests. In future articles we will look at the other bodhi-sattvas mentioned in our chanting.