Kuan Yin (also known as Guanyin or Quan Yin) is an East Asian Bodhisattva associated with compassion as revered by Mahayana Buddhists.
The Bodhisattva is also known as the “Goddess of Mercy” in English.
Guanyin is a translation from the Sanskrit word ”Avalokitesvara” (usually translated as “Great Compassion Bodhisattva”), referring to the Mahayana Bodhisattva of the same name.
Another later name for this Mahayana Bodhisattva is Guanzizai. In Tibetan, the name is Chenrezig.
Mahayana legends recount that Quan Yin was ”born” from a ray of white light which Buddha Amitabha emitted from His right eye while the Buddha was deep in samadhi (spiritual ecstasy).
In Chinese culture, the popular belief and worship of Kuan Yin as a Buddhist goddess by the populace is generally not viewed to be in any conflict with the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara’s nature.
Actually, the widespread worship of Kuan Yin as a “Goddess of Mercy and Compassion” is viewed by Buddhists as the infinite salvific nature of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva at work.
In the Karandavyuha Sutra (a Mahayana sutra), Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva is called “The One With A Thousand Arms and Thousand eyes” and is portrayed as superior to all Buddhas and Gods of the Indian pantheon.
Karandavyuha Sutra also states that “it is easier to count all the leaves of every tree of every forest and all the grains of sand in the creation than to count the blessings and power of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara”.
Some Buddhists consider that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by the Bodhisattva in the heart of a lotus, and then sent to the western pure land of Sukhavati of Buddha Amitabha in Mahayana Buddhism.
In the Mahayana canon, the Heart Sutra (Maha Prajna Paramita Hrdaya) is ascribed entirely to Guan Yin.
This is unique since most Mahayana Sutras are commonly ascribed to Shakyamuni Buddha and the profound Buddhist teachings, vows, or deeds of the bodhisattvas are described by Gautama Buddha. In the Maha Prajna Paramita Hrdaya, the Bodhisattva describes to the arhat Sariputta (one of two chief male disciples of Gautama Buddha) the nature of reality and the essence of the Buddhist teachings.
Some Christian and Buddhist observers have commented on the similarity between the Bodhisattva and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is suggested the similarity comes from the colonization of the Philippines by Spain during the 16th century, when Asian cultures influenced engravings of the Virgin Mary, as evidenced for example in an ivory carving of the Virgin Mary by a Chinese carver.
The Bodhisattva is also known as patron bodhisattva of P’u-t’o Shan, patroness of fishermen and mistress of the Southern Sea. As such, she is shown crossing the sea seated or standing on a lotus or with her feet on the head of a dragon.
In Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia, the Bodhisattva is commonly depicted as a gentle lady in white robes carrying a vase with a willow twig.
In some sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples, the Bodhisattva’s image is usually that of a young man dressed in Northern Song Buddhist robes and seated gracefully.
He is usually portrayed looking or glancing down, symbolizing that the Bodhisattva continues to watch over the universe.
Because Quan Yin is considered the personification of kindness and compassion, a mother-goddess and patron of seamen and mothers, the iconography representation in China was further interpreted in an all-female form around the 12th century. In the modern period, the Bodhisattva is usually portrayed as a beautiful, white-robed woman, a depiction which derives from the earlier Pandaravasini form.
Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (Quan Yin or Guan Yin) mantra meaning:
“I hail to the Bodhisattva who listens to the sound of the world.”
Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa mantra benefits:
Reciting this mantra daily brings peace and safety to the family, prosperity and wealth, and peace of mind, especially during difficult times.
Image source – https://pixabay.com/photos/lotus-flower-lily-pad-pond-1205631/