Goddess in focus: Kuan Yin

Like many ancient goddesses, Kuan Yin has countless stories and countless forms. with similarities rinning through all the stories, often appears as a calm, gentle woman who radiates serenity.  Here is just one:

The Goddess Kwan Yin is known as the Goddess of Mercy and Her specialty is compassion, for She knew all about suffering.  In Her first life in India She was born as a man who sought to help poor lost souls be reborn to a better life on their journey to enlightenment. But he was overwhelmed and anguished when more lost souls kept coming in what seemed an endless cycle. In his despair he shattered into a thousand pieces. From his remains the gods shaped him as a woman, a Goddess — more suitable for bringing compassion and mercy into the world, they thought. Giving Her a thousand arms and eyes in the palms of each of Her hands so that  She would always see the people’s distress and be able to reach out to encircle them. (though some believe, as with many deities, Kuan Yin is neither woman nor man.)

She is known as the goddess Tara in the Himalayas and Mazu in her incarnation as the goddess of the Southern Seas, but she is best known by her Chinese name, Kwan Yin (also spelled Kuan Yin), the Goddess of Compassion. Her Chinese name,  Kuan Yin, means “Hearer of Sounds.” Her full name, Kuan Shih Yin,  means “Hearer of the World’s Sounds.” According to Eastern tradition, when Kuan Yin was about to enter heaven, as she stood on the very threshold, she could hear the cries of humanity. She did not enter but returned to help all who suffer in the earth plane. The term “Hearer of Sounds" can also be translated as “perceiver” or “regarder” of the world’s sounds. 

Kuan Yin removes obstacles, erases past offenses, dispenses mercy, healing and spiritual graces, while always meeting the true inner needs of the soul.

Kwan Yin is depicted in many forms with each one demonstrating a unique aspect of her compassion and mercy. She is frequently portrayed as a slender woman in flowing white robes who carries in her left hand a white lotus, symbol of purity representing the ideal of womanhood.  In her hands, Kuan Yin sometimes hold a willow branch, a vase with water or a lotus flower. The willow branch is used to heal people's illnesses or bring fulfillment to their requests.

ASSOCIATIONS:

  • the color white
  • white flowing robes
  • white lotus blossom
  • eyes on the palms of the hands
  • peacocks
  • vase of dew
  • willow branches
  • jade and pearls
  • blossoming flowers
  • the Hou (a mythological creature resembling the Buddhist lion)
  • rose quartz, pink tourmaline, emerald (pink or green stones)

NAMES OF THE GODDESS

  • Kuan Yin (Kwan Yin. Guan Yin, Guan Shih Yin, Quan Yin, Guanyin, Kuanin)
  • Avalokitesvara
  • Matsu/Mazu
  • Goddess of the Southern Sea
  • Kwannon (Japan)
  • the Asian Santa Maria
  • One Who Hears the Cries of the World
  • Sung-Tzu-Niang-Niang
    (Lady Who Brings Children)
  • The Maternal Goddess
  • The Observer of All Sounds
  • Bodhisattava of Compassion
  • The Thousand-hand Kuanyin  

Kuan Yin's message for you: Treat both yourself and others with love and compassion.

Follow