Kuan Yin

About Kwan Yin

Known as The Goddess of Mercy, Gentle Protector, Bodhisattva of Compassion, even the savior of seamen and fishermen, she holds many titles.

The spelling of her name varies – Kwan Yin, Kuan Yin, Quan Yin, Guanshiyin, Guanyin, Kwannon, Gwun Yam, Gun Yam, Kannon and more – but it is not so much the arrangement of letters as it is the effect that her spoken name produces on those with a Buddhist background, similar to a reaction in the West when one is speaking of the Virgin Mary. In both cases, it invokes the feeling of compassion and unconditional love. Indeed, her force is compared to Mother Mary in the West, Green Tara in the Tibetan culture, the Virgin of Guadeloupe in Mexico, and many other ancient goddesses, the matriarchy of old. You might call her the Buddhist Madonna, or, as She calls Herself, “The Mother of all Buddhas”.

By her own words, she is a complex energy presence. Thus, when asked her about her incarnations as “Kwan Yin,” this involves many persons that have embodied and reflected this energy in their lives on earth, as far as we can understand. According to Sucheta’s channelings, the closest association of Kwan Yin being linked to a person energetically in recent times is Miao Shan, an ancient Chinese princess who was known for her great compassion. Here is a quote from Kwan Yin about this:

“Although I am Bodhisattva, I am energy. I am not a person. Basically, the Kwan Yin energy was never in one single body. It has always been a great part of the energy of all of compassion of all the Universe. What you see in front of you [Marjorie] is one person who has been able to tap in and release for a period of time, so that she can let us be a part of her reality and to share that with you so that you can be encouraged, and that you can also bring forward the part of you that knows the truth.”

The name “Kwan Yin” is a derivation of a Chinese name for the goddess that is this energy of motherly compassion. This is really a description of her energy (“she who hears the cries of the people”) which has become accepted as her name on earth. Although there are variations, the feeling is the same. She responds to the heartfelt needs and anguish of the people of earth regardless of background or belief.

Being one of the “mother” goddesses, she is especially connected to those in need of any kind of help, be they sick, lost, frightened or simply in unfortunate circumstances. She is a great protector and benefactor of the weak, the ill and especially the children and the babies. Many erect alters to Kwan Yin, the “bestower of children” — the one who hears the prayers of anyone wanting to conceive a child — to increase their fertility. There is a connection with the care of souls, both during birth and after death. Taoists invoke her presence to free newly departed souls from the judgement of the underworld. She guards the souls of the newborn and guides them to their new parents.

Her range of influence is vast, from China to Korea and Japan, all the way down into Malaysia. She has super-ceded her Buddhist traditions and jumped into the realm of a more universally venerated goddess, now known to those of many different faiths and sects. Her image can be found on most any alter of worship in temples, homes, schools, shops, restaurants, out of the way grottos and even on the dashboards of taxis.

Entwined in the faith of Buddhism, her first real appearance in literature seems to be around 400 AD. By that time, Buddhism had been around for nearly 1000 years, spreading from its birthplace in India to China, and subsequently to Korea, Japan and Tibet. Devotees of Avalokitesvara, or Avalokita, Bodhisattva of Compassion of Indian Buddhism, brought the concept of Avalokita to China. There, Avalokita, or Kwan Yin, was adopted as a god in the male form and later was gradually changed by some to resemble a female, lending a rather androgynous element to her. By 1200 AD she was definitely a female portrayed in flowing robes.

Avalokita is depicted with many arms, hands and heads, sometimes with an eye in each palm representing the ever watchful omnipresent mother, ready to immediately reach out in any direction to alleviate suffering. In Buddhist mythology, it states that Avalokita was born from Amitabha Buddha’s right eye, after which he proclaimed, “Om Mani Padme Hum” — Hail to the jewel in the lotus — a sentiment of her preciousness to him. Some believe she is actually an incarnation of Amitabha Buddha. The Chinese translation of the Sanskrit Avalokita is Kuan shih Yin, the full form of the shortened Kuan Yin, or Kwan Yin.

It is said in ancient writings that she was embodied as Miao Shan (whose name means “wonderfully kind one”), a Chinese princess who lived about 700 BC. This legendary Buddhist saint is said to have spent nine years living on an island off the coast of China, healing, meditating and saving sailors from shipwreck. This island became a place of worship and pilgrimage for many, especially in one of the caves there, which was transformed into a shrine dedicated to Kwan Yin.

She is called a Bodhisattva, literally a “being of bodhi, or enlightenment.” Bodhi is the spiritual energy that produces an urge for enlightenment, emanating Wisdom and Compassion. The Buddhas are the primary stream from this energy, the secondary stream from the Buddhas being the Bodhisattva.

A Bodhisattva is any soul which has attained enlightenment and has freed itself from the karmic cycle of rebirth, but which has forgone the bliss of Nirvana, the merging with the Creator, in order to help all the rest attain their enlightenment. This is their vow. It is said that as she was about to enter heaven, she paused at the threshold as the cries of the world reached her ears, and she returned to help them. She is also called an Ascended Master, which essentially means that one has learned all their lessons, transmuted their karma, and is not compelled to experience being reborn into a physical body if they do not desire it.

In depictions she is shown with pearls of illumination in one hand; and with the other she pours out “sweet dew”, the nectar of Wisdom and Compassion from a small vase, blessing all with physical and spiritual peace. Her cupped hands are a symbol of the womb and the universal feminine principal. She sometimes holds a sheaf of ripe rice, a metaphor for sustenance supplied. The dragon is often seen with her, a symbol of wisdom, strength, and the power of divine transformation.

A Divine Mother, always there are children around her or being held by her. There are two small attendants that show up periodically, a “young man of excellent capacities” and the “daughter of the Dragon King,” both related to the legendary Miao Shan. As reference to fishermen, sailors and water, she can be seen on a boat or a lotus flower crossing the sea, rising from the sea on the back of a dragon. Other things related to her are a dove, a scroll of prayers which are the teachings of Buddha, a rosary of white crystal beads showing the rounds of rebirth, and a willow spray with which she sprinkles the divine nectar of life.

The Origin of Kwan Yin, or Miao Shan
There are many legends about the origin of Kuan Yin, but this in one of the most popular.

In 7th century China, a king had three daughters, the youngest named Miao-Shan. At the time of Miao-Shan’s birth, the earth trembled and a wonderful fragrance and flower blossoms sprang up around the land. Many of the local people said they saw the signs of a holy incarnation on her body.

While the king and queen were amazed by this blessing. Unfortunately, they were corrupt and saw little value in a child who appeared pure and kind. When Miao-Shan got older, the king wanted to find a husband for her. She told her father she would only marry if by so doing she would be able to help alleviate the suffering of all mankind.

The king became enraged when he heard of her devotion to helping others, and forced her to slave away at menial tasks. Her mother, the queen, and her two sisters admonished her, all to no avail.

In desperation, the king decided to let her pursue her religious calling at a monastery, but ordered the nuns there to treat her so badly she would change her mind. She was forced to collect wood and water, and tend a garden for the kitchen. They thought this would be impossible, since the land around the monastery was barren. To everyone’s amazement, the garden flourished, even in winter, and a spring welled up out of nowhere next to the kitchen.

When the king heard about these miracles, he decided that he was going to kill Miao-Shan. After all, the nuns who were supposed to have tormented her. But as his henchmen arrived at the monastery, a spirit came out of a fog of clouds and carried her away to safety on a remote island. She lived there on her own for many years, pursuing a life of religious dedication.

Several years later, her father became seriously ill. He was unable to sleep or eat; his doctors believed he would certainly die soon. As he was about to pass, a monk came to visit the king. The monk told the king he could cure the monarch, but he would have to grind up the arms and eyes of one free from hatred to make the medicine. The king thought this was impossible, but the monk assured him that there was a Bodhisattva living in the king’s domain who would gladly surrender those items if asked.

The king sent an envoy to find this unknown bodhisattva. When the envoy made the request, Miao-Shan gladly cut out her eyes and severed her arms. The envoy returned and the monk made the medicine. The king instantly recovered. When the king thanked the monk; he chastised the king by saying, “You should thank the one who gave her eyes and arms.” Suddenly, the monk disappeared. The king believed this was divine intervention and after ordering a coach prepared headed off with his family to find and thank the unknown bodhisattva.

When the royal family arrived they realized it is was their daughter, Miao-Shan, who had made the sacrifice. Miao-Shan spoke up, “Mindful of my father’s love, I have repaid him with my eyes and arms.” With eyes full of tears and hearts full of shame, the family gathered to hug Miao-Shan. As they did so auspicious clouds formed around Miao-Shan. The earth trembled, flowers rained down, and a holy manifestation of the Thousand Eyes and Thousand Arms appeared hovering in the air.

And then, the bodhisattva was gone. To honor Miao-Shan the royal family built a shrine on the spot, which is known as Fragrant Mountain.

Source: http://www.mykwanyin.com/about.html

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7 thoughts on “Kuan Yin

  1. Adam Douki February 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm Reply

    Hi there,
    I have no idea how else to get a message across so ill post it here πŸ™‚ I love the website! so much info and knowledge. I’m messaging to ask if you would at all be interested in joining me with my current fiction work.
    to have someone with your level of appreciation and understanding of the subject would be a god send.

    I call it HADADUNIA
    It is all related to the Muslim and Arabian myths of Djinn, and the 7 worlds made by a god called the most glorious. There will also be references to eastern and western theology and myth.

    If you are at all interested and would like to see what I have thus far, then please do get in touch.

    Kindest regards,
    Adam Douki.

  2. thesevenminds February 11, 2016 at 4:06 pm Reply

    Thanks Adam. Your gravatar looks very familiar. [Akhi] Your project sounds interesting, as you mention the title of my site. πŸ˜‰ What I have posted so far covers Jinns from arab and muslim perspective. Feel free to send some paragraphs to read (no long texts, because I simply do not have the time to plough through) or a link to your read-along site. If you send text as a comment, you can mark it as *private*, and I will keep it so. Praise allah on your endeavor.

    • Adam Douki February 13, 2016 at 12:29 am

      Thank you for the kind words and willingness to have a look at my work. πŸ˜€ Here is a synopsis of the first chapter. I hope you find it, somewhat entertaining at the very least.


      chapter 1 synopsis.

      A tale that begins at genesis, leading up to the age of Aquarius.
      A great evil known only as “I”, took an opportunity naively handed to him by man.
      He wished to use a host in order to hasten the on-coming prophecy, of the end of days.
      There was nothing that would stop him from achieving his goal, but for one obstacle.
      An obstacle “I” both knew and feared, far too much. But he did so with reason. Reason that would be unknown to many, but remembered by some. A boy. yes a boy, and a 15 year old at that.

      His name Elijah in the modern day, but a few traditional folk know him as Elia. Living with just his father since he was 5, Elijah has had to come to terms with never knowing what happened to, or where his mother is. His father who is only ever referred to as Daddy Eli, spends his days trying to solve this mystery. Or so he makes us believe.

      On a day no special than the last, Elijah says goodbye to his friends Rin and Roth after school. Before boarding the bus home. It is on this short 15 minute drive we meet Koji. Elijah finds a seat and as he sits down, he immediately notices a girl. She had two pink pony tails one on either side of her head, bangs that you could tell were not brushed, and a eyes that looked straight back at him.
      Elijah put his head down hoping she didn’t catch him looking at her, he thinks “should I look again?”.
      as he begins to raise his head, the girl has taken the seat right beside him. he turns his head rapidly toward her, and then back down at his lap feeling embarrassed.
      She introduces herself, letting him know her name is Koji, and that she was sent here by the priestess so that he could return home. At this point Elijah assumed the girl was either mentally challenged or trying to prank him. He chooses to tll her to stop annoying him with her make believe rubbish and ignores her, then gets of at his stop. Koji follows him, all the way to his door.

      This is when Daddy Eli, who just so happened to be making a sandwich and realising he’s out of cheese, hears his son has returned from school. So he decides to stick his head out the kitchen window to ask Elijah to run to the shop. Doing so he see’s Koji and being who he is, can tell that she is a Djinn.

  3. thesevenminds February 13, 2016 at 3:19 pm Reply

    Thanks, A’Dam, for the entertaining story. I was going to write that I read a version of it before somewhere, but no. No version that mentioned pink ponytails. It makes sense that you would think her crazy, but maybe if you had seen what she has seen, you would know better. But, then again, you DO know better. Let me know when you have managed to work in the Jinn part. πŸ˜‰ Until then I shall keep it *private* so I can cherish the story as it came. Oh, and I recognize Ruth, but who is Rin? Am? How is business going? I do not keep up with you guys, but I have noticed that you kept in TOUCH with me…

  4. Waters of Pisces | The Seven Minds February 22, 2016 at 5:14 pm Reply

    […] would like to close by bringing your attention to possibly the highest aspiration of Pisces, Kuan Yin. She is the female Goddess of Compassion known far and wide in the East as β€œThe One Who Hears the […]

  5. Adam Douki February 24, 2016 at 1:14 am Reply

    All the story will soon will be explained πŸ™‚ And I just finished writing about the djinn. will send you what I have tomorrow evening. I know that you will have a wise and knowledgeable insight. thank you again.

  6. […] a pretty good description of Kuan Yin from The Seven […]

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