It is your compassion that can transform you into a Kuan Yin. With your eyes and hands, you can help others. With your compassion, you can bring peace and tranquility to this world.
Kuan Yin or Guanyin is the bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World”. She is also sometimes referred to as Guanyin Pusa; pinyin: Guānyīn Púsà; literally “Bodhisattva Guanyin”. Some Buddhists believe that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by Guanyin in the heart of a lotus, and then sent to the western pure land of Sukhāvatī.
It is generally accepted among East Asian adherents that Guanyin originated as the SanskritAvalokiteśvara (अवलोकितेश्वर). Commonly known in English as the Mercy Goddess or Goddess of Mercy.
The Sanskrit name “Avalokiteshvara” means “the lord who looks upon the world with compassion”.
Translated into Chinese, the name is “Kuan Shih Yin” or Quan Yin.
Shih: the world / the region of sufferers
Yin: all the sounds of the world, in particular, the crying sounds of beings, verbal or mental, seeking help
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is the embodiment of great compassion. He has vowed to free all sentient beings from suffering.
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva has great powers and can help all sentient beings. His skillful means are limitless and he can appear in any form in all the six realms of existence to relieve the suffering of the sentient beings who live there. He vowed to rescue those who call on him when they are in suffering, for example, when caught in a fire, shipwrecked, or facing an attack.
In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha said that if a suffering being, hears the name of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and earnestly calls out to the bodhisattva; Avalokiteshvara will hear the call and relieve that being from his suffering.
In China, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is represented in female form and is known as Kuan Yin. Probably because of Kuan Yin’s great compassion, a quality which is traditionally considered feminine, most of the bodhisattva’s statues in China since the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 – 907) have appeared as female figures. In India, however, the bodhisattva is generally represented as a male figure.
In her hands, Kuan Yin may hold a willow branch, a vase with water or occasionally, a lotus flower.
The willow branch is used to heal people’s illnesses or bring fulfillment to their requests.
The water (the dew of compassion) has the quality of removing suffering, purifying the defilements of our body, speech, and mind, and lengthening life.
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