Monday, June 28, 2010
Kwan Yin: Goddess of Mercy
Kuan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists as the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Commonly known in the West as the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin is also revered by Chinese Taoists as an Immortal. The name Kuan Yin is short for Kuan Shih Yin which means "Observing the Sounds of the World".
In Japanese, Kuan Yin is called Kannon or more formally Kanzeon ; the spelling Kwannon, based on a pre-modern pronunciation, is sometimes seen. In Korean, this incarnation of Buddha is called Gwan-eum or Gwanse-eum.
Kuan Yin is the Chinese name for the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. However, folk traditions in China and other East Asian countries have added many distinctive characteristics and legends. Avalokitesvara was originally depicted as Buddha when he was still a prince, and therefore wears chest-revealing clothing and may even sport a moustache. However, in China, Kuan Yin is usually depicted as a woman.
In China, Kuan Yin is usually shown in a white flowing robe, and usually wearing necklaces of Indian/Chinese royalty. In the right hand is a water jar containing pure water, and in the left, a willow branch. The crown usually depicts the image of Amitabha Buddha, Kuan Yin's spiritual teacher before she became a Bodhisattva.
She is flanked by her two acolytes, who appeared to her when meditating at Mount Putuo, Long N� and Shan Tsai.
Quan Yin, Qwan Yin, Kwan Yin, Kuan Yin, Gwan Yin, Kwannon