Guan Shi Yin (Avalokitesvara) Bodhisattva is a revered figure in Buddhism who has achieved the level of marvelous enlightenment, possessing the same qualities as a Buddha. According to sutras, Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva is believed to be the manifestation of an ancient Buddha called True Dharma Brightness Tathagata and is considered the king of great compassion. The Bodhisattva tirelessly works day and night to help all beings in the Three Spheres, accumulating boundless merit.
Guan Yin is one of the most widely depicted figures in Chinese temples, with thousands of different incarnations or manifestations. Typically portrayed as a graceful woman dressed in flowing white robes and a hood, carrying a small vase of holy dew, she stands tall and slender, emanating selflessness and compassion. She may be depicted in various forms, such as seated on an elephant, standing on a fish, nursing a baby, holding a basket, or with multiple arms and heads. Her main goal is to alleviate the suffering of all beings.
Guan Yin is often portrayed riding a mythological animal known as the Hou, similar to a Buddhist lion, symbolizing her divine power over nature. She is usually depicted barefoot, while on public altars, she is flanked by two acolytes: a barefoot, shirtless youth known as Shan-ts’ai (Golden Youth) on her right, and a demure maid known as Lung-nü (Jade Maiden) on her left, holding her hands together inside her sleeves.
Guan Yin’s birthday is celebrated on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month, which falls on March 10th this year. She is considered a model of Chinese beauty, and being referred to as a “Guan Yin” is the highest compliment for grace and loveliness.
There are many legendary stories and folk tales about Guan Yin, which have been collected and passed down through generations.
Willow Guan Yin, left hand has a jar containing pure water, and the right holds a willow branch.
According to legend, during a period of severe drought and corruption in the Zhongzhou area of China, Guanyin Bodhisattva came to enlighten the people and show them the path to righteousness. With her compassion for all living beings, she took out willow branches from a jade bottle and poured nectar into the fields. Suddenly, it rained heavily, relieving the drought and bringing new life to the parched land.
The Willow Guan Yin’s willow branch represents her ability to heal and soothe, while the jar of pure water symbolizes her power to purify and cleanse. Her actions during the drought represent her willingness to help those in need and her desire to alleviate suffering. Her message is clear: no matter how dire the circumstances, there is always hope and a chance for redemption.
According to legend, a fearsome monster with the head of a dragon and the body of a turtle that dwelled in the East China Sea. This monster was known to cause great havoc and destruction, leaving the people in constant fear and anxiety.
The people’s prayers were answered when Guanyin Bodhisattva heard of their plight. Being the embodiment of compassion, Guanyin Bodhisattva arrived in the East China Sea, he rode on the back of the dragon-headed monster, showing no fear, and subdued it with his magic power. From that day on, the people lived in peace and safety, free from the monster’s threat.
In honor of Guanyin Bodhisattva’s courageous act, the people erected a statue of him standing on the dragon-headed monster, enshrining it as a symbol of his boundless magic power and compassion for all living beings.
According to legend, Guanyin Bodhisattva traveled to Luoyang City and took out a precious mirror. She claimed that as long as people paid three Wen coins, they could see their past and future lives from the mirror. The people eagerly lined up and took turns looking into the mirror. They were all surprised to see their past and future lives reflected back at them.
However, when Guanyin Bodhisattva revealed her true form, the people saw different expressions on her face. Some saw an angry face, some saw a fierce face, and some saw a joyful face. The people were confused by these different expressions.
Guanyin Bodhisattva warned all living beings not to think that their evil deeds would go unnoticed. She urged them to do more good deeds instead. It is absolutely true that one cannot escape karma. Evil will be rewarded with evil, and good will be rewarded with good.
According to legend, there was a time when people living on the coast of the East China Sea lacked manners and etiquette. Guanyin Bodhisattva, being the compassionate deity that she is, decided to intervene and provide enlightenment to these people.
In order to do so, Guanyin Bodhisattva transformed herself into a beautiful fisherwoman and began to teach the people about the importance of etiquette and manners. She also promised to marry whoever could recite the Buddhist scriptures that she taught them.
A young fisherman named Ma Lang was determined to gain the Bodhisattva’s favor and started to diligently study the scriptures. Eventually, his hard work paid off, and he was able to recite the scriptures flawlessly. Impressed by his dedication, the Bodhisattva decided to imparted him with further enlightenment. At the wedding night, the Bodhisattva left the house with sudden death.
Ma Lang realized the fishwoman was actually Guanyin Bodhisattva, he carved a statue of Bodhisattva looking like a fisherwoman and enshrined the statue in his house.
According to the legend, Dogen, a Japanese monk who had just returned from studying in China, found himself in the middle of a terrible storm while sailing near the coast of Nanming. Fearing for his life, he prayed silently to Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion, to protect him from the storm.
Suddenly, he saw a miraculous sight. A beautiful and serene figure of Avalokitesvara appeared riding on a lotus leaf, floating on the sea. The Bodhisattva’s presence calmed the storm, and the wind and waves stopped. Dogen was filled with wonder and gratitude, and he knew that he had witnessed a great miracle.
After he landed safely, Dogen decided to commemorate this miraculous experience by creating a statue of Guanyin as he had seen her on the lotus leaf. He had the statue enshrined in the Nanming Guanyin Temple, where it became an object of veneration for countless devotees.
Avalokitasvara, Guan Shi Yin in Chinese, means the Perceiver of World’s Sounds. The Lotus Sutra says: “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, heavenly voice, the voice of the sea’s tide—magnificent, rich and harmonious surpassing all worldly sounds.” The bodhisattva always help all beings in danger and distress and is willing to bear the pain of all beings. If we hold the bodhisattva in our hearts and call on her sincerely, she will always respond.
May the greatly loving and compassionate Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva bless all beings!!!
Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva!!!
Many Forms unlimited Blessings From Guan Shi Yin (Avalokitesvara) Bodhisattva