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Guanyin's Appearance

Page history last edited by stephanie.franchs@... 9 years, 10 months ago

 Guan Yin/ Kuan Yin “The One who Hears the Cries of the World”

Sanskrit- Padma Pani “Born of the Lotus”


Guan Yin is traditionally shown in certain clothing, with various objects and either standing or sitting, alone or with different creatures or children.


The goddess of compassion and mercy is traditionally shown to be in a white flowing robe, wearing necklaces or rosaries of Chinese royalty and upon her head rests a crown. The white in the robe is a symbol of purity and the necklace represents enlightenment. The necklace or rosary signifies Guan Yin’s calls upon Buddha for aid. Each bead embodies all living beings and the turning of the beads denotes Guan Yin leading them out of suffering and rebirth to nirvana. The crown corresponds to Amitaba Buddha – Fully Conscious Infinite Light- who was her spiritual leader before she became a Bodhisattva.


The One who Hears the Cries of the World always has particular objects with her. In her right hand there may be a water jar, in the left had there might be a willow branch. She may also have a book or scroll of papers and she has also been known to hold a child. Each one of these parts have a very special meaning and each reinforces what Guan Yin stands for.


The water jar is a Sacred Vase which is also one of the Buddhist symbols of good fortune. It contains pure water that is considered the divine nectar of life corresponding to compassion and wisdom. She may pour the compassion from this jar on to the world or use the willow branch. The willow branch is used to sprinkle the nectar from the jar to the lives of the devotees to help and bless them both physically and spiritually and help give them peace. It also indicates the ability to bend and adapt without breaking and was used in shamanistic rituals and had medical purposes. The book or scroll of papers is the Dharma that she recites from and also is the Lotus Sutra, which corresponds to her origin. The child signifies her role as a patron saint of barren women.


Guan Yin is always either standing or sitting and is either alone or is accompanied by creatures or people. She is always upon a lotus that epitomizes peace, harmony and purity. There is a dove who flying towards her that signifies fecundity. She may also be shown with two children: Long Nue and Shan Tsai these two are her acolytes who came to her while she was on Mount Putuo. She is also the patron bodhisattva of Putuo Shan. She healed these two children and saved their lives. Guan Yin is also depicted either on a dragon or beside a dragon. The dragon is very important to the culture because the dragon is an ancient symbol of high spirituality, wisdom, strength, and divine powers of transformation.


Guan Yin appearance is highly respected and greatly sought after in China for her the compassion, mercy and aid that she brings to those who seek after her.






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