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Encyclopedia > Kuan Yin
Statue of Kuan Yin on Mount Putuo near Shanghai, China
Statue of Kuan Yin on Mount Putuo near Shanghai, China
Names
Simplified Chinese: 观音, 观世音
Traditional Chinese: 觀音, 觀世音
Pinyin: Guān Yīn, Guānshì Yīn
Wade-Giles: Kuan In, Kuan-shih In
Cantonese: Kwun Yum, Koon Yam
Hakka: Kwan Yim
Taiwanese: Koan-im, Koan-sè-im
Shanghainese: Kuoe'in, Kuoezy'in
Japanese | Kanji: 観音, 観世音
Romaji: Kannon, Kanzeon
Korean | Hangul: 관음, 관세음
Korean romanization: Gwan-eum, Gwan-se-eum
Vietnamese: Quan Âm, Quan Thế Âm
(See also Avalokiteśvara)

Kuan Yin (觀音; Pinyin: Guān Yīn) is the bodhisattva of compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. She is also known as the Chinese Goddess of Compassion by many. Kuan Yin originated as the Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara, which is her male form. 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 (Py.: Guānshì Yīn, 觀世音) which means "Observing the Sounds of the World". Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1200x1600, 649 KB)View of Guanyin statue on Mount Putuo. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1200x1600, 649 KB)View of Guanyin statue on Mount Putuo. ... View of Putuoshan island from the peak Mount Putuo (Chinese 普陀山; pinyin pu tuo shan) or Putuo Shan is an island located to the south-east of Shanghai, in Zhoushan prefecture of Zhejiang province, China. ... Shanghai (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Shanghainese: ), stuated on the banks of the Yangtze River Delta in East China, is the largest city of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Personal names in Chinese culture follow a number of conventions different from those of personal names in Western culture. ... Simplified Chinese characters (Simplified Chinese: 简体字; Traditional Chinese: 簡體字; pinyin: jiǎntǐzì; also called 简化字/簡化字, jiǎnhuàzì) are one of two standard character sets of printed contemporary Chinese written language. ... Traditional Chinese characters are one of two standard character sets of printed contemporary Chinese written language. ... Pinyin is a system of romanization (phonemic notation and transcription to Roman script) for Standard Mandarin, where pin means spell and yin means sound. The most common variant of pinyin in use is called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: HànyÇ” PÄ«nyÄ«n), also known as scheme... Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ... This article is on all of the Yue dialects. ... Hakka is one language in the family of languages known as Chinese. ... Mǐn N n (Chinese: 閩南語), also spelt as Minnan or Min-nan; native name B ; literally means Southern Min or Southern Fujian and refers to the local language/dialect of southern Fujian province, China. ... Shanghainese (上海话; pinyin: ShànghÇŽihuà, lumazi: Zanheireiwo, Shanghainese in IPA: ), sometimes referred to as the Shanghai dialect, is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyogana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji Kanji (Japanese: ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the arabic numerals. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 The title given to this article lacks diacritics because of certain technical limitations. ... Hangul also refers to a word processing application widely used in Korea. ... The Revised Romanization of Korean (Korean: 국어의 로마자 표기법; 國語의 로마字 表記法) is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea. ... AvalokiteÅ›vara or Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit, lit. ... Pinyin is a system of romanization (phonemic notation and transcription to Roman script) for Standard Mandarin, where pin means spell and yin means sound. The most common variant of pinyin in use is called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: HànyÇ” PÄ«nyÄ«n), also known as scheme... In Buddhist thought, a bodhisattva (Pali: bodhisatta; Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: púsà; Japanese: 菩薩 bosatsu; Korean: ë³´ì‚´ bosal ; Tibetan changchub sempa (byang-chub sems-dpa); Vietnamese: Bồ Tát; Thai: พระโพธิสัตว์) is a being who is dedicated to assisting all sentient beings in achieving complete Buddhahood. ... (Latin veneratio, Greek δουλια dulia) In traditional Christian churches (for example, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy), veneration, or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a dead person who has been identified as singular in the traditions of the religion, and through them honoring... East Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. ... A replica of an ancient statue of Gautama Buddha, found in Sarnath, near Varanasi. ... The Sanskrit language ( , ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 22 official languages of India. ... AvalokiteÅ›vara or Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit, lit. ... For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ... Immortality (or eternal life) is the concept of existing for a potentially infinite, or indeterminate, length of time. ... Pinyin is a system of romanization (phonemic notation and transcription to Roman script) for Standard Mandarin, where pin means spell and yin means sound. The most common variant of pinyin in use is called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: HànyÇ” PÄ«nyÄ«n), also known as scheme... Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaÅ›yanā (Sanskrit) means insight. While it is often referred to as Buddhist meditation, the practice taught by the Buddha was non-sectarian, and has universal application. ... Illustration depicting the transmigration of the soul. ...


In Japanese, Kuan Yin is pronounced Kannon (観音) or more formally Kanzeon (観世音); 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, and in Vietnamese, the name is Quan Âm or Quan Thế Âm Bồ Tát. Media:Example. ...

Contents

Depiction

Kuan Yin is the Chinese name for the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. However, folk traditions in China and other East Asian countries have added many distinctive characteristics and legends. Avalokiteśvara 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. Also, some people believe that Kuan Yin is neither man nor woman. In Buddhist thought, a bodhisattva (Pali: bodhisatta; Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: púsà; Japanese: 菩薩 bosatsu; Korean: ë³´ì‚´ bosal ; Tibetan changchub sempa (byang-chub sems-dpa); Vietnamese: Bồ Tát; Thai: พระโพธิสัตว์) is a being who is dedicated to assisting all sentient beings in achieving complete Buddhahood. ... AvalokiteÅ›vara or Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit, lit. ...


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. Species About 350, including: Salix acutifolia- Violet Willow Salix alaxensis- Alaska Willow Salix alba- White Willow Salix alpina- Alpine Willow Salix amygdaloides- Peachleaf Willow Salix arbuscula- Mountain Willow Salix arbusculoides- Littletree Willow Salix arctica- Arctic Willow Salix atrocinerea Salix aurita- Eared Willow Salix babylonica- Peking Willow Salix barrattiana- Barratts... Amitabha Buddha and his two acolytes, Mahasthamaprapta and Avalokitesvara Amitābha is a celestial Buddha described in the scriptures of Mahāyāna Buddhism. ... In Buddhist thought, a bodhisattva (Pali: bodhisatta; Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: púsà; Japanese: 菩薩 bosatsu; Korean: ë³´ì‚´ bosal ; Tibetan changchub sempa (byang-chub sems-dpa); Vietnamese: Bồ Tát; Thai: พระโพธิสัตว์) is a being who is dedicated to assisting all sentient beings in achieving complete Buddhahood. ...


In some Buddhist temples and monasteries Kuan Yin images are occasionally depicted as a young man dressed in Northern Song Buddhist robes sitting gracefully. He is usually depicted looking or glancing down, symbolising that Kuan Yin continues to watch over the world.


There are also regional variations of Kuan Yin depictions. One of these is that of Kuan Yin with fish. In this depiction Kuan Yin is depicted as a maiden dressed in Tang dynasty style clothing carrying a fish basket. This is popular in the Fukien region of China.


In Chinese art Kuan Yin is often depicted either alone, standing atop a dragon, accompanied by a bird, flanked by two children or flanked by two warriors. The two children are her acolytes who came to her when she was meditating at Mount Putuo. The girl is called Long Nü and the boy Shan Tsai. The two warriors are the historical character Guan Yu who comes from the Three Kingdoms period and the mythological character Wei Tuo who features in the Chinese classic Canonisation of the Gods. View of Putuoshan island from the peak Mount Putuo (Chinese 普陀山; pinyin pu tuo shan) or Putuo Shan is an island located to the south-east of Shanghai, in Zhoushan prefecture of Zhejiang province, China. ... Sudhana (translated as Good Wealth) is the main protagonist in the next-to-last and longest chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra. ... Guan Yu (關羽) (162–219) was a military general under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period in ancient China. ... The Three Kingdoms in 262, on the eve of the conquest of Shu. ... Particularly in Chinese Buddhism, Skanda Bodhisattva (Ch. ...


Veneration

In Chinese Buddhist iconography Kuan Yin is often depicted as meditating or sitting alongside one of the Buddhas and usually accompanied by another bodhisattva. Which Buddha or Bodhisattva usually depends upon which Buddhist school it represents. In the Pure Land school for example, Kuan Yin is frequently depicted as standing alongside Amitabha Buddha and Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprata. Temples that revere the bodhissatva Ksitigarbha usually depicts him meditating alongside the Buddha and Kuan Yin. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva (地藏菩薩), often known in its Japanese name Jizō (地蔵) or Chinese name Dizang (地藏 Dìzàng), is a popular Mahayana Buddhist Bodhisattva, usually depicted as a monk. ...


Along with Buddhism, Kuan Yin's veneration was introduced into China as early as the 1st century CE, and reached Japan by way of Korea soon after Buddhism was first introduced into the country in the mid-7th century. Korea (Korean: 조선 or 한국, see below) is a geographic area, civilization, and former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. ...


Kuan Yin's representation

Representations of the bodhisattva in China prior to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) were masculine in appearance. Images which later displayed attributes of both genders are believed to be in accordance with the Lotus Sutra, where Avalokitesvara has the supernatural power of assuming any form required to relieve suffering and also has the power to grant children. Because this bodhisattva is considered the personification of compassion and kindness, a mother-goddess and patron of mothers and seamen, the representation in China was further interpreted in an all female form around the 12th century. In the modern period, Kuan Yin is most often represented as a beautiful, white-robed woman, a depiction which derives from the earlier Pandaravasini form. Alternative meaning: Song Dynasty (420-479) The Song dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝) was a ruling dynasty in China from 960-1279. ... The Lotus Sutra or Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma (Sanskrit: SaddharmapundarÄ«ka-sÅ«tra; 妙法蓮華經 Cn: MiàofÇŽ Liánhuā JÄ«ng; Jp: Myōhō Renge Kyō; Kr: Myobeop Yeonhwa Kyong) is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sutras in East Asia and...


Legends

Guan Yin Shan (Kuan Yin Mountain) in Dongguan, China
Guan Yin Shan (Kuan Yin Mountain) in Dongguan, China

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1960x480, 124 KB) Summary Guan Yin mountain in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, Peoples Republic of China. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1960x480, 124 KB) Summary Guan Yin mountain in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, Peoples Republic of China. ... Dongguan (Simplified Chinese: 东莞; Traditional Chinese: 東莞; pinyin: Dōngguān) is an important industrial prefecture-level city in the Pearl River Delta, in the Guangdong Province of southern China. ...

Kuan Yin and the Thousand Arms

One Buddhist legend presents Kuan Yin as vowing to never rest until he had freed all sentient beings from samsara, reincarnation. Despite strenuous effort, he realized that still many unhappy beings were yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, his head split into eleven pieces. Amitabha Buddha, seeing his plight, gave him eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokitesvara attempted to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that his two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitabha came to his aid and appointed him a thousand arms with which to aid the many. Many Himalayan versions of the tale include eight arms with which Avalokitesvara skilfully upholds the Dharma, each possessing its own particular implement, while more Chinese-specific ones give varying accounts of this number. Illustration depicting the transmigration of the soul. ... The Big Buddha in Kamakura, an image of Amitabha Amitābha (阿彌陀佛 Ch. ... Dharma (Sanskrit धर्म) or Dhamma (Pāli) means Natural Law or Reality, and with respect to its significance for spirituality and religion might be considered the Way of the Higher Truths. ...

Kannon statue in DaieninMt. Koya, Japan
Kannon statue in Daienin
Mt. Koya, Japan

In China, it is said that fishermen used to pray to her to ensure safe voyages. The titles Kuan Yin of the Southern Ocean (南海觀音) and 'Kuan Yin (of/on) the Island' stem from this tradition. Statue of Kannon, Mt. ... Statue of Kannon, Mt. ... Konpon Daito, the central point of Mt. ...


Legend of Miao Shan

Another story, describes Kuan Yin as the daughter of a cruel king who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. The story is usually ascribed to the research of the Buddhist monk Chiang Chih-ch'i in 1100AD. The story is likely to have a Taoist origin. Chiang Chih-ch'i however when he penned the work believed that the Kuan Yin we know today was actually a Buddhist princess called Miao Shan who had a religious following on Fragrant Mountain. Despite this however there are many variants of the story in Chinese mythology. For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ...


The story surrounds is that of Miao Shan (妙善). Miao Shan who would later become Kuan Yin told her father the king after he made his demands that she would obey command. That is so long as the marriage eases three misfortunes.


The king asked his daughter what be the three misfortunes that the marriage should ease. Miao Shan pointed out that the first misfortune to be eased was that the marriage should alleviate the suffering people endure as they get older in age. The second misfortune is that it should ease is the suffering people endure when they fall ill.The third misfortune it should ease is the suffering caused by death. If the marriage cannot ease any of the above then she would rather retire to life of religion forever.


When the father asked who could ease all the above, Miao Shan pointed out that a doctor was able to do all the above.


The father grew angry as he wanted her to marry a person of power and wealth, not a healer. He forced her into hard labor and reduced her food and drinks but this did not cause her to yield.


Everyday she begged to be able to enter a temple and become a nun instead. Her father eventually allowed her to work in the temple, but asked the monks to give her very hard chores in order to discourage her. The monks forced Kuan Yin to work all day and all night, while others slept, in order to finish her work. However, she was such a good person that the animals living around the temple began to help her with her chores. Her father, seeing this, became so frustrated that he attempted to burn down the temple. Kuan Yin put out the fire with her bare hands and suffered no burns. Now struck with fear, her father ordered her to be put to death. After she died she was made into a goddess for all of her kindness and began her journey to heaven. She was about to cross over into heaven when she heard a cry of suffering back on earth. When she turned around she watched the myriad of suffering beings. Filled with compassion, she asked to be sent back and vowed to stay until all suffering had ended. Temple of Hephaestus, an ancient Greek Doric temple in Athens with the original entrance facing east, 449 BC (western face depicted) For other uses, see Temple (disambiguation). ... Nun in cloister, 1930; photograph by Doris Ulmann In general, a nun is a female ascetic who chooses to voluntarily leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent. ... A monk is a person who practices asceticism, the conditioning of mind and body in favor of the spirit. ... Heaven is an afterlife concept found in many religions or spiritual philosophies. ... Earth (IPA: , often referred to as the Earth, Terra, or Planet Earth) is the third planet in the solar system in terms of distance from the Sun, and the fifth largest. ...


One version of this legend states that, at the point of Kuan Yin's father's execution of her, a supernatural tiger took Kuan Yin to one of the more hell-like realms of the dead. However, instead of being punished by demons like the other inmates, Kuan Yin played music and flowers blossomed around her. This managed to completely surprise the head demon. The story says that Kuan Yin, by merely being in that hell, turned it into a paradise. Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus deliciarum manuscript of Herrad of Landsberg (about 1180) Hell, according to many religious beliefs, is a place or a state of pain and suffering. ... Paradise, by Jan Bruegel The word paradise is derived from the Avestan word pairidaeza (a walled enclosure), which is a compound of pairi- (around), a cognate of the Greek peri-, and -diz (to create, make), a cognate of the English dough. ...


Another version of the same legend tells that upon entering hell Kuan Yin was overwhelmed with grief at the suffering souls must endure in hell. Out of compassion, she freed many of the souls from hell before being stopped by Yanluo, King of Hell. She then returned back alive on Earth and resided at Mount Putuo. Tibetan Dharmapala at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois Yama is the name of the Buddhist god and judge of the dead, who presides over the Buddhist Narakas (Pāli: Nirayas), Hells or Purgatories. Although ultimately based on the god Yama of the Hindu Vedas, the Buddhist Yama has developed... Feng Du (Traditional Chinese: 酆都城; pinyin: Fēngdū Chéng) is the realm of the dead in Chinese mythology. ... View of Putuoshan island from the peak Mount Putuo (Chinese 普陀山; pinyin pu tuo shan) or Putuo Shan is an island located to the south-east of Shanghai, in Zhoushan prefecture of Zhejiang province, China. ...


A variant of the legend says that Miao Shan allowed herself to die at the hand of the executioner. The legend goes that as the executioner tried to carry out Miao Chuang Yen's orders, his axe shattered into a thousand pieces. He then tried a sword which likewise shattered. He tried to shoot Miao Shan down with arrows but they all veered off.


Finally in desperation he used his hands. Miao Shan, realising the fate the executioner would meet at her father's hand should she fail to let herself die, forgave the executioner for attempting to kill her. It is said that she voluntarily took on the massive karmic guilt the executioner generated for killing her, thus leaving him guiltless. It is because of this she descended into the Hell-like realms. While in the Hell-like realms she witnessed firsthand the suffering and horrors beings there must endure. Filled with compassion she released all the good karma she had accumulated through her many lifetimes, thus freeing many suffering souls back into Heaven and Earth. In the process that Hell-like realm became a paradise. Yama it is said sent her back to Earth to prevent utter destruction of his realm. It is said that upon her return she appeared on Fragrant Mountain.


Another tale says that Miao Shan never died but was in fact transported by a supernatural tiger, believed to be the Deity of the Place to Fragrant Mountain.


Post her return to Earth or to the Fragrant Mountain Miao Shan was said to have stayed for a few years on Putou Island where she practised meditation and helped the sailors and fishermen who got stranded. Kuan Yin/Miao Shan is frequently worshipped as patron of sailors and fishermen due to this. She is said to frequently becalm the sea when boats are threatened with rocks. After some decades Miao Shan returned to Fragrant Mountain to continue her meditation.


The Legend of Miao Shan usually ends with Miao Chuang Yen, the father of Miao Shan falling ill with jaundice. It is said that no physician could cure him. Then a monk appeared saying that the jaundice could be cured by making a medicine out of the arm and eye of one without anger. The monk further suggested that such a person could be found on Fragrant Mountain. Miao Shan when requested offered up her eyes and arms willingly. Miao Chuang Yen was cured of the illness and went to the Fragrant Mountain to give thanks to the person. When he discovered that his own daughter gave up her arm and eyes for him, he begged for forgiveness. The story concludes with Miao Shan being transformed into the Thousand Armed Kuan Yin and the king, queen and her two sisters building a temple on the mountain for her. The story concludes with Kuan Yin hearing a cry from the world below turned around and saw the massive suffering endured by the people of the world. Out of love for all man She returned to Earth, vowing never to leave till such time all suffering has ended.


Kuan Yin and Shan Tsai

Legend has it that Shan Tsai was a disabled boy from India who was very interested in studying the Buddhist dogma. When he heard that there was a Buddhist teacher on the rocky island of Putuo he quickly journeyed there to learn. Upon arriving the island, he managed to find Bodhisattva Kuan Yin despite his severe disability. Sudhana (translated as Good Wealth) is the main protagonist in the next-to-last and longest chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra. ...


Kuan Yin after having a discussion with Shan Tsai decided to test Shan Tsai resolve to fully study the Buddhist teachings. She conjured the illusion of three sword wielding pirates running up the hill to attack her. Kuan Yin took off and dashed off to the edge of a cliff, the three illusions still chasing her.


Shan Tsai, seeing that his teacher was in danger hobbled uphill. Kuan Yin at the time jumped over the edge of the cliff, and soon after the three bandits followed. Shan Tsai, still wanting to save the teacher managed to crawl his way over the cliff edge.


Shan Tsai fell down the cliff but was halted in midair by Kuan Yin, who now asked him to walk. Shan Tsai found that he could walk normally and that he was no longer crippled. When he looked into a pool of water he also discovered that he now had a very handsome face. From that day forth Kuan Yin taught Shan Tsai the entire Buddha Dharma.


Kuan Yin and Lung Nu

Many years after Shan Tsai became a disciple of Kuan Yin, a distressing event was happening in the South Sea. The sons of one of the Dragon Kings has been caught by a fishermen while taking the form of a fish. Being stuck on land, he was unable to transform back into his dragon form. Distressed, he called out to all of Heaven and Earth. His father despite being a mighty Dragon King was unable to do anything when his son was on land.


Kuan Yin hearing this cry quickly sent Shan Tsai to recover the fish and gave him all the money she had. The fish at this point was about to be sold in the market. It was causing quite a stir as it was alive hours after being caught. This drew a much larger crowd than usual at the market. Many people decided that this prodigious situation meant eating the fish will grant them immortality. With this all present wanted the fish. Soon a bidding war started and Shan Tsai was easily outbid.


Shan Tsai begged the fish seller to spare the life of the fish. The crowd now angry at someone so daring was about to prise him away from the fish when Kuan Yin projected her voice from far away saying "A life should definitely belong to one who tries to save it, not one who tries to take it."


The crowd realising their shameful actions and desire, dispersed. Shan Tsai brought back the fish to Kuan Yin who returned it promptly to the sea. There the fish transformed back to a dragon and returned home.


But the story does not end here, as a reward for Kuan Yin saving his son the Dragon King sent his granddaughter, a girl called Lung Nu to present to Kuan Yin the Pearl of Light. The Pearl of Light is a precious jewel owned by the Dragon King that constantly shone. Lung Nu, so overwhelmed by the presence of Kuan Yin asked to be her disciple so she may study the Buddha Dharma. Kuan Yin accepted her offer with just one request, Lung Nu is to be the new owner of the Pearl of Light.


Lung Nu and Shan Tsai are often seen alongside Kuan Yin as two children in popular iconography.


Kuan Yin and Vegetarianism

Due to her symbolising compassion, in East Asia Kuan Yin is associated with vegetarianism. Chinese vegetarian restaurants are generally decorated with her image, and she appears in most Buddhist vegetarian pamphlets and magazines. East Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. ... Vegetarianism is the practice of not consuming meat, with or without the use of other animal derivatives, such as dairy products or eggs. ... Buddhist cuisine is known as 齋菜 (pinyin: zhāi ca ) among Chinese. ...


Kuan Yin in Chinese Buddhism

In Chinese Buddhism, Kuan Yin/Kannon/Kwannon is synonymous with the Bodhissatva Avalokitesvara, the pinnacle of Mercy and Compassion. Among the Chinese Avalokitesvara is almost exclusively called Kuan Shih Yin Pusa. Chinese translation of many Buddhist sutras have in fact replaced the word Avalokitesvara with Kuan Shih Yin.


In Chinese Buddhism the popular myth and worship of Kuan Yin as a Goddess by the populace is generally not viewed to be in conflict with the Bodhissatva Avalokitesvara's nature. In fact the widespread worship of Kuan Yin as a Goddess of Mercy and Compassion is seen as the boundless salvistic nature of Bodhissatva Avalokitesvara at work. The Buddhist canons states that Bodhissatvas can assume whatsoever gender and form needed to liberate beings from ignorance and dukkha. With specific reference to Avalokitesvara, he has stated both in the Lotus Sutra and the Surangama sutra as having appeared before as a woman or a Goddess to save beings from suffering and ignorance. Some Buddhist schools refers to Kuan Yin both as male and female interchangeably.


Also in Mahayana Buddhism to which Chinese Buddhism derives from gender is no obstacle to Enlightenment. The Buddhist concept of non-duality applies here. The Vimalakirti Sutra in the Goddess chapter clearly illustrates an Enlightened being who is also a female and deity. In the Lotus Sutra a maiden became Enlightened in a very short time span. That Bodhissatva Avalokitesvara is also the Goddess Kuan Yin is not seen as contradictory.


Given that Bodhissatvas are known to incarnate at will as living people according to the sutras, Miao Shan is generally viewed as an incarnate of Avalokitesvara.


Kuan Yin is immensely popular among Chinese Buddhist especially those from devotional schools. She is generally seen as a source of unconditional love and more importantly as a savior. In the Bodhissatva Vow, Kuan Yin promises to answer the cries and pleas of all beings and that she will liberate all beings from their own karmic woes. Based upon the Lotus Sutra and the Shurangama sutra, He is generally seen as a savior, both spiritually and physically. The sutras states that through the saving grace of Avalokitesvara even those who have no chance of being Enlightened can be Enlightened and those deep in negative karma can still find salvation through the compassion of Avalokitesvara. In Pure Land Buddhism Kuan Yin is described as the "Bark of Salvation". Alongside with Amitabha Buddha and Bodhissatva Mahastamaprata She temporarily liberates being out of the Wheel of Samsara into the Pure Land where they will have the chance to accrue the necessary merit so as to be a Buddha in one lifetime.


Even among Chinese Buddhist schools that are non-devotional Kuan Yin is still highly venerated. Instead of being seen as an active external force of unconditional love and salvation, the personage of Kuan Yin is highly revered as the principle of compassion, mercy and love. The act, thought and feeling of compassion and love is viewed as Kuan Yin. A merciful, compassionate, loving individual is said to be Kuan Yin. A meditative or contemplative state of being at peace with oneself and others is seen as Kuan Yin. Only through compassion and love one can take the step to save others. Only by having peace within oneself can one save oneself.


In Mahayana Canon the Heart Sutra is ascribed entirely to the Bodhissatva Kuan Yin/Kwannon. This is unique as most Mahayana Sutras are usually ascribed to the Shakyamuni Buddha and the teachings, deeds or vows of the Bodhissatvas described by Shakyamuni Buddha. In the Heart Sutra Kuan Yin/Avalokitesvara describes to theArhat Sariputra the nature of reality and the Buddhist teachings. The famous Buddhist saying, "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form" comes from this Sutra.


Kuan Yin and Chinese Folk Belief

Kuan Yin is an extremely popular Goddess in Chinese folk belief and is worshipped in Chinese communities throughout East and South East Asia. Similar to Buddhist, Kuan Yin is revered in the general Chinese population due to her unconditional love, compassion and mercy. She is generally regarded by many as the protector of women and children. By this association she is also seen as a fertily goddess capable of granting children. She is also seen as the champion of the unfortunate, the sick, the disabled, the poor, and those in trouble. Some coastal and river areas of China regard her as the protector of fishermen, sailors and generally people who are out at sea. Due to her association with the legend of the Great Flood where she sent down a dog filled with rice grains in its tail after the flood, she is worshipped as a rice goddess. In some quarters, especially among business people and traders, she is looked upon as a Goddess of Luck and Fortune. In recent years there has been claims of her being protector of air travellers.


Kuan Yin and the Virgin Mary

Kuan Yin and child
Kuan Yin and child

Many observers have commented on the similarity between Kuan Yin and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Christianity. The Tzu-Chi Foundation commissioned a portrait of Kuan Yin and a baby that resembles the typical Madonna and Child painting. Guanyin and Child Potrait Painting of Guanyin and a child found in the Tzu-chi Foundation Hospital in Hualien, Taiwan. ... Guanyin and Child Potrait Painting of Guanyin and a child found in the Tzu-chi Foundation Hospital in Hualien, Taiwan. ... A traditional Catholic image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, displaying her Immaculate Heart The Blessed Virgin Mary, sometimes shortened to The Blessed Virgin, is a traditional title specifically used by Roman and Eastern Catholics, Anglo-Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and others to describe Mary, the mother of Jesus. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on Jesus of Nazareth, and on his life and teachings as presented in the New Testament. ... Tzu Chis logo, representing a lotus. ...


Some Chinese of the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Philippines, in an act of syncretism, have identified Kuan Yin with the Virgin Mary. Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile disparate, even opposing, beliefs and to meld practices of various schools of thought. ...


During the Edo Period in Japan, when Christianity was banned and punishable by death, some underground Christian groups venerated the Virgin Mary disguised as a statue of Kannon; such statues are known as Maria Kannon. Many had a cross hidden in an inconspicuous location. The Edo period (Japanese: 江戸時代, Edo-jidai), also called Tokugawa period, is a division of Japanese history running from 1603 to 1867. ...


Kuan Yin in popular culture

  • Kuan Yin plays a central role in the plot of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.
  • In the manga/anime titled Gensoumaden Saiyuki (based on the Chinese tale Journey to the West), Kuan Yin appears as Kanzeon Bosatsu, who appears as a minor, but still relevant, character. In this unorthodox take on Buddhism, Kanzeon is a smart-talking hermaphrodite who guides the Sanzo-ikkou on their quest to Shangri-La.
  • In the X-Men comic books, there are two characters named after the deity: Kwannon and Kuan-Yin Xorn.
  • The name of the Japanese company Canon Inc. derives from the Japanese name of the deity (see company's article for details).

The four heroes of the story, left to right: Sun Wukong, Xuánzàng, Zhu Wuneng, and Sha Wujing. ... Gensōmaden Saiyūki (Japanese: 幻想魔伝最遊記, Demonic Account of an Extreme Journey), published in English as simply Saiyuki, is a popular manga series created by Kazuya Minekura and loosely based on the famous Chinese novel Xī Yóu Jì (Journey to... The four heroes of the story, left to right: Sun Wukong, Xuánzàng, Zhu Wuneng, and Sha Wujing. ... The X-Men are a group of comic book superheroes featured in Marvel Comics. ... Revanche (Real Name: Kwannon) was originally an assassin for the Japanese crime syndicate, The Hand, and the lover of crime boss, Matsuo Tsurayaba, who was transformed into a telepathic mutant. ... Canon Inc. ... The Chinese calendar (Traditional Chinese: 農曆; Simplified Chinese: 农历; pinyin: nónglì) is a lunisolar calendar incorporating elements of a lunar calendar with those of a solar calendar. ... Taipei Lantern Festival in the Chiang-Kai Shek memorial hall in Taipei, Taiwan. ...

References

  • Martin Palmer, Jay Ramsay, Man-Ho Kwok: Kuan Yin. Myths and Prophecies of the Chinese Goddess of Compassion. , Thorsons, San Francisco 1995, ISBN 1-85538-417-5
  • Kuan Ming: "Popular Deities of Chinese Buddhism", Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc, 1985
  • Miao Yun: "Teachings in Chinese Buddhism: Selected Translation of Miao Yun", Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc, 1995
  • Evolution of Avalokitesvara
  • Gotenks from DragonballZ Uses an attack called "Senju Kannon Punch", in which he launches a flurry of blows similiar to a syogekiha while his arms move so fast that he appears to have hundreds of them.

See also

Shakyamuni Buddha teaching. ... Tieguanyin is a premium variety of Chinese oolong tea associated with Anxi in the Fujian province. ... Alternate meanings: Oolong (disambiguation) Oolong tea leaves Wuyi Huang Guan Yin tea leaves Wuyi Qi Lan Oolong tea leaves Oolong (Chinese: 烏龍; Pinyin: wūlóng) is a traditional Chinese type of tea somewhere in between green and black in oxidation. ... View of Putuoshan island from the peak Mount Putuo (Chinese 普陀山; pinyin pu tuo shan) or Putuo Shan is an island located to the south-east of Shanghai, in Zhoushan prefecture of Zhejiang province, China. ... Zhejiang (Chinese: 浙江; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Che-chiang; Postal System Pinyin: Chehkiang or Chekiang) is an eastern coastal province of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Shakyamuni under his bodhimandala, the bodhi tree. ... Picture of a family of Malaysian Chinese Gods, including Kwan Yin Ma, Kwan Kong and Na Tuk Kong. ...

External links

  • Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel has a detailed anthropological analysis of the evolution of Kuan Yin, as well as a full explanation of the legend of Miao Shan.
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  Results from FactBites:
 
Britain.tv Wikipedia - Kuan Yin (3850 words)
Kuan Yin (觀音; Pinyin: Guān Yīn) is the bodhisattva of compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female.
Another story, describes Kuan Yin as the daughter of a cruel king who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. The story is usually ascribed to the research of the Buddhist monk Chiang Chih-ch'i in 1100AD.
Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel has a detailed anthropological analysis of the evolution of Kuan Yin, as well as a full explanation of the legend of Miao Shan.
Kwan Yin - Crystalinks (2024 words)
For centuries, Kuan Yin has epitomized the great ideal of Mahayana Buddhism in her role as "bodhisattva (Chinese "p'u-sa)--literally "a being of Bodhi, or enlightenment," who is destined to become a Buddha but has foregone the bliss of Nirvana with a vow to save all children of God.
The name Kuan Shih Yin, as she is often called, means literally "the one who regards, looks on, or hears the sounds of the world." According to legend, Kuan Yin was about to enter heaven but paused on the threshold as the cries of the world reached her ears.
Kuan Yin's presence is widespread through her images as the "bestower of children" which are found in homes and temples.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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