Guan Shi Yin Pusa
Guan Yin is one of the most universally beloved of deities in the Buddhist tradition. She is the embodiment of compassionate loving kindness. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, she hears the cries of all beings. In India Guanyin is the Sanskrit Avalokitesvara, which is her male form, and in Tibet the deity is known as Chenrezig and is thought to be reincarnated in the Dalai Lama.
In many images she is depicted carrying the pearls of illumination. Often Guan Yin is shown pouring a stream of healing water, the "Water of Life," from a small vase. With this water devotees and all living things are blessed with physical and spiritual peace. She holds a sheaf of ripe rice or a bowl of rice seed as a metaphor for fertility and sustenance. The dragon, an ancient symbol for high spirituality, wisdom, strength, and divine powers of transformation, is a common motif found in combination with the Goddess of Mercy.
Sometimes Guan Yin is represented as a many armed figure, with each hand either containing a different cosmic symbol or expressing a specific ritual position, or mudra. This characterizes the Goddess as the source and sustenance of all things.
Guan Yin, as a true Enlightened One, or Bodhisattva (Pusa), vowed to remain in the earthly realms and not enter the heavenly worlds until all other living things have completed their own enlightenment and thus become liberated from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
Contemplating the Goddess of Mercy involves little dogma or ritual. The simplicity of this gentle being tends to lead her devotees towards becoming more compassionate and loving themselves. A deep sense of service to all fellow beings naturally follows any devotion to the Goddess.
The name Guan Shi Yin, as she is often called, means literally "the one who hears the cries of the world."
Yuan Miao has composed a beautiful song about Guan Yin.
© 2012 Susan Sattler