Guan Yin is the Goddess of compassion, she has many different aspects (even male aspects).
She is the Chinese version of the Tibetan Boddhisattva Chenrezi and of Goddess Tara.
The name of Guan Yin is an abreviation of Guanshiyin, that mean "The one that listen to the cry of the world".
Most often she is pictured as whitye clothed lady, standing on a dragon, with in one hand a bottle and in the other a willow branche.
Other aspects of Guan Yin are for example :
- 1000 arms Guan Yin.
- A young prince of Tsong dynasty, seating and looking down.
- A young gil holding a basket of fishes.
- As a lady followed by a parrot or by some children's
or by both Gods Guan Yu and Wei Tuo.
- Some aspects show Guan Yin as being both a lady and a man
(a young boy with a moustache and big breasts !)
A masculine version of 1000 arms Guan Yin.
An exceptionnal statue of 1000 arms Guan Yin made of Sandal wood.
One legend say that in a past life Guan Yin was the daughter
of King Miao Zhongof the Zhou Dynasty.
She was a very religious girl and decided to enter a Buddhist monastery,
but her father did all he could to stop her. He asked the mother superior
to make his daughter work night & day to make her bored with monastery life,
but some animals came to her rescue and did her chores for her. Seeing his failure, her dad got her..killed ! Her soul then went down to Hell, but she was so pure that around her Hell turned to paradise.
The gods from Hell got alarmed and asked the Buddha to send her back to eath.
This is how she came back to life, on an island where she protected some sailors from storms.
Guan Yin father was then very badly sick and became blind. Guan Yin came back to take care of him, and tried to heal him by cutting
and cooking the flesh from her own arms, and also gave him her eyes so he could see again.
Her dad was so impressed with her generosity that he also became a Holy man
and could perform miracles and heal Guan Yin.
He asked that a statue of his daughter was made to remember what she did for him,
but the sculptor was a foreigner and failed to understand the King explanations,
so he made a statue of Guan Yin with a 1000 eyes and a 1000 arms.
Another story that try to explain why Guan Yin has a 1000 arms is the following Chinese legendfrom the "Complete legends of Guan Yin from the south seas" :
As the story go, Guan Yin make the vow to never rest until all sentient being were free from Samsara. Despite her best effort, she soon came to realise that many beings were still not free.
After doing a lot of effort to understand what so many beings desired,
her head exploded in 11 pieces. Buddha Amitabha, seeing her pain, gave her 11 heads to see and hear
the cry of all beings of the world. Then she tried to help all beings, but her arms failed and falled apart from too much work.
Seeing this, Buddha Amitabha came again to her help and gave her a 1000 arms
so she could help the multitude.
Guan Yin come to the rescue of anyone who need her, but more specifically
people who are in danger from water, demons, fire or swords.
She is the protector of little children's and fishermens. Guan Yin has the reputation to have the power to free prisonners from their chains,
to make snakes harmless and to stop thunder.
She also can heal any illness.
She is amongst the Immortals in the Taoist tradition,
but in this tradition the story of her origin is different. She is very popular in China where her image is in every home,
and festival celebrating her birth and illumination are much followed.
The cult of Guan Yin is linked to vegetarism, and it is often that the temples of Guan Yin
offer free vegetarian food to visitors, who must only clean their plate
and do a little offering for their food only if they want to.
In Thailand, the faithful of Guan Yin never eat..beef, but do eat other animals,
i fail to understand any logical explanation for this weird tradition.
Giant statue of Guan Yin in Koh Samui.
The traditionnal offering to Guan Yin are pearl necklaces.
A black Guan Yin in Vietnam.
Guan Yin very much look alike the Christian Virgin Mary
(both can be pictured as a beautifull woman dressed white or blue,
surrounded by young kids...).
This was used a lot by Christian missionary to try to convert Buddhist to their faith.
Also in Japan during the period when the Christians were persecuted, a common trick
was to use for worship to the Virgin Mary a statue of Guan Yin
with a tiny cross
hidden on its base.
Amongst Tibetan, Guan Yin is pictured as Goddess Tara.
MIRACLES OF GUAN YIN.
On this photo, a young girl dress as Guan Yin for a festival,
and some sort of dragon shaped "smoke" appeared on the photo.
On this weird photo of a statue of Guan Yin taken in a temple of Nakhon Pathom,
some sort of white string (that does not exist in real life)
appear on the photo and even seem to cast a shadow !
On this photo, Guan Yin seem to appear in an offering fire.
In 2009 during the consecration of the giant Guan Yin statue of Linh Ung pagoda,
a halo formed around its head.
The miraculous self appearing statue of Guan Yin in Guan Yin cave (Kanchanaburi, Thailand).
It seem to be in fact a vaguely human shaped stalactite,
but it is hard to judge because of the rather big golden clothe.