Kuan Shu Yin

Kuan Yin

From The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Imbued with supernatural power
And wise in using skilful means,
In every corner of the world
She manifests her countless forms.

No matter what black evils gather--
What hell-spawned demons, savage beasts,
What ills of birth, age, sickness, death,
Kuan Yin will one by one destroy them.

True Kuan Yin! Pure Kuan Yin!
Immeasurably wise Kuan Yin!
Merciful and filled with pity,
Ever longed-for and revered!

Radiance spotless and effulgent!
night-dispelling Sun of Wisdom!
Vanquisher of storm and flame!
Your glory fills the world!

Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 25

  The heart of Kuan Yin's appeal is compassion for suffering humanity; indeed for all suffering life.  The hopeful message of the compassion and mercy, salvation and hope of the Lotus Sutra continues to infuse and inspire devotion to the One who Hears the Cries of the World.

The greatest significance of Kuan Yin is as the embodiment of the divine feminine.  In Kuan Yin we encounter compassion.  In the world of spirits, devils, demons, ghosts, maverick deities, angry ancestors and the like, she shines like a divine lighthouse, leading home the lost, the bewildered and the distressed.  In Her worship, the divine becomes suffused with beauty and grace, with love and mercy, with gentleness and wisdom.  In this Kuan Yin stands stark contrast to most of the other power deities of China and Japan.

By invoking Kuan Yin, one reaches out to touch the light side, the gentle side of divinity.  In seeking Her help, Her guidance, you hear the softer wisdom of woman amidst the preaching of the Buddhas or the war cries of the combatant deities.  To listen to or to gaze upon Kuan Yin is to be calmed, centered and in this way, brought to see both your depths and your limitations.  In praise of Her, great artists of stone, wood, metal, and word have sought to create beauty, tranquility and peace.  For the millions around the world who turn to Her each day, this is what Kuan Shih Yin, the One who Hears the Cries of the World, the feminine made divine, offers to those who will meet Her.


(from Kuan Yin, Myths and Prophecies of the Chinese Goddess of Compassion, Martin Palmer and Jay Ramsay with Man-Ho Kwok)