Daughters of the Greening Presents
Kuan Yin
By Wren
Kuan Yin is an Asian Goddess, although She is not considered a Goddess in the traditional Buddhist sense, as there are no Goddesses in Buddhism. She is also known under the names Quan Shih Yin, Guan Yin, and Kuan Shi Yin. Her name means “Regarding Sounds” which means She hears the cries and prayers of the world.

She is considered a “folk” Goddess because she is so revered by the simple people of China. She cannot be referred to as a Buddha due to Her decision to refuse perfect enlightenment by passing into Nirvana. Instead, Buddhists refer to Her as a celestial bodhisattva, the highest rank because She stands as close to heaven as is possible. She is both powerful and popular in China and has been honored for more than one thousand years in prayer and ritual.
She gained the love of Her people because of Her great devotion to us. Originally, she was born here in human form, as a girl named Miao Shan. Miao Shan, daughter of a King, rebelled against her Father’s wish for her to marry, for her desire was to become a Buddhist nun and spend all day every day in prayer. Her Father became so angry that he confined her to a tower hoping to break her stubborn ways. This action instead delighted her, as then she could devote all her time to prayer. This angered her father so much that he ordered his soldiers to take her to the forest and slay her.

Like every person in the household, they loved Miao Shan dearly, but feared her father more, so they led her from the tower to the forest. As the soldiers drew their swords and readied themselves to kill her, the largest tiger ever seen bound from the woods and, picking Miao Shan up in his mouth, carried her to a cave deep in the woods, where he left her and then himself disappeared.

As Miao Shan stood there, the cave dissolved without warning, and Miao Shan floated like a feather in the wind to a dismal, dark place where spirits of the dead floated aimlessly, as they were being held in bondage by the Keeper of the Dead, Yen Lo Wang. He held them hostage so that they could not be reborn and work off the consequences  of past misdeeds.
Miao Shan challenged the god in a loud voice. As he raised his hand to curse her, she calmly began to pray, and the spirits of the dead drifted towards her radiance. The god of death knew he had no power over the holy girl. As she blessed the spirits, they ascended upward and disappeared to be reborn here on earth.

She then found herself back in her cave and began praying. She felt a light rising within her body, and as it grew clearer and clearer the Buddha stepped from it, and held forth a peach. The peach, she was told, would sustain her until she achieved her goal of perfect enlightenment.   When she had achieved her goal, however, and could step into the light leaving behind earth’s miseries, she stopped. She remembered and could hear the cries of all those who still suffered.  She then vowed to remain on earth until every living thing was holy.

Thus she became the Compassionate Kuan Yin, sitting on Her island paradise, listening and answering all prayers to Her.   The Lotus, Black tea and the Rainbow are all sacred to Kuan Yin. Her themes are children, kindness, magic, health and fertility.   She gives her magical insight to those who ask. Her sacred duty is to relieve suffering and encourage enlightenment among humans.

She is known to bring souls to children awaiting rebirth. Embroidered slippers placed at Her shrines will produce pregnancy among sterile women. She rescues shipwrecked sailors and brings the rains.
Kuan Yin’s Special Days

Kuan Yin’s birthday is held February 9th. The holy name of Kuan Yin is the greatest protection we have against threats. Recognition of Her Goddess Light which shines through out creation, is our greatest source of strength. The Goddess of Mercy is most active in the Spring, for that is when Her people feel their losses most poignantly. In Chinese tradition, merely uttering Her name is enough to attain salvation, for She is so merciful that no request goes unheeded, no prayer unanswered.

Her sculptures often show Her carrying a vase that holds branches of the weeping willow. She uses these sacred willow wands to shower droplets of mercy and precious healing water over the earth.   We do not even need to articulate our precise needs, for just mentioning Her name draws Her to us.
July 12th is just one of Her feast days. Although women in our society are and have been encouraged to be “self-sacrificing”, we see the concept of sacrifice raised to a much higher plane.   Kuan Yin knows Her own power, and chose, due to Her loving kindness, to remain on this side of heaven to assist others towards toward a spiritual goal. When we aid others out of our own strength, we emulate Kuan Yin. When we fail to acknowledge our own strength and exhaust ourselves for others, we have not met the spiritual challenges of a woman’s life.

October 14th is the celebrated anniversary of the trans - mutation of Miao Shan, Kuan Yin’s human manifestation. She was trans - mutated into the kindly bodhisattva (someone who falls between being a saint and a deity). Kuan Yin is the only woman called a bodhisattva, and is the most beloved of them all.

Kuan Yin’s heart, the true center of being, is so profound that just one quality cannot describe it, therefore Kuan Yin speaks of ten hearts and for each there is a mantra. Mantra is the key to inviting Kuan Yin’s heart into ours, for it is considered a sacred sound. Buddhist scriptures state that She won Her enlightenment through her sacred sense of hearing.
Kuan Yin's Great Compassion Ritual, by Isis
Each year on April 15th, it is the tradition to perform the Kuan Yin Compassion Ritual. The ritual
is as follows:- This ritual is worked traditionally with a low altar and one seated on ones heels
(though sitting cross legged will suffice). Set up your altar with a picture or statue of Kuan Yin,
the Mandala of Compassion (above), and either a stick or come of Lotus or Amber incense.

Bow 3 times to Kuan Yin

Offer one (or more) glass(es) of water which Kuan Yin will bless.

Invite Kuan Yin to come to you and appear.

Bring the palms of your hands together in the prayer mudra.
Recite the following:
“ May the Peace of Kuan Yin be upon this household

May the Light of Kuan Yin be in my soul

May the Wisdom of Kuan Yin be in my mind

May the Virtue and Purity of Kuan Yin be among the members of my household

May the Health and Well-Being of Kuan Yin be manifest through out my body,

And radiate through the garments I wear.

May the Grace of Kuan Yin be in my worship

May the Talents and Genius of Kuan Yin be manifest through my senses

May the Peace of Kuan Yin be upon me!”

Recite this mantra 10 times—

“Na Mo Kuan Yin Bodhisattva”.

Finally drink the water blessed by Kuan Yin.

This water now has healing powers.

Dedicate this practise of the Kuan Yin Great Compassion Mantra to the benefit and
enlightenment of all beings.

Close your shrine.
Soft voice
Gracing my life
Wisdom behind your gentle smile,
Knowing me truly within your loving eyes.
You chose me to awaken my compassion.
I took off my armor
Finally becoming me,
Because of, with and for You.

By Wren
Sources used:

1.  Web site of Kuan Yin Association

2.  Sacred Texts

3.  Patricia Monaghan, Goddess Companion

4.  Patricia Monaghan, The Goddess Within

5.  Patricia Telesco, 365 Goddesses

6.  Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia of Folklore
     and Mythology

7.  Imitation of Kuan Yin, Finding Mercy with the
     Goddess of Mercy, Dale Goodyear, 1996


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