Kuan Yin, also spelled Quan Yin, is a much-loved buddhist divinity. Also, she is known as the Divine Goddess of Healing, Protector of Childbirth and Mother of Mercy. Many compare her to the Virgin Mary.
Her symbols are the nectar vase and lotus flower. In Daniela Schenker's book, Kuan Yin- Accessing the Power of the Divine Feminine, she writes that the nectar vase represents healing and compassion, and the lotus flower, "a symbol of purity and enlightenment."
Legend states that on the verge of entering the gates of Nirvana-the final threshold of enlightenment, Quan Yin was profoundly moved by the shouts and cries of humanity.
Instead of entering Nirvana, she vowed to stay within the earth realm to assist humanity in attaining liberation from the karmic bondage of suffering.
However, where did she originate? According to the literature, she originated from India as Avalokitesvara in a male form. Later, Daniela Schenker states, "the male Avalokitesvara was transformed into a female figure in China." In addition, the name Avalokitesvara was changed to Kuan Yin- "one who contemplates the sounds of the world."
According to Wikipedia, "Avalokitesvara was originally depicted as Buddha when he was still a prince, and therefore wears chest-revealing clothing...in China, Quan Yinis usually depicted as a woman...some people believe that Kuan Yin is neither man nor woman."
Quan Yin, is depicted in many forms. One of the most famous is Kuan Yin and the thousand arms.
|One Thousand Arms|
Legend states that Quan Yin, who vowed to stay within the earth realm to assist humanity, realized that the number of suffering beings was massive and boundless. Despite her strenuous effort, the mission was overwhelming. Finding herself unable to fulfill the numerous demands, her head exploded into eleven pieces.
Daniela Schenker states that Amitabha, the spiritual father of Avalokitesvara/Kuan Yin, "swiftly comes to the aid...transforms each fragment into an entire head...twenty-two eyes with which to identify suffering and eleven brains to find the best remedy to liberate all beings!"
With twenty-two eyes and eleven brains, she continued her mission. However, she discovered that more was needed. In her continuous endeavor to ameliorate the suffering of humanity, Avalokitesvara/Quan Yin's two arms shattered into pieces. Once again, Amitabha Buddha aided and provided her with a thousand arms to better assist the needy.
Another compelling legend is the story of Miao Shan- the embodiment of Quan Yin.
Miao Shan was the daughter of a wicked and greedy King. In an effort to expand his fortune, the King arranged a marriage alliance between Miao and a wealth and powerful man. When he commanded her to marry the man, she agreed to obey only if the marriage "eased three misfortunes."
According to Wikipedia, "the first misfortune that marriage should ease was the suffering people endure when they age... second... when they fall ill" and "third...caused by death."
Infuriated by his daughter's demands and refusal to marry, the King condemned her to live in a monastery and perform strenuous labor. She accepted her punishment without protest and performed her chores lovingly.
The King became frustrated and ordered his men to burn down the monastery with everyone inside. When Miao Shan realized that the monastery was on fire, Daniela Schenker writes, "...she pierced her tongue with a hairpin-soon blood began to shoot from it. This summoned heavy storm clouds, and it started to rain." Immediately, the fire ceased, and everyone was saved.
By now, the King was livid and wanted his daughter dead. He ordered her to be executed, but to no avail. Every weapon used against her was useless. In Wikipedia, it states that the axe and sword used to carry out the task, "shattered into a thousand pieces."
Moreover, Daniela Schenker states, "suddenly, the air became very still, and a huge white tiger appeared. He grasped Miao Shan and then bounded away with a single giant leap."
Additionally, legend says that the supernatural tiger took her to hell where she met the demon, Yama. There, she encountered suffering souls crying out for mercy. As she began to shower them with love and compassion, the suffering souls began liberating themselves. The presence of Miao Shan in hell "turned it into a paradise."
Yama, recognizing that Miao Shan did not belong in hell, released her and gave her a, "peach of longevity as a gift."
Upon returning to earth, Miao Shan went to Putuo Shan, an island located on the southeast of Shanghai, China. She remained there, "in deep meditation for many years."
While in deep meditation, Miao Shan had a vision in which her father was gravely ill.
Indeed, the King was extremely ill. A Monk informed the King that he could cure him, "by making a medicine out of the arm and eye of one without anger." Furthermore, he stated that such a person lived in the island of Putuo Shan.
The King ordered a messenger to go to Putuo Shan and retrieve the needed items. Upon the return of the messenger, the medicine was prepared and administered. The King recovered fully.
In gratitude for the service given to him by the compassionate and unselfish being, the King decided to visit the cave where the divine being lived.
Daniela Schenker writes that when the King and Queen entered the cave, "they discovered that this miraculous being was their daughter, Miao Shan. The cave was bathed in brilliant light as Miao Shan transformed into her sacred manifestation with a thousand eyes and arms and floated away."
The King, in gratitude and reverence, built a shrine where he was reunited with his daughter- now called Fragrant Mountain.
During a trip to China, I attended a religious ceremony dedicated to the deceased parents of my friend. The ceremony was conducted in a Buddhist temple in Shanghai. The ceremony was beautiful and captivating.
The temple consisted of numerous rooms of worship. In the courtyard was an enclosed area devoted to Spiritual Kuan Yin. Upon entering, I was welcomed by two colossal statues of Kuan Yin in all her glory. The presence of the two statues, one thousand arms Quan Yin and Quan Yin covered in a silk robe, was transcendent. The Spiritual Goddess was spectacular.
THE BLESSING OF BELOVED QUAN YIN
May the peace of God be upon this household! May the love of God be in your hearts! May the light of God be in your souls! May the wisdom of God be in your mind! May the virtue and purity of God be in your feelings! May the strength and vitality of God be among the members of your household! May the health and well-being of God be manifest through the bodies, the garments that you wear! May the grace of God be in your action! May the talents and genius of God be manifest through your senses! May the fullness of the victory of your own God plan be manifest through your souls at the close of your earth life!
Call unto me and I will answer thee!
Divine Quan Yin hear my prayer. On this day, GIVE me the strength and health to continue my mission on the earth plane. TEACH me to be compassionate to others without wanting anything in return. PROTECT me from all those who wish to do me harm. HELP me to reach the right path to enlightenment. FILL me with your divine energy now and always...Composed by me.
For all individuals who claim that they don't know how to pray, I simply say- if I can do it, so can you. Remember, prayer comes from the heart. All you need to do is express what you feel. Divine Kuan Yin is always listening to those who pray to her. Start by introducing yourself, and the rest will follow.
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