Quan Yin is known as the
and is revered as an embodiment of compassionate loving kindness.
For centuries, Kuan Yin has epitomized the great ideal of Mahayana Buddhism in her role as "bodhisattva (Chinese "p'u-sa)--literally "a being of Bodhi, or enlightenment," who is destined to become a Buddha but has foregone the bliss of Nirvana with a vow to save all children of God. According to legend, Kuan Yin was about dissolve into Nirvana but paused on the threshold as the cries of the world reached her ears.
Quan Yin's name is a translation of the Sanskrit name Avalokitesvara, also known as Avalokita. In its CHINESE form it is Kuanshih Yin, which means "She who harkens to the cries of the world. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, She hears the cries of all beings. Avalokitesvara ( Quan Yin) came to be known by most Tibetans as Buddha's earthly representation and as chief guardian of the dharma (doctrine) until the advent of Maitreya Buddha.
Quan Yin 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 pain-filled cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara).
She is often compared with the Virgin Mary and the Tibetan Goddess Tara. She is a virgin Goddess who protects women, offers them a religious life as an alternative to marriage, and grants children to those who desire them.
Quan Yin is one of the most universally beloved of deities in the Buddhist tradition. Also known as Kuan Yin, Quan'Am (Vietnam), Kannon (Japan), and Kanin (Bali),
As the sublime Goddess of Mercy whose beauty, grace and compassion have come to represent the ideal of womanhood in the East, she is frequently portrayed as a slender woman in flowing white robes who carries in her left hand a white lotus, symbol of purity. Ornaments may adorn her form, symbolizing her attainment as a bodhisattva, or she may be pictured without them as a sign of her great virtue.
Meditating on the Goddess of Mercy involves little dogma or ritual. The simplicity of this gentle being and her standards leads her devotees to be more compassionate and loving.