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Every culture regards the feminine force as a source of unconditional love and compassion. Motherhood is regarded with great reverence globally and a mother is the personification of kindness, compassion, mercy and love. If Jesus has found worshippers, the intervention of Mother Mary has found expression too. If Krishna’s exploits have painted India red, then his mother Yashoda gets a mention too. Similarly, if Buddha is regarded as the embodiment of enlightenment, Kuan yin is the female incarnation of the Buddha, mitigating the sufferings of beings through her mercies! 

Where the Buddha is revered for his intellectual prowess and wisdom, Kuan Yin is revered for the qualities of her heart. Wisdom combined with the right blend of love, justice blended with mercy, healing through purging are all characteristic of this Goddess of mercy, healing and justice. The Indian male Boddhisatva Avalokiteshwara has transformed himself into the Chinese female Kuan yin who is the ultimate Goddess of mercy!

The name Kuan Yin is derived from the words Kuan Shih Yin, translating as ‘observing or responding to the sounds and cries of sentient beings on earth’. She is depicted in flowing white robes that denote chastity and purity, with a jar of water in one hand and a willow branch in another. This depiction denotes her as the harbinger of peace and harmony in places where these cease to exist. The depiction of Kuan Yin as a Goddess goes back to the fact that Avalokiteshwara had supernatural powers to incarnate himself as a woman to whom children as well as adults rush when in need, as one would rush to one’s mother in times of turmoil.

Kuan yin in the tang dynasty

In the Tang dynasty of China, Kuan Yin is depicted as carrying a fish basket. Fishermen prayed to her to ensure safety in the seas and for a good catch!

According to another legend, Kuan Yin was Miao Shan, a princess who was coerced by her father the king to marry a wealthy merchant. But Miao Shan refused, as she desired to become a nun! When the king didn’t relent, she consented to the marriage if three of her wishes were granted. The wishes were if her marriage were to ease the sufferings as a result of old-age, illness and death, then she’d marry. But, when it was pointed that only a healer could do that, she expressed her wish to become a healer, a nun!

Upon joining the monastery and upon being treated as a slave by her father’s orders, even the animals helped her with the daily chores. When the king planned to destroy the temple, Miao Shan extinguished the flames and saved the temple. Thus, she is represented to quell anger and rage too. When your deeds are for the common good, every creature becomes your ally. As Miao Shan found supporters, one could seek strength by empowering and strengthening others!    

The image of Kuan Yin is akin to that of Virgin Mary with infant Jesus and that of Parvati with her sons Ganesha and Skanda! Motherhood and patience go together even as womanhood and grace go together. Patience and grace being virtues of a yielding, yin force, depicts strength in weakness; conquering in yielding! You become yang in being yin!


We offer the Internet's largest selection of Asian Arts, Crafts, and Collectibles with over 5,000 different items in stock in our Maryland warehouse. Our products are handcrafted and imported from Japan, China, Korea, Bali, India, Vietnam, Russia, Ceylon, Nepal, and Thailand. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your visit.

Tibetan Singing Bowls
Tibetan Mala Prayer Beads
Incense Burners
Bells & Gongs
Books on Spiritualism
Yoga Blankets
Gods & Goddesses

Sushi & Sake Set for Two
Sushi & Sake Sets
White Rabbits / Brown Rabbits
Chinese Snuff Bottles
Netsuke, Inro, Ojime
Gold Leaf Painted ~ 10 Inch Turnip Vase
Gold Leaf Lacquer
Pair of 10 Inch Closionne Vases

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