Kwan Yin

Buddhist Pantheon (Chinese origin)

Bodhisattva of Compassion and Mercy, protector of women, children & sailors, patron of vegetarians

Also known by Guan Yin, Quan Yin,  Kannon (in Japan)

Kwan Yin is a goddess of compassion, whose name means “One who hears the cries of the world.” She is regarded as a feminine bodhisattva, an enlightened being. Her worship took its current form when Buddhism came to China. As the female analog of The Buddha of Mercy, Avilokiteshvara, she’s loved by all. One variation is Kwan Yin of 1000 Arms, who has vowed never to rest until she has freed all humankind from mortal suffering. People of certain walks of life and situations traditionally seek her  favor, and many of the symbols we see on statues reflect this. Here’s a key to some symbols and other features of statues, along with their meanings:

  • dragon for ancient wisdom and spiritual transformation
  • with a baby, giving strength and blessings to mothers and children
  • lotus for contemplation and purity
  • bottle of medicine, sometimes with a stream of water, for healing
  • sea serpent, as a protector of sailors
  • waterfall for tears of compassion
  • sprig of foliage from the weeping willow, also signifying tears of compassion
  • rice bowl, for having one’s material needs met
  • hand cupped in the yoni mudra representing the universal feminine
  • pearls of illumination

For more information like this, consider signing up for Mimosa’s newsletter. It’s free, and you’ll even receive a free ebook too! You can check it out here: Free ebook & newsletter