Mother Kwan Yin

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Mother Earth, Quan Yin
Main Countries of Activity: 
China, Tibet, Japan
Date of Birth: 
13th century
Place of Birth: 
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Ancestor Gurus: 
Other Related Gurus: 
Mother Tara, Avalokiteswara


The name Kwan Yin, also spelled Quan Yin, means "One Who Sees and Hears the Cry from the Human World." The legend speaks of Kwan Yin beginning life as an Indian Bodhisattva, a male, and instead of entering Nirvana chose to stay on earth to help relieve suffering.

Another legend states that Kwan Yin was female and a Buddhist who through her great love of humankind and her personal sacrifice could have entered Nirvana but after hearing all the anguished cries of the world chose to remain and show mercy.

Beginning Life as Avlokiteshvara
The Chinese recognize Kwan Yin as the Goddess of Mercy but believe she may have entered this world in the form of a male called Avolokiteshvara. He was known as a merciful lord and identified with utter enlightenment. Avolkiteshvara belonged to the early 12th century and it is thought that he evolved many times and is today the female version of the Goddess of Mercy.

The Legend of Miao Shan
An ancient tale is told about a beautiful daughter of an Indian Prince called Miao Shan. She decided at an early age to become a Buddhist and to follow the traditional path of self-sacrifice and unreproachable virtue. So devoted to her faith that she earned the right to Buddhahood but refused the honor to remain on earth and help the helpless.

She tried to convert her father to Buddhism and finally succeed when she told him, as a transfigured stranger, to swallow the eyeball of on of his children to cure his blindness. None of the children would give him an eyeball and Miao Shan pointed out to him, through this exercise, the vanity of the world in which his children would not give him the sacrifice.



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