» Quanyin: Goddess of Compassion Mas-india.com Blog

April 12, 2011 on 10:00 am

Dear Spiritual Explorer: Can you talk about the goddess named Quanyin? Liza M., Rockford, CT

Dear Liza: I particularly love the Quanyin with Phoenix and Dragon Statue at Ma’s India because of the accompanying phoenix and dragon. It’s certainly more bang for your buck. As most people know, the phoenix represents resurgence and rebirth from spiritual or physical death, and the dragon represents illumination, power and extraordinary transformation. Quanyin is wonderfully detailed in this statue with pearls of illumination around her neck and her hands pressed together in the traditional “Namaste.” One notes that Quanyin is quite beautifully carved in a wonderful ivory-seeming composite that washes beautifully.


Quanyin with Phoenix and Dragon

The name “Quanyin” is a derivation of a Chinese name for the goddess that epitomizes motherly compassion. She responds to the needs and anguish of people regardless of their background or belief. A great benefactor of the weak, ill and especially children and babies, Quanyin is prayed to by those who wish to have a child. Quanyin is called “the bestower of children.” Quanyin then guards the souls of the newborn and guides them to their new parents. Taoists invoke Quanyin’s presence to free newly departed souls from the judgment of the underworld.

Quanyin’s influence permeates from China to Korea and Japan, all the way down into Malaysia. Interestingly enough, although Quanyin origins were Buddhist, she has jumped into becoming a universally venerated goddess and Quanyin is now known to many different faiths and sects. We see her image everywhere.

Quanyin’s first appearance in literature seemed to be around 400 A.D. Devotees ofAvalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of Compassion of Indian Buddhism, brought the concept of Avalokita to China. There Quanyin was adopted as a god in the male form. However, that gradually changed to resemble a female form.  But by 1200 A.D. she was definitely a female portrayed in flowing robes. Other things related to Quanyin are a dove, a scroll of prayers which are the teachings of the Buddha, a rosary of white crystal beads showing the rounds of rebirth and a willow spray with which she sprinkles the divine nectar of life.

There is a line that says, “Comparisons are odious.” and perhaps we should not compare Quanyin to the Hindu goddesses. But we see as is evident in typical oriental fashion, a more modest and gentler aspect of a goddess that can be truly appreciated in the aesthetic sense. One feels that she is particularly attuned to finer sensibilities and that is a wonderful attribute to cultivate in oneself. Again a reminder that whoever created this universe had great compassion to create myriad gods and goddesses so that many different people of all faiths might be served. Kudos to the Creator!!

Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

Leave a Comment