About GuanYin (观音)

GuanYin 观音(Avalokiteśvara अवलोकितेश्वर) is the Bodhisattva associated with compassion and mercy, as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. “She” is known as Goddess of Mercy in English language. GuanYin is also sometimes referred to as GuanYin Pusa 观音菩萨. The Chinese name GuanYin 观音is short for GuanShiYin 观世音. Guan 观 means to observe, watch, or monitor; Shi 世 means the world; Yin 音 means sounds, specifically sounds of those who suffer. Hence GuanShiYin means "Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World". Thus, GuanYin is a compassionate being who watches for, and responds to, the people in the world who cry out for help

GuanYin is generally seen as a source of unconditional love and, more importantly, as a saviour. In her bodhisattva vows, GuanYin promises to answer the cries and pleas of all sentient beings and to liberate them from their own karmic woes. Based on the Lotus Sutra and the Shurangama sutra, Avalokitesvara is generally seen as a saviour, both spiritually and physically. The sutras state that through her saving grace even those who have no chance of being enlightened can be enlightened, and those deep in negative karma can still find salvation through her compassion.

In Pure Land Buddhism, GuanYin is described as the "Barque of Salvation". Along with Amitabha Buddha and the bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta, She temporarily liberates beings out of the Wheel of Samsara into the Pure Land, where they will have the chance to accrue the necessary merit so as to be a Buddha in one lifetime.

Even among Chinese Buddhist schools that are non-devotional, GuanYin is still highly venerated. Instead of being seen as an active external force of unconditional love and salvation, the personage of GuanYin is highly revered as the principle of compassion, mercy and love. The act, thought and feeling of compassion and love is viewed as GuanYin. A merciful, compassionate, loving individual is said to be GuanYin. A meditative or contemplative state of being at peace with oneself and others is seen as GuanYin.

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