Goddess Gallery                                 
Getting in touch with the Goddesses through history, myth, images and stories

Translation by Katiuscia Cancedda translatethis1@yahoo.co.uk

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Mother of Healing
Mother of mercy, mother of compassion and healing, honours outlining the characteristics of the beloved Chinese goddess Kuan Yin, or Guanyin.
In Chinese Buddhism, Guanyin (or Gunanshinyin) has gained the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Through a rather signifying transformation from a masculine to a feminine figure, Kwan Yin is "She who listens to the world’s lament", who sets free from suffering.

Once Buddha said of her:
Devote man ,if the set of the number of infinite myriads of beings that are suffering right now heard the name of the bodhisattva Guanshìyin and called upon her nam,e they’d be free from all suffering.

Thus Buddhists venerate Her as Bodhisattva of sympathy, but Her figure also belongs to Taoism that venerates Her as the Goddess of mercy. She’s also known as Quan Shi Yin, KuanYin, Quan’Am (Vietnam), Kannon (Japan) e Kanin (Bali).

The myth
The legend tells that Kuan Yin was the daughter of a rich and cruel man who longed for her to marry for convenience in order to increase their social prestige. Hoping to achieve spiritual illumination, the sweet Kuan Yin disobeyed her father, finding refuge in a temple, where she was soon appreciated for her kind and charitable behaviour. Nevertheless, her father went into such rage for her gesture that he ordered her murder. In virtue of the good deeds fulfilled during her brief life, Heaven opened out for Kuan Yin, where she was to enjoy eternal ecstasy.

But while she was approaching the gates of Heaven, Kuan Yin heard a scream soaring from below. It was the scream of a person suffering on Earth, of someone in need of her help. At that precise moment, she swore to abandon the world of the living only when everyone, none excluded, was freed from torment and pain. Due to this promise, Kuan Yin was transformed into a goddess.

Today the Goddess Kuan Yin is subject of a great cult since she is attributed the faculty of healing those suffering in the body and spirit, also protecting mothers and children reduced to despair and even sailors surprised by the storm.

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The cult
Life leads us too often to be overwhelmed with more or less complex problems. Pain envelops us in a “choke hold” and we feel powerless. The Goddess Kuan Yin, in virtue of Her kindness, represents a valid point of reference for anyone who suffers anguish or illness.

There are numerous Chinese families that keep a statuette of Kuan Yin in a tranquil corner of the house; frequently, these statuettes represent the Goddess wrapped in a white cloak, sat on a throne made out of lotus flowers, while holding a small baby in her arms. Flowers, fruit or incense are offered before these domestic temples.

The belief that pronouncing Kuan Yin’s name produces the magical effect of healing suffering and conferring comfort is widespread. Others opt to go on pilgrimage to the temple of the Goddess, situated on the mount Miao Feng Shan; rattles and other trilling objects are agitated during prayers in order to attract Her attention.

A Rite
The idea to go on pilgrimage to Kuan Yin is definitely valid: it highlights how nature, in the form of Kuan Yin in all Her mercy, offers the restoration of our misfortunes through Her generous and enveloping embrace.

Should you feel again overwhelmed with anxiety, spend some time among nature’s open spaces. Chose a pleasant and cheerful place; if you live in a big city or town, a brief journey by train to reach a small tree-lined oasis should suffice. Take some fruit or flowers to offer to Kuan Yin.

Once destination is reached, allow yourself some time to walk. The act of walking is associated to time passing: time will pass and your problems with it, whether you believe it or not.

As soon as you find a silent corner where you may not be disturbed, sit down and disclose to Kuan Yin what oppresses you the most. Explain aloud what anguishes you and why. She will understand in virtue of Her beneficent spirit. Do not haste. Don’t forget that the simple gesture of pronouncing the name of Kuan Yin aloud will infuse peace even to the most tormented mind.

When you have finished, leave your offering to the Goddess and thank Her for the granted help.

Rite taken from: Kris Waldherr "The Inner Goddess", and Xenia



edited on the site
www.ilcerchiodellaluna.it in February 2007

Translated by Katiuscia Cancedda in March 2011 translatethis1@yahoo.co.uk