Painting by Zeng Hao

“Kwan Yin’s themes are children, kindness, magic, health and fertility.  Her symbols are a lotus, black tea, rice and rainbows.  Kwan Yin is the most beloved of all Eastern Goddess figures, giving freely Her unending sympathy, fertility, health and magical insight to all who ask. It is Her sacred duty to relieve suffering and encourage enlightenment among humans. In Eastern mythology, a rainbow bore Kwan Yin to heaven in human form. Her name means ‘regarder of sounds’, meaning She hears the cries and prayers of the world.

If you hope to have children or wish to invoke Kwan Yin’s blessing and protection on the young ones in your life, you can follow Eastern custom and leave an offering for Kwan Yin of sweet cakes, lotus incense, fresh fruit and/or flowers. If you can’t find lotus incense, look for lotus-shaped soaps at novelty or import shops.

For literal or figurative fertility, try making this Kwan Yin talisman: During a waxing-to-full moon, take a pinch of black tea and a pinch of rice and put them in a yellow cloth, saying:

 ‘As a little tea makes a full cup
so may my life be full
As the rice expands in warm water
so may my heart expand with love and warmth
The fertility of Kwan Yin, wrapped neatly within.’

Tie this up and keep it in a spot that corresponds to the type of fertility you want (such as the bedroom for physical fertility).”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Padmapani Avalokiteshvara

“The Goddess Kwan Yin is known as the Goddess of Mercy and Her specialty is compassion, for She knew all about suffering.  In Her first life in India She was born as a male named Avalokitesvara, who sought to help poor lost souls be reborn to a better life on their journey to enlightenment. But he was overwhelmed and anguished when more lost souls kept coming in what seemed an endless cycle. In his despair he shattered into a thousand pieces.

From his remains they shaped him as a woman, a Goddess — more suitable for bringing compassion and mercy into the world, they thought.

Painting in Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

They gave Her a thousand arms and eyes in the palms of each of Her hands so that  She would always see the people’s distress and be able to reach out to encircle them.

Then they sent Her back to earth to do Her work. So successful was She at comforting the people, that word of Her began to spread to other lands and other religions. ‘We need Her here,’ the people cried.

And so She went, reincarnating Herself wherever She was needed. Known by many names and stories in many places, She was revered as a Buddhist deity and then a Taoist one.” [1]

In Chinese tradition, “Kwan Yin (‘She Who Hears the Prayers of the World’) was originally the mother Goddess of China, who proved so popular She was adopted into the Buddhist pantheon as a bodhisattva (much like the Goddess Bride was made a saint). A bodhisattva is a person who has attained enlightenment but chooses to forgo Nirvana and remain in the world to help others attain enlightenment.” [2]

Before She became a bodhisattva, Kwan Yin was a princess named Miao Shan. “At the time of Miao shan’s conception the queen, Pao-ying, dreamed that she swallowed the moon. When the time came for the child to be born, the whole earth quaked, and wonderful fragrance and heavenly flowers were spread near and far. The people of that country were astounded. At birth She was clean and fresh without being washed. Her holy marks were noble and majestic, Her body was covered over with many-colored clouds. The people said that these were signs of the incarnation of a holy person. Although the parents thought this extraordinary, their hearts were corrupt, and so they detested Her.” [3]  As Miao Shan, She was rejected at birth and abused by a father who had wanted a son.  He sought to marry Her off, but She refused, only wanting to become a nun.  She endured many trials, but eventually Her father relented and She was allowed to pursue her dream of religious life and dedicated Her life to Buddhism.

But Her suffering did not end there. Her vengeful father even hired a man to kill Her, but She forgave him. In the end, Her great love and mercy saved his life and reconciled Her parent’s to Her divinity. [4] [5]

“As the still-popular mother Goddess of China, Kwan Yin is known as a great healer who can cure all ills. She is also a Goddess of fertility, and is often shown holding a child. In this aspect She is known as Sung-tzu niang-niang, “The Lady Who Brings Children”. She is shown holding a crystal vase, pouring out the waters of creation. Simply calling Her name in time of crisis is believed to grant deliverance.” [6]

"Kwan Yin" by Pamela Matthews

“Guanyin is also revered by Chinese Taoists (sometimes called Daoists) as an Immortal. However, in Taoist mythology, Guanyin has other origination stories which are not directly related to Avalokiteśvara.” [7]

“She is known as the Goddess Tara in the Himalayas and Mazu in Her incarnation as the Goddess of the Southern Seas, but She is best known by Her Chinese name, Kwan Yin (also spelled Kuan Yin), the Goddess of Compassion.

Depicted in statues and paintings, the Goddess Kwan Yin often appears as a calm, gentle woman of middle-age who radiates serenity. She is sometimes referred to as an Asian madonna.”  [8]

Guanyin (Kannon) & Child
Painting at Tzu-chi Foundation Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan.

“Some syncretic Buddhist and Christian observers have commented on the similarity between Guanyin and Mary of Christianity, the mother of Jesus Christ. This can be attributed to the representation of Guanyin holding a child in Chinese art and sculpture; it is believed that Guanyin is the patron saint of mothers and grants parents filial children. When the Tzu-Chi Foundation, a Taiwanese Buddhist organization, noticed the similarity between this form of Guanyin and the Virgin Mary, the organization commissioned a portrait of Guanyin and a baby that resembles the typical Roman Catholic Madonna and Child painting.

Some Chinese of the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Philippines, in an act of syncretism, have identified Guanyin with the Virgin Mary.

During the Edo Period in Japan, when Christianity was banned and punishable by death, some underground Christian groups venerated the Virgin Mary disguised as a statue of Kannon; such statues are known as Maria Kannon. Many had a cross hidden in an inconspicuous location.” [9]



Kuan Yin has countless stories and countless forms. You can view a few by clicking here to visit


"Kuan Yin #2" by Penny Slinger


  • the color white
  • white flowing robes
  • white lotus blossom
  • avase of dew/nectar
  • fish (carp) & oysters
  • rice-cakes
  • oranges
  • garlic
  • six arms or a thousand
  • eight heads, one sitting atop the next
  • eyes on the palms of the hands
  • peacocks
  • vase of dew
  • willow branches
  • jade and pearls
  • the number 33
  • a boat made of bark
  • blossoming flowers
  • the Hou (a mythological creature resembling the Buddhist lion)
  • a rosary in one hand or a book
  • rose quartz, pink tourmaline, emerald (pink or green stones)


  • Kuan Yin (Kwan Yin. Guan Yin, Guan Shih Yin, Quan Yin, Guanyin, Kuanin)
  • Avalokitesvara
  • Mazu, A-ma, Matsu
  • Goddess of the Southern Sea
  • Kwannon (Japan)
  • the Asian Santa Maria
  • One Who Hears the Cries of the World
  • Sung-Tzu-Niang-Niang
    (Lady Who Brings Children)
  • The Maternal Goddess
  • The Observer of All Sounds
  • Bodhisattava of Compassion
  • The Thousand-hand Kuanyin    [10]


Om Mani Padme Hum is the six syllabled mantra particularly associated with the four-armed Shadakshari form of Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan Jainraisig, Chinese Guanyin), the bodhisattva of compassion. Mani means “the jewel” and Padma means “the lotus”.  The following Om Mani Padme Hum mantra is sung by OM Carol with Tibetan singing bowls.

I had to include the following video.  If you’ve not seen this before, be prepared to be amazed.  The performance is called “Thousand-handed Goddess of Mercy” performed by China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe.  They are all deaf and mute.  The amazing leading dancer is Tai Lihua , who is a dance teacher at a deaf-mute school in Hubei, China.  Through this amazing dance, these disabled performers demonstrated their passion, love and divine grace.




Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, “Chinese Cultural Studies: The Legend of Miao-shan“., “The Goddess Kwan Yin“., “Symbols & Names of the Goddesses Who Embody Kuan Yin“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Kwan Yin“.

Wikipedia, “Guanyin“.


Suggested Links:

Axinia. 1000 Petals by Axinia, “She Has Been Worshipped By More Devotees Than Any Other Goddess In History“., “Avalokitesvara and the Origins of the Goddess Kuan Yin“.

Lotus Moonwise. The Order of the White Moon, “Kwan Yin: Goddess of Compassion“.

My Kwan Yin, “About Kwan Yin“., “Virgin Mary & Kannon, Two Merciful Mothers“.

Revel, Anita. Reconnect With Your Inner Goddess, “Kwan Yin“.

Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism: Thai Exotic Treasures – Gifts and Information, “Kuan Yin, Kwan Yin, Avalokiteshvara, Chenrezig“.