Kuan Yin is both a goddess and a bodhisattva, which means "enlightened being." Bodhisattvas can become Buddhas; however, Kuan Yin has such a deep love for humanity that after she attained enlightenment, instead of ascending to Buddhahood, she chose to remain in human form until every one of us becomes enlightened. She's devoted to helping us fully open up to our spiritual gifts, attain profound knowledge and enlightenment, and reduce world suffering. It's said that the mere uttering of her name affords guaranteed protection from harm.
Kuan Yin is often called "the Mother Mary of the East," because she represents feminine divinity and goddess energy in the Buddhist religion, in the same way that Mary radiates sweet loving femininity within Christianity. Kuan Yin teaches us to practice a life of harmlessness, using great care to ease suffering in the world and not add to it in any way. You may see the color red when she's around, such as red sparkles of light or a red mist that appears from out of nowhere.
A woman named Mary Urssing told me this beautiful story of her interactions with Kuan Yin:
"I was in Hawaii and had just purchased a crystal pendant depicting Kuan Yin. Right after donning the necklace, I started to hear her talk to me in a soft, soothing Asian voice. On the last morning of my vacation, I was awakened by Kuan Yin telling me to go outside for a walk. I sat on our porch but was urged to walk. 1 did just that, carrying a portable cassette recorder with headphones, through which I heard beautiful Hawaiian music. I noticed a plumeria flower on the ground that was pink, to me a sign of love. I would normally pick these flowers and immediately put them in my hair, but things were different today. 1 just held the flower.
"As I neared a waterfall, I heard Kuan Yin tell me that I was to have an initiation of self-passion, far beyond self-love. The moment was very sacred, as I knew that I was taking a vow that was more intense than anything I'd ever done. I accepted, and was told to stand inside the waterfall in a cove, a cocoon of sorts. I was to really be, feel, and know self-love. I felt this with all of me and grounded this moment into my complete being. Trying now to put it into words doesn't seem to do justice to this personal ceremony.
"As I took in this energy, I was asked to seal it with the symbol that I unknowingly had chosen for this time—the plumeria. As I threw my flower into the waterfall to ritualize my ceremony, I saw it sink, and as it did, the water in its place turned the most beautiful color of deep, passionate red. I actually saw the water turn red! All of this instantly changed me, and I knew that it was time to honor myself and my power.
"Later that day, I told my friend Marlies that I'd had the most amazing experience at a waterfall. She asked, 'Was it at Kuan Yin's waterfall?' I was surprised by her question and asked her for more information. She explained that Kuan Yin's statue was in one of the waterfalls on the island. Sure enough, as I scouted around later that day, there it was—a beautiful statue of Kuan Yin tucked away on a stone shelf in the cove of the waterfall. She had called me to her sanctuary!"
In Kona, Hawaii, there are many beautiful statues of Kuan Yin. Near one statue that depicts her holding a lotus flower, she said this to me: "Here are my sacred instructions: First, have mercy upon yourselves. You have endured much in your land, and you have eons of lessons yet before you. Only through a gentle touch is Nirvana revealed. Stretch and reach for greatness, but always with a gentle approach. Seek not opportunities, but allow them, to gently come to you as a lotus flower floats upon the currents of water amidst a gentle breeze. Strive, but not with hurry—enjoy the process upon which you embark. Know that each step along the way is akin to a party—a celebration of movement, which is itself a miracle.
"Appreciate the godliness within yourself, within each of you. Do not chide yourself for your errors and mistakes, but laugh, grow, and learn from them instead. You, my gentle child, are doing just fine—in fact, very well indeed.
"If I were to give you any word of wisdom, it would be the word that best embodies love upon this Earth plane to me: compassion. Growing past all shame and embarrassment, and moving toward appreciation, not just for the 'good' parts of yourself and others, but for all along the way—it's all good, believe me. And if you can know that as the eternal truth sooner rather than later, your happiness will come galloping toward you at the speed of mustangs with winged hooves. Believe that as the truth. Now.
"Wisdom comes from sitting still and listening, not from rushing to get ahead. A still heart receives love and information more readily than one that is harried. Do something simple today: Pick a flower and simply study it with no intent. Be blank. Be open. And know that whatever comes to you is good, and a lesson in the making—always and forever."
- Feminine grace, beauty, and power
- Kindness, gentleness, and sweetness, toward self and others
- Love, receiving and giving
- Musical abilities, developing (especially singing)
- Protection—especially for women and children
- Spiritual enlightenment and gifts
Kuan Yin always hears and answers our prayers, and no special ritual is necessary to contact her. However, you may feel a more heart-centered connection with her through the use of flowers. For instance, hold a blossom, gaze at a budding plant or bouquet, or draw or look at a picture of flowers. Those who work closely with Kuan Yin often chant the mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum, which means "Hail to the jewel in the lotus flower."
One prayer that will help you invoke Kuan Yin is:
"Beloved Kuan Yin, please hear the prayers within my heart. Please uncover and understand what my true needs are. I ask for your intervention into the areas of my life that are triggering pain. Please come to my aid and assistance, guiding me to see my situation in a new light of love and compassion. Please help me to be like you and live peacefully and purposefully."