KUAN YIN (KWAN YIN) – MOTHER OF MERCY
SHE WHO HEARS THE CRIES OF THE WORLD
By Ffiona Morgan, © 2003, 2007
Actual size of the cards: 5.25 inches
Boundless compassion and great mercy are rare qualities in our fast-paced world. However, in the midst of global chaos, terrorism and brutality, Kuan Yin’s gentle presence is still felt, as She holds out Her willow branch of love to a planet starved for these qualities. She is utterly lacking in pride, ambition and vengefulness.
Kuan Yin is our modern-day Mother Theresa or Mahatma Gandhi, and the countless workers of compassion who selflessly serve in the healing arts. During this period of time when I was temporarily disabled I felt Her presence often, sometimes from strangers who offered me a gentle helping-hand navigating stairs, opening doors, or on a crowded bus. I give thanks for the Australian people’s kindness. Also, Kuan Yin’s energy fuels ours so that we become inspired to give our hard-earned money to charitable organizations that care for the world’s starving children and beaten women.
She is known in Her Japanese manifestation as Kwannon, and in ancient China as Nu Kwa. When Buddhism entered China in 560 BC, worship of Great Mother Kuan Yin was already very old. She was known then as Nu Kwa, the fishtailed Goddess. Since Nu Kwa was loved so deeply and by so many, Buddhists absorbed Her into their belief system and renamed Her Kuan Yin: Kuan means earth and Yin means woman. She even survived Mao’s revolutionary regime in China, when large numbers of people, risking severe punishment, hid statues of Her in their homes.
This Chinese Goddess and the Goddess Pax are our models for peace. Kuan Yin, in particular, is so compassionate and kind that She even refuses to punish the wicked. She is the complete antithesis of a vengeful, wrathful God.
Fisher-folk have always had great love for Her, and She is often depicted in art and statue with a fishtail, standing in a floating lotus or gazing out to sea. She sometimes holds an urn containing the “dew of compassion”. Kuan Yin is definitely a water Goddess, appearing where there are rocks, lotus pools and willows. In art She is frequently rendered as a beautiful young woman or a wise midlife Queen. My Daughters of the Moon Tarot pictures Kuan Yin in Her latter aspect, sitting elegantly in a rocky waterfall with the light of “grace” surrounding Her. Kuan-Shi-Yin means “Hearer of the cries of the world” and She indeed hears us, relieves our suffering and pain, peril and sorrow, and comforts us in the hours of our greatest need. The myths say She comes to caress the fevered brow with Her cool touch, when no one else will. Women in childbirth call out for Her, as She comforts those in great pain. Our Mother of Mercy watches over all Her children, but especially blesses those who live in kindness and love and those who do not rage or make war.
You might be asking yourself what you can do to exemplify the qualities of Kuan Yin and internalize the lessons She teaches? Begin by helping those less fortunate than you; start with friends and family, then branch out to acquaintances and strangers. Give away money. If you are paying someone for a job well done, give a little extra. Leave a tip when you encounter a friendly and efficient waitperson in a restaurant. Start small. Do something for someone else once a day. Modern civilization is becoming extremely self-focused. It expands our spirit and heals our hearts to give to others. Visit a sick person, pick flowers, grow vegetables, and give some away. You know what do! And let others know there are no strings attached to your gifts of love and friendship.
Kuan Yin challenges us to be peaceful. Make peace, not war. And speaking of war, are there people out there that you are “at war” with? Some of them used to be friends. War is more than guns and battles; it can also be an emotional battle. If the world is at war, as it is now, (the macrocosm), we are the microcosm by being at war with each other. Like a mirror, one reflects the other. We have the power to end war on a personal level by confronting and then ceasing our battles with people. Practice forgiving. Make a list of those you are at war with, email or call them, one by one, and ask to get together and talk out your troubles. I guarantee that in most instances you will receive a favorable response. You can say, “I’ve been thinking about the world at war, and I realize you and I have been waging our own little mini-war. So, let’s stop and try to work it out.” In your peacemaking, try to avoid “winning” and take responsibility for your part in the conflict. Practice Kuan Yin’s qualities of humbleness, compassion and peace. Hold out your personal willow branch. Then you will truly make Kuan Yin your personal Goddess.
Blessings of Kuan Yin.
by Ffiona Morgan