Quan Yin Goddess of Compassion and Mercy


The Divine Feminine

I was looking into the notion of the Divine Feminine. This is the idea that God is either a woman or is possessed of a matriarchal or feminine aspect. Early in my perusals I came across Quan Yin—the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy. Amongst various cultures of Asia this notion of a divine being that hears the suffering of the people takes many forms. In some forms the Goddess is actually a God which is to say a more masculine being. But I decided to stick with the notion of God as a Woman. In some depictions this Goddess of Mercy and Compassion has a thousand ears to hear all that suffering and a thousand hands to alleviate it.


One Who Looks Down on Sound

Quan Yin is a source of caring, unconditional love and kindness. The literal translation of her name is something like “One who looks down upon sound.” The notion is that of a Goddess who hears all the cries of pain and suffering in the world and responds.

It is not uncommon in the usual pantheon of Gods of many early religions to find angry, warring, vengeful Gods who seem to take the worst qualities of mankind and add to them cosmic power. Few modern day authors seem to have any notion of what it might be like to be up close and personal to such a God. The closest we might come to it in human terms could be the actions of the religious terrorists know as ISIS. They burn people alive, throw gays off roofs and destroy centuries old artifacts with neither guilt or remorse.

Quan Yin (also called Kwan Yin and Guanyin) has more Christ-like qualities. Though she was a Goddess she refused to return to heaven until all the suffering of mankind had been relieved and until the wheel of karmic suffering had been broken forever. Her first instinct was to forgive, no matter what the crime and it was said that even condemned criminals might call out to her to escape execution. As much as we might admire this notion in the abstract, many if not most of us have trouble grasping it in our own lives. There have been instances in the news for instance of children forgiving the people who murdered their parents. On the one hand that seems laudable and Christ-like. On the other hand it seems like suicidal behavior since any human being who went about forgiving everyone of everything might soon find himself first poor, then abused and then dead. Almost all believers want a merciful God but many show mercy in their own lives only to their friends, family and perhaps a stranger who has suffered much and shown much contrition.


The Christian Connection

Since Quan Yin lives to relieve suffering she is often thought to be a healing deity.

Some Christians see a correlation between Quan Yin and Mary the Mother of Jesus. Quan Yin is sometimes seen as the Sacred Mother and as such she is the Goddess of pregnancy and child birth.

Quan Yin has not always been a woman in all times and cultures. If you look far enough back into time you may find this Goddess began her existence in India as a man and was changed into a woman by the Chinese.

Quan Yin may be one of the most popular deities you’ve never heard of. It is said you can find depictions of her or him all over Asian. Almost all mortals whether they be sailors at sea or mothers in childbirth would like to think the universe smiles upon them and will help them in a time of need.










Comments 12 comments

Gordon Wright profile image

Gordon Wright 16 months ago

I have seen depictions of Mazu that look almost exactly like the Virgin Mary. The resemblance goes beyond coincidence or parallel evolution of cultures. I wonder if there's some borrowing going on.

(Mazu is very similar to Guanyin, with the added feature that she's especially friendly to sailors.)

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Gordon. This does seem like an almost universal theme.

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

I've never heard of this goddess (or god) before. Thank you for sharing the interesting information. I enjoy learning about the deities of different cultures.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Alicia. I was thinking that almost everybody could use some unconditional love in their lives at some time and it was interesting to thing that there was a Goddess who was all about that.

Have a blessed day!

livingelysian profile image

livingelysian 16 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

Lovely writing. I love the eastern religions and philosophies as they depict God in various forms. Sometimes a Father, sometimes a Mother, sometimes a brother, sometimes a teacher. Namaste.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Hello Elysia. Welcome to the Hub. Glad you enjoyed the article.

Have a blessed day!

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 16 months ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Quan Yin sounds like the one true God, due to being the listener and the rock that so many people are looking for. It was lovely to read the useful information on QY, thank you for publishing it here!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Hello Suzanne. Quan Yin does sound like the type of deity everyone outside of ISIS is looking for.

Be blessed!

lollyj lm profile image

lollyj lm 16 months ago from Washington KS

Quan Yin has had her work cut out for her throughout time. Really enjoyed this hub. Thanks sharing it.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

lollyj this hub seems to have touched a number of people in a good way.

Have a blessed day!

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 16 months ago from USA

I enjoyed learning about Quan Yin and the idea of the feminine divine.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

I am glad you enjoyed the hub Flourish. Coming across the idea was an interesting find.

Be blessed!

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