The name Guan Yin also spelt Guan Yim, Kuan Yim, Kwan Im, or Kuan Yin, is a short form for Kuan-shi Yin, meaning "Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the (human) World".
In Chinese Buddhism, Guan Yin is synonymous with the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the pinnacle of mercy, compassion, kindness and love.
(Bodhisattva- being of bodhi or enlightenment, one who has earned to leave the world of suffering and is destined to become a Buddha, but has forgone the bliss of nirvana with a vow to save all humanity from suffering.
As the Lotus Sutra relates, the Bodhisattva Kuan Shih Yin, "by resort to a variety of shapes, travels in the world, conveying the beings to salvation."
In Sanskrit she's known as Padma pani - "Born of the Lotus", the lotus symbolizing purity, peace and harmony.
Guan Yin is usually shown in a white flowing robe - white being the symbol of purity -, and usually wearing necklaces of Indian/Chinese royalty. In the left hand is a water jar (as the Sacred Vase the water jar also one of the Eight Buddhist Symbols of good fortune) containing pure water, the divine nectar of life, compassion and wisdom, and in the right, a willow branch to sprinkle the divine nectar of life upon the devotees as to bless them with physical and spiritual peace.
The willow branch is also a symbol of being able to bend (or adapt) but not break. The willow is also used in shamanistic rituals and has had medicinal purposes as well.
The crown usually depicts the image of Amitabha Buddha (Fully Conscious Infinite Light), Guan Yin's spiritual teacher before she became a Bodhisattva.
Like Avalokitesvara, Guan Yin is also depicted with a thousand arms and varying numbers of eyes, hands and heads, sometimes with an eye in the palm of each hand, and is commonly called "the thousand-arms, thousand-eyes" Bodhisattva. In this form she represents the omnipresent mother, looking in all directions simultaneously, sensing the afflictions of humanity and extending her many arms to alleviate them with infinite expressions of her mercy, while the thousand eyes help her see anyone who may be in need.
Guan Yin is also highly revered and respected in Taoism where devotees set auspicious dates to celebrate the miracles performed by the Goddess.
Guan Yin is often pictured as sitting on a pink lotus which symbolizes peace and harmony.
There are also description of the Goddess sitting on a elephant which is believed to bring good luck and protection.
Wear our Natural Obsidian Hand Carved Guan Yin Necklace to respect and invoke the blessing of the Goddess of Compassion.