Avalokiteśvara

Avalokiteśvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. This bodhisattva is variably depicted and described and is portrayed in different cultures as either female or male. In Chinese Buddhism, Avalokiteśvara has become the somewhat different female figure Guanyin (Chinese pronunciation).

In Pure Land Buddhism, Guanyin (or Guan Shi Yin) is seen on the right of Amitābha. The literal meaning of Guan Shi Yin is “[The One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World” or “Looking on or hearing the voices of the suffering”.

At that time, Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his palms together, and facing the Buddha, said, “World Honored One, for what reason is the Bodhisattva Guanshiyin called ‘Guanshiyin?’”

The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, “Good man, if any of the limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of living beings who are undergoing all kinds of sufferings hear of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and recite his name single-mindedly, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will immediately hear their voices and rescue them.”

“If a person who upholds the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva enters a great fire, the fire will not burn him, all because of this Bodhisattva’s awesome spiritual power.”

“If a person being tossed about in the great sea calls out the Bodhisattva’s name, he will find a shallow place.”

The Universal Door Of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, translation 1

… beings who experience suffering hear of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and wholeheartedly chant his name, Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara will immediately perceive their voices and free them from their suffering. Even if those who hold to the name of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara were to enter a great fire, because of this bodhisattva’s transcendent power, the fire would not be able to burn them. If they were adrift on the great waters, by chanting his name they would reach the shallows.

The Gateway to Every Direction, translation 2

Universal Door Chapter

The Story of Bodhisattva Avalokitasvara – The Virgin Vow

The Story of Great Compassion Dharani

The Story of Six Words Great Enlightening Dharani