Embracing Compassion: Honoring Kuan Yin in the Year of the Wood Dragon

“Your kindly gaze beholds all living beings. A boundless sea you are, of every blessing. And let us bow to offer our esteem!” ~The Lotus Sutra

“Your kindly gaze beholds all living beings.
A boundless sea you are, of every blessing.
And let us bow to offer our esteem!”
~The Lotus Sutra

Kuan Yin is the Buddhist goddess and bodhisattva most well known to embody compassion and mercy. Her name is spelled in a myriad of ways depending on the culture she resides in: Guanyin, Quan Yin, and Avalokiteshvara are her other names, which translate to “One Who Sees and Hears the Cry from the World.”

In her hands she may be holding the Pearl of Illumination given to her by the Dragon King as a gift for saving his son, or a sacred vase, one of the Eight Buddhist Symbols of Good Fortune, filled with the divine nectar of life, wisdom and compassion. In some depictions, she has many arms, symbolizing her ability to alleviate suffering and bring harmony to one’s dharma.

Often in Kuan Yin’s iconography she is shown riding a dragon, which connects her even more intimately to this year of the Wood Dragon.

According to Gwynne Warner of 10,000 Blessings Feng Shui, Dragon years are fast moving and filled with movement, i.e. travel and even moving home.

At this auspicious moment, contemplating the tenderness and wisdom of compassion in all of your day-to-day dealings is essential. 

Before rushing off in haste to the next thing, and the next, take a breath and be grateful for just one thing or one person in the moment.

Remember in your rush to the top, as this is a potent year for making big business moves, especially for women, don’t overlook a simple “Thank you, for helping/encouraging/supporting me,” to a partner or mentor who has given you a leg up, or a loyal customer who always buys your services and products. 

Show your gratitude in all the ways––writing notes and emails of appreciation, giving gifts and looking someone in the eyes and telling them how much you appreciate them.

Random acts of kindness each day is a practice that will place you in the heart of Kuan Yin, as you will be acting as her emissary on the planet, dear earth angel.

Kuan Yin’s birthday is coming up on March 28th (the 19th day of the second lunar month) and I invite you to cultivate a deeper relationship with this most beautiful of goddesses and to meditate with me on her attributes and blessings.

At Paradise Found, you will discover beautiful statues and images of Kuan Yin so you can create the foundation of a home altar. 

For all you lovers of divination, the lavishly illustrated and poetic prayerful Kuan Yin Oracle by Alana Fairchild is one of my all time favorite ways to venerate this gentle, loving goddess. 

Adorn Kuan Yin’s altar area with red or gold candles and offer her flowers, fruits, a vessel containing cool, fresh water and sandlewood incense. Of course, all of the ritual accouterments are optional and you will find your own special way to celebrate Kuan Yin.

Keep sandalwood and/or sweet orange essential oil to anoint yourself as you spend time meditating and praying at her altar. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. 

Keeping a practice to meet with Kuan Yin for just minutes each day can help soothe your nervous system and retrain your brain to center on stillness when the rest of the world around you is flying by (dragon style) in a flash!

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