Buddhism is usually regarded as a religion which is led by one master – Buddha. However, there are many more ancient legendary masters in this belief system and both male and female characters are honored by Buddhists.
Guanyin (Guan Yin) is a bodhisattva – a person who is motivated by supreme compassion and is ‘a potential Buddha in training.’ She is associated with Mahayana Buddhists. This individual is commonly known as the “Goddess of Mercy,” and her main aspect is compassion.
Her teachings, legends about her life, and her key personality feature still inspire the Buddhist masters and the doctrine. Some see her as the mother form of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
Although Guanyin is now depicted with a female representation, this figure was regarded as male in India, and slowly transformed to have a female image in China. She is known for her kindness and can also be regarded as an icon of femininity in modern Buddhism.
Guan Yin and a dragon. (thawornnurak /Adobe Stock)