Last time we looked at some photos of the East Asian Buddhist deity, Guanyin, also known as the Goddess of Mercy. Immensely popular, she is associated with compassion, peace, motherhood, children, forgiveness, unconditional love, mercy, fertility, meditation, and contemplation among other things. She has gained many meanings over the centuries as more and more stories have been associated with her. One example of this is found in a Great Flood story very similar to that found in the Christian Bible. After the flood, she sent a dog holding rice grains in its tail to Earth to help people and so she is now worshipped as the Rice Goddess. In business and trade, she is revered as a goddess of luck and fortune and a more modern belief is that she is the guardian of air travelers.
Due to similar iconography and associations, some East Asian Christians and overseas Chinese, have drawn comparisons between Guanyin and the Christian Virgin Mary. Chinese people in the Philippines, an overwhelmingly Catholic country, have firmly identified Guanyin with the Virgin Mary. In history, when Christianity was limited or outright banned, worshippers would disguise their Virgin Mary statues as Guanyin to fool the authorities.
This is just another brief history lesson to this intriguing figure. Enjoy the photos!