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The 33 Transformation Bodies of Guanyin

I.Willow Leaf Guanyin

“This refers to the flexibility of the

Bodhisattva to adept to the mind of

Sentient beings, liken to willow leaves

Swaying in the wind.”

Otherwise known as Bhaisajya-raja Avalokitesvara, who holds a vial of


elixir in the left hand and a stalk of willow leaves in the right.

The elixir can cure all their physical and spiritual illnesses.

Devotees suffering from illnesses therefore pray especially to this


manifestation, so this is also another popular form in China and South
East Asia.
II. Dragon Head Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by a Naga or Yaksa, the

Bodhisattva will appear in these

Forms to teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as a Naga or Yaksa.

This form is sitting or standing on the back of a dragon flying through the
clouds.

They are all celestial or supernatural beings.

But as the Dragon is the highest of all beasts, it can be compared to the
might of Guanyin's powers.
III. Sutra Holding Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by a Sravaka, the

Bodhisattva will appear in this

Form to teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as a Sravaka.

This form is seated on a rock with a scroll in the right hand.

A Sravaka is an enlightened disciple of the Buddha.

As Sravakas attain enlightenment through listening to the Dharma, the

Sutra is used as a symbol of teaching.


IV. Complete Hallow Guanyin

"If there are sentient beings punished

By kings, about to meet their ends by

Execution; by the power of invoking

Avalokitesvara, the blade will shatter

Into many pieces."

Who appears inside an all encompassing hallow of light.

This form is seated on a rock with clasped palms.

The blazing flames behind this form are a symbol of such strength.
V. Wander Jest Guanyin

"If there are sentinet beings pursued

By evil men, and as a result fall off

The admantine mountain; by the

Power of invoking Avalokitesvara,

Not a single hair on them will be

Injured."

Who appears falling from the Admantine Mountain.

This form is seated on rainbow colored clouds with one hand holding her

Raised knee & the other supporting her body.

The rainbow clouds are used as a symbol of such freedom of flight.


VI. White Robe Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by a Bhikku or Bhikkuni,

The Bodhisattva will appear in these

Forms to teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as a Bhikku or Bhikkuni.

This form is seated in meditation on a rock wearing a white robe.

It is the same as Pandaravasini Avalokitesvara of the Garbhadhatu


Mandala.

A Bhikku/Bhikkuni is an ordained disciple of the Buddha.

White symbolises the pure undefiled heart of enlightenment - the


bodhicitta.

Incidentally this Guanyin is also called the "mother-form", as almost all


Chinese depictions of Guanyin are modelled in this image.
VII. Lotus Seated Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by a Prince, the Bodhisattva

Will appear in this form to teach them

The Dharma."

Who appears as a Prince.

This form wears a crown & is seated in a lotus pond with clasped palms.

The exalted lotus seat represents his or her natural noblity.


VIII. Gush Seeing Guanyin

"If there are sentinet beings to be

Harmed, by being pushed into a pit

Of fire; by the power of invoking

Avalokitesvara, the burning pit will

Become a pond."

Who appears as transforming a burning pit into a pond.

This form is seated on a cliff gazing at a distant waterfall.

Thus it is also known as Waterfall Observing Guanyin.

The gushing waters are used as a symbol of such salvation.


IX. Joy Giving Guanyin

“Although sentinet beings are in

Great trouble and distress, subjected

To endless cycles of suffering; but

Through Avalokitesvara's wonderful

Wisdom, all worldly suffering can be

Saved."

Who appears like the sun in the sky.

This form sits beside a pond gazing at nearby lotuses, with one hand
placed on her knee & the other on her cheek, as if in deep contemplation.

She constatly contemplates on how to relieve the suffering of sentient


beings using her limitless wisdom, thus giving them true joy.
X. Fish Basket Guanyin

"If sentinet beings meet with evil

Raksas, poisonous nagas and other

Demons; by the power of invoking

Avalokitesvara, immediately none

Will dare to harm them."

Who appears to save those running into evil raksas.

This form is standing on a great koi fish with crossed hands, sometimes
holding a fish basket.

The great koi fish is a symbol of majesty that awes the raksas, nagas &
demons into submission, & the basket is where they will be contained.
XI. Virtuous King Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by Mahabrahma, the

Bodhisattva will appear in this form to

Teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as Mahabrahma.

This form sits in the lotus posture on a rock, holding a branch of willow
leaves in the right hand & the left hand rests below his navel.

Mahabrahma is the Primal Sentient Being & the Creator deity of the
Hindu faith.

After the Buddha appeared he has since become a guardian deity. He is


Lord of the Realm of Form, thus extremely exalted in virtue.

This is comparable to the virtue of Guanyin, so this form is named


Virtuous King.
XII. Water Moon Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by a Pratyeka Buddha, the

Bodhisattva will appear in this form to

Teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as a Pratyeka Buddha.

This form is standing on a lotus petal floating on water with clapsed


palms, gazing at the Moon.

It is the same as Udakasri Avalokitesvara of the Garbhakosa Mandala.

A Pratyeka Buddha is a silent saint who is enlightened from realizing the


12 Causal Links of Existence.

This Pratyeka Buddha form is shown to be able to realize the the truth of
Dependent Origination by gazing at the Moon & observing its reflection in
the water.
XIII. Single Petal Guanyin

"If there are sentient beings washed

Away by great waters, drifting

Helplessly in the flood; by the

Power of invoking Avalokitesvara,

They will be able to reach shallow

Areas."

Who appears as a Minister.

This form sits on a lotus petal floating on the water with one hand placed
on his raised knee & the other supporting his body.

This form of Guanyin is venerated for his ability to drift anywhere to help
victims of water disasters.
XIV. Blue Neck Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated by

A Buddha, the Bodhisattva will appear in

This form to teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as a Buddha.

This form is sitting on a rock with one hand placed on his raised knee &
the other resting on another rock nearby.

A vial with a willow branch is placed beside him.

This form is the same as Nilakantha Avalokitesvara in Vajrayana


Buddhism.

This form is venerated for its ability to cure diseases, alleviate sins &
lengthen lifespans by swallowing the defilements of sentient beings into
his throat, turning it dark.

That is why Guanyin is sometimes called he with the blue neck.


XV. Majestic Virtue Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by a Celestial General, the

Bodhisattva will appear in this form

To teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as a Celestial General.

This form is sitting on a rock gazing at the water with one hand placed on
the ground & the other holding a stalk of lotus.

This form is venerated for its ability to command awe & respect among all
sentient beings with his majestic powers.
XVI. Life Lengthening Guanyin

"If there are sentient beings plagued

By curses & poisons, intending to

Cause bodily harm; by the power of

Invoking Avalokitesvara, they will be

Returned to the original senders."

Who appears protected from harm by curses & poisons.

This form rests behind a rock with one hand placed on his cheek in
contemplation & the other placed on the rock.

She wears a precious crown with Buddha Amitabha manifested above, &
her body is a deep yellow color.

This form of Guanyin is venerated for she is able to protect sentient beings
from harm by all curses & poisons, thus lengthening their lifespan.
XVII. All Treasures Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by an Elder, the

Bodhisattva will appear in this

Form to teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as an Elder.

This form is sitting on a coastal rock in contemplation with one hand


placed on the ground & the other holding his raised left knee.

This form is venerated for its ability to protect sentient beings seeking
treasures from harm if they ever meet with raksas in unknown lands.
XVIII. Rock Enclave Guanyin

"If there are snakes & scorpians,

Breathing out venom like smoky fire;

By the power of invoking

Avalokitesvara, they will all go away

Seeking this sound."

Who appears protected from snakes & scorpians.

This form sits meditating inside a rocky cave, gazing at the water.

This form of Guanyin is venerated for she is able to protect sentient beings
from harm by all snakes, scorpians & their venom.
XIX. Tranquility Able Guanyin

"If there are measureless sentient

Beings going through from all kinds

Of Suffering, who upon hearing the

Name of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara,

Sincerely call on him; the Bodhisattva

Will immediately answer their prayer

And relieve them of all suffering."

Who appears in deep contemplation.

This form is leaning on a rock with both hands folded in front.

This form is venerated for its ability to give peace to sentient beings who
become victims of disasters.
XX. Anuda Guanyin

"If there are sentient beings castaway at

Sea, at the mercy of water dragons, fish

& demons; by the power of invoking

Avalokitesvara, waves will not be able

To drown them."

Who appears protected from hostile denizens of the sea.

This form is sits on a rock with both hands placed on the raised left knee,
gazing at a waterfall.

This form is venerated for its ability to protect sentient beings who become
shipwreck victims lost at sea.
XXI. Amate Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated

By Vaisramana, the Bodhisattva will

Appear in this form to teach them the

Dharma."

Who appears as Celestial King Vaisramana.

This form is the same as the 4 armed Amate Avalokitesvara of the


Garbhakosa.

He is sitting on a rock with both hands placed on the raised left knee,
gazing out at sea.

This form is venerated for its ability to bestow fearlessness towards all
sentient beings.
XXII. Leaf Cloaked Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by Sakra, the Bodhisattva

Will appear in this form to teach

Them the Dharma."

Who appears as Sakra, King of the Tavatimsa heaven, which is on the


peak of Mount Sumeru.

This form is the same as Parnashabari Avalokitesvara of the Garbhakosa.

He is sitting in the lotus posture on a rock with both hands folded infront.

This form is venerated for its ability to protect sentient beings from various
diseases, lengthening life & also to protect households.
XXIII. Colored Glaze Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated by

Isvaradeva, the Bodhisattva will appear in

This form to teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as Isvaradeva.

Isvaradeva is Lord of the Paranirmita-vashavartin Heaven, the highest


heaven in the Realm of Desire where he is considered the supreme deity.

This form is the same as Gandharaja Avalokitesvara of the Garbhakosa,


Also known as High King Guanyin.

He is standing on a lotus petal floating on the water. In his hands is a


incense burner made of colored glaze.

This form is venerated for its ability to protect sentient beings from many
types of untimely death.
XXIV. Tara Guanyin

"If there are sentient beings surrounded by

Hostile bandits, each wielding a sword ready

To Slay; by the power of invoking

Avalokitesvara, they will immediately

Turn merciful."

Who appears protected from hostile bandits.

This form is the same as Bodhisattva Tara of the Garbhakosa.

As we know Tara means 'eye' or 'deliverer'.

He is standing on a cloud floating in the sky.

This form is venerated for its ability to protect sentient beings from being
harmed by vicious bandits.
XXV. Clam Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated by a

Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva will appear as

Himself to teach them the Dharma."

Who appears who appears as a Bodhisattva.

This form seats in meditation behind a giant clam.

This form originated from the legends among China's coastal fishermen.

He is venerated by them for its ability to protect them on their fishing trips
out to sea.
XXVI. Six Period Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated by

An Upasaka, the Bodhisattva will appear

In this form to teach them the Dharma."

Who appears who appears as an Upasaka (Layman).

This form stands on a rock holding a Sutra text in his right hand.

This form is so called because it constantly radiates compassion towards


all sentient beings, throughout the six 2-hourly periods of both day &
night.
XXVII. Universal Compassion Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated by

Mahesvara, the Bodhisattva will appear in this form

To teach them the Dharma."

Who appears who appears as Mahesvara.

Mahesvara is originally Shiva of the Hindu faith, but after being


converted by the Buddha he has since become a guardian deity.

He is also thought to be the highest deity in the Realm of Form, thus very
exalted in power & virtue.

This form stands on a mountain top with both hands crossed & concealed
in his robes.

This form is so called because its universal & equal compassion is able to
benefit all sentient beings, just as the power & virtue of Mahevsara is
known by all.
XXVIII. Lady Ma Guanyin

"If there are those that can be

Liberated by a Lady, the Bodhisattva

Will appear in this form to teach

Them the Dharma."

Who appears who appears as a Lady.

This form stands with both hands crossed infront, & is garbed in a
celestial dress.

During the reign of Emperor Xianzong of the Tang Dynasty, in the year
817 AD this form appeared in the Shanyou district to convert the populace
there.

The people of Shanyou are fond of hunting & archery, & have never
heard of the Dharma.
Thus the Bodhisattva appeared as a beautiful lady & enticed the men to
ask for her hand, but on the condition that they can memorize 3
Mahayana Sutra texts.

So after 3 rounds of competition only a young man of the Ma family


could memorize all the texts.

So she married this young man, only to die the next day.

A few days after she was buried an old monk appeared, asking that the
grave be lifted.

In it they found that only a golden collar bone remained.

The old monk then revealed to them that this lady is actually a
manifestation of Guanyin, who took pity on the people here & thus came
to teach them.

As he finished his words the old monk simply vanished.

From then on the populace of Shanyou mostly became devout Buddhists.


XXIX. Clasped Palms Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated by a

Brahmin, the Bodhisattva will appear in this form

To teach them the Dharma."

Who appears as a Brahmin.

Brahmins are people of the priest caste, thus having the highest standing
in Indian society.

This form stands on a lotus with both palms clasped in salute.

Although this form is of noble caste, but it is free from egoistic pride,
humbly saluting all sentinet beings as future Buddhas.
XXX. Oneness Guanyin

"If there thunderous clouds spitting

Bolts of lightning, dropping hailstones

And showering great rain; by the

Power of invoking Avalokitesvara,

They will all disperse in due time."

Who appears in control of storms.

This form sits on a lotus seat on top of a floating storm cloud, with both
hands placed on her raised left knee.

This form is venerated for its ability to protect sentient beings from
disasterous storms.
XXXI. Non-dual Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated

By a Vajra Holder, the Bodhisattva will

Appear in this form to teach them the

Dharma."

Who appears as a Vajra Holder (guardian deity).

This form stands on a lotus leaf floating on the water, with both hands
lowered & crossed infront.

This form is venerated for its ability to protect all Buddhas from
unwholesome forces.

Non-dual refers to the nature of the Bodhisattva's fierce & peaceful


manifestations.
XXXII. Lotus Holding Guanyin

"If there are those that can be liberated by a

Boy or Girl Child, the Bodhisattva will

Appear in this form to teach them the

Dharma."

Who appears as a Boy/Girl Child.

This form, who wears a crown, is the same as Bodhisattva Padmapani of


the Garbhakosa.

It stands on a floating lotus leaf, with both hands holding a long stalk of 2
lotuses, one bloomed & the other half-bloomed.

It symbolizes the fully enlightened mind together with the mind journeying
towards enlightenment.

As we may know, this lotus is a symbol of the Bodhisattva's fundamental


vow.
XXXIII. Water Sprinkling Guanyin

"If there are sentient beings washed away by

Great waters, drifting helplessly in the flood;

By the power of invoking Avalokitesvara, they

Will be able to reach shallow areas."

Who appears controlling the flood waters.

It stands on a rock holding a bowl in the left hand & sprinkling water
from it with a willow stalk in the right hand.

This is exactly the same as Single Petal Guanyin. Likewise, this form is
venerated for its ability to save victims of water disasters.