She is to the will of all beings as willow branches are to the wind.
She uses the willow branch in order to eradicate human suffering and illness.
She uttered a vow to relieve the pain and suffering of all living beings.
She saves the grieving, the melancholy, those feeling lost, those who are wallowing.
She relieves illness and suffering.
Guan Yin Avalokitêśvara continuously manifests in various bodily forms, throughout the six realms of existence, in order to instruct all sentient beings on the teaching of great compassion.
Guan Yin Avalokitêśvara with the willow branch. One of the thirty-three manifestation forms of Avalokitêśvara. According to Buddhist Sutra 千光眼觀自在菩薩祕密法經 楊柳觀音
*** Willow Branch Guan Yin Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva Buddhist Story ***
Willow Branch Guanyin is Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva’s thirty-third manifestation, as well as the first physical manifestation of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva’s body. One day, Guanyin Bodhisattva arrived at Zhong Zhou Prefecture, desiring to guide the common people there. That evening, she appeared in the dreams of the local people, revealing her glorious golden face and body. Guanyin Bodhisattva said: “Soon, I will pass through this place, and will guide those for whom the conditions are right, rescuing them from hardships and distress and bring you the teachings. Whether or not this happens depends on each person’s sincerity.”
The second day, the common people met up to discuss the previous night’s dream at the market, and discovered that they all dreamed of the same scenario. Everyone felt completely amazed; moreover, in their hearts they hoped to see the Bodhisattva, and anticipated her arrival. In fact, the Bodhisattva had already been among them for many days, in the form of an old lady begging for food. The people in this prefecture had recently suffered a drought, and the seedlings growing in their fields had almost entirely dried up and died. When this old beggar came around begging for food, the people in the city appeared very panic-stricken, saying that soon they would run out of food. Under these circumstances, how could they have anything to give to those who are begging for food?
This old beggar begged for many days, but she didn’t receive anything. She couldn’t help but sigh sadly and say: “Even though this drought is a natural disaster, eventually people will suffer the consequences of their own actions. Yet, when government officials commit fewer evil deeds, and the common people respect and kind to each other and honour the mother earth, conduct their own good deeds, avoid wars and selfishness, and convert to be compassionate to each other; how could they experience such a calamity?” “I am just a pitiful old beggar, arrived at this village intending to beg for food from tens of families, yet I did not receive one grain of rice at all. I can clearly see that these people here have no kindness and they are completely lacking in benevolence. In this case, their own karma brings them this suffering?”
At this time, a man Mr. Liu heard the old beggar woman’s lamentations. He found this beggar woman’s words enlightening. He thought to himself: could it be that this old beggar lady is a manifestation of the Guan Yin Bodhisattva? He decided to speak with the old beggar: “Old Madam, your words are very illuminating. According to what you say, the people here do not have kind dispositions, and we suffer natural disasters for that reason. If everyone turns over a new leaf, is it possible for us to overcome this drought? The old beggar lady manifestation of Guanyin Bodhisattva replied: “As long as the people agree to reform with sincerity to learn being compassionate and sharing together, how could Buddha not rescue the people from this disaster?”
Having heard these words, this man concluded that this old beggar woman was indeed the Bodhisattva Guanyin. He immediately dropped to the ground to pay his respects, saying: “Honourable Bodhisattva, thank you for revealing yourself to us and issuing your instructions. May the Bodhisattva show us great compassion, demonstrate the power of the Dharma, provide us with widespread and continuous rain, and rescue this area from the drought. These disciples will certainly follow Guan Yin’s compassionate teachings, we will all follow your Buddhist teachings.” Guanyin Bodhisattva listened to him, and felt very happy. She replied to this man: “It is rare to encounter someone so considerate, sincere, and selfless. Yet in this place, corrupt officials hold the power and are greedy, and the common people are stubborn and selfish and lack kindness. Perhaps for them, it is best to teach using the principle of ‘seeing is believing.'” “Tomorrow at noon 3 PM, I will appear on Mount Tai Shi, and use my blessing powers to make it rain, in order to eliminate the drought. At that time, they will see with their own eyes that the Dharma has no limits, and their faith will be unshakeable. Then, if you reprimand them gently, they will easily reform and return to the correct path.”
Thereupon, Liu met with everyone to tell them about his experience with the Bodhisattva, and informed them that tomorrow at noon, the Bodhisattva would reveal her glorious face, and use her powers to make it rain. Everyone listened to him, and all were pleased beyond their expectations as they awaited Bodhisattva’s arrival. That day at noon, over the peak of Mount Tai Shi, a single white cloud with rainbow color slowly appeared. Suddenly, the middle of this cloud parted, and the Bodhisattva Guanyin appeared as a twenty-meter tall, glorious golden body above the cloud. In her hand, she held a vase made of pure white jade, which contained blessing water; inside the vase was a willow branch. The Bodhisattva’s feet were bare. The commoners suddenly saw Guanyin Bodhisattva grasp the willow branch, dip it into the blessing water, and sway it in all directions, sprinkling the blessing water on the fields and land. A mist instantly began to fall from the sky, and accumulated to almost half of a litre. Thunder rumbled, and the rain began to pour. At this moment, the Bodhisattva gave the teaching about how raising our compassionate heart to each other and to animals and mother earth is important. With great love and kindness, everything can happen. .
Only after this event did everyone realize that the corrupt officials had been struck by lightning in the midst of the thunderstorm. From then on, everyone was devout in their faith in Buddhism. Because Guan Yin Bodhisattva appeared grasping a willow branch, all of the people in the world henceforth knew her as “Willow Branch Guanyin.”
This Guan Yin story also demonstrates that GuanYin Bodhisattva feels mercy in her heart toward all living beings including mother land. As long as we sincerely reform ourselves, we can obtain Bodhisattva’s and Buddha’s compassionate teaching and guidance that will lead us to lilbrate from sufferings.