Guan Shih Yin (Avalokiteshvara) Bodhisattva has a great affinity with living beings in the Saha world. There is a saying in China, "Guan Shih Yin in every household, Amitabha in every place." This shows that everyone knows Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva and Amitabha (the name means "Limitless Light" and "Limitless Life") Buddha, that their compassion has deeply entered people#s hearts. Guan means "Contemplate"; shi means "world"; yin means "sounds." Thus the name means "Contemplating the World#s Sounds."
Within Buddhism, Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva holds a very important position. Some people say that Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva is Chinese and some say he is a Westerner; some say the Bodhisattva is male and some say female. But now I am informing all of you that Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva is neither Chinese nor Western, neither male nor female. Well, then, where does he come from? He fills empty space and pervades the Dharma Realm; he is in every place and yet not in any place. He appears according to what kind of body is needed to save each particular category of beings. He manifests in whatever physical form is appropriate to speak Dharma for beings; thus his identity is flexible. Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva appears in the form of a Buddha to save those who are ready to become Buddhas. He appears as a Bodhisattva to save those who should become Bodhisattvas. He appears as a heavenly king to speak Dharma for beings in the heavens.
Within Buddhism, Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva is one who goes about everywhere teaching and transforming living beings, inspiring them to bring forth the Bodhi mind. He first sees what a particular being likes and then makes them happy with what they like. Once they are happy, they will like to listen to the Dharma he speaks and gradually he will be able to rescue them. That#s why I say that Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva is not necessarily male or female; he could be male or he could be female. In any case those are just transformations. As to Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva#s own body, he is in a state of unmoving Suchness. He is just like the Buddhas. Anyway, Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva already became a Buddha a long time ago, by the name of Right Dharma Brightness. He simply appears as a Bodhisattva in order to teach and transform living beings.
Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva uses kindness, compassion, joy, and giving to save all living beings. He saves beings from the seven difficulties, responds to two kinds of seeking, has fourteen kinds of fearlessness, speaks Dharma in nineteen ways, and has thirty-two response bodies. If childless people seek sons or daughters, their wishes will be granted. These are the two kinds of seeking.
Therefore, in a Guan Yin recitation session, any vow can be fulfilled and any result can be obtained, because Guan Yin Bodhisattva responds to all requests. You may seek to leave the home-life, to remain a layperson, or to become a Buddha. Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva has great kindness and compassion, and will not disappoint you no matter what you ask for. He#ll definitely fulfill your wishes. Therefore, during the Guan Yin session, you may seek whatever you like. Whether you seek a son, a daughter, wealth, or long life, you will be able to obtain them. But these are forms of happiness subject to "outflows"; you ought to seek the nonoutflow happiness of Buddhahood. Worldly riches, honor, and glory all come to an end, but nonoutflow happiness is endless and infinite. Let#s recite Guan Shih Yin Bodhisattva#s name more in order to realize an everlasting fruition.