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Kannon (Jp.) Goddess of Mercy

The Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion. Chinese: Guanyin, Sanskrit: Avalokitesvara.

Kannon is one of Japan's most beloved divinities; the word 'Kannon' literally means "watchful listening" and is often translated as "the one who sees all".

The Kannon can appear in different forms. According to the Lotus Sutra, Kannon appears in 33 different manifestations to alleviate the suffering of all living beings. She can be a philosopher, merchant, man of letters, person of low birth, or anything as required by the occasion, while her sole aim is to deliver all beings without exception from ignorance and suffering.

In Japanese art and sculpture, the Sho Kannon represents the unchangeable "pure and sacred" form of this deity and her main six manifestations are referred to as the Six Kannon.

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