At the beginning of time, when the world
was young and all the creatures of the world
were newly made, Kuan Yin dwelt with all
the creatures upon Earth.  At first she taught
them how to live, she then taught them how
to treat others and how to show kindness to
their young.

Under her tutelage, the animals, birds and
insects lived happily together.  If a
disagreement broke out, they went to her for
advice, thusly, every creature new peace
and loved and adored Kuan Yin.

Moved by her compassion she again
descended to Earth.  She solved quarrels
and this time warned them that they all must
learn to deal with their own problems.
Over time more disagreements and problems happened between the animals.  They again
cried out and begged her to help them.  She descended again to speak to them all and say
"Oh you 10,000 beings, why do you cause such distress?  Why can you not live together?  
Each of you has your own place and role, so why such envy of others?  Why do you not
live in peace?"

At this all the creatures begged her to stay, they needed her and a rabbit spoke up "Beloved
Kuan Yin, when you are with us, watching over us, we fear nothing.  There are no disputes,
no envy, no false striving.  But once you go, once we feel you have left us alone, then we
fall into such bad behaviour.  Can you not stay with us?"

Kuan Yin held her hand up for silence.  She then beckoned to a large but rather dull looking
bird to come close to her.  The main distinguishing feature of this bird was the number and
size of his tail feathers.  As the bird stood beside Kuan Yin she spoke, "My friends, it is
obvous that I cannot be with you at all times.  But it is also clear that you need me to watch
over you in some way.  So I have resolved upon this action."  So saying, she swept her
hands across her face and then cast them over the dull brown feathers of the big bird.  
Instantly the bird was suffused in exploding colours and lights, so bright that the other
creatures had to avert their eyes.

When at last their eyes were able to see again, they saw on each of the 100 tail feathers of
the bird was now a bright clear eye staring back at them.

"My friends," said the Goddess, "I cannot watch over you at all times in all places.  But my
servant the Peacock can.  Each of his eyes will watch over you, guard you and tell me of
what is happening in the world.  When you see the Peacock's 100 eyes you will know that I
care for all of you.  Let the Peacock be my servant in this world and know that I look after

And to this day the Peacock struts because of his special role as Kuan Yin's servant.  And
each day the 100 eyes of each Peacock look out over the world, reminding all who
understand that Kuan Yin watches over them.

GODDESS OF COMPASSION' by Martin Palmer and Jay Ramsay with Man-Ho Kwok.

Return to Index Page ..
The Legend of Kuan Yin and the