Today is the nineteenth day of the second lunar month. It is a sacred day for the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, widely known in the West as Guanyin, the Chinese “Goddess of Mercy.” Strictly speaking however, Guanyin is not a goddess; bodhisattvas are enlightened beings, and deities are not. Furthermore, the portrayal of Guanyin and her Japanese counterpart Kannon as being distinctly female came comparatively late in the history of East Asian Buddhism. In fact, in Japan Kannon (Guanyin) is usually portrayed as a a very androgynous youth, rather than a woman.
That is your free history lesson for the day! OM MANI PADME HUM!
A Very Feminine Kannon/Guanyin In the Zōjuji Pure Land Temple, Tokyo