Guānyīn is a translation from the Sanskrit Avalokitasvara or Avalokiteśvara, referring to the Mahāyāna bodhisattva of the same name.
Some Buddhists believe that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by Guanyin in the heart of a lotus, and then sent to the western Pure Land of Sukhāvatī. Guanyin is often referred to as the most widely beloved Buddhist Divinity with miraculous powers to assist all those who pray to her, as is said in the Lotus Sutra and Karandavyuha Sutra.
In China, it is said that fishermen used to pray to her to ensure safe voyages. The title Guanyin of the Southern Sea 南海觀音 stem from this tradition.