Kwan Yin (a.k.a. Guanyin, Avalokiteśvara) is an important figure in Mahayana Buddhism. But I recently noticed a statue of Kwan Yin on the grounds of a local Theravada monastery. I looked up Kwan Yin on Wikipedia and a connection to Theravada Buddhism wasn't clear, but the article did list translations of her name in Thai and Sinhalese; both areas where Theravada Buddhism is predominant. I also saw mention of a statue of Avalokiteśvara listed in a very old guide to Bodhgaya. Is this figure part of early Buddhism? Or simply beloved by many?
Kwan Yin wasn't taught by the Buddha in the Pali suttas and I'm certain Kwan Yin isn't mentioned in the Pali commentaries. Usually the teachers in the Theravada tradition strictly base how they teach on the Pali Canon but a lot of times they aren't so strict. There are Theravada teachers that are more like Mahayana teachers and Mahayana teachers that are more like Theravada teachers. In the end, the tradition one chooses isn't as important as the teacher one chooses.