Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāraṇī

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The Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāranī (नीलकण्ठ धारनी) also known as Mahā Karuṇā Dhāranī (महा करुणा धारनी), popularly known as the Great Compassion Mantra in English, and known as the Dàbēi Zhòu (Chinese: 大悲咒; pinyin: Dàbēi zhòu) in Mandarin Chinese, is a dharani of Mahayana Buddhist origin. It was spoken by the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara before an assembly of Buddhas, bodhisattvas, devas and kings, according to the Mahakarunikacitta Sutra. Like the now popular six-syllable mantra Om mani padme hum, it is a popular mantra synonymous with Avalokitesvara in East Asia. It is often used for protection or purification.

Origins[edit]

Twelve scrolls of Nīlakaṇṭha Lokeśvara (नीलकण्ठ लोकेश्वर) (lit. "blue-necked Lord of the world") texts were found in the Dunhuang (敦煌) stone cave along the Silk Road in today's Gansu (甘肅) province of China. The text was translated in Khotan in Tarim Basin, Central Asia by Śramaṇa Bhagavaddharma. The text of the Nīlakaṇṭha was translated into Chinese by three masters in the 7th and early 8th centuries, first by Chih-t'ung (智通 Zhitōng) twice between 627-649 (T. 1057a and T. 1057b, Nj. 318), next by Bhagavaddharma between 650-660 (T. 1059 and T. 1060, Nj.320), and then by Bodhiruci in 709 (T. 1058, Nj. 319).

The Siddhaṃ script of Chinese Tripitaka (T. 1113b, 20.498-501) was corrected by a comparison with the Chih-t'ung version, which is found in the Ming Tripiṭaka. All the Sanskrit texts in the Ming Tripiṭaka were collected together by Rol-pahi Rdorje in the quadrilingual collection of dhāraṇī which bears the title: Sanskrit Texts from the Imperial Palace at Peking. The prime objective was to restore the Sanskrit text with the help of the Tibetan texts. The Rol-pahi rdorje’s reconstruction (STP. 5.1290-6.1304) of the Nīlankanthaka as transcribed by Chih-t'ung during 627-649 (T. 1057b, Nj. 318) is longer than that of Amoghavajra (不空金剛) and is a remarkable effort at textual reconstruction, undertaken as early as the first half of the 18th century. However, Chih-t'ung's version is rarely mentioned in the Mahayana tradition.

The Nīlankantha Dhāraṇī was translated into Chinese by Vajrabodhi (金剛智, worked 719-741 T.1112), twice by his disciple Amoghavajra (worked 723-774, T. 1111, T. 1113b) and in the 14th century by Dhyānabhadra (worked 1326-1363, T. 1113a). Amoghavajra's version (T. 1113b) was written in Siddhaṃ script in the Chinese Tripiṭaka (T. 1113b, 20.498-501). This version is the most widely accepted form today.

A 1000 sentence mantra are found in Fangshan Stone Sutra.[1]

Difference between Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese versions[edit]

Hanyu Pinyin Korean version Japanese version Vietnamese version
nā mò, hē lá dá nà na-mo-ra da-na- na mu ka ra ta no nam mô hắc ra đát na
duō lá yè yē da-ra ya-ya to ra ya ya đa ra dạ da
nā mò, ā lī yē na-mag-ar-yak na mu o ri ya nam mô a rị da
pó lú jié dì ba-ro gi-je bo ryo ki chi bà lô yết đế
shuò bō lá yē sae-ba-ra-ya shi fu ra ya thước bát ra da
pú tí sà duǒ pó yē mo-ji sa-da-ba-ya fu ji sa to bo ya bồ đề tát đỏa bà da
mó hē sà duǒ pó yē ma-ha sa-da-ba-ya mo ko sa to bo ya ma ha tát đỏa bà da
mó hē jiā lú ní jiā yē ma-ha-ga-ro ni-ga-ya mo ko kya ru ni kya ya ma ha ca lô ni ca da
om, sà pó luó fá yè om sal-ba-ba-ye- en sa ha ra ha ei án tát bàn ra phạt duệ
shǔ dá nà dá xiě su da-ra-na ga-ra-ya da-sa-myeong shu ta no ton sha số đát na đát tỏa
nā mò, xī jí lī duǒ na-mak ga-ri-da-ba na mu shi ki ri to nam mô tất kiết lật đỏa
yī měng ā lì yē i-mam-ar-ya i mo o ri ya y mông a rị da
pó lú jí dì ba-ro-gi-je bo ryo ki chi bà lô kiết đế
shì fó lá lèng tuó pó nā mò, nà lá jǐn chí sae-ba-ra da-ba ni-ra-gan-ta na-mak shi fu ra rin to bo na mu no ra kin ji thất phật ra lăng đà bà nam mô na ra cẩn trì
xī lī mó hē, pó duō shā miē ha-ri-na-ya ma-bal-da i-sa-mi ki ri mo ko ho do sha mi hê rị ma ha bàn đa sa mế
sà pó ā tā, dòu shū péng sal-bal-ta sa-da-nam su-ban sa bo o to jo shu ben tát bà a tha đậu du bằng
ā shì yùn a-ye-yeom o shu in a thệ dựng
sà pó sà duō, nā mò pó sà duō, nà mó pó jiā, mó fá tè dòu sal-ba bo-da-nam ba-ba-mar-a mi-su-da-gam sa bo sa to no mo bo gya mo ha te cho tát bà tát đa (na ma bà tát đa)na ma bà dà ma phạt đạt đậu
dá shí tā da-nya-ta to ji to đát điệt tha
om, ā pó lú xī, lú jiā dì om a-ro-gye a-ro-ga ma-ji-ro-ga en o bo ryo ki ru gya chi án a bà lô hê lô ca đế
jiā luó dì, yí xī lī ji-ga-ran-je hye-hye ha-rye kya rya chi i ki ri ca ra đế di hê rị
mó hē pú tí sà duǒ sà pó sà pó mó lá mó lá mó xī mó sī, lī tuó yùn ma-ha-mo-ji sa-da-ba sa-ma-ra sa-ma-ra ha-ri-na-ya mo ko fu ji sa to sa bo sa bo mo ra mo ra mo ki mo ki ri to in ma ha bồ đề tát đỏa tát bà tát bà ma ra ma ra ma hê ma hê rị đà dựng
jù lú jù lú jié měng gu-ro gu-ro gal-ma sa-da-ya sa-da-ya ku ryo ku ryo ke mo cu lô cu lô yết mông
dù lú dù lú, fá shé yē dì do-ro do-ro mi-yeon-je to ryo to ryo ho ja ya chi dộ lô đồ lô phạt xà da đế
mó hē, fá shé yē dì ma-ha mi-yeon-je mo ko ho ja ya chi ma ha phạt xà da đế
tuó lá tuó lá da-ra-da-ra to ra to ra đà ra đà ra
dì lī ní da-rin na-rye chi ri ni địa rị ni
shì fó lá yē sae-ba-ra shi fu ra ya thất phật ra da
zhē lá zhē lá ja-ra-ja-ra sha ro sha ro giá ra giá ra
mó mó fá mó lá ma-ra mi-ma-ra a-ma-ra mo mo ha mo ra mạ mạ phạt ma ra
mù dì lì yī xī yī xī shì nà shì nà ā lá shēn, fó lá shè lì mol-je ye-hye-hye ro-gye sae-ba-ra ra-a mi-sa-mi na-sa-ya ho chi ri yu ki yu ki shi no shi no o ra san fu ra sha ri mục đế lệ y hê di hê thất na thất na a ra sâm phật ra xá lợi
fá shā fá shēn fó lá shè yē na-be sa-mi sa-mi na-sa-ya mo ha-ja-ra mi-sa-mi na-sa-ya ha za ha za fu ra sha ya phạt sa phạt sâm phật ra xá da
hū lú hū lú mó lá hū lú hū lú xī lì ho-ro ho-ro ma-ra-ho-ro ha-rye ba-na-ma na-ba ku ryo ku ryo mo ra ku ryo ku ryo ki ri hô lô hô lô ma ra hô lô hô lô hê rị
suō lá suō lá sa-ra-sa-ra sha ra sha ro ta ra ta ra
xī lī xī lī si-ri-si-ri shi ri shi ri tất rị tất rị
sū lú sū lú pú tí yè, pú tí yè so-ro-so-ro mot-jya-mot-jya su ryo su ryo fu ji ya fu ji ya tô rô tô rô bồ đề dạ bồ đề dạ
pú tuó yè, pú tuó yè mo-da-ya mo-da-ya fu do ya fu do ya bồ đà dạ bồ đà dạ
mí dì lì yè mae-da-ri-ya mi chi ri ya di đế rị dạ
nà lá jǐn chí ni-ra-gan-ta no ra kin ji na ra cẩn trì
dì lì sè ní nà, pó yè mó nà, sā pó hē ga-ma-sa nal-sa-nam ba-ra ha-ra na-ya ma-nak sa-ba-ha chi ri shu ni no ho ya mo no so mo ko địa rị sắc ni na bà dạ ma na ta bà ha
xī tuó yè sā pó hē sit-da-ya sa-ba-ha shi do ya so mo ko tất đà dạ ta bà ha
mó hē xī tuó yè sā pó hē ma-ha sit-da-ya sa-ba-ha mo ko shi do ya so mo ko ma ha tất đà dạ ta bà ha
xī tuó yù yì sit-da-yu-ye shi do yu ki tất đà dũ nghệ
shì pó lá yè sā pó hē sae-ba ra-ya sa-ba-ha shi fu ra ya so mo ko thất bàn ra dạ ta bà ha
nà lá jǐn chí sā pó hē ni-ra gan-ta-ya sa-ba-ha no ra kin ji so mo ko na ra cẩn trì ta bà ha
mó lá nà lá sā pó hē ba-ra-ha mok-ka mo ra no ra so mo ko ma ra na ra ta bà ha
xī lá sēng, ā mù qū yē sā pó hē sing-ha mok-ka-ya sa-ba-ha shi ra su o mo gya ya so mo ko tất ra tăng a mục khê da ta bà ha
sā pó mó hē ā sī tuó yè sā pó hē ba-na-ma ha-tta-ya sa-ba-ha so bo mo ko o shi do ya so mo ko ta bà ma ha a tất đà dạ ta bà ha
shě jí lá ā xī tuó yè sā pó hē ja-ga-ra-yok-da-ya sa-ba-ha sha ki ra o shi do ya so mo ko giả kiết ra a tất đà dạ ta bà ha
bō tuó mó, jié xī duō yè sā pó hē sang-ka-seom-na-nye mo-da-na-ya sa-ba-ha ma-ha-ra gu-ta da-ra-ya sa-ba-ha ho do mo gya shi do ya so mo ko ba đà ma kiết tất đà dạ ta bà ha
nà lá jǐn chí pó jiā lá yē sā pó hē ba-ma-sa gan-ta-i-sa si-che-da ga-rin-na i-na-ya sa-ba-ha no ra kin ji ha gya ra ya so mo ko na ra cẩn trì bàn đà ra dạ ta bà ha
mó pó lì, shèng jié lá yè sā pó hē mya-ga-ra jal-ma i-ba sa-na-ya sa-ba-ha mo ho ri shin gya ra ya so mo ko ma bà rị thắng yết ra dạ ta bà ha
nā mò hē lá dá nà, duō lá yè yē na-mo-ra da-na-da-ra ya-ya na mu ka ra tan no to ra ya ya nam mô hắc ra đát na đa ra dạ da
nā mò ā lì yē na-mak ar-ya na mu o ri ya nam mô a rị da
pó luó jí dì ba-ro-gi-je bo ryo ki chi bà lô kiết đế
shuò pó lá yè sae-ba ra-ya shi fu ra ya thước bàn ra dạ
sā pó hē om, sī diàn dōu màn duō lá bá tuó yē so mo ko en shi te do mo do ra ho do ya ta bà ha án tất điện đô mạn đà ra bạt đà gia
sā pó hē sa-ba-ha so mo ko ta bà ha

Sanskrit versions[edit]

[2]

oṃ namo ratnatrayaya. namah arya avalokitesvaraya bodhisattvaya mahasattvaya mahakarunikaya sarva bandhana chedana karaya. sarva bhava samudram sosana karana. sarva vyadhi prasamana karaya. sarva mrtyu upa-drava viansana karana. sarva bhaye su trana karaya. tasmat namas – krtva idam arya avalokitesvara bhastinam nilakantha pi nama hrdayam avarta isyami sarvartha-sadhanam subham ajeyam sarva bhutanam bhava marga visuddhakam tadyatha, om aloke aloka-mati lokati krante. he hare arya avalokitesvara maha bodhisattva, he bodhisattva, he maha bodhisattva, he virya bodhisattva he mahakarunika smara hrdayam. hi hi, hare arya avalokitesvara mahesvara parama maitra-citta mahakarunika. kuru kuru karman sadhaya sadhaya vidyam. ni hi, ni hi varnam kamam-game. vitta-kama vigama. siddha yogesvara. dhuru dhuru viryanti, maha viryanti. dhara dhara dharendresvara. cala cala vimala amala murte arya avalokitesvara jina krsna jata-makutavalam ma pra-lamba maha siddha vidya dhara. vara vara maha vara. bala bala maha bala. cala cala maha cala krsna-varna nigha krsna – paksa nirghatana. he padma-hasta cara cara desa caresvara krsna – sarpa krta yajnopavita ehyehi maha varaha-mukha, tripura-dahanesvara narayana va rupa vara marga ari. he nilakantha, he mahakara, hala hala visa nir-jita lokasya. raga visa vinasana. dvesa visa vinasana. moha visa vinasana huru huru mala, huru huru hare, maha padmanabha sara sara, siri siri, suru suru, bucruc bucruc, bodhiya bodhiya, bodhaya bodhaya maitri nilakantha ehyehi vama shitha simha-mukha hasa hasa, munca munca mahattahasam ehiyehi pa maha siddha yogesvara bhana bhana vaco sadhaya sadhaya vidyam. smara smaratam bhagavantam lokita vilokitam lokesvaram tathagatam dadahi me drasana kamasya darsanam pra-hia daya mana svaha. siddhaya svaha. maha siddhaya svaha. siddha yogesvaraya svaha. nilakanthaya svaha. varaha-mukhaya svaha. maha-dara simha-mukhaya svaha. siddha vidyadharaya svaha. padma-hastaya svaha. krsna-sarpa krta yajno pavitaya svaha. maha lakuta daharaya svaha. cakra yuddhaya svaha. sankha-sabdani bodhanaya svaha. vama skandha desa sittha krsna jinaya svaha. vyaghra-carma nivasa naya svaha. lokesvaraya svaha. sarva siddhesvaraya svaha. namo bhagavate arya avalokitesvaraya bodhisattvaya mahasattvaya mahakarunikaya. sidhyanthu me mantra-padaya svaha.

Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāranī (The Blue Necked Dhāranī)[edit]

Namo ratna-trayāya
(Adoration of the triple Gem)

I. Initial Salutation[edit]

Nama āryāvalokite-śvarāya bodhisattvāya mahā-sattvāya mahā-kārunikāya
(Adoration to the noble Lord who looks down, the enlightened sentient being, the great being, the merciful one!)

II. Name of Avalokiteśvarā[edit]

Om sarva-bhaya-śodhanāya tasya namaskrtvā imu Ārya-valokite-śvarā tava namo Nīlakantha 2
(Om! Having paid adoration to One who dispels all fears, the noble Avalokiteśvarā, adoration to the blue-necked one!)

III. śloka enunication of the merit of the hrdaya-dhāranī[edit]

Hrdayam vartayisyāmi sarvārtha-sādhanam śubham 3 ajeyam sarva-bhūtānām bhava-mārga-viśodhakam 4
(I shall enunciate the heart dharani which ensures all purpose, is pure and invincible for all beings, and which purifies the path of existence.)

IV. Dhāranī[edit]

Tadyathā: Om Ālokādhipati lokātikrānta
(Like this: Om! Lord of Effulgence, the World-Transcending One.)

Ehy mahā-bodhisattva sarpa-sarpa smara smara hrdayam
(Come, great bodhisattva, descend, descend. Please remember (smara) my heart dharani.)

Kuru-kuru karma dhuru-dhuru vijayate mahā-vijayate
(Do, do the work. Hold fast, hold fast, Victor, the great Victor)

Dhara-dhara dhārinī-rāja cala-cala mama vimalā-mūrtte
(Hold on, hold on, King of the Dharani. Move, move onto my spotless image.)

Ehi ehi chinda chinda aras pracali vaśa-vaśam pranāśaya
(Come, come, the vow, the vow of the admantine king, destroy, destroy every poison.)

Hulu-hulu smara hulu-hulu sara-sara siri-siri suru-suru
(Quick-quick, please remember, quick-quick. Descend-descend, descend-descend, descend-descend)

Bodhiya-bodhiya bodhaya-bodhaya maitriya Nīlakantha [dehi me] darsanam
(Being enlightened, being enlightened; enlighten me, enlighten me. Merciful Blue-necked One appear [unto me].)

Praharāyamānāya svāhā siddhāya svāhā mahā-siddhāya svāhā siddhayogīśvarāya svāhā
(To you who sees us, hail! To the Successful one hail! To the Great Successful one hail! To the Successful Lord of the yogis, hail!)

Nīlakanthāya svāhā varāha-mukhāya svāhā narasimha-mukhāya svāha
(To the Blue-necked one (Nīlakantha) hail! To the Boar-faced One hail! To Man-Lion faced One hail!)

Gadā-hastāya svāhā cakra-hastāya svāhā padma-hastāya svāhā
(To one who bears the mace (gadā) in his hand, hail! To the holder of discus in his hand, hail! To One who sports a lotus (padma) in his hand, hail!)

Nīlakantha-pāndarāya svāhā Mahātali Śankaraya svāhā
(To Blue-necked One smeared (with holy ashes), hail! To the mighty auspicious one, hail!)

V. Final Salutation[edit]

Namo ratna-trayāya Nama āryāvalokite-śvarāya bodhisattvāya svāhā
(Adoration to the Triple Gem, adoration to the noble Āvalokiteśvarā (Lord who looks down), the enlightened being, hail!)

Mahā Karuna Dhāranī (大悲咒)[edit]

Worked from 723-774, Amoghavajra (大廣智不空) transliterates Siddham’s script from Chinese Tripitake (大正新修大藏經 Taisho Edition T.1113b, 20.498-501 cf.1111-1113A), as transcribed below (a reconstructed Sanskrit text). Nīlakantha (Blue-Necked), the title of Avalokitesvara is substituted by Nīlakandi in Amoghavajra's translation (T. 1113b). It is a central Asian form: Uigur nominative singular ending in “-i” and has come to mean the virtuous one.

I. Initial Salutation (前行)[edit]

namaḥ ratna-trayāya namo āryā valokiteśvarāya1 bodhisattvāya mahā-sattvāya mahā-kāruṇikāya2
(Adoration to the Three Gems, adoration to the noble Avalokiteśvarā, the enlightened sentient being, the great being, the merciful (one)!)
(皈依 三寶,皈依 聖 觀音,覺有情,大士,大悲心 (者)!)

II. Name of Avalokite-śvarā (觀音名)[edit]

oṃ sarva rabhaye sudhanadasya3 namas-kṛtvā imaṃ āryā-valokite-śvara raṃdhava namo narakindhi hrīḥ4
(Oneness with all saints (and their) righteous doctrine (righteous-joyous language). After the adoration to that noble(arya) Avalokiteśvarā of the Mercy (Fragrant) Land, I offer my respectful obeisances to the virtuous supreme lord)
(皈依 一切 聖眾 (及) 正教(喜悅的正語)。頂禮 完畢 彼 洛迦山 (慈悲地/香山) 之聖 觀音, 頂禮 (彼) 賢善尊。)

III. Śloka Enunication of the Merit of the Hrdaya-Dhāranī (功德迴向)[edit]

mahā vadhasame5 sarva arthaduh śubhaṃ ajeyaṃ sarva sattva6
((Who emits) great brilliance light, all sentient beings (sarva-satva) are without attachment (āthaduh) and in undefeatable(ajeyam) purity (śubhum) in all things.)
((放)大光明,(令)一切 眾生 在 一切 無比 無貪 妙 淨。皈依 大樂有情,皈依 大樂童子 (他受)天人所親近。)

namo vasattva namo vaga mavadudhu7
Adoration to the joyful being, adoration to the joyful virgin who served by all heavenly beings;)
(皈依 大樂有情,皈依 大樂童子 (他受)天人所親近。)

IV. Dhāranī (咒文)[edit]

tadyathā oṃ avaloki lokāte8
(Like this: Oneness with/adoration to the seer (avalokite) of the world (loka) - (Avalokiteśvarā),)
(咒曰:合一/皈依 觀世 (者),)

karāte e hrīḥ mahā-bodhisattva9 sarva sarva mālā mālā10 mahimā hṛdayam11
(whose (ye) compassionate heart (hrdayam). The great sentient enlightened being; all, all, are garland (immaculate), garland (immaculate), great liberated heart)
((他)大悲。心大覺有情 一切一切 (的) 花蔓 (清淨)花蔓 (清淨),大 自在心,)

kuru kuru karmaṃ12 dhuru dhuru vājayate mahā vājayate13
(Accomplish, accomplish the task (karma). Liberate, liberate, the victorious one, the great victorious one.)
(作(此),作(此) 義業。度脫,度脫,的勝者,大勝者。)

dhara dhara dhṛṇi śvarāya14 cala cala mama vamāra muktele15
(Hold on, hold on the brave freedom (īśvara). Lead, lead to my immaculate liberation)
((他) 能持,能持 勇猛 自在。(令) 動(變化),動(變化) 我所 離垢 解脫。)

ehi ehi śīṇa śīṇa ārṣam pracali16 vaśa-vaśaṃ praśaya17
((Please) come, come; (fulfil) the pledge, the pledge; the admantine king of awakening (who) rules, rules the peace (prasada).)
(順召,順召,弘誓,弘誓,法王,法王子 (覺身之子),(他)統治,統治 和平 [統治和平的法王,法王子 請來完我弘誓]。)

huru huru mārā18 huru huru hṛ19 sārā sārā śiri śiri suru suru20
(Purify, purify personification of delusions; purify, purify the heart (hrdayam). Firm, firm; brave, brave; wonder form (being), wonder form (being).)
(行,行無垢;行,行隨心。堅固,堅固;勇猛,勇猛;妙色,妙色。)

bodhiya bodhiya bodhaya bodhaya21 maitreya narakindi22
(Enlightenment, enlightenment, the enlightened one, the enlightened one. The benevolent, virtuous one,)
(覺道(罷),覺道(罷);覺者,覺者 [覺者 - 堅定 勇猛 的 妙者, 覺道了]。大慈 大賢(悲)者,)

dhṛṣṇina bhayamana svāhā23 siddhāya svāhā24 mahā-siddhāya svāhā25 siddhā-yoge śvarāya svāhā26
(Success in power and fame, success in benevolence, success in great benevolence, success in achieving freedom (īśvara) through union (with dharma),)
((他) 堅利名聞 成就,義利 成就,大義利 成就,相應而得 自在 成就,)

narakindi svāhā27 māraṇara svāhā28 śirā śaṃ āmukhāya svāhā29 sarva mahā-āsiddhāya svāhā30
(Success in virtues, Success in immaculate joy, incomparable success in ultima convincing speech, incomparable success in all profound meaning)
(賢愛 成就,無垢妙樂 成就,愛攝語 究竟無比 成就,一切 大義無比 成就,)

cakra āsiddhāya svāhā31 padma kastāya svāhā32
(Incomparable success in (turning) the wheel, success in the red lotus (immaculate) deed,)
((轉)法輪 無比 成就,紅蓮 (妙 淨) 義業 成就,)

narakindi vagarāya svāhā33 mavari śaṅkharāya svāhā34
(Success in (becoming a) virtuous Bhagavan (blessed one), success in own prestige nature.)
(賢愛 尊 成就,(具)威德 自性 成就。)

V. Final Salutation (結分)[edit]

namaḥ ratna-trayāya namo āryā valokiteśvarāya svāhā35
(Refuge in the Triple Gem, take refuge in the success of noble Avalokite (look upon) śvarā (sound)
(皈依 三寶,皈依 聖 觀音 (之)圓滿。)

oṃ siddhyantu mantra padāya svāhā36
(Oneness (om) with the success (svaha) of achieving (sidhyantu) these invocation (mantra) verses (pada)!
((天人)合一 令成就 咒句 圓滿 [令(我)圓滿 成就(此)真言句] !)

Avalokiteśvaraikadaśamukha Dhāraṇī (Eleven Faced Avalokitesvara Dhāranī)[edit]

This dhāraṇī stems from the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara Heart Dharani Sutra and is often somewhat incorrectly referred to as the Great Compassion Mantra, e.g. in popular recordings by Imee Ooi and Ani Choying Dolma. More specific denominations of this dharani are Avalokiteśvaraikadaśamukhadhāraṇī or Ārya Ekādaśa-mukha Dhāraṇī in Sanskrit, and Eleven Faced Avalokitesvara Dharani in English.

The chanting of this dhāraṇī is perhaps the most frequently performed Buddhism song by Chinese-speaking musicians. It is often falsely named Tibetan Great Compassion Mantra (藏传大悲咒) or The Great Compassion Mantra in Sanskrit (梵音大悲咒) in both Chinese and Taiwanese recordings. Since this dhāraṇī is told by the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara, an esoteric bodhisattva in Tibetan Buddhism, some people believe that it is equivalent to the Great Compassion Mantra in Mahayana Buddhism. This is why it is often called Tibetan Great Compassion Mantra (藏传大悲咒). However, this opinion is not accepted by most Mahayana Buddhists.

Namo Ratna Trayāya Namaḥ Ārya Jñāna Sāgara Vairocana Vyūha Rājāya Tathāgatāya Arhate Samyak Sambuddhaya Namah Sarva Tathagatebyah Arhatebyaḥ Samyaksaṃbuddhe Byaḥ Namaḥ Arya Avalokite Śvarāya Boddhisattvāya Mahāsattvāya Mahākāruṇikāya Tadyathā Oṃ Dhara Dhara Dhiri Dhiri Dhuru Dhuru Ite Vatte Cale Cale Pra Cale Pra Cale Kusume Kusume Vare Ili Mili Citijvala māpanāye Svāhā

Great Compassion Mantra in Chinese[edit]

In Mandarin (Hanyu pinyin), transliterated from Siddham text. The Great compassion mantra 大悲咒 (dà bēi zhòu) is a Siddham-Sanskrit mantra. It is a mantra uttered by Arya Avalokiteśvarā (the noble Guān Shì Yīn Púsà in Chinese) in the Sutra of the Dharani of Great Compassion Mantra. The Chinese version is transliterated from a Siddham script in the Chinese Tripitaka (T. 1113b).

觀 世 音 菩 薩 大 悲 心 陀 羅 尼 guān shì yīn pú sà dà bēi xīn tuó luó ní

(Attention: ancient chinese prononciations 囉 la; 婆 wo; 訶 ha )

南 無 喝 囉 怛 娜 多 囉 夜 耶 ° nā mo hē là dá nà duō là yè yé

南 無 阿 唎 耶 婆 盧 羯 帝 爍 缽 囉 耶 ° nā mo a lī yé wó lú jié dì shuò bō là yé

菩 提 薩 埵 婆 耶 ° 摩 訶 薩 埵 婆 耶 ° 摩 訶 迦 盧 尼 迦 耶 ° pú tí sà duǒ wó yé mó hā sà duǒ wó yé mó hā jiā lú ní jiā yé

唵 ° 薩 皤 囉 罰 曳 ° 數 怛 那 怛 寫 ° ăn sà bó là fá yì shù da nă dá xiĕ

南 無 悉 吉 栗 埵 。 伊 蒙 阿 唎 耶 婆 盧 羯 帝室 佛 囉 。 楞 馱 婆 ° nā mo xī jí lí duǒ yī mēng a lī yé wó lú jié dì shì fó là léng tuó wó

南 無 ° 那 囉 謹 墀 ° 醯 唎 摩 訶 皤 多 沙 咩 ° nā mo nă là jĭn chí xī lī mó hā bó duō shā miē

薩 婆 阿 他 豆 輸 朋 ° 阿 逝 孕 ° sà wó a tā dòu shū péng a shì yùn

薩 婆 薩 多 那 摩 婆 薩 多 那 摩 婆 伽 ° 摩 罰 特 豆 ° sà wó sà duō nă mó wó sà duō nă mó wó jiā mó fá tè dòu

怛 姪 他 ° 唵 阿 婆 盧 醯 ° 盧 迦 帝 ° 迦 羅 帝 ° dá zhí tā ăn a wó lú xī lú jiā dì jiā luó dì

夷 醯 唎° 摩 訶 菩 提 薩 埵 ° yí xī lī mó hā pú tí sà duǒ

薩 婆 薩 婆 ° 摩 囉 摩 囉 ° 摩 醯 摩 醯 唎 馱 孕 ° sà wó sà wó mó là mó là mó xī mó xī lī tuó yùn

俱 盧 俱 盧 羯 懞 ° 度 盧 度 盧 罰 闍 耶 帝 ° 摩 訶 罰 闍 耶 帝 ° jù lú jù lú jié méng dù lú dù lú fá shé yé dì mó hā fá shé yé dì

陀 囉 陀 囉 ° 地 唎 尼 室 佛 囉 耶 ° tuó là tuó là dì lī ní shì fó là yē

遮 囉 遮 囉 ° 摩 摩 罰 摩 囉 ° 穆 帝 麗 ° 伊 醯 伊 醯° 室 那 室 那° zhē là zhē là mó mó fá mó là mù dì lì yī xī yī xī shì nă shì nă

阿 囉 參 佛 囉 舍 利 ° 罰 沙 罰 參 ° 佛 囉 舍 耶 ° a là shēn fó là shě lì fá shā fá shēn fó là shě yé

呼 盧 呼 盧 摩 囉 ° 呼 盧 呼 盧 醯 唎° hū lú hū lú mó là hū lú hū lú xī lī

娑 囉 娑 囉° 悉 唎 悉 唎 ° 蘇 嚧 蘇 嚧° suō là suō là xī lī xī lī sū lú sū lú

菩 提 夜 菩 提 夜° 菩 馱 夜 菩 馱 夜 ° pú tí yè pú tí yè pú tuó yè pú tuó yè

彌 帝 唎 夜 ° 那 囉 謹 墀 ° 地 唎 瑟 尼 那 ° mí dì lī yè nă là jĭn chí dì lī sè ní nà

波 夜 摩 那 ° 娑 婆 訶° bō yè mó nà suō wó hā

悉 陀 夜 。 娑 婆 訶 ° xī tuó yè suō wó hā °

摩 訶 悉 陀 夜。 娑 婆 訶 ° mó hā xī tuó yè suō wó hā °

悉 陀 喻 藝 室 皤 囉 夜。 娑 婆 訶 ° xī tuó yù yi shì bó là yè suō wó hā

那 囉 謹 墀。 娑 婆 訶 ° nă là jĭn chí suō wó hā

摩 囉 那 囉。 娑 婆 訶 ° mó là nă là suō wó hā

悉 囉 僧 阿 穆 佉 耶 ° 娑 婆 訶。 xī là sēng a mù qū yé suō wó hā

娑 婆 摩 訶 阿 悉 陀 耶 ° 娑 婆 訶 ° suō wó mó hā a xī tuó yé suō wó hā

者 吉 囉 阿 悉 陀 夜 ° 娑 婆 訶。 zhě jí là a xī tuó yè suō wó hā

波 陀 摩 羯 悉 陀 夜 ° 娑 婆 訶 ° bō tuó mó jié xī tuó yè suō wó hā

那 囉 謹 墀 皤 伽 囉 耶 ° 娑 婆 訶。 nă là jĭn chí bó qié là yé suō wó hā

摩 婆 利 勝 羯 囉 夜 ° 娑 婆 訶 ° mó wó lì shèng jié là yè suō wó hā

南 無 喝 囉 怛 那 哆 囉 夜 耶。 nā mo hē là dá nà duō là yè yé

南 無 阿 唎 耶 婆 盧吉帝 爍 皤 囉 夜 ° 娑 婆 訶 ° nā mo a lī yé wó lú jí dì shuō bó là yè suō wó hā

唵 ° 悉 殿 都° 漫 哆 羅 ° 跋 陀 耶 ° 娑 婆 訶 ăn xī diàn dū màn duō là bá tuó yé suō wó hā

In Sanskrit:

Namo ratna-trayāya!

Namo āryāvalokiteśvarāya,

Bodhi-sattvāya Mahā-sattvāya Mahā-kārunikāya!

Om sarva-raviye śudhanadasya namas kritvā imam āryāvalokiteśvara ramdhava

Namo narakindi hrih Mahā-vat-svāme Sarva-arthato-śubham ajeyam

Sarva-sat Namo-vasat Namo-vāka mavitāto

Tadyathā:

Om avaloki-lokate-krate-e-hrih Mahā-bodhisattva

Sarva sarva Mala mala Mahi Mahi ridayam

Kuru kuru karmam Dhuru dhuru vijayate Mahā-vijayati

Dhara dhara dhriniśvarāya cala cala Mama vimala muktele

Ehi ehi śina śina ārsam prasari viśva viśvam prasaya

Hulu hulu mara Hulu hulu hrih Sara sara siri siri suru suru

Bodhiya Bodhiya Bodhaya Bodhaya

Maitreya narakindi dhriśnina

bhayamāna svāhā!

Siddhāya svāhā!

Mahā siddhāya svāhā!

Siddha-yogeśvarāya svāhā!

Narakindi svāhā!

Maranāra svāhā!

śira simha-mukhāya svāhā!

Sarva mahā-asiddhāya svāhā!

Cakra-asiddhāya svāhā!

Padma-kastāya svāhā!

Narakindi-vagalāya svāhā!

Mavari-śankharāya svāhā!

Namo ratna-trayāya!

Namo āryāvalokiteśvarāya svāhā!

Om Sidhyantu mantra padāya svāhā!

Initial Vows of Great Compassion Dharani Recitation[edit]

"If there are monks(Bhikshus), nuns(Bhikshunis), laymen(Upasakas), laywomen(Upasikas), pure youth and maidens who wish to recite and hold(keep reciting) this mantra, they should first arouse heir great merciful and compassionate hearts for all living beings, and follow me [Avalokitesvara] in making these vows:

(* The pronunciation of "Namo" is [na:mo:] in international phonetic symbols)

  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly know all Dharmas;
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon obtain the Wisdom Eye;
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly ferry all living beings (to the shore of liberation);
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon obtain virtuous skillful means (to enlighten various living beings);
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly board the Prajna Boat;
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon transcend the ocean of suffering;
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly achieve precepts, Samadhi and the Way;
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon ascend the mountain of Nirvana;
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly dwell in the house of non-action;
  • Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon unite with the Dharma-Nature Body.


  • If I go towards the mountain of knives, the mountain of knives of itself breaks up;
  • If I go towards the boiling oil, the boiling oil of itself dries up;
  • If I go towards the hells, the hells of themselves disappear;
  • If I go towards the hungry ghosts, the hungry ghosts of themselves become full.
  • If I go towards the Asuras, their evil thoughts of themselves are tamed.
  • If I go towards the animals, they themselves attain great wisdom.


"After making these vows, recite my name(Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva) with the deep-felt sincere heart, also recite single-mindedly the name of my teacher -- Amitabha Tathagata(Namo Amitabha), then recite this mantra, 5 times or more in a day, to remove from the body the weighty sins of births and deaths accumulated in hundreds of thousands of billions of kalpas."[3]


Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī[edit]

Power of countless buddhas is included in this secret Dharani (一切如來心祕密全身舍利寶篋印陀羅尼經).[4] It is a Heart Secret of All Tathāgatas:[5] namas tryadhvikānāṁ sarva tathāgatānāṁ | oṁ bhuvi-bhavana-vare | vacana-vacati suru suru dhara dhara | sarva tathāgata dhātu dhare | padmaṁ bhavati jaya vare mudre | smara tathāgata dharma-cakra pravartana vajre bodhimaṇḍālaṁkārālaṁkṛte | sarva tathāgatādhiṣṭhite | bodhaya bodhaya bodhi bodhi | budhya budhya saṁbodhani saṁbodhaya | cala cala calantu | sarvāvaraṇāni sarva pāpa vigate | huru huru sarva śoka vigate | sarva tathāgata hṛdaya vajriṇi | saṁbhāra saṁbhāra | sarva tathāgata guhya dhāraṇī-mudre | bhūte subhūte | sarva tathāgatādhiṣṭhita dhātu garbhe svāhā | samayādhiṣṭhite svāhā | sarva tathāgata hṛdaya dhātu mudre svāhā | supratiṣṭhita stūpe tathāgatādhiṣṭhite huru huru hūṁ hūṁ svāhā | oṁ sarva tathāgatoṣṇīṣa dhātu mudrāṇi | sarva tathāgata sadhātu vibhūṣitādhiṣṭhite hūṁ hūṁ svāhā ||

Longer version: Namad sedeliya divi kanam, sava tathagatanam, Om bhuvibha vadhavari, vachari vachatai, suru suru dhara dhara, sarva tathagata dhatudhari,

padmabhavati jayavari mudri smara. Tathagata dharma chakra, pravartana vajri bodhi pana, Rumkara rumkriti,

Sava tathagata dhistite, Bodhaya bodhaya bodhi bodhi, Buddhya buddhya, Samboddhani samboddhaya, Chala chala chalamtu,

Sarva varanani, Sarva papavigate, Huru huru sarva sukhavigati, Sarva tathagata haridaya vajrani,

Sambhara sambhara, Sarva tathagata suhaya dharani mudri, Buddhi subuddhi, Sarva tathagata dhistita,

dhatu garbhe svaha samaya dhistite svaha, sarva tathagata haridaya, dhatu mudri svaha, supra tisthita stubhe tathagata dhistite, huru huru hum hum svaha,

Om sarva tathagata usnisa, Dhatu mudrani, Sarva tathagatam sadha tuvibhusita, Dhistite hum hum svaha.

Glossary[edit]

  • Avalokiteśvarā: Avalokita (ava+lokita: 'ava' preverb meaning down, upon; lokita a past-participle of lok 'to see') observed, looking [down] upon) + īśvara (Lord) i.e. Lord of the Observed World. (with sandhi a + ī > e) Chinese 觀自在 (Kwan tzu-tsai). The Tibetan translation སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་དབང་ཕྱུག་ pronounced chenrezig wangchug, where chenrezig refers watching out over, and wangchug is the translation for ishvara, Lord. In early texts also Avalokitasvara where svara means sounds: Chinese 觀音 (Kwan Yin, also spelt Guān Yīn, and in Japanese: Kannon). The latter is the name more commonly used in China.
  • cakra: pronounced 'chakra', means wheel, as in wheel of life (bhava-cakra) or wheel of law.
  • mahāsiddha: the attainment of extraordinary abilities (siddhi).
  • maitri: kindness, benevolence.
  • mālā: (lit.) "garland", symbolize "immaculate".
  • Māra: death, the devil. Embodiment of the selfish attachments and temptations that bind one to the cycle of birth and death.
  • namo, namah, namas (variations caused by [sandhi]: homage, salutation, adoration, greeting!
  • [oṃ]: means oneness with the Supreme, the merging of the physical being with the spiritual. The most sacred syllable, the first sound of Almighty. This sacred syllable appears as a mystic sound, regarded as the basis of every other mantra. It is the sound not only of origination but also for dissolution.

Nīlakandi: nominative singular of 'Nīlakantha' in Uigur, a central Asian form.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (四)房山石經下
  2. ^ Nīlakantha Dhāranī from STP (5.1290-6.1304) by Chih-t'ung (worked 627-649), Ming edition of the Chinese Tripitaka. (Lokesh Chandra, Sanskrit Texts from the Imperial Palace at Peking [STP] Parts 1-22, New Delhi 1968-1977, International Academy of Indian Culture)
  3. ^ Great Compassion Dharani Sutra
  4. ^ Casket Seal Dharani 宝箧印陀罗尼的故事
  5. ^ [1]

External links[edit]