Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara Heart Dharani Sutra

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The Heart-dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara-ekadaśamukha Sūtra (Chinese:佛說十一面觀世音神咒經; Japanese:十一面神呪心經 Jūichimen-jinshushin-gyō) is a Buddhist text first translated from Sanskrit into Chinese on the 28th day of the third lunar month of 656 CE, by Xuanzang. The title in Tibetan language is Spyan-ras-gzigs-dbang-phyug-shal bcu-gcig-pa, while the Sanskrit title recovered from the Tibetan translation is Avalokiteśvara ikadaśamukha dhāraṇī. Alternatively, the sutra's title has been translated as the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara Heart Dharani Sutra by Professor Ryuichi Abe.

This sutra introduces the dhāraṇī Heart-dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara-ekadaśamukha (Chinese:聖十一面觀自在菩薩根本咒). In the text, the Buddha introduces and talks about the benefits and the incredible power of this dhāraṇī.

The Heart-dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara-ekadaśamukha Sūtra[edit]

The text introduces the heart dharani of the Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, as the following lines, translated by Prof. Abe indicate:[1]

世尊我此神咒有大威力。若誦一遍即能除滅四根本罪。及五無間令無有餘。況能如說而修行者。

Bhagavat [World-Honored One; the Buddha], this dhāraṇī of mine [Avalokiteśvara] is impregnated with magnificent power. A single recitation will instantaneously eliminate the four cardinal sins and release all the sinners in the five eternal hells. How much greater power will be attained by the practitioner who studies it as I will describe now!

Later, the Bodhisattva states:[1]

若有稱念百千俱胝那庾多諸佛名號。復有暫時於我名號至心稱念。彼二功德平等平等。諸有稱念我名號者。一切皆得不退轉地。離一切病脫一切障一切怖畏。及能滅除身語意惡。況能於我所說神咒。受持讀誦如說修行。

There may be a practitioner who recites the names of all the Buddhas for hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of times. However, if there is a practitioner who recites my name even for a short moment, the latter's merit will equal that accrued by the practice of the former...Then much how much greater merit will be attained by those who chant my dhāraṇī, memorize it and practice it as I will describe now!

The sutra is used in various Buddhist ceremonies, including the famous Shuni-e ceremony at Tōdai-ji Temple in Nara, Japan. There is no extant, full English translation at this time.

The Heart-dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara-ekadaśamukha[edit]

The Heart-dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara-ekadaśamukha (Chinese:聖十一面觀自在菩薩根本咒/十一面觀音心咒) is the dhāraṇī introduced in Heart-dhāraṇī of Avalokiteśvara-ekadaśamukha Sūtra. Below is the romanized Sanskrit version:

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

Relationship to the Great Compassion Mantra[edit]

It is generally believed that this dhāraṇī has no direct relationship with the The Great Compassion Mantra in Mahayana Buddhism. However, it is often falsely named as Tibetan Great Compassion Mantra (藏傳大悲咒) or The Great Compassion Mantra in Sanskrit (梵音大悲咒) in Chinese-speaking regions.

Some people believe that this dhāraṇī is told by the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara, an esoteric bodhisattva in Tibetan Buddhism, and that it is the equivalent Tibetan version of The Great Compassion Mantra in Mahayana Buddhism. This is why it is often being referred to as Tibetan Great Compassion Mantra. However, this opinion is not accepted by most Mahayana Buddhists.

In Buddhist music[edit]

The chanting of this dhāraṇī is one of the most popular and famous pieces of Buddhist music in Chinese-speaking countries.

However, many recordings of this chant is falsely named Tibetan Great Compassion Mantra (藏傳大悲咒) or The Great Compassion Mantra in Sanskrit (梵音大悲咒) by Chinese-language publishing brands.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Abe, Ryuichi (1999). The Weaving of Mantra: Kukai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Discourse. Columbia University Press. pp. 175, 176. ISBN 0-231-11286-6. 

Additional information[edit]