Great Compassion Mantra
Mantra: Great Compassion Mantra
“Nilakantha Dharani", popularly known as “Great Compassion Mantra”, is a mantra spoken by Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva in “Mahakaruna Dharani Sutra of the Thousand-armed and Thousand-eyed Avalokitesvara”. Avalokitesvara is also known as Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva in Asia. Similar to the popular six-syllable mantra "Om mani padme hum", “Great Compassion Mantra” is widely recited in the mainstream Buddhism.
The title of this mantra reflects the compassion of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva on relieving living beings from their sufferings and difficulties. “Great Compassion Mantra” can purify bad karma and assist practitioners to reach any Pure Land at the end of their life through the help of Buddhas from the ten directions.
If one can recite “Great Compassion Mantra” sincerely and single-mindedly, one can receive ten great benefits and fifteen kinds of good birth, as well as staying away from fifteen kinds of bad deaths. Moreover, “Great Compassion Mantra” has unbelievable power to fulfill every wish and cure 840,000 diseases.
There is a story behind this sacred mantra. In one of his previous lives, Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva wished to dedicate himself to the welfare of all sentient beings. Out of compassion, Tranquil Light Buddha transmitted “Great Compassion Mantra” to him. After hearing the mantra, Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva made a great vow, which was to have thousand mighty arms and eyes in order to benefit all sentient beings.
After his vow was made, one thousand arms and one thousand eyes started to grow out of his body, shaking the earth in ten directions. At the same time, his body began to glow from head to toe as numerous Buddhas shed their dazzling light on him. “Thousand" symbolizes boundlessness in the ancient time. Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, with thousand eyes or unlimited amounts of eyes, can perceive suffering of all sentient beings, and will use him thousand hands, or unlimited hands or abilities, to releases sentient beings from pains and troubles.
“Great Compassion Mantra” is an extremely powerful mantra because it contains not only the sacred name of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, but also contains the various embodiments, wisdom, capacities and merits of this Bodhisattva and other enlightened beings. During recitation, practitioners are connected to Buddhahood through their voice, so this wonderful mantra can guide and protect practitioners to gain release from the cycle of rebirth.
“Great Compassion Mantra” consists of eighty-four phrases. It is widely recited in Asian Buddhism. Buddhists believe that faith in Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva not only improves conditions of this life, but also find peace within themselves and bring harmony to the society.