Brief introduction for Thousand Phrases Great Compassion Mantra and its profound virtue and merit
<I> Preface: Thousand Phrases Great Compassion Mantra was discovered in “Fangshan Stone Buddhist Scriptures” or as in “Stone Canon of Fangshan”. About one thousand three hundred years ago during the Daye era of China’s Sui Dynasty (605-617), the disciple of Tien Tai Sect Second Patriarch Hui-Si Yueh – Master Jing -Wan vowed to protect Buddhist sutras from the destruction which might be caused by natural or man-made disasters in the future. Moreover, he aspired to preserve the true dharma (Buddha’s teaching) in order to offer great benefits and happiness to all living beings. Therefore, Master Jing-Wan brought forth to the Bodhi resolve to begin a project to engrave the entire Buddhist sutras in stone at Fangshan. He was known as the initiator for the project of “Fangshan Stone Buddhist Scriptures”. After he passed away (enter Parinirvana圓寂), not only did his disciples carry on his will of carving sutras but also the Buddhism devotees who considered themselves as the Dharma protectors from ten directions rejoiced and continued carving sutras. After years until the early Qing Dynasty, a total of 14278 tablets, 1122 sutras and more than 3400 volumes were completed and sealed in nine caves cut in the cliff high above Yungju temple and buried in a chamber beneath its pagoda. In 1956, to celebrate Buddha’s manifestation of Nirvana for 2500 years, the Buddhist Association of China took a complete set of rubbings of these inscriptions as the memorial tribute to Buddha. In 1980, the copy of “Fangshan Stone Buddhist Scriptures” was officially published, widely distributed and offered great benefits to all living beings in the unlimited worlds. Upon Buddha and Bodhisattva’s mercy and mindfulness to all living-beings, “Fangshan Stone Buddhist Scriptures” was able to be discovered and published. Therefore, all living-beings received the merit and compassion from Buddhas and bodhisattvas’ teaching. People who have this great opportunity to witness the engraved sutras ought to sincerely respect and be grateful to Buddha’s mercy and mindfulness.
<II> The discovery of “Thousand Phrases Great Compassion Mantra”
In the complete set of “Fangshan Stone Buddhist Scriptures”, “Thousand Phrases Great Compassion Mantra” was collected in “Shijiao Superior Secret Dharani collection” and combined with “Sacred Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Lotus Samadhi Nilakantha Great compassion Dharani 924 Phrases” and “Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva’s Vast, Perfect, Unimpeded, Great-Compassionate Heart Dharani Sutra 76 phrases”. So, it has a total of 1000 phrases.
Note: Shijiao is the original saying of Buddhism in ancient China
<III> Propagation and vanishment of “Thousand Phrases Great Compassion Mantra”
“Thousand Phrases Great Compassion Mantra” was popular in Tianbao era of Tang Dynasty (746-774) until A.C 1068 and then vanished since 1000 years ago. It is truly fortunate that all living-beings are able to learn and witness this mantra because “Great Compassion Mantra” is able to break hindrance of evil karmas, fulfill living-beings’ wishes and takes living beings to be reborn in Buddha’s pure land and helps living beings achieve the path to Buddhahood (the state of upmost enlightenment).
<IV> Brief introduction for the mantra and its profound virtue and merit
<1>“Sacred Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Vast, Perfect, Unimpeded, Great-Compassionate Heart Dharani” is divided into
<a> Reverence prefatory: to take refuge under three treasures (1) the Buddha 佛; (2) the Dharma 法 and (3) the Sangha 僧; and sincerely respect and prostrate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva,
<b> Praise: to praise Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who has a compassionate heart protects all living beings and performs fearless-giving to them
<c> Vows: Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva vowed to achieve whatever sentient beings seek to accomplish in their present life without obstruction.
Middle part of the mantra:
<1> to praise that the bright light (a symbol of the wisdom of a Buddha or bodhisattva) emitted from Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva transcends the secular world
<2> to praise that Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is zealous and courageous in progressing of the good and eliminating of the evil; in remembrance of the power of merit of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
<3> to respectfully pray to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who always holds a pure, undefiled and characteristic-transcending heart to eliminate three poisons (greed, hatred and ignorance) in all living-beings’ mind
<4> to respectfully pray to Nilakantha Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who remains at the state of perfect awakening and has upmost wisdom to help all living beings to fulfill the correct dharma wisdom/enlightenment, rejoice and have perfect accomplishment on dharma way
<5> to respectfully pray to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva to manifest his dharma body in ten directions, perform actions of dharma giving, wealth giving and fearless giving and fulfill all living-beings’ wishes without obstructions
Last part of the mantra:
<1> to take refuge under three treasures again and sincerely prostrate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
<2> to pray that we will achieve perfect accomplishment on dharma way
<2> “Sacred Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Lotus Samadhi Nilakantha Great compassion Dharani” is divided into
<1> Reverence prefatory: to take refuge under three treasures (1) the Buddha; (2) the Dharma and (3) the Sangha in ten directions; sincerely prostrate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
<2> to praise Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who ferries living beings from the coast of birth-and-death to the coast of complete liberation (pure clear self- nature), comforts and pleases all living beings and relieves sufferings upon them
<3> to praise Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who has achieved the state of perfect awakening and liberation
<4> to praise Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva’s dharma body in ten directions which propagates Buddha’s teachings, awakens and rescues all living beings with his superb power and virtue without obstructions
Middle part of the mantra:
<1> to praise Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who has achieved the state of perfect awakening and liberation and his dharma body resembling the purity of lotus and demonstrating auspicious, undefiled and sublime dharma-character
<2> to praise Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who has accomplished the practices of forbearance and is able to eliminate all living beings’ passionate anxieties and ignorance to achieve extraordinarily wonders of liberation
<3> those who sincerely conjecture the form and chant the name of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva will achieve perfect liberation and be freed from all suffering
<4> to pray to Nilakantha Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva to protect, rescue, and give great benefits to all living beings. The ways that he conducts resemble the moon manifests of its image on the surface of the water whenever the moon emerges in the sky
<5> to pray to dragons and gods to protect all living beings; command and tame the ghost spirits not to conduct evil deeds
<6> to pray to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva to satisfy and achieve all living beings’ wishes
<7> to pray to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva to eliminate all living beings’ manacle and misfortune and pacify them to remain thoroughly stable when they are practicing Buddhism. Moreover, to make all living beings to achieve peaceful and virtue state and meanwhile, to help them escape from ignorance and attachment of mundane emotional feelings in order to achieve perfect liberation
<8> to pray to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva through great compassion to rescue all living beings and enlighten them to receive correct dharma. Moreover, to break away harms from evil ghosts and eliminate all kinds of evil illness
<9> to pray to Nilakantha Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva to rescue me, to help me get away from harms by hostile enemies, to eliminate the secular suffering and disasters so that I will transcend the misfortune transmigration of births and deaths
<10> Nilakantha Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva’s response and transformed body which possesses the mighty holy power is able to eliminate all living beings’ evil thoughts and, through his great compassion, to help me get away from all evil thoughts, bad karma and conducting evil deeds such as breaking precepts, etc..
<11> to pray to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva to help me to achieve the state of vigor (the fourth Paramita), virtue, sublime and auspiciousness and moreover, to eliminate discrimination and fear which covered the original pure mind
<12>> to pray to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and eight divisions of gods and dragons’ morally good actions will be perfectly accomplished
An invocation turns in reverence of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, which is the last part of the mantra:
Again, to sincerely prostrate and pray to Nilakantha Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva through his great compassion, vast wisdom and mighty holy power to help all living beings who recite and hold the Great Compassionate Heart Mantra will achieve the perfect accomplishment of Buddhahood (the state of upmost enlightenment)