Great Compassion Mantra

Definition - What does Great Compassion Mantra mean?

The Great Compassion Mantra is one of the most popular mantras chanted by Mahayana Buddhists and is valued for its powers of healing, purification and protection. In Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga, it is called Mahakaruna Dharani or Nilakantha Dharani.

There are different versions and different translations of this mantra, but all of them are lengthy – even the shortened versions. Like most Sanskrit mantras, the translation of the words is just one level of meaning. Mantras are also valued for their sound vibrations, in many cases more so than the actual meaning of the words.

Yogapedia explains Great Compassion Mantra

The Great Compassion Mantra is most often chanted in Sanskrit, although there are versions in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Japanese and English, among others. Over the years, it has become the mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the beloved bodhisattva of compassion and mercy who is revered throughout the various branches of Buddhism and who is sometimes called the Compassionate Buddha.

Found in the "Maha Karuna Dharani Sutra," the mantra typically consists of 84 lines. Chanting the Great Compassion Mantra is believed to purify negative karmas, cure illness, bring happiness and provide protection.

The mantra sings the praises of Avalokiteshvara, honoring the bodhisattva's compassionate and merciful qualities and asks for both protection from sufferings and assistance with the spiritual journey so the yogi can unite with his/her dharma nature and reach the state of nirvana.

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