What does Great Compassion Mantra have to do w/ compassion?
The Buddha told Dharani King Bodhisattva:
"Virtuous man, you all should know that in this congregation there is a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva named Avalokitesvara, the Unrestricted One. He had achieved the Great Kindness and Great Compassion since uncountable Kalpas before...
The Buddha said: "Virtuous man, you have great kindness and great compassion, in order to comfort and please all living beings, you wish to speak the holy mantra, it is the proper time now, please speak it soon, the Tathagata approves and rejoices it, and so do all Buddhas."
"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 their great merciful and compassionate hearts for all living beings, and follow me in making these vows:
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."
Then the Great Brahma Heavenly King arose from his seat, tidied up his clothes, joined his palms respectfully, and said to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva:
"How virtuous, Mahasattva! I had attended innumerable Buddha-Congregations and heard myriads of Dharmas and Dharanis, but never before had I heard such Sacrosanct Wonderful Phrases of the Unimpeded Great Compassionate Heart's Great Compassion Dharani. Mahasattva, please tell us the feature and characteristics of this Dharani, all of us will be pleased to know that."
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva told the Brahma king:
"For the convenience of benefiting all living beings, you have asked me this question. Now you listen carefully, and I will tell you in brief."
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva said:
"It is the great merciful and compassionate heart, the impartial heart, the motionless heart, the unpolluted and unattached heart, the emptiness-observing heart, the respectful heart, the humble heart, the uncluttered heart, the non-view and non-grasping heart, and the uppermost Bodhi-Heart.
You should know that such hearts are the feature and characteristics of this Dharani, you should practice according to them."
Then the Great Brahma King said:
"We now know the feature and characteristics of this Dharani, from now on, we will recite and hold it and will never dare to forget or loss it."
"If one can recites this Mantra in accord with Dharma and arouse merciful and compassionate heart towards all living beings, I will then command all virtuous gods, dragon kings, and Vajra Secret-Traces Divinities to always follow and guard him, never leaving his side, guarding him as their own eyes and lives."
"As to one who recites and holds this Dharani, we should know that he is a store of Buddha-bodies, because he is cherished by 9.9 billions Ganges-river-sands Buddhas;
We should know that he is a store of mercies and compassions, because he constantly saves living beings with this Dharani..."
Sonrisa wrote:Isnt the Great Compassion Mantra a list of bodhisattva's? Since it is called The Great Compassion Mantra, what does it have to do with compassion? Is its benefits to help one to attain compassion?
conebeckham wrote:To LastLegend, and all--
Compassion is not necessarily letting go of oneself. Not at first, at least.
Compassion is defined as the thought or wish for sentient beings to be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
There is referential compassion, which takes specific other sentient beings as reference. There are varying degrees of "compassion," with the ultimate level, "Non referential Compassion," being that which is the true, essential compassion imbued with the Ultimate Wisdom of Emptiness/Awareness. This is the very Mind of Enlightenment, the Precious Bodhicitta.
As beginners, we start with referential compassion. There is the thought of "I" and "other." Therefore, in the beginning, there is "self" involved, most definitely--there is dualistic, subject/object relationship.
In fact, it is best if one starts with "oneself" as the object of compassion. This is taught in many "Mind Training" manuals, including the "Seven Points of Mind Training," etc. This may seem strange, but it is important and helpful to first see oneself as the object of compassion, as well as the subject. Then, one can move on to one's family, friends, and eventually one's enemies and strangers, etc.
Now, as for "Chanting," and the Mantra, these are excellent methods to develop compassion in one's mindstream. Thinking of the qualities (boundless compassion, wisdom, love, single-pointed concentration/samadhi, etc.) of the Great Compassionate One, Avalokiteshvara, while chanting his mantra will definitely influence one's mind toward a compassionate attitude. In addition, there are many instructions for the practice of various forms of Avalokiteshvara in the Tantras, Termas, Sadhanas of the Vajrayana, if one has developed connections with such practices. But even if one doesn't, recitation of the long mantra, or even the short one "Om Mani Padme Hung," if done with concentrated intent and the wish to develop compassionate mind, is very beneficial.
Doing good deeds for others, and acting from compassion, are wonderful. But these things START with the development of the mind. Chanting, and mantra recitation, are skillful means to develop or foster qualities like compassion, as well as samadhi, etc. In addition, such practices can have a purifying effect on the mindstream, and at some point on the mindstream of others and one's environment.
Conduct is important, but the primary focus is on the mind first.
Will wrote:Here is one translation of the sutra that contains the mantra: http://www.fodian.net/world/dabei_sutra.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;