From the Shurangama Sutra:
On the day of mourning, King Prasenajit, for the sake of his father, the former king, arranged a vegetarian feast and invited the Buddha to the side rooms of the palace. He welcomed the Tathagataa with a vast array of superb delicacies of unsurpassed, wonderful flavors and himself invited the Great Bodhisattvas, as well. Elders and laypeople of the city were also prepared to provide meals for the Sangha at the same time, and they stood waiting for the Buddha to come and receive offerings.
The Buddha commanded Manjushri to assign the Bodhisattvas and Arhats to receive offerings from the various vegetarian hosts. Only Ananda, who had travelled far to accept a special invitation earlier, and had not yet returned, was late for the apportioning of the Sangha. No senior Bhikshu or Acharya was with him, and so he was returning alone on the road. On that day Ananda had received no offerings, and so at the appropriate time he took up his almsbowl and, as he travelled through the city, received alms in sequential order. As he set out to receive alms from the first to the last donors, his vegetarian hosts, he thought not to question whether they were pure or impure; whether they were kshatriyas of honorable name or chandalas. While practicing equality and compassion he would not select merely the lowly but was determined to perfect all beings' limitless merit and virtue. Ananda was aware that the Tathagata, the Bhagavan(World Honored One), had admonished Subhuti and Mahakashyapa for being Arhats whose minds were not fair and equal. He revered the Tathagata's instructions on impartiality for saving everyone from doubt and slander.
Having crossed the city moat, he walked slowly through the outer gates, his manner stern and proper as he strictly respected the rules for obtaining vegetarian food. At that time, because Ananda was receiving alms in sequential order, he passed by a house of prostitution and was waylaid by a powerful artifice. On the strength of Kapila's mantra, which came from the Brahma Heaven, the daughter of Matangi drew him onto an impure mat. With her licentious body she caressed him until he was on the verge of destroying the precept-substance. The Tathagata, knowing Ananda was being taken advantage of by an impure artifice, finished the meal and immediately returned to the Sublime Abobe.
The king, great officials, elders, and laypeople followed along after the Buddha desiring to hear the essentials of the Dharma. Then the Bhagavan from his crown emitted hundreds of rays of jeweled light which dispelled all fear. Within the light appeared a thousand-petalled jeweled lotus, upon which was seated a transformation-body Buddha in full-lotus posture, proclaiming a holy Mantra. Shakyamuni Buddha commanded Manjushri to take the mantra and go provide protection, and, when the evil mantra was dispelled, to support Ananda and Matangi's daughter and encourage them to return to where the Buddha was. Ananda saw the Buddha, bowed, and wept sorrowfully, regretting that from time without beginning he had been preoccupied with erudition and had not yet perfected his strength in the Way. He respectfully and repeatedly requested an explanation of the initial expedients of the wonderful shamatha, samapatti, and dhyana, by means of which the Tathagatas of the ten directions had realized Bodhi.
Some teachings on the Dharani by the late Ven Master Hsuan Hua
So, the Shurangama Mantra was not spoken by Shakyamuni Buddha himself in the flesh, but rather it was proclaimed by the transformation-body Buddha he sent out into empty space. As to the mantra, no one understands it. Nor is it possible to explain it syllable by syllable and line by line. But if you want to understand it, I can try to explain it for you. However, this is not the time for that, because we are in the middle of the explanation of the Shurangama Sutra, and the mantra alone couldn't be completely explained in a year, or even in three years, or even ten years. So, at this point it cannot be explained thoroughly. I will simply explain the general meaning of the mantra.
The mantra has five divisions which correspond to the five directions : north, south, east, west, and the middle. The eastern division is the Vajra division, with Akshobhya Buddha as the teaching host. The southern division is the Production-of-Jewels division, with Production-of-Jewels Buddha as the teaching host. The central division is the Buddha division, with Shakyamuni Buddha as the teaching host. The western division is the Lotus division, with Amitabha Buddha as the teaching host. The northern division is the Karma division, with Accomplishment Buddha as the teaching host. There are five divisions, because there are five huge demonic armies in this world. There are demons to the east, south, west, north, and in the center. Since there are these five demon armies, not just five demons, the Buddhas also cover the five directions to suppress the demons. If there were no Buddhas, the demons could appear openly in the world.
Within the five divisions of the mantra there are, in general, more than thirty dharmas, and it has more than a hundred dharmas that can be discussed in detail. There are five major kinds of dharmas:
1) Dharmas of accomplishment. This means that with this dharma, you will be successful in what you seek or in what you vow or wish for.
2) Dharmas of increasing benefit. This means that when you recite this mantra, you can increase benefits which you yourself seek and you can also increase benefits for other people.
3) Dharmas of hooking and summoning. This means, literally, to "hook in" and catch and to call with a command all the weird beings, demons, and ghosts. No matter how far away they might be from you, you can bring them in and capture them. For instance, suppose one of them is harming someone, and when they finish they run away. If one knows how to use the dharma of hooking and summoning, then no matter how far that being may have run, you can arrest him.
4) Dharmas of subduing. Demons also have spiritual penetrations and mantras which they use. When you recite your mantras, they recite their mantras. But if you can use the Shurangama Mantra, you can smash through all their mantras. I've told you before about the section of the mantra which is for smashing the demon kings. It also is effective in destroying their mantras and spells. Although I've taught you this already, it bears repeating here. Those who have not studied this yet can take note of it. Why was it that as soon as the Shurangama Mantra was recited the former Brahma Heaven mantra lost its effectiveness? It was because of the "Five Great Heart Mantras."
Chr Two Ni
E Jya La
Mi Li Ju
Bwo Li Dan La Ye
Ning Jye Li
These five lines are called the "Five Great Heart Mantras." It is the fundamental mantra for destroying the mantras and spells of the heavenly demons and adherents of externalist ways. It doesn't matter what kind of mantra they come up with; you can destroy it with this one. Their mantras will lose their effectiveness. This dharma I've just transmitted could sell for several million dollars, but I do not sell it. Seeing that you have a certain amount of sincerity, I transmit it to you absolutely free.
5) Dharmas of dispelling disasters. Whatever calamity is due to occur can be prevented. For instance, suppose a person was due to fall into the sea and drown, but by reciting the Shurangama Mantra, he avoids the catastrophe. He might fall into the sea, but he doesn't drown. Perhaps you are in a boat that ought to sink, but you recite this mantra and the boat does not go down. Maybe you're in an airplane that is destined to crash, but you recite the Shurangama Mantra and the plane lands without incident. I'll tell you something incredible. I was going from Burma to Thailand, an air route that is particularly dangerous. But during that trip, the plane didn't show the effects of any turbulence. The ride was absolutely smooth. Even the pilot commented, "Why has it been such smooth going on this trip?" He had no idea that during that ride the gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division, as well as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, were on all sides of the airplane guarding and protecting it. That's the way the dharma of dispelling disasters works. When there clearly should be an accident, it can change big disasters to small ones and make small ones never even happen. Usually what happens is there's "alarm but no danger" if you recite the Shurangama Mantra.
In general, the mantra contains dharmas of auspiciousness. This means that when you recite the Shurangama Mantra, everything goes just as you'd like it to. It's really lucky and extremely auspicious.
The advantages of the mantra are so many that one could not even begin to express them in several years time. But at this time, I'll limit my explanation to these few dharmas and meanings.
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... t&p=845769
Tathāgatoṣnīṣaṃ Sita-ā-tapatraṃ dhāraṇī (Śhūrangama dhāraṇī 楞嚴咒)
Mahā-praty-angirā Dhāraṇī , is also known by the full name Tathāgatoṣnīṣaṃ Sita-ā-tapatraṃ Aparājitaṃ Praty-angiraṃ Dhāraṇī 如來頂髻 白傘蓋 無能勝 對治 惡魔 陀羅尼. Śhūrangama dhāranī 楞嚴咒 is referred to the Tathāgatoṣnīṣaṃ Sita-ā-tapatraṃ dhāraṇī in the Paramiti's version (705 CE) of the Śhūrangama Sūtra (Taishō T19 No. 945).
Note on the title:
Tathāgata (n, masc): one thus come/go 如來, the 'exalted One'; Uṣṇisa (n, masc/neu): the swelling of flesh, or the top-knot on Buddha’s head.
Tathāgata + Uṣṇisa = Tathāgatoṣnīṣaṃ (n, masc/neu, sing, passive)
Sita (adj), white; sita-ā-tapatra (n, neu), white parasol. According to Sandhi rules, sita-ā-tapatraṃ become sita-tapatraṃ (n, neu, sing, pass).
Aparājita (adj), invincible, undestructible, immovable, not surpassing; Aparājitaṃ (adj, sing, pass).
Prati (adv), against, back; angira, angiras, (n, masc), spirit. Prati + angira = praty-angiraṃ (n, masc, sing, pass).
Tathāgatoṣnīṣaṃ Sita-ā-tapatraṃ dhāraṇī (Śhūrangama dhāraṇī 楞嚴咒)
大佛頂 如來 放光 悉怛 多缽怛囉 陀羅尼, 天竺 沙門 般剌密帝
By śramaṇa Paramiti of India (705 CE) (Taishō T19 No. 945)
http://www.buddhist-canon.com/SUTRA/JMi ... 90133c.htm