~ Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Buddhism/253631344296?ref=ts
The Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāranī (नीलकण्ठ धारनी) (大悲心陀羅尼) also known as Mahā Karuṇā Dhāranī (महा करुणा धारनी), popularly known as the Great Compassion Mantra in English, and known as the Dàbēi Zhòu (大悲咒) in Mandarin Chinese, is a dharani of Mahayana Buddhist origin. It was spoken by the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara before an assembly of Buddhas, bodhisattvas, devas and kings, according to the Mahakarunikacitta Sutra. Like the now popular six-syllable mantra, it is a popular mantra synonymous with Avalokitesvara in East Asia. It is often used for protection or purification.
Twelve scrolls of Nīlakaṇṭha Lokeśvara (नीलकण्ठ लोकेश्वर) (lit. "blue-necked Lord of the world") texts were found in the Dunhuang (敦煌) stone cave along the Silk Road in today's Gansu (甘肅) province of China. The text was translated in Khotan in Tarim Basin, Central Asia by Śramaṇa Bhagavaddhrama. The text of the Nīlakaṇṭha was translated into Chinese by three masters in the seventh and early eighth centuries, first by Chih-t'ung (智通 Zhitōng) twice between 627-649 AD, next by Bhagavaddharma between 650-660 AD, and then by Bodhiruci in 709 AD.
The Siddhaṃ script of Chinese Tripitaka was corrected by a comparison with the Chih-t'ung version, which is found in the Ming Tripiṭaka. All the Sanskrit texts in the Ming Tripiṭaka were collected together by Rol-pahi Rdorje in the quadrilingual collection of dhāraṇī which bears the title: Sanskrit Texts from the Imperial Palace at Peking. The prime objective was to restore the Sanskrit text with the help of the Tibetan texts. The Rol-pahi rdorje's reconstruction of the Nīlankanthaka as transcribed by Chih-t'ung during 627-649 is longer than that of Amoghavajra (不空金剛) and is a remarkable effort at textual reconstruction, undertaken as early as the first half of the 18th century. However, Chih-t'ung's version is rarely mentioned in the Mahayana tradition.
The Nīlankantha Dhāraṇī was translated into Chinese by Vajrabodhi, twice by his disciple Amoghavajra and in the 14th century by Dhyānabhadra. Amoghavajra's version was written in Siddhaṃ script in the Chinese Tripiṭaka. This version is the most widely accepted form today.
Excerpts from The Dharani Sutra
If humans and gods recite and hold the phrases of the Great Compassion Mantra, then when they approach the end of life, all the Buddhas of the ten directions will come to take them by the hand to rebirth in whatever Buddhaland they wish, according to their desire.
Should any living beings who recites and holds the spiritual mantra of Great Compassion fall into the three evil paths, I vow not to realise the right enlightenment. Should any living being who recites and holds the spiritual mantra of Great Compassion not be reborn in any Buddhaland, I vow not to realise the right enlightenment. Should any living being who recites and holds the spiritual mantra of Great Compassion not obtain unlimited samadhis and eloquence, I vow not to realise the right enlightenment. Should any living being who recites and holds the spiritual mantra of Great Compassion not obtain the fruits of whatever is sought in this very life, then he cannot have been making proper use of the Dharani of the Great Compassion Heart.