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Feb 15, 2007

The Great Compassion Mantra 大悲咒

This is the most widely read mantra in Taiwan (with the possible exception of the much shorter Tibetan mantra, Om mani padme hum 唵嘛呢叭咪吽 ॐ मणि पद्मे हूँ).

The entire mantra is read in Chinese characters using Mandarin (maybe Taiwanese or Hakka in a fwe cases), even though it makes *no sense* since the whole thing is just a transliteration of Sanskrit.

For example, the opening line part of the sutra reads:
na-mo wo-li-ye po-lu-jie-di-shuo-bo-la-ye

Which comes from sanskrit:
Nama āryāvalokite-śvarāya

Meaning "Adoration to the noble (ārya) Lord (īśvarā) who looks down (avalokite)." (皈依三寶皈依自在).

You can get more information in Chinese here, and more in English here.

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