Sanskrit Dhāraṇī (translated meaning):
Namaḥ Saptānāṃ Samyaksaṃbuddha Koṭīnāṃ Tadyathā Oṃ Cale Cule Cundī Svāhā
(I take refuge in the Mother of Seventy Million Perfectly Enlightened Buddhas. Thus, it is stated as such: Oṃ! Cale Cule Cundī. May it be true!)
Pronunciation of each word with meaning:
Namaḥ (Pronounced as Na-Mah): I take refuge in Mother of
Saptānāṁ (Pronounced as Sap-Ta-Nam): Seven
Samyaksaṃbuddha (Pronounced Some-Yak-Some-Buddha): Perfectly Enlightened One
Koṭīnāṁ (Pronounced as Ko-Ti-Nam): One Koti is equivalent to ten million
Tadyathā (Pronounced as Tart-Yah-Ta): Thus , it is stated as such
Oṃ (Pronounced as Ah-Um): A sacred word in the Vedic religion, which the Mahayana Buddhists borrowed. “Om” has no literal meaning and is regarded as a symbol for the original sound of the Universe.
Cale (Pronounced as Cha-Leh): A variation of Cundī’s name
Cule (Pronounced as Chu-Leh): Another variation of Cundī’s name
Cundī (Pronounced as Chun-Di): Purity
Svāhā (Pronounce as Sva-Ha): May it be true!
- Tâm Tịnh doing an audio recording recitation of the mantra above.
- Music band Bodhicitta Music singing the Cundī Dhāraṇī
April 22’nd, 2016 (16’th day of the 3’rd lunar month) is a special holy day being the birthday of mother Cundī Buddha, mother of 70 billions of buddhas.
Reciting her dhāraṇī is a very real practice that is the most functional way of meditating for normal people, who don’t have weeks to go on long retreats, on a quiet mountainside, or a guru to talk to daily. And specifically, the Cundī dhāraṇī is the best known, all around for deepening samādhi, or developing samādhi otherwise known as meditative concentration. It also purifies evil karma, the type of evil karma that hinders one from developing samādhi, and facilitates advancement on the path to enlightenment. It helps by growing your ability to functional on a day to day daily life: presence, stability, kindness, expression, and so on.
It also develops transcendent wisdom by helping one who is on the path by speeding up their progress towards the goal of complete enlightenment. The Buddha mentions this in the Cundī sūtra as helping one develop the factors of bodhi or in other words it helps to generate bodhicitta or bodhi mind. The function of changing fortune or fate is perhaps what the dhāraṇī is best known for in East Asian countries. It is advised that attaining complete enlightenment and buddhahood is really the best fortune. A better fortune and a better destiny will naturally develop when past karma is purified and reciting this dhāraṇī will do so. The more it is recited the better the fortune.
When meditating using the Cundī dhāraṇī, some people may enjoy it from the beginning, while others may find it inexplicably irritating or difficult to practice. This is just related to the karma and habitual energy of each person. The meditator should simply persist and maintain concentration regardless, though, as any appearances of irritation or subtle afflictions essentially just serve as distractions.
When someone begins practicing with the Cundī Dhāraṇī, unless they have unusually good karma, or are already at an advanced stage from other practices, then great auspicious effects will not typically happen right away. When using a dhāraṇī, mantra or any other form of meditation, most of the energy developed simply goes into purifying evil karma and breaking through old obstructions. There is no way around this, and in order to advance along the path or get other results of merit and fortune, this is an entirely necessary first step. The only thing one can do to speed up the process is simply to employ the essential principles of cultivation practice, and to concentrate effectively on the dhāraṇī or mantra.
Cundī Buddha is a being of great spiritual status. She is said to have been the manifestation of the World Honored One entering into the Samādhi of Spiritual Power of Transformation of Space and Ocean. Cundī is known also as the Cundī Guan Yin. The word Cundī means Supreme Purity. Being the mother of all the deities of the Lotus class, she is therefore known as the Buddha Mother, the Mother of Seven Kotis of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Cundī has eighteen arms and three eyes. She is all-powerful, and her Tantric epithet is the Most Victorious Vajra, or Subjugation Vajra. Cundi is attended by two dragon (nāga) kings who stand guard by her lotus throne. These two dragon kings are Nanda and Upananda.
The Outer Aspects of Cundī:
Cundī Buddha appears with eighteen arms and three eyes. She is adorned with a jeweled crown which is mounted with a figure of a manifested buddha. Her body is light yellow in color, adorned with all kinds of jade and pearl ornaments. She wears jade and pearl arm ornaments, and wears a white celestial garment. Seated on a lotus throne, her eighteen arms, with the original two hands forming the Root Mudra, hold different implements, in a clockwise direction: a wish- fulfilling banner, a lotus, a bathing vase, a lasso, an eight-spoked wheel, a conch, a precious vase, a wisdom chest, a head-dress, a vajra scepter, a hook, an axe, a heavenly fruit, mala beads, a wisdom sword, and the Fearless Mudra.
The Symbolism and Meaning of the Eighteen Arms of Cundī:
1/2. The original 2 hands forming the root Mudra of Expounding the Dharma represents the fluency of elucidating all Dharma.
3. The hand holding the wondrous precious banner represents the ability to build a most magnificent, great monastery.
4. The hand forming the Fearless Mudra represents the ability to deliver sentient beings away from all terror and fears.
5. The hand holding a lotus flower represents the purification of the six senses which, untainted, are as pure as the lotus flower.
6. The hand holding a sword of wisdom represents the severing of the entanglements of afflictions and the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance.
7. The hand holding an empowerment vase represents the flowing of nectar to nurture all sentient beings so that they may receive the empowerment of the buddhas.
8. The hand holding a wonderful jewelled headdress represents the wish to be linked to wonderful dharma art.
9. The hand holding a vajra lasso represents the ability to attract all into the yoga tantra.
10. The hand holding a wonderful celestial fruit represents the accomplishment of the fruition of enlightenment, and the extensive cultivation of good karma.
11. The hand holding an eight-spoke wheel represents the constant turning of the great dharma wheel, radiating its magnificent lights over the three lower realms.
12. The hand holding a battle axe represents the elimination of all evil practices and the severing of attachment to oneself and others.
13. The hand holding a large dharma shell represents the expounding of pure Dharma which shakes the universe.
14. The hand holding a vajra hook represents the skill to magnetize and attract all phenomena within one’s view.
15. The hand holding a wish-fulfilling vase represents the function of manifesting all treasures and scriptures at will.
16. The hand holding a vajra represents the collective convergence of support given by the eight classes of celestial beings and dragons. It also represents the subjugation of stubborn sentient beings.
17. The hand holding a wisdom sūtra represents the self-cognition of knowing the profound and wonderful truth without any guidance from a teacher.
18. The hand holding a mani or wish-fulfilling pearl represents the vibrant and luminous state of mind which is flawless, pure and perfect.
- The two original hands, beginning with the first hand, are held in the Dharma Expounding Mudra. Hence, the eighteen arms.
The Uniqueness of Cundī:
The eighteen arms of Cundī are also said to express the eighteen merits of attaining buddhahood. These are the eighteen uncommon qualities. Her arms are the symbolic expression of these secrets, endowed with the significance of profound principles. In the Mahaprajnaparamita-sastra, these eighteen characteristics of a buddha (the avenikadharma ) distinguish a buddha from a bodhisattva. They are:
1. Her perfection of body
2. Her perfection of speech
3. Her perfection of memory
4. Her perfection of impartiality to all
5. Her serenity
6. Her self-sacrifice
7. Her unceasing desire to salvage sentient beings
8. Her unflagging zeal to salvage sentient beings
9. Her unfailing thought to salvage sentient beings
10. The unceasing wisdom to salvage sentient beings
11. The powers of deliverance
12. The principle of the powers of deliverance
13. Revealing perfect wisdom in deed
14. Revealing perfect wisdom in word
15. Revealing perfect wisdom in thought
16. Perfect knowledge of the past
17. Perfect knowledge of the future
18. Perfect knowledge of the present
As the eighteen arms of Cundī represent the eighteen uncommon qualities, they are able to eliminate all the negative karma of sentient beings, hence the name Most Victorious Vajra. One who practices this deity yoga is able to eradicate all past negative karma and avoid all calamities. All that he or she wishes for in this lifetime, and all siddhis of worldly and transcendental practices, shall swiftly manifest.
As Cundī is also known as the Subjugation Vajra, and the practice of Cundī constitutes a special practice of Tantrayāna, this practice is regarded as supreme. It is wish-fulfilling and can subjugate all maras and heretics. It embodies infinite power and merits, and through this practice the practitioner shall gain a round and perfect aura.
The printing of this sūtra and all other sūtras will benefit oneself and others, and help to remove all forms of calamity. It helps one gain great merits and blessings, and bridges others to the teachings of Buddhism.
Buddha Pronounces the Sūtra of the Great Cundī Dhāraṇī
The Heart of the Mother of Seven Koṭi Buddhas
Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Tang Dynasty by The Tripiṭaka Master Divākara from India
At one time the Buddha was dwelling in the Anāthapiṇḍika Garden of Jetavana Park in the city kingdom of Śrāvastī. The World-Honored One meditated, observing sentient beings of the future. Feeling sympathy with them, He expounded the Dharma of the Cundī Dhāraṇī, the heart of the mother of seven koṭi Buddhas.
The Buddha then pronounced the dhāraṇī mantra:
Namaḥ Saptānāṁ Samyak-Saṁbuddha Koṭināṁ, Tadyathā: Oṁ Cale Cule Cundi Svāhā
1. “If, among bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās, there are those who uphold this dhāraṇī and recite it 800,000 times, their sins, such as the five rebellious sins accumulated over innumerable kalpas, will all be expunged. They will be reborn at places where they will meet Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They will have all the material goods they wish. They can choose to renounce family life in successive future lives, and they will be able to observe the pure Bodhisattva precepts completely. They will be reborn either in the human world or in heaven, having ended forever the evil life-journeys. They will always be protected by gods. If there are good laymen and laywomen who keep reciting this dhāraṇī, their homes will not be ravaged by catastrophes or diseases. Their work will be smooth and harmonious, and others will believe and accept what they say.
2. “If one has recited this dhāraṇī mantra 100,000 times, one will see in one’s dreams Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, voice-hearers, or Pratyekabuddhas, and see oneself vomit black things. For graver sins, one should recite the mantra 200,000 times. Then one will also see in one’s dreams Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as oneself vomit black things. If one is unable to get such good dreams because of having committed any of the five rebellious sins, one should further recite the mantra 700,000 times. Then one should have these good dreams and even see oneself vomit white things, such as creamy rice. These are signs of purification, indicating that this person’s sins have been expunged.
3. “Next, I will now explain the procedure for using this great dhāraṇī. In front of a Buddha image or a pagoda, smear the ground of a clean area with cow dung, making a large or small square maṇḍala. According to your ability, decorate it with offerings of flowers, incense, banners, canopies, food, drink, lamps, and candles. To mark the boundary, recite the mantra to perfumed water in a vessel and sprinkle it in all four directions, also up and down. Then place a vessel of perfumed water in the center and in each of the four corners of the maṇḍala. You, the mantra reciter, staying inside the maṇḍala, should face east, kneel on your right knee, and recite the mantra 1,080 times. Afterward, the vessels of perfumed water should swivel by themselves. Next, hold a bunch of flowers in both hands, recite the mantra 1,080 times, and scatter them all on the face of a mirror. Looking straight into the mirror in front of you, recite the mantra 1,080 times. Then you should see images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the mirror. Again, recite the mantra 108 times to another bunch of flowers and scatter them around as offerings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Then you should receive answers to any questions you ask.
4. “To treat illness caused by a ghost, brush the patient with kuśa grass to which you have recited the mantra. Then he should be cured. For a child possessed by a ghost, have a young maiden twist five threads of different colors into a string. Recite the mantra once each time you tie a knot in the string as you tie twenty-one knots. Tie the knotted string around the neck of the child. Recite the mantra seven times to a few mustard seeds and sprinkle them at his face. Then the condition should be removed.
5. “Another dharma is to draw a picture of the patient on a piece of paper. Strike it in front of the patient with a willow branch to which you have recited the mantra. This should also remove the condition.
6. “Another dharma is for a possessed patient who lives far away. Recite the mantra seven times to a willow branch. Send the willow branch to someone to strike the picture of the patient in his presence. This should also remove the condition.
7. “Another dharma is to recite the mantra as you travel. Then you should be free from fear of bandits and ferocious animals.
8. “Another dharma is to keep reciting this mantra in order that you will win any disputes or lawsuits. In crossing a river or an ocean, continuous recitation of the mantra will keep you safe from aquatic animals.
9. “Another dharma is for a person who is in shackles or in prison. If he keeps reciting the mantra, he will be freed.
10. “Another dharma is for a country troubled by flood, drought, or ongoing epidemics. You should mix some butter, sesame seeds, and white rice. Take a pinch of the mixture with three fingers, recite the mantra once to it, and throw it in the fire. Repeat this procedure continuously day and night in the six periods for seven days and seven nights. All catastrophes or epidemics should thus be eliminated.
11. “Another dharma is to imprint with a stamp on riverbanks or sandy beaches the image of a pagoda. Recite the mantra 600,000 times, imprinting a pagoda each time. You will then see Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, Tara Bodhisattva, or Vajrapāṇi Bodhisattva. Any one of them can fulfill your wishes, give you divine medicine, or bestow upon you the prophecy of future enlightenment.
12. “Another dharma is to circle the picture of the bodhi tree clockwise as you recite the mantra 10,000,000 times. You should then have a vision of a [holy] Bodhisattva teaching you the Dharma, and you may choose to follow him.
13. “Another dharma is to recite the mantra as you beg for food. Then you will not be harmed or harassed by villains, vicious dogs, or the like.
14. “Another dharma is to recite the mantra 300,000 times in front of a pagoda, a Buddha image, or a pagoda containing holy relics. Furthermore, on the fifteenth day of a waxing moon, make a large offering and recite the mantra mindfully without eating food for one day and one night. You will even be able to see Vajrapāṇi Bodhisattva, and he can take you to his palace.
15. “Another dharma is to go to the pagoda where the Buddha first turned the Dharma wheel, the pagoda at the Buddha’s birthplace, or the pagoda where the Buddha descended the jeweled steps from Trayastriṁśa Heaven, or a pagoda containing holy relics. If you recite the mantra as you circle the pagoda clockwise, then you should see Aparājitā Bodhisattva and Hāritī Bodhisattva. They can grant your wishes, give you divine medicine if you need it, and show you the Bodhisattva Way by teaching you the Dharma. Whoever recites this dhāraṇī, though he is not yet in a bodhimaṇḍa, will have all Bodhisattvas as his beneficent friends.
“Moreover, this Great Cundī Dhāraṇī, the great illumination mantra, was pronounced by all Buddhas of the past, will be pronounced by all Buddhas of the future, and is pronounced by all Buddhas of the present.
Śākyamuni Buddha said: “I also now speak it thusly to benefit all sentient beings, causing them to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (Unsurpassed bodhi). If there are sentient beings with little merit, who lack the roots of goodness, natural ability (without the right capacity), and the [Seven] Factors of Bodhi (without the [Seven] Bodhi factors), if they obtain hearing of this Dhāraṇī method (If they are so fortunate as to hear the Dharma of this Cundī Dhāraṇī), they will quickly realize the attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. If there are people who are always able to remember, recite, and maintain this dhāraṇī, they will all obtain immeasurable roots of goodness.”
As the Buddha was expounding this Dharma of the Great Cundī Dhāraṇī, innumerable sentient beings shunned dust and filth [their afflictions], and gained the virtue of the Great Cundī Dhāraṇī, the great illumination mantra. They were able to see Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other holy beings [in worlds] in the ten directions. [The listeners] made obeisance to the Buddha and departed.
- Source of the Sūtra and parts of this article.
- ཀརྨ་རྡོ་རྗེ། Karma Dorje compiled this page as a supplemental guide and motivational support for others, please forgive him for any errors.