Su DongPo wrote:
Yeshe wrote:I have to say that I find it a cumbersome matra, but maybe it was not originally recorded as Sanskrit scripture?
There may be good reason for this. Read this post by Ven. Huifeng in the Heart Sutra thread --viewtopic.php?f=39&t=2672#p19739
So it seems that the sutra may have originally been composed in Chinese, with the mantra then dropped in from Sanskritized (word!
) Chinese, or perhaps translated back into Sanskrit from Chinese. It seems likely that this a the kind of textual question that will never be fully convincing to everyone. I only yesterday saw a Chinese commentary in that asserted the text was brought from India, and translated from Sanskrit into Chinese.
Probably best to give up take the sutra on its own, quite wonderful, merits.
Ven. Huifeng's contribution stands up well.
I wonder if it was initially written in Sanskrit or was instead still in the form of oral tradition and first written in Chinese, then transcribed back into Sanskrit. The mantra seems unlike others to me, but it is hard to pinpoint other than in the elaboration of the message. Other mantras repeat words but not in that way.
Within a phrase, such increasing elaboration is something I noticed in a Japanese phrase and knowing nothing of these linguistic roots wondered if it was more typical of that form, as seen in this case as an increasing level of formality and emphasis.:
'Domo, Domo Arigato, Domo Arigato Gozaimashite.'
On a more topic-related point, I see mantras being recited for specific purposes, as Astus wrote, but rather than anything magical I see them as expression of a desire, as a prayer in that context. For example, I may see an animal dying and wish it a fortunate rebirth through the compassionate recitation of the 'Om Mani Padme Hum' mantra. I may have a strong belief that this will help secure that fortunate rebirth, but as a request to Avalokiteshvara rather than an expression of my own magical power.