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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:33 pm 
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Hi could someone please tell me what the English translation of Avalokitesvara's long mantra is?

I'm talking about this one:
Namo ratnatryaye namah aryajnana sagar vairocana vyuharajaya tathagatayah arhate samyaksambuddhayah;
namah sarva tathagatebhyah arhatebhyah samyaksambuddhebhyah;
namah arya avaoliketshvaraya bodhisattvayah mahasattvayah mahakarunikakayah;
tadyatha: om dhara dhara dhiri dhiri dhuru dhuru itiye vitiye cale cale pracale pracale kusume kusumvaraye ili mili cetam jvalam apnaye svaha.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:49 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:27 am 
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There appear to be a large number of variants between the Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese transmission of this dhāraṇī. TBRC is giving me error messages at the moment, so I can't check the different Kangyurs right now, but Gilgit Manuscripts Vol. 1 gives 1) the Giglit manuscript reading and 2) the Narthang Kangyur reading (sandhi is exactly as given in the edition):

1) namo ratnatrayāya namo vairocanāya tathāgatāya nama āryāvalokiteśvarāya bodhisattvāya mahāsattvāya mahākāruṇikāya namaḥ atītānāgatapratyutpannebhyaḥ sarvatathāgatebhyaḥ arhadbhyaḥ samyaksaṃbuddhebhyaḥ oṃ dhuru dhuru iṭṭe viṭṭe cale cale pracale pracale kusumavare ili mili viṭi svāhā

2) namo ratnatrayāya nama ārya-jñāna-sagara-vairocana-buddha-rājāya tathāgatāya namaḥ sarvatathāgatebhyaḥ arhadbhyaḥ samyaksaṃbuddhebhyaḥ nama āryāvalokiteśvarāya bodhisattvāya mahāsattvāya mahākāruṇikāya tadyathā oṃ dhara dhara dhiri dhiri dhuru dhuru iṭṭe viṭṭe cale cale pracale pracale kusume kusumavare ili mili viṭi citijvalam avanaya svāhā

The Chinese translation seems to have yet another version, but I can't read Chinese. The Gilgit manuscripts are very old (5-6th ct. CE), so they have a strong claim to be considered the original reading.

Translation of the Gilgit version:

namo ratnatrayāya

Homage to the Three Jewels.

namo vairocanāya tathāgatāya

Homage to the tathāgata Vairocana.

nama āryāvalokiteśvarāya bodhisattvāya mahāsattvāya mahākāruṇikāya

Homage to the Noble Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva, the mahāsattva, the Great Compassionate One.

namaḥ atītānāgatapratyutpannebhyaḥ sarvatathāgatebhyaḥ arhadbhyaḥ samyaksaṃbuddhebhyaḥ

Homage to all the tathāgatas of the past, future, and present, the arhats (here a synonym for buddhas) , the samyaksambuddhas.

oṃ dhuru dhuru iṭṭe viṭṭe cale cale pracale pracale kusumavare ili mili viṭi svāhā

oṃ hold firm, hold firm, iṭṭe viṭṭe Oh Trembling One! Tembling One! Trembling One! Trembling One! Oh Greatest Blossom! ili mili viṭi svāhā

[Notes: cale cale pracale pracale cannot be translated, as the translation from the Chinese in the link has done, as 2nd person imperatives. These are most likely feminine vocatives—a very common feature in dhāraṇīs—of calā and pracalā. This literally means trembling (or moving in general), an epithet for lighting. It is probably describing the dhāraṇī as being like lightning in the speed and brilliance with which it fulfills its effect. But these femine vocatives are always a little mysterious. kusumavare is also a single fem. vocative, not kusuma + vare. iṭṭe viṭṭe ili mili viṭi are just mantric sounds, but they sound strikingly Dravidian.]

Translation of the Narthang version:

namo ratnatrayāya

as above

nama ārya-jñāna-sagara-vairocana-buddha-rājāya tathāgatāya

Homage to the tathāgata, the King of Buddhas, the Radiant Sun of the ocean of noble wisdom.

[The compound ārya-jñāna-sagara-vairocana-buddha-rājāya can be analyzed in literally dozens of different ways. In the absence of a commentary I've just picked the most natural reading. Also note that Narthang (at least as reported by Dutt—I don't have access) has buddharāja "king of buddhas" instead of vyūharāja "king of the array".]

namaḥ sarvatathāgatebhyaḥ arhadbhyaḥ samyaksaṃbuddhebhyaḥ

Homage to all the tathāgatas, the arhats, the samyaksambuddhas.

nama āryāvalokiteśvarāya bodhisattvāya mahāsattvāya mahākāruṇikāya

as above

tadyathā oṃ dhara dhara dhiri dhiri dhuru dhuru iṭṭe viṭṭe cale cale pracale pracale kusume kusumavare ili mili viṭi citijvalam avanaya svāhā

that is as follows: oṃ hold firm, hold firm, hold firm, hold firm, hold firm, hold firm, iṭṭe viṭṭe Oh Trembling One! Trembling One! Trembling One! Trembling One! Oh Blossom! Greatest Blossom! ili mili viṭi lead to the Blazing heap svāhā

[Notes: strictly speaking dhara is the only correct (i.e. Pāṇinian) form of the 2nd pers. imperative of the root dhṛ, but if we accept dhuru as a possible alternative, I don't see why dhiri shouldn't also be translated as an even more non-standard 2nd pers. imp. "hold firm!"

The last bit is the most problematic. For citijvalam avanaya the OP has cetaṃ jvalaṃ apnaye and the link has cite jālam apanaya. They don't cite their sources, so it's impossible to say whether these are errors, misprints, or genuine variant readings. The Narthang reading citijvalaṃ avanaya "lead to the blazing heap" (where citi "heap" usually means the funeral pyre, which gives a rather macabre meaning) can also be interpreted as citi jvalaṃ avanaya "bring the blaze into the mind".


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:05 am 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfXzuqJxdHU

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 5:34 pm 
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tantular wrote:
Notes: cale cale pracale pracale cannot be translated, as the translation from the Chinese in the link has done, as 2nd person imperatives. These are most likely feminine vocatives—a very common feature in dhāraṇīs—of calā and pracalā.


This is probably incorrect. The -e ending was used in Magadhan Prakrit and is quite common in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. It is just a masculine nominative singular (see Edgerton's Grammar of BHS). Which makes more sense in this context IMHO.

tantular wrote:
iṭṭe viṭṭe ili mili viṭi are just mantric sounds, but they sound strikingly Dravidian.


I agree with this.

The "feminine vocatives" theory goes back to the 1880s and H. Kern, the translator of the Sanskrit Saddharmapuṇḍarikā who wanted the words in the dhāraṇī chapter of that text to be the names of Hindu goddesses. Conze took up and popularised the idea. But they and every one else assumes that these words are Classical Pāṇini Sanskrit. Most Buddhists never used Classical Sanskrit. Most used some form of hybrid. Thus the idea that dhāraṇī follow Classical declensions was always tenuous. That they would do so in magic spells influenced by Dravidian sounds is hardly credible


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