Buddha Speaks the Sutra of Maha Cundi Dharani, The Heart of the Mother of Seven Koti Buddhas
(Tripitaka No. 1077)
Translated during Tang Dynasty by Tripitaka Master Divakara from India
Once, the Buddha was dwelling near Shravasti, at the Anathapindada Garden in the Jeta Forest. At that time the World-Honoured One was contemplating and observing the sentient beings of the future. Out of great compassion for them, the Buddha decided to expound on the Dharani of Cundi, the heart of the mother of seven kotis of buddhas. Thus, the Buddha revealed the mantra:
NAMO SAPTANAM SAMYAKSAMBUDDHA KOTINAM. TADYATHA: OM! CALE, CULE, CUNDI SVAHA!
If any bhiksu(monk), bhisuni(nun), upasaka(layman), or upasika(laywoman) upholds and recites this dharani 800,000 times, all his or her deadly karmic transgressions created since beginningless time shall be eliminated. The individual shall earn the opportunity to meet all buddhas and bodhisattvas wherever he or she is born, and shall be endowed with all accumulations of merit as the individual wishes. The individual shall gain the opportunity to renounce worldly existence in every lifetime, maintaining all the precepts and vows of a bodhisattva.
The individual will always be born in the human and heavenly realms and avoid encountering rebirth in the evil paths, and will always be protected by heavenly beings. If any layperson should uphold and recite this dharani or mantra, his or her household shall be free from affliction and harm of calamity and illness. Everything the person does shall be auspicious; his or her words shall gain the trust and acceptance of others.
If one completes a recitation of this mantra 200,000 times, he will dream of the buddhas, bodhisattvas, pratyekabuddhas and sravakas, and see a black substance being vomited out of one's mouth.
Should an individual commit a heavy karmic transgression, upon reciting the mantra 200,000 times he or she shall dream of the buddhas and bodhisattvas and will also, in his or her dreams, vomit a black substance.
If the individual has committed one of the five deadly transgressions, and is unable to receive this auspicious dream, it is advisable that he or she recite the mantra 700,000 times. After this, the individual shall receive the auspicious dream and signs. When the individual dreams of vomiting a white substance such as a thick paste of rice, it clearly indicates that he or she has gained the pure sign of karmic purification.
I shall now elucidate what this great dharani may achieve. One may stand before a statue of a buddha or find some clear ground before a stupa. Pour gomaya (cow dung, considered in India as clean and purifying) over the ground and create a square mandala shrine, adorning it with offerings of flowers, incense, canopies, food, lamps and candles, according to the size of the mandala. Make these offerings within one's capacity. Then recite the mantra and spray perfume in the four directions, as well as above and below, to set a protective spiritual boundary. Place a bottle of perfume in each of the four corners and also in the center of the mandala shrine. The practitioner should enter the mandala, kneel and face the East. Recite the mantra 1080 times and the perfume bottles shall rotate on their own. Hold a variety of flowers with both hands, which are overlapped in a crossed position, and recite the mantra 1080 times to empower the flowers. Upon completion, cast the flowers at a mirror. After this, face the mirror and recite the mantra 1080 times. One should then be able to see the appearance of buddhas and bodhisattvas. Recite the mantra again 108 times over some flowers and cast them in the air as an offering. Ask any questions and they shall be answered.
If someone should contract an illness traced to spiritual entities, recite the mantra over some cogon grass and sweep the cogon grass over the patient. The patient shall be healed. If a child is possessed by spirits, take five different colored strands of thread and have a young girl weave them into a single thread. Take the weaved five-colored thread and tie a knot with each recitation of the mantra and complete 21 knots. Tie the thread of 21 knots over the neck of the child, recite the mantra 7 times over a handful of mustard seeds and cast the mustard seeds over the face of the child and the child shall be cured of the possession.
Other applications of this mantra include the following methods:
1) For a sick person who is possessed by spirits, while the person is present, draw the body features of the sick person on a piece of paper. Recite the mantra over a willow stick and strike the drawing of the sick person with the stick. This may cure the sick person of his or her illness. If a sick person affected by spirits resides in a distant place, recite the mantra over the willow stick seven times, and send another person with the stick. Have him or her draw the illustration before the sick person and strike the illustration of the sick person with the stick. This should heal the person of his or her illness.
2) If one recites this mantra while traveling, there shall be no fear of meeting thieves, robbers or wild beasts.
3) If one should constantly recite this mantra, he or she shall be on the winning end of any dispute. If one should cross the ocean, recite this mantra and one shall not meet any harm caused by the evil beings of the ocean.
4) If one is being locked up and handcuffed, recite this mantra and one shall be freed.
5) If a country suffers from a flood, drought, or a prevailing epidemic, prepare cream, sesame seeds and polished non-glutinous rice. Using any three fingers, grab a portion of each to prepare one mixture. Recite the mantra once over the mixture, and cast it into a fire. Do this continuously for 12 hours over a period of seven days and all calamities shall be eliminated.
6) Seal an imprint of a stupa image into the sand beside a river bank with each recitation of the mantra. Do this 600,000 times. One should either see the appearance of Guan Yin Bodhisattva or Tara herself. Or perhaps, one will see the appearance of Vajrapani. Whatever you pray for shall be fulfilled. One might even be given spiritual medicine or receive a prediction of attaining enlightenment.
7) If you circumambulate the image of a bodhi tree clockwise and recite the mantra up to ten million times, you shall witness a bodhisattva preaching the Dharma to you and be allowed to follow the bodhisattva.
8) If you make offerings of food and recite this mantra often, you shall be out of danger from any evil person or fierce dogs. If you should first complete 300,000 recitations of this mantra in front of a pagoda, or a statue of a buddha, or a stupa, and subsequently make a very large offering of food on the fifteenth of suklapaksa (the bright, first half of the month), reciting the mantra for a day while fasting from food, you shall gain an audience with Vajrapani and receive an invitation to go to his palace.
9) If you should stand before the stupa erected to mark where the dharma wheel was first turned, or the stupa erected to mark where the Buddha was born, or the stupa built to mark where the Buddha descended the precious steps from Trayastrimsas Heaven, or any stupa containing relics, circumambulate the stupa clockwise and recite the mantra. You shall see the Aparajita Bodhisattva and the Bodhisattva Hariti. Your wishes shall then be fulfilled. If you should need any spiritual medicine, it shall be given to you, and you will also receive a spiritual discourse on the bodhisattva way.
10) If an individual who recites this mantra is not in a spiritual place, he shall receive a visit from all the bodhisattvas, regardless of where he or she is. This great dharani of Cundi is a great luminous mantra that has been expounded by the buddhas of the past, and shall be expounded by the buddhas of the future. In fact, all buddhas of the present expound this mantra, as I do today. This is done to benefit all sentient beings so that they may attain Supreme Enlightenment. Should any sentient being who is lacking in merits and has little good karmic root, and has none of the natural capacity and factors of enlightenment be so fortunate to receive this dharani, he or she shall swiftly attain the Supreme and Perfect Enlightenment (Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi). If one constantly remembers to recite this mantra, infinite good karmic roots shall ripen into accomplishments.
When the Buddha spoke of the Dharani of Cundi, infinite sentient beings were elevated from their impurities, and they received the merits of the Great Dharani of Cundi, the Great Luminous Mantra, and witnessed the presence of the buddhas, bodhisattvas and holy beings of the ten directions before they prostrated and left.
**End of Sutra**
Introduction to Cundi: The causes and conditions of Cundi
Cundi Bodhisattva is a being of great spiritual status. She is said to have been the manifestation of the World Honored One entering into the Samadhi of Spiritual Power of Transformation of Space and Ocean. Cundi is known also as the Cundi Guan Yin. The word Cundi 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. Cundi 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 (naga) kings who stand guard by her lotus throne. These two dragon kings are Nanda and Upananda.
The Outer Aspects of Cundi
Cundi Bodhisattva 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 Uniqueness of Cundi
The eighteen arms of Cundi are 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:
01. His perfection of body
02. His perfection of speech
03. His perfection of memory
04. His perfection of impartiality to all
05. His serenity
06. His self-sacrifice
07. His unceasing desire to salvage sentient beings
08. His unflagging zeal to salvage sentient beings
09. His 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 Cundi 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 Cundi is also known as the Subjugation Vajra, and the practice of Cundi constitutes a special practice of Tantrayana, 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 sutra and all other sutras 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.
The Symbolism and Meaning of the Eighteen Arms of Cundi
1. The original 2 hands forming the root Mudra of Expounding the Dharma represents the fluency of elucidating all Dharma.
2. The hand holding the wondrous precious banner represents the ability to build a most magnificent, great monastery.
3. The hand forming the Fearless Mudra represents the ability to deliver sentient beings away from all terror and fears.
4. The hand holding a lotus flower represents the purification of the six senses which, untainted, are as pure as the lotus flower.
5. The hand holding a sword of wisdom represents the severing of the entanglements of afflictions and the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance.
6. 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.
7. The hand holding a wonderful jewelled headdress represents the wish to be linked to wonderful dharma art.
8. The hand holding a vajra lasso represents the ability to attract all into the yoga tantra.
9. The hand holding a wonderful celestial fruit represents the accomplishment of the fruition of enlightenment, and the extensive cultivation of good karma.
10. 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.
11. The hand holding a battle axe represents the elimination of all evil practices and the severing of attachment to oneself and others. 12. The hand holding a large dharma shell represents the expounding of pure Dharma which shakes the universe.
13. The hand holding a vajra hook represents the skill to magnetize and attract all phenomena within one's view.
14. The hand holding a wish-fulfilling vase represents the function of manifesting all treasures and scriptures at will.
15. 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.
16. The hand holding a wisdom sutra represents the self-cognition of knowing the profound and wonderful truth without any guidance from a teacher.
17. The hand holding a mani or wish-fulfilling pearl represents the vibrant and luminous state of mind which is flawless, pure and perfect.
18. The two original hands, beginning with the first hand, are held in the Dharma Expounding Mudra. Hence, the eighteen arms.
Some images of Cundi Bodhisattva depict different gestures, such as forming the root mudra or holding mala beads. The meaning remains the same, regardless. The gestures represent the eighteen merits of Cundi Bodhisattva. You may visualize the hands clearly and recite the mantra so that you may attain realization swiftly and liberate sentient beings from their suffering.