Kuan Yin and Green Tara, Himalayan sisters of compassion

Kuan Yin statue

Kuan Yin statue

For the last week I have been chanting a new mantra (new to me anyway!):

Namo Kuan Shi Yin Pu Sah

This is the mantra to/for/of Kuan Yin (or Guan Yin), the Chinese goddess of compassion, an emanation of Avalokiteshwara (Sanskrit), or Chenrezig (Tibetan) – the Bodhisattva of compassion.  The mantra of Avalokiteshwara is Om Mani Padme Hum.  A Bodhisattva is someone who has attained enlightenment but chooses to stick around to help other people achieve the same thing, rather than going off into the Buddha realm and never returning through rebirth into sentient form.

When I was in Paris last year I visited the museum of Asiatic arts and saw a lifesize statue of Kuan Yin, with the ‘thousand’ arms of Avalokiteshwara and sitting in the posture of Green Tara, displaying the same mudras, or hand positions – in truth everything links back to one root in the end, whether through representation, legend/myth or interpretation.   Continue reading

Rhythm and Structure in Mantra

TingshaI quite often chant Om Mani Pedme Hum, the mantra of Avalokiteshwara, or Chenrezig in Tibetan.  This is the mantra of universal compassion.

Since the start of my mantra chanting activities, I’ve chanted it with equal lengths for each syllable.  It’s a beautiful experience.  There are many renditions of this mantra on the internet, including this one:

Watch Film Here > 

In this rendition, which I enjoy singing along to, even when I’m having a curry at the Gurkha Inn in East Greenwich (no singing with your mouth full!) the Om is given twice the length of the other syllables.

Recently I tried it like this and I couldn’t believe how different it was.  Continue reading