Special Topics

Repentance: Great Compassion Repentance and performing Guanyin repentance method

Great Compassion Repentance

Both the Great Compassion Mantra and the Great Compassion Repentance have their origins in the Great Compassion Dharani Sutra (大悲心陀羅尼經). The Great Compassion Repentance is a ritual manual developed, compiled, and formulated by Master Zhili (知禮大師) during the Song dynasty, using the "Great Compassion Dharani Sutra" as its principal body. The Chinese version currently in circulation is a simplified version of the Qing dynasty Vinaya Master Du Ti (讀體律師) and Venerable Ji Xian (寂暹法師). It takes only a few minutes to recite the Great Compassion Mantra once, whereas it usually takes approximately two hours to perform the Great Compassion Repentance.

Although the "Great Compassion Repentance" is a repentance method, the two hours of performing repentance involves more than passive repentance, or just praying for one's own freedom from disasters, blessings and personal benefits in the present life. As a "Guanyin Dharma Method", it encompasses not only the prajna (transcendental wisdom) of Guanyin Bodhisattva's enlightenment, but also the compassion and skillful means of the Bodhisattva. The ultimate meaning of this repentance lies in purifying one's own mind, as well as generating vast bodhicitta in accordance with the compassion of Guanyin Bodhisattva, taking the Bodhisattva as a role model, and using various skillful means to benefit sentient beings and help them realize Dharma-nature.

Performing the Guanyin Repentence Method

In addition to the Great Compassion Repentance, Master OuYi of the Ming dynasty put forward the "Repentance Method of Venerating Guanyin (禮拜觀音懺悔法)" in Volume 2 of "Great Master Lingfen Ouyi's Discussion of Doctrine (靈峰宗論)", which also serves as a very powerful repentance method. This repentance method was elaborated by Master Ouyi, based on the "Respect to Avalokitesvara Text (禮觀音文)" written by Chan Master Dahui Zonggao of Song dynasty, in addition to rituals of reading the "Praise to Avalokitesvara Text (讚觀音文)", reciting the "Great Compassion Mantra", and venerating Guanyin. The steps are as follows:
  1. On quiet nights, burn incense as an offering to the Guanyin Bodhisattva statue.
  2. Recite the "Great Compassion Mantra" three to five times.
  3. Join palms and read "Praise to Avalokitesvara Text" once in front of the Guanyin Bodhisattva statue.
  4. Sincerely bow to the Guanyin Bodhisattva thirty-two times.
  5. Kneel down and recite the "Respect to Avalokitesvara Text" and dedicate merits.
  6. Since modern office workers are busy with their work, if they don't have time to participate in the Great Compassion Repentance, they can perform this "Repentance Method of Venerating Guanyin" as their regular practice. One can receive the same blessings of Guanyin Bodhisattva by allotting 30 minutes a day to practice the "Repentance Method of Venerating Guanyin".

Extended Reading:

Upholding the Buddha's name: "Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa"

Recitation of Dharanis and Mantras: Six-syllable Mantra, White-robed Guanyin Mantra, Ten-Phrase Avalokitesvara Sutra for Prolonging Life, Great Compassion Dharani, and Dharani of Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara

Repentance: Great Compassion Repentance and performing Guanyin repentance method

Reading Scriptures: Universal Gate Chapter and Heart Sutra

Perceiving the five aggregates (skandhas) as empty in nature and the method of perfect penetration through the ear faculty

Resource: Issue 340 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Photos: Issue 340 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Translation: James
Editing: YKL, Keith Brown