I first heard about the story of Princess Miao Shan, a former incarnation of Guan Yin (Avalokiteshvara), when I was fifteen. Her story of sacrificing oneself for spiritual pursuit and the liberation of sentient beings inspired me. I have been wanting to emulate her spirit. I aspired to take Guan Yin’s accomplishment as my goal of lifelong practice. Thence, the Dharma Door of Guan Yin and the Great Compassion Mantra (Long Dharani) have become my primary practice.
We must recite the Great Compassion Mantra in our daily activity from walking, standing, sitting, reclining, and all actions. It can be 108, 49, or 21 times per day as the minimum daily practice. Once finish daily practice, dedicate in the same way that Guan Yin does, “If I face hell, it will naturally disappear”. If we go somewhere that’s like an inferno with constant rivalry, we can transform it into a pleasant place with the mantra. Those who point at one another with guns and knives would put down the weapon. The practice of the Great Compassion Mantra pacifies all the hatred.
"If I face a hungry ghost, it will naturally be satiated." What are hungry ghosts? When the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami hit, many places were torn into poverty and suffering. We reached out our helping hands that are compassionate and loving. Isn't that our job? Surely it is. By reaching out, suffering like a hungry ghost is eased and satiated. We are here to fulfill their needs.
“If I face a mountain of knives, it will naturally crumble.” What is a mountain of knives? Places or circumstances that are troubling, challenging, and filled with obstacles. When reciting the Great Compassion Mantra, suffering can be reduced. Even if certain suffering is inevitable, we'd only experience a minor degree of it. Or, we wouldn't experience the full level of impact, but a "discounted" suffering. So, it is important to practice the Dharani seriously. Our suffering and obstacles can surely be pacified.
By practicing the Dharani constantly is like filling up our pocket with money. Having a pocketful of wealth, we can use it in need. The Dharani is like the money in hands that can be used to solve many troubles and obstacles. By reciting it 108 times per day, we won't be afraid upon the moment of death. Some people claim to be unafraid of death, “Well, I’ll die when I die. Who cares!” Where do we go after death? This is important to consider. People who practice the mantra are safeguarded by Guan Yin. Everywhere he or she goes, that place would be like heaven or the Buddhafield – filled with felicity.
The Great Compassion Mantra helps us to cultivate compassion and loving-kindness like Guan Yin. By practicing the mantra, we are like the emanation of Guan Yin. She is always looking after us like a mother who cares for her children every moment. We are not lost children that wander, but good children that are taken care of by Guan Yin through lifetimes.