Text excerpts from THE POWER OF MANTRA – Vital Practices for Transformation,
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, © 2022 Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive; Wisdom Publications.
There is a story about how the great mantra of Chenrezig came about. Once, in the presence of Shakyamuni Buddha Chenrezig stood up and, prostrating with his hands, said to the Buddha “I have a mantra, the essence of which is great compassion. Please, O Tathagata, give me permission to explain this mantra in order to cause all sentient beings to abide in happiness, to remove disease, to cause long life and wealth, to purify all the negative karmas and obscurations, to increase all knowledge, to make all good actions succeed, to free from all fears, and to fulfill all wishes.” Shakyamuni Buddha assented to his request.
Chenrezig then explained that in a former time, numberless eons before, a buddha called Kashyapa descended in the world. After explaining the essence of this mantra of vast compassion, Kashyapa placed his golden-colored hand on Chenrezig’s crown and said, “Son of the buddhas, the essence of this mantra should be your mantra. Use it to bring great benefit and happiness to sentient beings in the future.”
Reciting the Chenrezig mantra can bring all these incredible benefits because the act of reciting it with a strong, pure motivation has the power to transform our mind in two ways: by diminishing our negative minds and thus purifying our delusions, and by increasing our positive minds and thus accumulating great merit.
If we were able to continuously recite the Chenrezig manta, or even do ten malas a day, we would not only transform our own mind, but our mere presence would benefit others greatly. Those who saw or touched us, let alone spoke to us, would be somehow benefited, absorbing some of our positive energy.
According to The Flower Garland Sutra (Avatamsakasutra):
When the moon rises, numberless reflections appear wherever there is water in this world. That is how Chenrezig manifests. Effortlessly, naturally, Chenrezig manifest in all kinds of forms, even as medicine, a bridge, or water. Chenrezig manifesting to sentient beings in whatever form benefits them, does inconceivable work for sentient beings.
Compassion is not just for those with faith in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. It is not just for those who are Buddhist, for those who seek enlightenment. Everyone needs compassion. No matter what style of life we have, the compassionate life is the best life. With that, our life is totally transformed. Everybody needs to recite OM MANI PADME HUM to develop compassion. We are so fortunate that with our human body we are able to communicate and to chant Chenrezig’s mantra.