In our daily lives, when our clothes become dirty, we wash them with water. When our minds are polluted by greed, anger, and delusion, we become worried and troubled. In Buddhism, devotees practice repentance to cleanse their minds, and rid themselves of worries. There are different repentance ceremonies, with the Great Compassion Repentance Service being one of the most popular.
The Great Compassion Repentance Service is based on the Great Compassion Mantra. The full name of the Great Compassion Mantra literally means, “Thousand-arms and thousand-eyes Avalokitesvera Bodhisattva’s all embracing great compassion Dharani.” The mantra consists of eighty-four phrases. It is very popular in the Chinese culture, and widely recited among devotees. Some of the merits often associated with the Great Compassion Mantra are: rebirth into higher realms, meeting beneficial acquaintances, having competent facilities, bountiful food and wealth, gaining great respect, and the opportunity to learn Buddhist teachings. Moreover, those who recite this mantra will not suffer death by starvation, disease, poison, flood, or fire. Water blessed with the Great Compassion Mantra is called the Great Compassion Water, and is taken by devotees for its spiritually cleansing qualities. Buddhists believe that faith in Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva not only improves conditions of this life, but also for rebirth into the Western Pure land.
Other than gaining the above benefits, by participating in the ceremony, devotees also benefit from the strength of the compassionate vows of Avalokitesvera Bodhisattva to find peace within themselves. They learn to treat others with respect and humility, bringing harmony to their families and society.