Yellow, Red and Black Parṇaśavarī Mantra Practices for Pacifying the Pandemic

Yellow, Red and Black Parṇaśavarī Mantra Practices for Pacifying the Pandemic

Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos


Introduction

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the practice of the female deity Parṇaśavarī, who has the unique power to destroy contagious diseases, has been recommended by many Tibetan spiritual teachers, including many of the most respected and highly ranking lamas – some of whom have even given online transmissions and initiations of Parṇaśavarī (lung and wang).

Given the urgent need of the current circumstances in 2020 and soon 2021, presented here are translations of three separate practices of Parṇaśavarī – in her yellow, red and black forms. This triad comprises the most common of her primary manifestations, but not all of them – there are also green, blue and white versions of the deity, for example. However, according to the present texts translated below, the mantras of both Blue and White Parṇaśavarī are often similar, if not the same, as those for Red Parṇaśavarī.

These three texts are found in ‘A Compendium of Sacred Names and Dhāraṇīs for Regular Practice’ (mtshan gzungs rgyun khyer phyogs bsgrigs), a modern publication which is itself comprised of excerpts from the ‘The Treasure Mine of Sādhanās’ (sgrub thabs rin ‘byungs) by the 7th Panchen Lama, Lobzang Pelden Tenpae Nyima (1782-1853).1

Parṇaśavarī (Sanskrit: पर्णशवरी), who is invoked by Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna Buddhists in order to seek protection from contagious diseases and epidemics, is renowned in Buddhist lore for her miraculous powers to cure illness, dispel pandemics, neutralize conflicts and otherwise guard over those who recite her dhāraṇī from disastrous conditions which are “accidental” or beyond their immediate control. She represents, in this sense, an earth-deity or elemental force who wields power over the workings of nature itself.

Likewise, her Tibetan name can be translated as the “Leaf-Clad Lady of Mountain Retreats” (Tib. ri khrod lo gyon ma); and in addition to emphasizing her ecological character, this name also alludes to her status as a piśacī, the female variety of piśaca, a type of wild and often dangerous supernatural being believed to reside within thick forests and rugged mountains. These ancient mythological creatures indeed exist in various aspects, though usually unseen, according to both Hindu and Buddhist visions of the spiritual nature of the environment (based on firsthand experience of the South Asian and Himalayan landscape). For it is held that they exist as elemental yet conscious forces which exert deliberate influence over the “container and the contained” (snod bcud), that is, the external habitat of the earth itself as a locus of biological activity (snod) and the planet’s inhabitants who form its living essence (bcud).

Piśaca and piśacī take various forms in the folklore of South, Central and Southeast Asia, in the accounts of which they are alternately considered flesh-eating demons, shape-shifting humanoids, monsters, energetic vampires, psychic forms, human or human-like warriors, primal elemental forces of nature, ghosts or spirits. For all of the above reasons, they are in many respects similar to yakṣas and yakṣiṇīs – fearsome and powerful beings strongly associated with the abodes of the natural world, who can potentially act in both benevolent and malevolent ways, who seem to have both physical and non-physical manifestations, and who in Hinduism tend to have a more negative connotation but in Buddhism are “converted” and often take on the role of special protectors of sentient beings; some of whom are accorded exalted status as Buddhist deities in their own right. Parṇaśavarī is one such deified piśacī who has reached this sublime height due to her extraordinary level of spiritual attainment and resulting supernatural powers. It might be said that she represents the pinnacle of “piśacī spiritual evolution”, as she embodies all the positive qualities of piśacīs; with all their latent abilities turned and directed toward the aims of good and virtue.

Regarding her Sanskrit name, parṇa means “leaves”, while śavarī (a feminine noun) is a tribal woman, of the class considered in the Hindu caste system to be low caste or outcaste, even “barbarian”; hence parṇaśavarī suggests a tribal woman who wears a skirt of leaves, and by extension, lives in the forest. This symbolism is clearly ‘tantric’ in character and indicates an attitude of respect, awe and reverence not only for women in general but also for indigenous peoples. The “wisdom of the old ways” is beautifully evident and dramatically reflected in these attributes of Parṇaśavarī.

The later Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions recognize Parṇaśavarī as a manifestation of the goddess Tārā; and she is sometimes classified as the twentieth Tārā of the twenty-one forms of Tārā (such as in the terma tradition of Jigme Lingpa). In Tibet and other Himalayan regions, recitation of her dhāraṇīs and mantras as a specifically efficacious means for counteracting epidemics and pandemics became quite popular over time; and thus her practices were and still are deliberately propagated within the Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhist communities for this explicit purpose during times of widespread contagion. She is, consequently, practiced widely in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as is also attested by the extensive body of indigenous Tibetan literature associated with her rituals and practices. Parṇaśavarī also appears in rites or maṇḍalas associated with various scriptural tantras from India, such as the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa, Hevajra, Sampuṭa and Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇa.2

In addition, she remains popular in modern Nepalese Buddhism, where her dhāraṇī has been incorporated into the “Seven Days” (Saptavāra) practice, wherein one dhāraṇī is recited for each particular day of the week. Parṇaśavarī (often pronounced Parṇaśabarī in Nepal) corresponds to the fifth day according to a 17th-century Sanskrit manuscript from Nepal (perhaps the origin of the Saptavāra practice), which associates each deity and their respective dhāraṇī with a specific day of the week; a tradition thus going back to at least the sixteenth century in Nepal.

It is the intention and hope of the translator that these mantra practices of Parṇaśavarī may directly contribute to the swift alleviation and eventual eradication of the COVID-19 pandemic.

– Erick Tsiknopoulos, October 14th, 2020


Yellow Parṇaśavarī

The Dhāraṇī of Yellow Parṇaśavarī

(ri khrod lo ma gyon ma ser mo’i gzungs bzhugs so)

GYEL-WA KÜN GYI YÉ-SHEY GYU-MA YI

Arisen through the miraculous manifestation of illusory magical displays

CH’ON-T’RUL NAM-PAR T’RUL-WA LAY JUNG-WA

Of the deep wisdom of all Victorious Ones;

LHA-MO GANG GIY DRUP-PAY NAY DÖN GEK

To the Goddess who ensures, for whoever practices her,

KÜN-TU ZHI DZAY-MA LA CH’AK-TS’EL LO

Total pacification of disease, evil spirits and obstructive forces, I pay homage.


The Essence Mantra is as follows:

OṂ PIŚACĪ PARṆAŚAVARI HRĪ HAḤ HŪṂ PHAṬ SVĀHĀ

[Tibetan pronunciation:

OṂ PISHATSĪ PARṆASHAWARI HRĪ HAḤ HŪNG P’AYṬ SWŌHĀ]

The Activity Mantra is as follows:

OṂ PIŚACĪ PARṆAŚAVARI SARVA JVARA PRAŚA MAṆAYE SVĀHĀ

[Tibetan pronunciation:

OṂ PISHATSĪ PARṆASHAWARI SARBA DZWARA PRASHA

MAṆAYE SWŌHĀ]

Recite these as much as possible. And as it is said, “If you know it and feel so inclined, recite the Dhāraṇī as well”, accordingly, if you wish to recite the Dhāraṇī of Parṇaśavarī, then do so as follows:

TADYATHĀ/ OṂ AMṚTE/ ĀŚVATAṄGE MĀMĀRĀ/ MĀMĀRĀ/ ŚAMĀVĀRĀ/ ŚAMA UPAŚAMĀ/ TUNUPĪ/ NU TU TU TU TU MALE SVĀHĀ/ NAMA ŚAVARNANṆA/ OṂ PIŚACĪ PARṆAŚAVARI PIŚACĪ SVĀHĀ/ OṂ PARṆAŚAVARIYE HŪṂ PHAṬ/ OṂ ARGURE/ MARGURE PARṆAŚAVARI SVĀHĀ/ OṂ PIŚACĪ PARṄAŚAVARI SVĀHĀ/ SARVA MARIPĀŚAMANI/ SARVA DUṢṬANNI BADDHA MUGANA HŪṂ PHAṬ SVĀHĀ

[Tibetan pronunciation:

TADYATHĀ/ OṂ AMṚITE/ ĀSHWATANG-GE MĀMĀRĀ/ MĀMĀRĀ/ SHAMĀWĀRĀ/ SHAMA UPASHAMĀ/ TUNUPĪ/ NU TU TU TU TU MALE SWŌHĀ/ NAMA SHAWARNANṆA/ OṂ PISHATSĪ PARṆASHAWARI PISHATSĪ SWŌHĀ/ OṂ PARṆASHAWARIYE HŪNG P’AYṬ/ OṂ ARGURE/ MARGURE PARṆASHAWARI SWŌHĀ/ OṂ PISHATSĪ PARṄASHAWARI SWŌHĀ/ SARBA MARIPĀSHAMANI/ SARBA DUZHṬANNI BADDHA MUGANA HŪNG P’AYṬ SWŌHĀ]

Recite this as much as possible.


Dedication of Merit:

GÉ-WA DI YIY NYUR-DU DAK

By this virtue, may I swiftly

LO-MA GYÖN-MA DRUP-GYUR NAY

Accomplish Parṇaśavarī;

DRO-WA CHIK-KYANG MA-LÜ-PA

And through that, may all living beings, without a single exception,

DÉ YI SA LA GÖ-PAR SHOK

Be placed in that very same state.

Verse of Auspiciousness:

KHYEY LA TÖ CHING SÖL-WA TAP-PA’Y T’Ü
By the power of praising and supplicating you,

DAK SOK GANG-DU NAY-PA’Y SA-CH’OK DÉR
In whatever places I and others may dwell,

NAY DANG UL-P’ONG T’AP-TSÖ ZHI-WA DANG
Please pacify illness, poverty and conflict;

CH’Ö DANG TRA-SHIY P’EL-WAR DZAY DU SÖL
And ensure the flourishing of Dharma and good fortune.


Red Parṇaśavarī

The Dhāraṇī of Red Parṇaśavarī

(ri khrod lo ma gyon ma dmar mo’i gzungs bzhugs so)

GYEL-WA KÜN GYI YÉ-SHEY GYU-MA YI

Arisen through the miraculous manifestation of illusory magical displays

CH’ON-T’RUL NAM-PAR T’RUL-WA LAY JUNG-WA

Of the deep wisdom of all Victorious Ones;

LHA-MO GANG GIY DRUP-PAY NAY DÖN GEK

To the Goddess who ensures, for whoever practices her,

KÜN-TU ZHI DZAY-MA LA CH’AK-TS’EL LO

Total pacification of disease, evil spirits and obstructive forces, I pay homage.


The Essence Mantra is as follows:

OṂ PIŚACĪ PARṆAŚAVARI HRĪ HAḤ HŪṂ PHAṬ SVĀHĀ

[Tibetan pronunciation:

OṂ PISHATSĪ PARṆASHAWARI HRĪ HAḤ HŪNG P’AYṬ SWŌ]

The Activity Mantra is as follows:

OṂ PIŚACĪ PARṆAŚAVARI SARVA JVARA PRAŚAMAṆAYE SVĀHĀ

[Tibetan pronunciation:

OṂ PISHATSĪ PARṆASHAWARI HRĪ HAḤ HŪNG P’AYṬ SWŌ]

Recite these as much as possible. And if you feel so inclined, recite the Dhāraṇī as well, as before.

The Essence Mantra, Activity Mantra and Dhāraṇī of Blue Parṇaśavarī are also the same as those for both White and Red Parṇaśavarī (hence this present Red Parṇaśavarī practice can also be used for Blue and White Parṇaśavarī).


Dedication of Merit:

GÉ-WA DI YIY NYUR-DU DAK

By this virtue, may I swiftly

LO-MA GYÖN-MA DRUP-GYUR NAY

Accomplish Parṇaśavarī;

DRO-WA CHIK-KYANG MA-LÜ-PA

And through that, may all living beings, without a single exception,

DÉ YI SA LA GÖ-PAR SHOK

Be placed in that very same state.

Verse of Auspiciousness:

KHYEY LA TÖ CHING SÖL-WA TAP-PA’Y T’Ü
By the power of praising and supplicating you,

DAK SOK GANG-DU NAY-PA’Y SA-CH’OK DÉR
In whatever places I and others may dwell,

NAY DANG UL-P’ONG T’AP-TSÖ ZHI-WA DANG
Please pacify illness, poverty and conflict;

CH’Ö DANG TRA-SHIY P’EL-WAR DZAY DU SÖL
And ensure the flourishing of Dharma and good fortune.


Black Parṇaśavarī

The Dhāraṇī of Black Parṇaśavarī

(ri khrod lo ma gyon ma nag mo’i gzungs bzhugs so)

GYEL-WA KÜN GYI YÉ-SHEY GYU-MA YI

Arisen through the miraculous manifestation of illusory magical displays

CH’ON-T’RUL NAM-PAR T’RUL-WA LAY JUNG-WA

Of the deep wisdom of all Victorious Ones;

LHA-MO GANG GIY DRUP-PAY NAY DÖN GEK

To the Goddess who ensures, for whoever practices her,

KÜN-TU ZHI DZAY-MA LA CH’AK-TS’EL LO

Total pacification of disease, evil spirits and obstructive forces, I pay homage.


[The Essence Mantra is as follows:]

OṂ PIŚACĪ PARṆAŚAVARI HRĪ HAḤ HŪṂ PHAṬ SVĀHĀ

[Tibetan pronunciation:

OṂ PISHATSĪ PARṆASHAWARI HRĪ HAḤ HŪNG P’AYṬ SWŌ]

[The Activity Mantra is as follows:]

OṂ PIŚACĪ PARṆAŚAVARI SARVA ROGACHEDANI HŪṂ PHAṬ

[Tibetan pronuncation:

OṂ PISHATSĪ PARṆASHAWARI SARBA ROGATS’EDANI HŪNG P’AYṬ]

Recite these as much as possible.


Dedication of Merit:

GÉ-WA DI YIY NYUR-DU DAK

By this virtue, may I swiftly

LO-MA GYÖN-MA DRUP-GYUR NAY

Accomplish Parṇaśavarī;

DRO-WA CHIK-KYANG MA-LÜ-PA

And through that, may all living beings, without a single exception,

DÉ YI SA LA GÖ-PAR SHOK

Be placed in that very same state.

Verse of Auspiciousness:

KHYEY LA TÖ CHING SÖL-WA TAP-PA’Y T’Ü
By the power of praising and supplicating you,

DAK SOK GANG-DU NAY-PA’Y SA-CH’OK DÉR
In whatever places I and others may dwell,

NAY DANG UL-P’ONG T’AP-TSÖ ZHI-WA DANG
Please pacify illness, poverty and conflict;

CH’Ö DANG TRA-SHIY P’EL-WAR DZAY DU SÖL
And ensure the flourishing of Dharma and good fortune.


From ‘A Compendium of Sacred Names and Dhāraṇīs for Regular Practice’ (mtshan gzungs rgyun khyer phyogs bsgrigs), extracted from the ‘The Treasure Mine of Sādhanās’ (sgrub thabs rin ‘byungs) by the 7th Panchen Lama, Lobzang Pelden Tenpae Nyima (1782-1853), arranged and published by the Gansu Ethnic Publishing House (kan-su’u mi-rigs dpe-skrun-khang), 1996.


Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos, October 13th-14th, 2020. Special thanks to Geshe Thubten Kunkhen for his helps with some points in the text.


1 pan chen sku phreng bdun pa blo bzang dpal ldan bstan pa’i nyi ma

2 Among others, Parṇaśavarī is a vidyārājñī (“wisdom queen”) mentioned as being in the audience for the exposition of the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa, one of the largest kriyā tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom), which represents an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Parṇaśavarī). Parṇaśavarī (or Parṇasauriki) is also a Ḍākinī who, together with the Vīra (hero) named Parṇaśavara (or Parṇasaurika), her male consort, forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the hṛdayacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava, chapter 15. Accordingly, the hṛdayacakra refers to one of the four divisions of the sahaja-puṭa (‘innate layer’), situated within the padma (lotus) in the middle of the heruka-maṇḍala. Here, the 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs (including Parṇaśavarī) and Vīras are reddish yellow in color, each have one face and four arms; and as implements they hold a skull bowl, skull staff, small drum and knife.

4 thoughts on “Yellow, Red and Black Parṇaśavarī Mantra Practices for Pacifying the Pandemic

  1. Thank you so much for your great generosity!

    On Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 11:23 PM Tibetan-Translations.com: Tibetan Translations by Erick Tsiknopoulos wrote:

    > Erick Tsiknopoulos posted: ” Yellow, Red and Black Parṇaśavarī Mantra > Practices for Pacifying the Pandemic Translated from the Tibetan by Erick > Tsiknopoulos In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the > practice of the female deity Parṇaśavarī, who has the un” >

    Like

  2. अनन्त​-कय-बुद्ध According to Taranatha,
    Yellow Parṇaśavarī is crowned with Buddha-Akshobhya;
    Red Parṇaśavarī with Buddha-Amitábha;
    and Black Parṇaśavarī is crowned with Buddha-Vairoćana.

    Like

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