[Buddha-l] diacritics for verse (or rather, usage)

curt curt at cola.iges.org
Wed Jul 26 12:14:43 MDT 2006

In Korean Buddhism there is a mantra that is sometimes called "the extra 
mantra" - it goes like this:

om ho-ro ho-ro saya mot-kye sabaha

Its name is "bo gwol jin on". I don't know what "bo gwol" means, but 
"jin on" is the Korean Buddhist term for mantra, it literally means 
something like "true" (jin) "words" (on).

The Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn told his western students that this 
mantra is "the extra extra" - his explanation was that it is "like the 
extra button sewed into a shirt - just in case." I can't verify how 
closely this fits with its traditionally understood meaning in Korea.

This particular mantra is used in a long chant that consists of first 
honoring/"invoking" the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, then chanting "Kwan 
Seum Bosal" 108 times, then chanting a series of mantras and one dharani 
3 times each (each mantra or dharani is preceded by its name or title - 
that's how you can tell one of them is a dharani - because Koreans call 
a dharani a "da-ra-ni"). The "extra" mantra is the next to last one 
(fittingly) - it's supposed to make up for any mistakes made while doing 
the rest of the chant. Then a mantra for "sharing merit" comes last.

The above "Koreanized" mantra appears (to my untrained eye) to be 
unrelated to the Sanskrit mantra in question. But according to Alex's 
explanation they have a very similar function.

- Curt

Alex Wilding wrote:
> Although it does not satisfy the classical criteria of a mantra, it is very
> commonly used after, for instance, reciting a whole bunch of mantras. In
> that context, there are three things recited one after each other, treated
> almost as a single item: 1) the Sanskrit alphabet (in some sort of
> pronunciation) 2) the 100-syllable mantra of Vajrasattva and 3) the verse in
> question.
> This is said to compensate for any imperfections in whatever has just
> preceded it. In this usage there in not much focus on its meaning, though I
> think the serious practitioner would be expected to know. It has, therefore
> (and again I say *in this context*) at least some things in common with a
> mantra. Perhaps it would be thought of as a dharani?
> All the best
> Alex W
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