[Buddha-l] Sanskrit vs Middle Indic

Curt Steinmetz curt at cola.iges.org
Wed Sep 9 08:23:28 MDT 2009

The guy who literally wrote the book on the Great Dharani is Lokesh 
Chandra. Here is his wikipedia page:

This Dharani is also known as the Nilankantha Dharani (The Dharani of 
the Blue-Necked One), and those familiar with its transliterated form 
popularized by Zen Master Seung Sahn might recognize the phrases 
"niraganta" and "niragantaya".

Amazingly, the wikipedia page for the Dharani actually contains accurate 
and useful information - perhaps there could be no greater testament to 
the incredible power of this Dharani:

Here's a tinyurl link in case that one doesn't work:

The book by Dr. Chandra mentioned above is titled "The Thousand Armed 
Avalokitesvara", and much of that book is also now available online at 

Abebooks.com has relatively more affordable copies of the book than 
other sources, for anyone interested in purchasing it.

This book is a goldmine for Great Dharani fans. It includes Chandra's 
reconstruction of the original Sanskrit, as well as lavish 
illustrations. AND it comes with a fascinating cassette tape with 
recordings of different versions of the Dharani from different parts of 

The bottom line is that at least according to Lokesh Chandra the 
original language of the chant is Sanskrit.


chong go sunim wrote:
> Can anyone help me with the proper way to describe the language of the dharanis and mantras that appear in many of the Chinese sutras? Can these be described as being transliterated from the Sanskrit orginal? Or are they actually some form of Middle Indic, that would be improper to describe as Sanskrit?
> This issue came up while working with the "Great Compassion Dharani" from the "Thousand Hands Sutra". Early printed Korean editions(1476 C.E.) even have what looks like Sanskrit annotations next to the Chinese characters.
> Thanks!
> with plams together,
> Chong Go
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