The Dhāraṇī of the Supreme Stem Ornament

dharani dharma gaṇyālaṃkārāgra­dhāraṇī protection mantras supreme stem ornament the dhāraṇī of the supreme stem ornament Apr 29, 2024



The text known as "The Dhāraṇī of the Supreme Stem Ornament" is a concise religious scripture that contains a series of protective prayers, each accompanied by a core mantra. These prayers are directed towards revered figures within the Buddhist tradition, such as the Three Jewels—Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—and various deities. The text seeks divine safeguarding against negative astrological conditions, harmful spirits, enemies, and poor health. Additionally, it includes supplications for protection against the repercussions of broken vows and commitments.

This dhāraṇī is notably absent from key historical Buddhist catalogues and does not exist in either Sanskrit or Chinese versions, suggesting its limited preservation across Buddhist texts. Its presence is confirmed only in certain editions of the Kangyur, a principal collection of Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. Specifically, it is included in editions associated with the Tshalpa lineage, where it is part of a dedicated section on dhāraṇīs, but it is missing from the Thempangma lineage editions. This indicates its selective inclusion based on earlier compilations of such texts, which circulated in regions like South Asia and Tibet, including Dunhuang.

Interestingly, there is speculation—though not confirmed—that this dhāraṇī might have been translated into Tibetan from Chinese. This hypothesis is partly based on references to Chinese divination methods and stylistic elements that suggest earlier Chinese translation practices. The text's title varies across different recensions, with none of the titles clearly reflecting the content of the dhāraṇī. This inconsistency in the titles across different versions raises questions about their accurate translation and the intended meaning of the original title.

The translation of this dhāraṇī in the English language, as used in this introduction, is based on the Tibetan version found in the Degé Kangyur, along with insights from a comparative study of different editions. This suggests a careful consideration of textual variations and scholarly interpretations in an attempt to present the most coherent version of the text to contemporary readers. This post is not meant to serve as a replacement to proper teaching by a qualified Lama or other expert, the inspiration here is to take my motivation to learn and curiosity and share it with others. May all beings find inspiration to follow their path in the Dharma.



The Prayers & Mantras

The text titled "The Noble Dhāraṇī Called the Supreme Stem Ornament" provides a deep spiritual insight into the practice of seeking protection and blessings through prayers and mantras within the Buddhist tradition. Here are the key takeaways and an explanation of how mantras are interwoven with the text to achieve its spiritual goals:


Homage and Protective Prayers

The text begins with homage to the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, which are central to Buddhist devotion, symbolising enlightenment, the teachings, and the community of followers, respectively. The series of protective prayers extend to other divine and noble beings, including all buddhas, supreme awakening, noble ones, knowledge granters, gods of the pure realms, protectors, and the lords of the three worlds. These prayers serve to invoke the protection of these divine entities over the petitioner's physical and spiritual elements — the five aggregates (form, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness) and limbs.



Each section of prayers is followed by an essence-mantra. These mantras are believed to encapsulate the spiritual power or essence of the protective blessings sought in the prayers. They are thought to have a transformative energy that aids in protecting against specific spiritual and physical adversities.


First Mantra:

"oṁ kara kara svāhā kuru kuru svāhā bhara bhara svāhā bhuru bhuru svāhā dhara dhara svāhā dhuru dhuru svāhā cara cara svāhā curu curu svāhā"

  • This mantra is designed to shield the petitioner from inauspicious timings (such as years, months, days), astrological positions, and directions. The repetition of sounds in the mantra is intended to reinforce the protective shield around the individual.


Second Mantra:

"oṁ prajñe prajñe prajñe avalokiradhati mani susiddhi ārya jvala nāma mañjuye svāhā"

  • This mantra invokes the concept of 'prajñā' or wisdom, which is fundamental in overcoming spiritual and material obstacles. The invocation of Avalokiteshvara (embodiment of compassion) through the mantra aids in overcoming negative forces and obstacles.


Third Mantra:

"oṁ haku hūṁ hūṁ du hūṁ hūṁ na hūṁ hūṁ yaṁ hūṁ hūṁ ke hūṁ hūṁ ki hūṁ hūṁ kī hūṁ hūṁ ti hūṁ hūṁ tī hūṁ hūṁ dū hūṁ hūṁ ve hūṁ"

  • This mantra emphasizes protection from malevolent forces, physical ailments, and psychological disturbances, incorporating a plea for safety from various forms of darkness and malevolence.


Fourth Mantra:

"namo bhagavata sarva dhuye duṣṭana svāhā"

  • The final mantra seeks forgiveness and protection from the consequences of past actions, incorrect practices, and broken vows. It highlights the Buddhist concept of karma and the need for spiritual purity.


Relationship Between Mantras and the Text

The mantras in the text are not merely incantations but are deeply interwoven with the spiritual and protective themes of the prayers. Each mantra is tailored to invoke specific types of divine intervention based on the preceding prayers. The use of these mantras is crucial in the practice of dhāraṇī, where the sound, rhythm, and repetition are believed to create a spiritual force field that guards the practitioner against various forms of spiritual and worldly harms.

In summary, "The Noble Dhāraṇī Called the Supreme Stem Ornament" is a profound spiritual text that uses a combination of homage, prayer, and mantra to seek comprehensive protection and blessings across multiple dimensions of existence. The text underscores the power of verbal expressions of faith within Buddhism and their role in personal and communal spiritual practice.


The Translation and Text 

Homage to the Three Jewels.

May all buddhas grant their protection!
I pay homage to supreme awakening;
May all noble ones grant their protection!
I pay homage to the supreme vajra;
May all knowledge granters grant their protection!
I pay homage to all the gods of the pure god realms;
May all protectors grant their protection!
I pay homage to the gods in the heavens;
May the lords of the three worlds grant their protection!
To all those who rule over the three realms of existence
I pay homage and offer worship;
Grant your compassionate blessings
To my five aggregates and limbs!

The essence-mantra of that is said to be:

oṁ kara kara svāhā kuru kuru svāhā bhara bhara svāhā bhuru bhuru svāhā dhara dhara svāhā dhuru dhuru svāhā cara cara svāhā curu curu svāhā

Protect my five aggregates and limbs
From inauspicious years and inauspicious months,
Inauspicious days and inauspicious days of the week,
Inauspicious planets and inauspicious stars,
Inauspicious daytimes and inauspicious nighttimes,
Inauspicious middays,
Inauspicious mornings and inauspicious evenings,
Inauspicious cardinal directions and inauspicious intermediary directions,
Possession by the five ghosts, and inauspicious divinations.
Grant protection from all of these!

The essence-mantra of that is said to be:

oṁ prajñe prajñe prajñe avalokiradhati mani susiddhi ārya jvala nāma mañjuye svāhā

May my five aggregates and limbs,
Despite being subjected to darkness
From violence and malevolent female spirits;
From the onset of coughs and difficult illnesses;
From obstacle years, obstacle months, obstacle days,
Obstacle days of the week and the like;
And from bad dreams, enemies, and hindrances,
Be protected by the directional guardians
Who are said to radiate light, like the sun and moon,
That illuminates from the farthest reaches.

The essence-mantra of that is said to be:

oṁ haku hūṁ hūṁ du hūṁ hūṁ na hūṁ hūṁ yaṁ hūṁ hūṁ ke hūṁ hūṁ ki hūṁ hūṁ kī hūṁ hūṁ ti hūṁ hūṁ tī hūṁ hūṁ dū hūṁ hūṁ ve hūṁ

From beginningless time
Until being born in this life and body,
I have written incorrectly, recited incorrectly,
Listened incorrectly, explained incorrectly,
Meditated incorrectly, and trained incorrectly.
Protect my five aggregates and limbs
From all such broken rules, broken vows,
And broken samayas

The essence-mantra of that is:

namo bhagavata sarva dhuye duṣṭana svāhā

This concludes “The Noble Dhāraṇī Called the Supreme Stem Ornament.”


"This excerpt from 'The Noble Dhāraṇī Called the Supreme Stem Ornament' was translated by Catherine Dalton, first published in 2023, and is currently available in version 1.0.4 as of 2024. The translation was conducted under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, a global non-profit initiative dedicated to translating the words of the Buddha into modern languages and making them accessible to everyone. This work is available through the 84000 Reading Room, version 2.21.1, and is provided under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives) 3.0 license. This license allows for copying and printing for non-commercial uses, provided full attribution is given and it is not used for commercial advantage or personal compensation. For full license details, see the Creative Commons website. The translation and additional content can be accessed directly via 84000's website."

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