Q132: May I ask what is Great Compassion Water? Can I recite the Great Compassion Mantra (Ta Pei Chou) to a bowl of water to perform the blessing? Or is it that only water that has been offered to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is called Great Compassion Water?

A132:

  • Great Compassion Water is the water that you have offered to Guan Yin Bodhisattva. It has been blessed by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. As ordinary humans, we are unable to bless the water simply by performing recitations so that it becomes Great Compassion Water.
  • You can offer hot or cold water that has previously been boiled, mineral water, purified water or any other drinkable water that has no colour or fragrance. You should not directly use tap water or untreated water.
  • Please use a new cup when you make water offerings for Great Compassion Water. The material for the cup can be glass, china or ceramic. It can be with or without a lid, but it is better to have a lid to prevent dust and insects from falling into the cup. It is best to use a plain white cup without any images or text on it. It would be alright if the cup has the Great Compassion Mantra printed on the surface, but it should not have the Heart Sutra (Hsin Ching) printed. The cup should also not have any names or images of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, or have any animal figures.
  • The cup should not be too large in size. If you wish to offer more Great Compassion Water, you can do so by offering more cups. Please do not directly offer bottles of water, or offer water using bottles instead of cups, as it would be disrespectful.
  • You should not drink the Great Compassion Water directly from the cup used for offering on the altar. The water can be poured from the offering cup to another cup for drinking. Your mouth should not touch the offering cup. As a general practice, you can first face the statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, then with both hands, raise the cup slightly above your eyebrows, and say the following prayer, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, grant me good health.” At the same time, you can visualise that the purified water of Guan Yin Bodhisattva is gradually pouring from the top of your head, and then flowing over your entire body. You can then pour the water into another cup, and drink the water respectfully. For best results, you can place your hand on top of the cup and recite the Great Compassion Mantra once before you drink the water.
  • After it has been offered, if you wish to heat up the water, it is best not to heat the water directly including heating it in a microwave. You can immerse the container with the Great Compassion Water in hot water to heat it up before drinking (it should only be heated slightly rather than heated to its boiling point). Please do not add hot water directly to the Great Compassion Water.
  • If you are making water offerings to several Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, you should not mix the water that you offer. You can pour the water that has been offered to each of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas into different cups before drinking.

[Updated 2012.07.05]