dhāranī ［陀羅尼］ (; darani): A formula said to protect those who recite it and to benefit them by virtue of its mysterious power. The word dhāranī literally means to preserve and uphold [the Buddha’s teachings in one’s heart]. Dhāranī is rendered in Chinese Buddhist scriptures as “all-retaining” or “able to retain.” One who upholds and recites a dhāranī is believed not only to remember all of the Buddha’s teachings and never to forget them, but also to deflect evil influences. Dhāranīs are recited in Sanskrit, and some have no known meaning. They are especially valued in Esoteric Buddhism.