It is often used in Sanskrit, but is also found in Canonical Pali texts (Mah?vaggap?li PTS Vinaya Vol 1, pg 40).
It is referred to as the Dependent Origination Dh?ra.
These words were used by the Arahat Assaji (Skr: A?vajit) when asked about the teaching of the Buddha. On the spot Sariputta (Skt?riputra) attained the first Path (Sot?patti) and later told them to his friend Moggall?na (Skt: Maudgalyayana) who also attained. They then went to the Buddha, along with 500 of their disciples, and asked to become his disciples.
In Roman transliteration this dh?ra is variously transliterated, depending on the language it was written in. In Sanskrit it appears as:
ye dharm? hetuprabhav?
hetu? te tath?gato hy avadat,
te ca yo nirodha
ye dhamm? hetuppabhav? tesa? hetu? tath?gato ?ha,
tesa? ca yo nirodho eva?v?d? mah?sama?o.
The meaning is:
The Pi commentaries take the first line as pointing to suffering (dukkha), the second to its cause (samudaya) and the third to its cessation (nirodha).
The mantra was often also carved below the images of the Buddha. A Buddhist screen (parikara) and accompanying Buddha image is now preserved at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. While the objects were found in South India, the mantra is given in north Indian 8-9th century script, perhaps originating from the Pala region.
Ye dharmma hetuprabhav? hetun-ten-Tath?gata ?ha,
ten-ca yo nirodha evam-v?di Mahrama?a?
Ajñ?n?c-c?yate karmma, janmana? karmma k?ra?am
jñ?n?n-na c?yate karmma, karmm?bh?v?n-na j?yate.
The additional lines can be translated as
Through ignorance karma is accumulated, the cause of birth is karma.
Through knowledge karma is not accumulated. Through absence of karma, one is not reborn.