Meditation method 3—Reciting a mantra

Reciting a Mantra

The third technique is uniting the mind with the sound of a mantra. Mantras convey the great compassion and vows of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and express the truth in the form of sound. Each syllable is impregnated with spiritual power, condenses a spiritual truth, and vibrates with the blessing of the speech of the Buddhas. Reciting a mantra can let the mind and the mantra become one. The power of mantras can purify the subtle channels of the body, protect us, and prevent our mind from falling into negative states.

Reciting a mantra requires devotion. What matters is not how many times you have recited, but what kind of state you are in. Attitude is the most important. Before reciting a mantra, we need to have a good theoretical foundation, such as a deep belief in causality, good renunciation, compassion, and bodhicitta. The more clearly you understand these teachings, the better. If you are very narrow-minded and selfish, without renunciation and bodhicitta, you will easily attract external Māras when reciting mantras. If we generate bodhicitta and connect with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, then reciting mantras would be supreme. Therefore, when reciting mantras, we must generate bodhicitta. The better your bodhicitta is and the more wisdom of emptiness you have, the more connection you have with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

In addition, when reciting mantras, we must calm down, recite by heart, and look inward. We should hear each syllable clearly. If our mind is wandering, we cannot hear it clearly. Even though we have recited a mantra, if the mind is wandering, we cannot connect to it. 

The mantra I recommend is Amitabha Buddha’s name and the Mani mantra. The choice depends on who your deity is and which Buddha or Bodhisattva you have the most faith in. This is the key. The virtues of the mantras of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are equally supreme. Some people’s deity is Amitabha Buddha, so they can recite His name or mantra. Some people like to recite the Mani mantra, which is the mantra of Avalokiteshvara. If you have strong faith in Padmasambhava, you can recite Padmasambhava’s mantra – Om Ah Hung Benza Gere Pema Siddhi Hung. In some places, it’s recited as “Guru Pema Siddhi Hung”, but usually we recite “Gere Pema Siddhi Hung”.

In this violent, chaotic age, these mantras are so powerful for peace, for healing, for transformation, and for protection. We pray and recite with devotion. Recite the mantra quietly, with deep attention, and let our breath, the mantra, and our awareness slowly become one. Or chant it in an inspiring way, and rest in the profound silence that sometimes follows. This means to chant continuously, with visualization, and then abide. This is the third method.

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