Saturday, April 14, 2007

Meditation & Mantram

Using a Mantram

The Blue Mountain Center for Meditation teaches using a mantram during meditation. Even though I had read their recommendations previously I hadn't put them into practice. I started yesterday and found it very helpful. I have always had a hard time meditating without a guided meditation, because I can't seem to quiet my mind and I have a short attention span.

"A mantram is a powerful spiritual formula which, when repeated silently in the mind, has the capacity to transform consciousness. There is nothing magical about this. It is simply a matter of practice. The mantram is a short, powerful spiritual formula for the highest power we can conceive of – whether we call it God, or the ultimate reality, or the Self within. ... Choose whichever version of the Holy Name appeals to you; then, once you have chosen a mantram, do not change it. ...

[T]he mantram can be repeated under almost any circumstances, and it is so brief that it will come to your mind under even the most agitating circumstances. ... The mantram is most effective when repeated silently in the mind. Repeat the mantram whenever you get the chance: while walking, while waiting, while doing mechanical chores like washing dishes, and especially when you are falling asleep. Whenever you are angry or afraid, nervous or hurried or resentful, repeat the Holy Name until the agitation in your mind subsides."

My Chosen Mantram

The mantram I have chosen to use is from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition:

Om mani padme hum
(pronounced: ohm mah nee pahd may hung)
"Hail the jewel in the lotus"

Viewing the written form of the mantra is said to have the same effect -- it is often carved into stones. I have seen jewelry for sale on ebay with it and I am going to go look for something and buy it. I did buy a medallion with it and incorporated it into a set of meditation beads for someone least year.

The meaning of this mantram is not just its literal translation; it is said to contain the essence of the whole of the Buddha's teachings.

  • Om is composed of three letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

  • Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love.

  • The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom

  • Hum indicates indivisibility. Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom
Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

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