Sunday, August 23, 2009

How to Make Mantras Work?

The previous post on "The Eight Great Awakenings Sutra" was known previously to me as "The Enlightenment Sutra". At first I thought it was a sutra I had not read before, but then after I googled it, I found out that it was known by many names, including "The Enlightenment Sutra". I had attended the teachings by a Bhikshuni at the branch monastery here of Dharma Realm Buddhist Institute. The Bhikshuni from their branch in KL had come over to give a 4-day talk to explain the Compassion Water Samadhi Repentance.

Throughout her talk, she had referred to quotes from various sources such as sutras. And when she touched on the disaster in Taiwan from the Morakot Typhoon, and the A(h1n1) virus that's infecting many thousands of lives all over the world, she mentioned that we should reflect on this sutra daily. She showed a slide on the first awakening and explained that verse.

The First Awakening:
The world is impermanent.
Countries are perilous and fragile.

The body is a source of pain, ultimately empty.
The five skandhas are not the true self.
Life and Death is nothing but a series of transformations—hallucinatory, unreal, uncontrollable. The intellect is a wellspring of turpitude,
the body a breeding ground of offenses.
Investigate and contemplate these truths.
Gradually break free of death and rebirth.

Now I come to realise that this Sutra is similar to the Lam Rim of Tibetan Buddhism. It is meant to be reflected upon daily and on a consistent basis so that we can elicit "awakenings" or "realisations" in our mind. It means after some time of reflecting upon these verses, they spontaneously become alive inside us. It means, we live naturally according to those verses. It is no longer artificial or forced. And once, it becomes embeded inside our hearts, we pursue the actual Enlightenment naturally and hastened the process to achieve it. And eventually, we are able to "break free of death and rebirth" as mentioned in the Sutra. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is similar to the Three Principle Aspects of the Path that Je Tsongkhapa taught should be implanted in the mind of everyone who wants to embark on the tantric path.

Anyway, on Monday 17 August, there was a part of the teachings that strucked my mind ebcause it was something I had dreamt of on the previous Friday (14 Aug '09). I woke up in that Friday morning (I was on leave that day) with the dream fresh in my mind. I had dreamt that Kuan Yin Bodhisattva told me (no image was seen but just something that came into my mind as a message) that in every second/every moment, there's someone in the world that dies. And that I need to recite the Mani mantra to liberate and help them gain good rebirth because everytime someone recites the mantra, it helps someone due to its inconceivable power. The mantra is able to connect to every sentient being in samsara. So, this Bhikshuni said someone told her that in every second there is a child that dies. She was saying that in the context of the first awakening and the nature of our suffering world. When I heard what she said, I remembered my dream and knew instantly that that indeed was a message from Kuan Yin Bodhisattva to me. Another Bhikshuni from the same branch, Ven. Heng Lyu had adviced me to recite the Mani mantra many many thousand times per day after she had listened to my story of how the Khumbanda ghost had disappeared after I recited the Om Mani Padme Hum. She said 108 times per day is not enough. She again said the mantra is inconceivable and powerful. It is able to liberate and protect sentient beings. So, I should recite it more often, she concluded. After I asked her her name and she told me "Heng Lyu", I told her my dharma name, she was surprised. Those who had taken refuge with Master are given the name "Gwo... something". Then she said since I am Shr Fu's disciple, I should pray and ask him for guidance.

Hence, now I am reciting the Mani mantra more often. After all, the more we recite a mantra, the more efficacious it will be. The thing about mantras, is that the more we recite it, the more we are actually empowering it. When we are in trouble or we need to help someone, then when we invoke the mantra's power, it will work. On the other hand, if you only recite the mantra only once in a while, you will be unable to invoke its efficacious power. It will still create a positive imprint on whoever is reciting it, but the special secret power that comes with mantras will not be effective. Hence it is good to consistently and constantly uphold a particular mantra all the time. That's how we make it work, according to the advice of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua.

But I'll like to add that sometimes it could work the first time if you have a very strong affinity with the deity of that mantra. Or, your karma with the deity or Master who taught you the mantra is such that it is time to witness the power of the mantra. And it may just work too if your heart is very sincere and pure at that time. For example, I did mention before that on my first learning of the Great Compassionate Mantra as taught by Ven. Master Hua, upon reciting the very first verse, Kuan Yin Pu Sa appeared in-between my winks.

Whatever it is, at the very basic, the method of how to make a mantra effective is to recite it frequently for a long period of time.

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