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Handed down since ancient times by religious seers who had attained self-realization by chanting them, mantras are words or syllables which when repeated in meditation helps you transcend into a higher state of consciousness.

As sound energies that have always existed the universe, they cannot be created or destroyed and command the power to heal you physically and spiritually. At the very basic level mantras help you to concentrate in meditation. And once you enter its auspicious circle, the mind instantly gets focussed and you discover a new realm of peace and tranquility.

Mantras in China

Τhere is an old teaching which says “If you wish to Walk the Path of the Enlightenment, you should Walk the Clear Way”. The term Clear Way [Chin.: míngdào 明道] means The bright way of the Mantras and Dharanis [Chin.: tuóluóní 陀罗尼 | Sansk.: dhāraṇī].

Although early Buddhism used chanting as a means of practice, and used the recitation of verses as a way of cultivating an Awareness of the Buddha Qualities [Chin.: Fósuíniàn 佛隨念 | Sansk.: Buddhanusati], the use of Mantras [Chin.: Zhòu 咒 or Màntèlā 曼特拉 | Sanskr.: मन्त्र] doesn’t seem to have come into Buddhism until the rise of the Mahayana traditions.
Usually in Chinese Buddhism Monks and Nuns use Dharanis instead of Mantras which is a type of ritual speech similar to a mantra or even better a sacred chant which promoting virtue and obstructing evil. Of course the distinction between dhāraṇī and mantra is a difficult one to make. Mantras are generally shorter. Both tend to contain a number of phonic fragments. The Japanese Buddhist monk Kūkai [Chin.: kònghǎi 空海 | 774–835], the founder of the "True Word" school of Buddhism [Chin.: Zhēnyánzōng 真言宗 | Jap.: Shingon], who studied Esoteric Buddhism at Azure Dragon Temple [Chin.: Qīnglóng 青龍寺] in Xi’an City [Chin.: Xī ān Shì 西安市] under Great Master Monk Huiguo [Chin.: Huìguǒ 惠果 | 746–805] claims that mantra is restricted to esoteric Buddhist practice whereas dhāraṇī is found in both esoteric and exoteric ritual and he also classified mantras as a special class of dhāraṇīs and argued that every syllable of a Dharani was a manifestation of the true nature of reality.

During Qing Dynasty the monk Yulin [ Chin.: Yùlín Tòngxiù Guóshī 玉琳通琇國師 | 1614-1675), a teacher of the Shunzhi Emperor [Chin.: 順治帝 | 1638 -1661] finalized ten small mantras for monks, nuns, and laity to chant in the morning after an Imperial Order. Along with the ten mantras, the Great Compassion Mantra [Chin.: Dàbēi Zhòu 大悲咒 | Sansk.: Mahā Karuṇā Dhāraṇī], the Shurangama Mantra of the Shurangama Sutra [Chin.: Dà Fódǐng Shǒuléngyán jīng 大佛頂首楞嚴經 | Sansk.: Śūraṅgama Sūtra], Heart Sutra [Chin.: Xīnjīng 心經 | Sansk.: Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya] and various forms of Recitation of Buddha`s Name [Chin.: niànfó 念佛] are also chanted.
We live in a universe and the universe lives within us.

Venerable Master Yong Po
Mantras help draw energy from both external and internal universes. The nature of our thoughts is largely compulsive. We are conscious beings but we live like machines. Our likes and dislikes are programmed. Addictive thoughts take away from the soul of the individual as a conscious being. By chanting mantras with understanding, compulsive thoughts are transformed. The mind becomes calm and our perception will be wise with respect to both the external and internal universes.

If we look at life in silence, the world becomes a divine university. Just by observing, one can learn so much. The lotus, for instance, grows from muddy waters; yet, it gives out fragrance. Despite the many bad things happening around us we should strive to be as fragrant as the lotus.

Unless there is a commitment to grow, no growth can happen. The commitment to excel should be the way of life. Creativity is not doing something new and different; it is about bringing a new energy of love and joy in whatever one does. We should connect the universe within us to the one outside us.

Mantras give a mystic dimension to connect. Mantras are like a ladder. Climb it with love and trust.

Sharing Words...

Wisdom does not simply mean intellectual thought; it is of quite a different order and can only arise from an internal state of calm. Therefore, the first necessity of mental training is to attain a state of calm.

Master Shi Yan Zhuo [Chin.: shìyánzhuó dàshī 釋延卓大师 | 1965 - ?]