Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

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Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby Inge » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:36 pm

Hi,
After reading the commentaries to the Shurangama Sutra by Dharma Master Hsuan in 2008, I memorized and started reciting the Shurangama mantra. While memorizing it I had to struggle with many demonic obstacles, but then after a while they were all gone and I figured the demons realized that I was weak and that I really didn't know how to use the mantra so they lost interest and didn't bother to test me anymore. Because of this I started to doubt that I used the mantra correctly, thinking about the possible need to receive teachings or transmission of some sort directly from a living teacher in order for the mantra to have any positive effect. After a while those doubts made me quit using the mantra. I have taken it up again from time to time, but still have those doubts.

Do you know if it is usefull to recite the Shurangama mantra even without having received teachings or transmission on it from a living teacher?
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby Dexing » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:11 pm

Inge wrote:While memorizing it I had to struggle with many demonic obstacles, but then after a while they were all gone and I figured the demons realized that I was weak and that I really didn't know how to use the mantra so they lost interest and didn't bother to test me anymore. Because of this I started to doubt that I used the mantra correctly, thinking about the possible need to receive teachings or transmission of some sort directly from a living teacher in order for the mantra to have any positive effect. After a while those doubts made me quit using the mantra.


Dear Inge,

This thinking, grasping thinking, being moved by thinking is exactly what is meant by "demons".

Those demons of your own conceptual thinking have caused you to doubt your practice, and even stop. This is an obstacle of your own creation.

Don't confuse yourself. Just keep practicing.

:namaste:
nopalabhyate...
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby plwk » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:12 am

While memorizing it I had to struggle with many demonic obstacles, but then after a while they were all gone and I figured the demons realized that I was weak and that I really didn't know how to use the mantra so they lost interest and didn't bother to test me anymore. Because of this I started to doubt that I used the mantra correctly, thinking about the possible need to receive teachings or transmission of some sort directly from a living teacher in order for the mantra to have any positive effect. After a while those doubts made me quit using the mantra.
See below...
http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm (Parable 35)
In his Awakening of the Faith Treatise, the Patriarch Asvaghosa (first century) admonished:
"There may be some disciples whose root of merit is not yet mature, whose control of mind is weak and whose power of application is limited -- and yet who are sincere in their purpose to seek enlightenment -- these for a time may be beset and bewildered by maras and evil influences who are seeking to break down their good purpose.
Such disciples, seeing seductive sights, attractive girls, strong young men, must constantly remind themselves that all such tempting and alluring things are mind-made, and, if they do this, their tempting power will disappear and they will no longer be annoyed.
Or, if they have visions of heavenly gods and Bodhisattvas and Buddhas surrounded by celestial glories, they should remind themselves that these, too, are mind-made and unreal.
Or, if they should be uplifted and excited by listening to mysterious Dharanis, to lectures upon the paramitas, to elucidations of the great principles of the Mahayana, they must remind themselves that these also are emptiness and mind-made, that in their essence they are Nirvana itself.
Or, if they should have intimations within that they have attained transcendental powers, recalling past lives, or foreseeing future lives, or, reading others' thoughts, or freedom to visit other Buddha-lands, or great powers of eloquence, all of [these] may tempt them to become covetous for worldly power and riches and fame.
Or, they may be tempted by extremes of emotion, at times angry, at other times joyous, or at times very kind-hearted and compassionate, at other times the very opposite, or at times alert and purposeful, at other times indolent and stupid, at times full of faith and zealous in their practice, at other times engrossed in other affairs and negligent.
All of [these] will keep them vacillating, at times experiencing a kind of fictitious samadhi, such as the heretics boast of, but not the true samadhi.
Or later, when they are quite advanced [they] become absorbed in trances for a day, or two, or even seven, not partaking of any food but upheld by inward food of their spirit, being admired by their friends and feeling very comfortable and proud and complacent, and then later becoming very erratic, sometimes eating little, sometimes greedily, the expression of their face constantly changing.
Because of all such strange manifestations and developments in the course of their practices, disciples should be on guard to keep the mind under constant control.
They should neither grasp after nor become attached to the passing and unsubstantial things of the senses or concepts and moods of the mind.
If they do this they will be able to keep far away from the hindrances of karma."(Wei-tao, tr., in Goddard, A Buddhist Bible. p.402-403)

Do you know if it is useful to recite the Shurangama mantra even without having received teachings or transmission on it from a living teacher?
Since 1998, when I picked up books and audio teachings of the late VM Hsuan Hua, this Mantra has been my practice besides a few more and no, I do not have any personal teacher or what not but I can personally attest to its efficacy in my life's myriad situations (best not discussed in a public forum).
All I did was to use a sincere and consistent mind to recite it firstly as a means to aid my cultivation and end my birth and death issue and secondly for the benefit of all sentient beings.
http://www.siddham.org/yuan_english/sha ... 30101.html
The Shurangama Mantra is the most important of all mantras.
It is the entire substance and function, and includes all the doctrines of the Buddhadharma.
In general, the mantra contains dharmas of auspiciousness.
This means that when you recite the Shurangama Mantra, everything goes just as you'd like it to.
It's really lucky and extremely auspicious.
The advantages of the mantra are so many that one could not even begin to express them in several years time.
http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm (Parable 94 & 96)
"Therefore, the cultivator should remember:
when the mind is still, all realms are calm; when delusion arises, demons are born."
"Everything is Mind-created. Once the mind is reformed, evil karma disappears."

Addendum:
The 50 Skanda Demon States
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby Huifeng » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:27 am

Inge wrote:Do you know if it is usefull to recite the Shurangama mantra even without having received teachings or transmission on it from a living teacher?


Yes. Definitely. The Surangama mantra is not secret tantra that requires a transmission, as far as I know. Be careful, apply yourself diligently. Also continue to look for a teacher where you can. It will still help a lot, even if not 100% essential.
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby Will » Tue May 25, 2010 1:18 am

I am too lazy & stupid to memorize the entire mantra. So this site is very helpful - slow pace, a cursor that underlines each syllable etcetera. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGBTKPH2OSY
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby remm » Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:41 pm

Inge,

The shurangama dharma has two aspects to it. There is an esoteric side to it which involves some mudras and some visualizations, but you need qualifications from the Dharma Masters before they show you the hands and visualizations. The other side to the shurangama mantra is reciting it normally a long with the praise, doing so is fine. In fact, reciting the shurangama mantra everyday has a lot of benefits. The shurangama mantra itself has six auspicious dharmas to it, as you start to memorize it and seriously begin practicing it, you will soon realize the wondrous functions of the shurangama mantra.

Seemingly “new” obstacles appear as soon as a serious practice is begun.
Know that these obstacles are not new at all, but only your awareness of them is
new. As the saying goes: “The Buddha grows a foot, and the demon is already ten
feet tall.” - Richard Josephson (formerly Heng Kung)


In Dharma,

D
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby Will » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:31 pm

Here is a link to both the Siddham & Sanskrit mantra, in audio & text. Other wonderful mantras are also here:

http://www.dharmabliss.org/audio/audio%20menu.html
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby Will » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:34 am

Just a reminder that one cannot ignore precepts & use this mantra with impunity.

Quoting Master Hua:

Someone who uses this Dharma without holding [even the five lay] precepts falls below the norm. His behavior is defiled and he lacks virtue and yet he tries to order ghosts, spirits and Dharma protectors around. He will only create more offenses that way. He puts himself in harm's way -- he will have an accident. We must cultivate the practice of purity in thought after thought. If we cultivate the practice of the Shurangama Mantra on the one hand but do not observe the rules on the other, huge problems will occur. This is one point that everyone must understand.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby remm » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:33 am

Will wrote:Just a reminder that one cannot ignore precepts & use this mantra with impunity.

Quoting Master Hua:

Someone who uses this Dharma without holding [even the five lay] precepts falls below the norm. His behavior is defiled and he lacks virtue and yet he tries to order ghosts, spirits and Dharma protectors around. He will only create more offenses that way. He puts himself in harm's way -- he will have an accident. We must cultivate the practice of purity in thought after thought. If we cultivate the practice of the Shurangama Mantra on the one hand but do not observe the rules on the other, huge problems will occur. This is one point that everyone must understand.


Hi Will,

I think what the Venerable Master meant in this passage is that if we try to use the six auspicious dharmas of the Shurangama Mantra to manipulate weather or control other sentient beings without upholding at least the five precepts, then we are straying upon the wrong path and this will result in heavy offenses that could cause one harm. This is the esoteric side to the Shurangama mantra. However, anyone can recite the shurangama mantra casually (for instance to just recite it in the morning followed by other mantras is okay) there certainly isn't a restriction. Having said that, it doesn't mean that one should not uphold the five precepts even if one is just reciting the shurangama as a daily practice, precepts are essential in protecting one's purity in body and mind.

Reading the passage above I know that the Master is referring to people who have used this dharma for their own benefit without following the six guiding principles or five precepts. Actually, the shurangama mantra has thirty different dharmas and if looked at even closer it has more than one hundred. Each phrase or verse has a different function. If a person has greed in his heart and uses the efficacious words of the shurangama to his own benefit, living beings shall come to harm him.

I just wanted to clarify there's a difference between "using" it and "upholding" it. A person can uphold and "use" it, whilst the other can "uphold" but not use it. However, precepts are a must! Even more so if you want to use this dharma.

And on another note, there is a transmission of this dharma otherwise known as the Shurangama Dharma Door. It is not widely known. As to my knowledge only the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas transmits the secret hands of the shurangama. It's very rare they ever teach it though.
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby Will » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:28 pm

Good insight remm. But I suspect it will not bode well for a reciter of the entire (or just part) mantra if recitation is kept in a compartment and daily life is worldly and unchanged, with precepts being sometimes followed, sometimes not. I could be wrong, perhaps the merit from recitation would override the moral indifference of the reciter. I am not talking secret serial killer or such, just a sloppy, casually ethical daily life unchanged by the mantra recitation. What do you think?

I used to have 3 or 4 of Master's mantra commentary volumes and vaguely recall mudras being involved, but maybe I am mixing up the 42 Hands & Eyes?
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Shurangama mantra practice without a living teacher.

Postby remm » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:42 am

Will wrote:Good insight remm. But I suspect it will not bode well for a reciter of the entire (or just part) mantra if recitation is kept in a compartment and daily life is worldly and unchanged, with precepts being sometimes followed, sometimes not. I could be wrong, perhaps the merit from recitation would override the moral indifference of the reciter. I am not talking secret serial killer or such, just a sloppy, casually ethical daily life unchanged by the mantra recitation. What do you think?

I used to have 3 or 4 of Master's mantra commentary volumes and vaguely recall mudras being involved, but maybe I am mixing up the 42 Hands & Eyes?


Hi Will,

Yes, I agree with you. A reciter of the shurangama mantra should uphold precepts at all times. Precepts protect & purify one's body and mind. What I meant from the above passage is for instance there is someone who is still quite new to Buddhism and to reciting the shurangama mantra and has yet to take refuge or the five precepts, as they start to recite the shurangama mantra he or she should really become aware that upholding the precepts are essential in cultivation.

The merit and virtue acquired from the recitation of the shurangama is measureless, however that doesn't mean you can recite it and still kill, steal, engage in sexual misconduct, lie, and indulge in intoxicants. The shurangama dharma door is a powerful dharma door that requires utmost sincerity and purity in precepts, this also applies to those who are sloppy in everyday life, who have bad habits, sometimes ethical etc., As they start to begin a serious practice it is a good idea to fix those bad habits and really investigate the precepts.

It's also good to know that merit & virtue can be used up and can burn like paper. If one is unwholesome and unwilling to change bad habits, that merit can easily vanquish. That's why the Venerable Master Hua always said one should adorn themselves with precepts, samadhi, and wisdom. With these three you are able to cut greed, hatred, and delusion.

And yes, the shurangama actually has three or four hands which I cannot discuss in detail. There are three mantras for setting up the shurangama platform followed by the three mudras. One sits in the lotus position and recites the mantra while doing the three mudras this sets up the shurangama platform. Then there's one more which I have no idea when to use it or what it does.
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