Su DongPo wrote:OK, here goes. Forgive the naïveté, and I don't intend to be offensive, but why the need for secrecy at all? It doesn't seem compatible with the Dharma in its basic form, as taught openly and freely by Shakyamuni Buddha for forty years, and by countless disciples since.
Well, I can think of two reasons:
Pronunciation is important. It is important to receive this from a guru in the language used by the lineage you wish to follow. For example, whilst the example given in the earlier post may be a 'Tibetan' mantra, it is in Sanskrit and may be pronounced very differently from what may be assumed from merely reading it. For example, 'Vajra' is pronounced 'Benza' by Tibetans.
Secondly, without an understanding of the deity and purpose to which the mantra relates, it is not entirely pointless, but almost so. Gurus teach us mantras for a purpose and are able to decide on our readiness to perform the practices associated with them. A mantra may encapsulate a whole sadhana practice, and have associated visualisations etc.
An online source may be incorrect, lack context and offer a practice indiscriminately.
Didn't Buddha discriminate between teaching villagers and his core disciples, in terms of style and content?
A mantra chanted incorrectly but with pure intention is still powerful, but a mantra chanted incorrectly and with no undertsanding of its purpose (and therefore intention) is about as useful as chanting the telephone directory.
Even the simplest of words, 'OM', actually has four sound components 'A' 'U' 'M' 'N' (five if you count the silence between the words). Each of the components has a very precise pronunciation according to the culture and lineage of those teaching it.
Anyway, maybe we should return to the topic.