A challenge for Keith

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A challenge for Keith

Postby catmoon » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:50 pm

I would like you to explain to me the meaning of the words "om" and "hum" in "om mani padme hum".

This is personally relevant to me because I spend some time on this mantra. I'm kinda hoping you have arrived at some kind of synthesis of the very varied opinions out there.

Certain visualizations seem to go along with this mantra

A lotus and jewel

A buddha radiating compassion and/or Dharma

A buddha radiating light- (or did I swipe that from Amideva?)

A buddha face


Any thoughts on visuals?
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby KeithBC » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:31 am

Hi, Catmoon. I appreciate your confidence in my abilities, but I think I will disappoint you. I could cheat and go look it up on Wikipedia, but you'd be better off doing that yourself.

Om, as far as I can tell, represents the unity and totality of the entire universe. There is nothing that it does not encompass. I have never been clear on what Hum means, or even if it has a specific meaning.

Mani padme means "the jewel in the lotus". This is a reference to Chenrezig / Avalokiteshvara, who is said to have been born from a lotus blossom. He is the jewel in the lotus, so the mantra as a whole is an invocation of him, and of his chief attribute, which is compassion.

As for visualizations, the normal one is to visualize Chenrezig / Avalokiteshvara. You will have no difficulty googling images of thankas depicting him. He is white in colour and is usually represented as having four hands, which hold various objects.

If you are interested in practicing the visualization of Chenrezig, it is best to seek the instruction of a qualified teacher.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby catmoon » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 am

Tnks Keith. I seem to be near enough for comfort.

If Om means what u say, then the mantra becomes a little universe unto itself. In a sense. Om gives a very large context. I think I'll go with that.

I wonder if historically, syllables were added for no other reason than rhythym?
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby Luke » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:51 pm

Hello there Mr. Cat,

Perhaps you will enjoy this explanation of the mani mantra by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tib/omph.htm

In my layman's terms, I think of "Om" as the holy syllable for beginning mantras and I see "Hum" as the holy syllable for ending mantras, sort of like how you'd try to put a holy picture in a beautiful frame. A lot of mantras begin with "Om," "Om Ah," or "Om Ah Guru" and end with "Hung" and just insert the deity's name in between: "Om Ah Guru Vajradhara Hum," "Om Vairocana Hum," etc.

There are many forms of Chenrezig in Tibetan Buddhism. He can can be red or white. He can have 2, 4, or 1000 arms. I'm sure there are still many variations on his form that I don't yet know about and I'm sure that other schools of Buddhism in Japan and China have there own styles of depicting him.

KeithBC wrote:If you are interested in practicing the visualization of Chenrezig, it is best to seek the instruction of a qualified teacher.


This is certainly true, but I've read Tibetan lamas say many times that the practices of Green Tara, Chenrezig, and Medicine Buddha can all be practiced without first receiving empowerments. However, I have heard some lamas say that one should not visualize oneself as the deity if one has not received the empowerment. You can instead visualize the deity outside yourself (usually floating above your head or in the space in front and above you).

Here is a nice little description of a Chenrezig practice which could be done without an empowerment:
http://www.kagyu.org/kagyulineage/buddh ... /dev01.php

You can also recite the mantra while holding a mala and moving to the next bead after each recitation. In this way, you purify your body. The mantra purifies your speech, and the visualization purifies your mind.

There is no danger in doing basic Chenrezig practices. You will only create blessings for yourself and other beings.

Good luck with your practice, Catmoon.

OM MANI PEME HUNG
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby catmoon » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:30 am

Tnks Luke, this outline of practice will definitely be used to shape my visualizations.

Had an interesting session last night. While reciting manis i took as object - the sound- of the mantra, nothing else. Even in silent recitation, I found one can focus completely on the sound, much as one can focus completely on the breath. An advantage is that while completely focussed on mental sound, external sounds are mostly not heard. The disadvantage - a loud external sound can sort of derail the meditation for a bit.

Suddenly mantra work has blossomed into full blown meditation, with all the same potentials. I suppose the same can be done with the visualizations too?
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:49 am

While reciting manis i took as object - the sound- of the mantra, nothing else. Even in silent recitation, I found one can focus completely on the sound, much as one can focus completely on the breath. An advantage is that while completely focussed on mental sound, external sounds are mostly not heard. The disadvantage - a loud external sound can sort of derail the meditation for a bit.

Suddenly mantra work has blossomed into full blown meditation, with all the same potentials. I suppose the same can be done with the visualizations too?


Emaho!
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby catmoon » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:58 am

LauraJ wrote:
While reciting manis i took as object - the sound- of the mantra, nothing else. Even in silent recitation, I found one can focus completely on the sound, much as one can focus completely on the breath. An advantage is that while completely focussed on mental sound, external sounds are mostly not heard. The disadvantage - a loud external sound can sort of derail the meditation for a bit.

Suddenly mantra work has blossomed into full blown meditation, with all the same potentials. I suppose the same can be done with the visualizations too?


Emaho!


Emaho? I know roflcopter and cya l8r, but not that one. Every Man And His Octopus?
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:17 am

catmoon wrote:Every Man And His Octopus?


:lol:

It means, "Wonderful! Yes!"
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby catmoon » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:21 am

LauraJ wrote:
catmoon wrote:Every Man And His Octopus?


:lol:

It means, "Wonderful! Yes!"


Oh. I musta done something right then. :o

I wonder what it was. :?
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby malalu » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:58 pm

Hi, Catmoon!

If I can add briefly to what some of the others have said...

As I've been taught and understand, like Keith was sort of saying, Om is the primordial "sound" or "resonance" of the universe I guess you can say. It is also used as a sort of "opening" in this way. Most mantra's will begin with the syllable Om. And as Luke has said, the syllable Hum is in effect a "closing" of the mantra.

It can be somewhat difficult to work with a translation of mantra's, as they are the enlightened speech of Buddha's and bodhisattva's.

This mantra is indeed a simple but very powerful one to practice. Without going into too much detail, this mantra like others can have an effect on the subtle energy and thus can begin to "open up" one's compassion so-to-speak.

Having said that, even though one does not require an empowerment to use this mantra, it is much more effective and powerful if one can receive the transmission from a qualified teacher. This should not be too difficult.

Best wishes

:buddha1:
The past is but a present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby Luke » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:12 am

catmoon wrote:Had an interesting session last night. While reciting manis i took as object - the sound- of the mantra, nothing else. Even in silent recitation, I found one can focus completely on the sound, much as one can focus completely on the breath.

Yes, really one can focus on any object (sound, mental object, external object, etc.) to achieve shinay (tranquility meditation). Meditating on the mantra alone can be good. My lama says that the main thing is to get to the point at which you feel very comfortable saying the mantra and can feel it resonate in your lower abdomen--you need to find a way of saying it that works for you. At that point, you can start to add in visualizations and other details.

What I find very hard about doing tantric saddhanas is the fact that I have to do so much at once: I have to recite a very intricate Tibetan text while thinking about the meaning of the text and doing the correct visualizations at the same time. It's kind of like being a pianist who has to do something different with each hand at the same time--not easy! Short mantras are nice because they put less stress on your mental abilities.

I've heard lamas say that mantras themselves actually are the deities embodied in the form of sound. So reciting a deity's mantra is the same as being in the presence of the actual deity.

Mr. Cat, you might also enjoy reciting Green Tara's mantra: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha. It has a nice rhythmic feel to it, and Tara is as powerful a bodhisattva as any other.

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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby catmoon » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:31 am

Actually I have used the Green Tara mantra from time to time. It seems especially good when life has been beating me up some. The way I look at it, the Tara aspect of Buddha emphasizes kindly care and sometimes we all need that. It's a very comfy practice.

Speaking of resonance, the other day I went out on my balcony and for some reason, although I was alone, I said "Ommmm". I was instantly immersed in surround sound and it sounded like there were 4 people humming "om" on four different notes. And the sound seemed to come not from me, but from the whole surrounding space.

I wonder if they can hear that on the street, four floors down? It would be truly eerie!
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby malalu » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:17 am

Found a nice quote on the subject...

The six-syllable mantra has the power to counteract all your negative emotions and to bring you unimaginable benefit, but it cannot be fully effective if you do not recite it with the proper concentration. If you are always being distracted as you recite it by bodily sensations, different things to look at, idle talk with others, or your own wandering thoughts, the mantra's power, like the luster of a piece of gold encrusted with dirt, will never make itself felt. Even if the beads of your rosary whirl through your fingers at breakneck speed, what use could such an empty facade of practice possible be? The point is not to accumulate a huge number of recitations at any cost, but to gain a deeper understanding of the practice and its goal.

-- H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones


I've found that it is quite useful to recite the six syllable mantra over the course of the day as well. One way to practice "away" from the cushion.

:namaste:
The past is but a present memory or condition, the future but a present projection, and the present itself vanishes before it can be grasped.- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby Luke » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:03 pm

Another thing I would like to share is that a visiting Tibetan lama once told me to visualize deities as being like "reflections in a mirror." That is they should not be thought of as being crude beings of simple flesh and blood with different color skin like some characters from a Star Wars movie. These sambhogakaya deities are holy Buddhas with bodies made of light, and we should remember their special nature.
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:12 pm

Luke wrote:Another thing I would like to share is that a visiting Tibetan lama once told me to visualize deities as being like "reflections in a mirror." That is they should not be thought of as being crude beings of simple flesh and blood with different color skin like some characters from a Star Wars movie. These sambhogakaya deities are holy Buddhas with bodies made of light, and we should remember their special nature.


Beautiful :bow:
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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:14 pm

catmoon wrote:Actually I have used the Green Tara mantra from time to time. It seems especially good when life has been beating me up some. The way I look at it, the Tara aspect of Buddha emphasizes kindly care and sometimes we all need that. It's a very comfy practice.

Speaking of resonance, the other day I went out on my balcony and for some reason, although I was alone, I said "Ommmm". I was instantly immersed in surround sound and it sounded like there were 4 people humming "om" on four different notes. And the sound seemed to come not from me, but from the whole surrounding space.

I wonder if they can hear that on the street, four floors down? It would be truly eerie!


I find too, that Tara's mantra can be so easily integrated into activities like washing dishes, showering, driving, etc. There's something so rhythmic and wonderful about her mantra.

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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby malalu » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:20 pm

LauraJ wrote:
I find too, that Tara's mantra can be so easily integrated into activities like washing dishes, showering, driving, etc.



Yes, I agree. Though I don't recite Tara's mantra, I will often recite while driving (much more calm and peaceful), doing dishes, in the grocery store (not out loud, of course ;) ), and while doing many other "mundane and worldly tasks". In fact, sometimes during get together's or large family functions, if I remember to I will just recite to myself and look interested while they all argue on issues of politics and all that stuff! Nobody knows the difference!

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Re: A challenge for Keith

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:22 pm

Malalu :twothumbsup:
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