Meditation on Hrih

Post Reply
Thunder
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:40 pm

Meditation on Hrih

Post by Thunder »

I meditate quite regularly as a side practice. I started recently vedic mantra meditation, in a similar vein to transcendental meditation.

I have found it a lot more therapeutic than anapana, at least in dealing with stress.

For those unaware, mantra meditation involves the silent repetition in your mind of a seed syllable, like 'Ram' or 'Aham', which normally has some sort of religious significance, (although meaningless words like 'one' also work just as well, according to neuroscientist Howard Benson.)

I was practicing the other day and suddenly had a flash of inspiration to change the mantra to the syllable 'Hrih' - which is associated with Amitabha. Thus enabling the meditation to get a pure land 'flavour'.

Has anyone heard of a meditation like this before? I'm cautious about experimenting too much and going off piste.
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 2433
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Zhen Li »

Meditation on HRIḤ 𑖮𑖿𑖨𑖰𑖾 comes up in many sādhanas. It transforms into various deities in Amitābha's Buddha family.

I think meditation on syllables isn't generally just practised out of the blue, but is part of sādhana or other practice given by a guru. In Shingon they have visualisation of the letter A, but this is somewhat different.

I think we could say that meditation on the letter HRIḤ is a form of buddhānusmṛti, recollection, of Amitābha Buddha.
Shaku Shingan (釈心願)
Shingan's Portal
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 15671
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Not a Pureland practitioner so sorry if I’m overstepping.

There are practices that involve intoning HRIH as an object of concentration or contemplation, but it’s probably best to do then under someone’s instruction and not just mess with it.

At least in the Tantric and Dzogchen worlds it’s part of a larger syllabus or a sadhana , and not something to just do, generally speaking.
Don’t you see what’s wrong with the world today? Oh Everybody wants somebody to be their own piece of clay.

-Marvin Gaye
Thunder
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:40 pm

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Thunder »

Thanks, I guess it's important not to 'wing it' too much with spiritual practice, especially with stuff that has real juice - I had no idea it was used in dzogchen sadhana. That sort of thing normally requires lineage and empowerment, as well as the supervision of a master.

Thank you for setting me right
User avatar
Konchog Thogme Jampa
Posts: 1060
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:48 am
Location: Saha World/Hard to Take

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Konchog Thogme Jampa »

Thunder wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:49 pm I meditate quite regularly as a side practice. I started recently vedic mantra meditation, in a similar vein to transcendental meditation.

I have found it a lot more therapeutic than anapana, at least in dealing with stress.

For those unaware, mantra meditation involves the silent repetition in your mind of a seed syllable, like 'Ram' or 'Aham', which normally has some sort of religious significance, (although meaningless words like 'one' also work just as well, according to neuroscientist Howard Benson.)

I was practicing the other day and suddenly had a flash of inspiration to change the mantra to the syllable 'Hrih' - which is associated with Amitabha. Thus enabling the meditation to get a pure land 'flavour'.

Has anyone heard of a meditation like this before? I'm cautious about experimenting too much and going off piste.
Simple nembutsu recitation is fine no initiation required if you want a Pure Land flavour there are lots of practices that belong to Common Mahayana also like the Usnisa Vijaya Dharani for example that you can do

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/U%E1%B ... C5%ABtra
4. From each and every dear companion we will part.
We will leave possessions for which we've strived so hard.
The body's guest house the guest, consciousness, will lose.
To renounce this life is what bodhisattvas do.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Some Classical Music I wrote:
https://geometriq.bandcamp.com/track/ ... ite-part-1

དཀོན་མཆོག་ཐོགས་མེད་འབྱམས་པ

Konchog Thogme Jampa
User avatar
tobes
Posts: 2169
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by tobes »

Thunder wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 10:39 pm Thanks, I guess it's important not to 'wing it' too much with spiritual practice, especially with stuff that has real juice - I had no idea it was used in dzogchen sadhana. That sort of thing normally requires lineage and empowerment, as well as the supervision of a master.

Thank you for setting me right
I also think it is okay, especially if it helps you connect with Amitabha. I can't see anything but good coming from this.
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 2433
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Zhen Li »

tobes wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 10:20 am
Thunder wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 10:39 pm Thanks, I guess it's important not to 'wing it' too much with spiritual practice, especially with stuff that has real juice - I had no idea it was used in dzogchen sadhana. That sort of thing normally requires lineage and empowerment, as well as the supervision of a master.

Thank you for setting me right
I also think it is okay, especially if it helps you connect with Amitabha. I can't see anything but good coming from this.
I agree. Just visualising a syllable is not practising a sādhana. To be clear, this is the syllable of an exoteric Buddha who has nothing but compassion for sentient beings. He is not going to condemn you for thinking of his syllable.

Incidentally, I practised Ajikan (meditation on A) for some time in the Shingon tradition. I first started it on Koyasan, and got instruction, but no one knew of any special empowerment for it—you just do it. That's the syllable of another exoteric Buddha (Mahāvairocana), and I would think Amitābha isn't much different.

Here's an interesting article by Hisao Inagaki on the "esoteric" meaning of Amitābha's name. Actually, none of the Nembutsu practices, even when using the "esoteric" names, require inititation in the Shingon perspective and the Jusanbutsu (13 Buddha) mantras can be recited by anyone. There may be some empowerments available to monastics that "enhance" the practice, so to say, but they are not a requisite. Tibetan traditions may have different perspectives.

Incidentally, my wedding was in Japan and typically people use family crest, or kamon, on their kimono. Not having a Japanese kamon, I noticed that they have bonji (Japanese characters) which can be used instead of a kamon. Naturally I used HRIḤ.
Shaku Shingan (釈心願)
Shingan's Portal
Kai lord
Posts: 612
Joined: Sun May 15, 2022 2:38 am

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Kai lord »

Thunder wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:49 pm I was practicing the other day and suddenly had a flash of inspiration to change the mantra to the syllable 'Hrih' - which is associated with Amitabha. Thus enabling the meditation to get a pure land 'flavour'.
Hrih generally represents the nature of Amitabha's wisdom-mind or Dharmakaya.
PeterC
Posts: 4557
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by PeterC »

If your goal is 'dealing with stress', then sure, for shamatha by repeating syllables pretty much anything works. "Om Coca Cola Svaha" would do it too.
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 15671
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

It can be used as an object for shamatha by intoning it, it’s not like it’s a restricted practice but as Peter says it’s really just using an auspicious symbol as a concentration object, like using a Buddha statue as a visual object, etc.
Don’t you see what’s wrong with the world today? Oh Everybody wants somebody to be their own piece of clay.

-Marvin Gaye
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 2433
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Zhen Li »

Using dhāraṇīs, mantras, seed syllables, sūtras, or the names of Buddhas and bodhisattvas is far more effective than reciting any random set of syllables or the names of objects of consumption.

This is particularly so for a syllable connected to Amitābha, keeping in mind that this is in the context of the Pure Land forum.
Shaku Shingan (釈心願)
Shingan's Portal
PeterC
Posts: 4557
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by PeterC »

Zhen Li wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 11:49 am Using dhāraṇīs, mantras, seed syllables, sūtras, or the names of Buddhas and bodhisattvas is far more effective than reciting any random set of syllables or the names of objects of consumption.

This is particularly so for a syllable connected to Amitābha, keeping in mind that this is in the context of the Pure Land forum.
Do you have a citation for the merit of reciting seed syllables? Dharanis and mantras, sure, subject to correct transmission, and there's plenty of citations about the merit of reciting the names of Buddhas and reciting sutras. But individual syllables?

Moreover those citations all refer to the merit accrued from the recitation, not the efficacy of the recitation in achieving shamatha, which is what JD and I were referring to
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 2433
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Zhen Li »

PeterC wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 12:27 pm
Zhen Li wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 11:49 am Using dhāraṇīs, mantras, seed syllables, sūtras, or the names of Buddhas and bodhisattvas is far more effective than reciting any random set of syllables or the names of objects of consumption.

This is particularly so for a syllable connected to Amitābha, keeping in mind that this is in the context of the Pure Land forum.
Do you have a citation for the merit of reciting seed syllables? Dharanis and mantras, sure, subject to correct transmission, and there's plenty of citations about the merit of reciting the names of Buddhas and reciting sutras. But individual syllables?

Moreover those citations all refer to the merit accrued from the recitation, not the efficacy of the recitation in achieving shamatha, which is what JD and I were referring to
For samatha specifically, I'm just speaking from experience—I don't think there is a secular kind of mindfulness that surpasses the power of focusing on a Dharmic object or nimitta. I don't think coca cola is a wholesome object of refuge or a suitable nimitta, unless one is going to be contemplating cravings to sugary drinks. For Pure Land practice however, anusmṛti is the goal, and not merit or samatha.

Regarding contemplation of individual syllables (I did not mention recitation, but that can be incorporated), Kūkai has a lot of praise for this practice, and explanations of its benefits, in a number of texts, such as in the last chapter of the 秘密曼荼羅十住心論 (Treatise on the Ten Stages of Mind of the Secret Maṇḍala), which I don't think is translated into English fully (except for its summary in the Precious Key), but here is an example from Ryuichi Abe's book The Weaving of Mantra:
p.295 wrote: ... Because the letters of worldly languages are already capable of expressing what reality is, Tathagatas empower [some of] them and present them as mantras. If one takes the position that the letters of worldly languages are external to the nature of the Dharma, that is nothing but the false view of a delusory mind. ... Although Tathagatas empower mantras with all sorts of merit they had accumulated in their countless eons of bodhisattva lives, the infinite merit inherent in every one of the letters of worldly language is already equal to that of mantras...

Question: Even children of the laity [in India] study and memonze the essential alphabet letters of Siddham. Is there any distinction between these letters and the letters of mantra?

Answer: Although the Siddham alphabet table for secular education is identical with the table of mantras, people of the world are unaware that each letter of the alphabet is already complete in its graphic form, while possessing infinite meanings of reality....People of the world do not know that each letter is replete with reality, that is, the words of reality ( shingon ), mantras. Words spoken without this knowledge are the words of delusion, which lead beings to the suffering of the three evil transmigratory realms [of animals, hungry ghosts, and hell dwellers].When they become aware of this knowledge of reality [of their alphabet letters], they annihilate all their evil karma and attain the all-embracing wisdom.This occurs just as one's medical knowledge can transform a dangerous poison into the most beneficial cure.
Kūkai of course elaborates upon A the most, but he gives a number of other examples of the meanings and efficacy of other akṣaras.
Shaku Shingan (釈心願)
Shingan's Portal
Kai lord
Posts: 612
Joined: Sun May 15, 2022 2:38 am

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Kai lord »

Zhen Li wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 5:50 pm Regarding contemplation of individual syllables (I did not mention recitation, but that can be incorporated), Kūkai has a lot of praise for this practice, and explanations of its benefits, in a number of texts, such as in the last chapter of the 秘密曼荼羅十住心論 (Treatise on the Ten Stages of Mind of the Secret Maṇḍala), which I don't think is translated into English fully (except for its summary in the Precious Key), but here is an example from Ryuichi Abe's book The Weaving of Mantra:
Not to mention since Hrih represents Amitabha's Dharmakaya or wisdom mind, it can be viewed as being inseparable from our own Buddha nature and this is identical to Buddha Remembrance through Real Mark (實相念佛), one of four types of Buddha remembrance methods taught by Pure land patriarch, Tan Luan.
Malcolm
Posts: 41660
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Malcolm »

Thunder wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:49 pm I meditate quite regularly as a side practice. I started recently vedic mantra meditation, in a similar vein to transcendental meditation.

I have found it a lot more therapeutic than anapana, at least in dealing with stress.

For those unaware, mantra meditation involves the silent repetition in your mind of a seed syllable, like 'Ram' or 'Aham', which normally has some sort of religious significance, (although meaningless words like 'one' also work just as well, according to neuroscientist Howard Benson.)

I was practicing the other day and suddenly had a flash of inspiration to change the mantra to the syllable 'Hrih' - which is associated with Amitabha. Thus enabling the meditation to get a pure land 'flavour'.

Has anyone heard of a meditation like this before? I'm cautious about experimenting too much and going off piste.
There are sadhanas of Amitabha and Amitayus where the mantra is a single syllable.
Vases, canvas, bucklers, armies, forests, garlands, trees
houses, chariots, hostelries, and all such things
that common people designate dependent on their parts,
accept as such. For Buddha did not quarrel with the world!

—— Candrakīrti. MAV 6:166
Miorita
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2022 11:37 pm
Location: US

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Miorita »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 10:32 pm
Thunder wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:49 pm I meditate quite regularly as a side practice. I started recently vedic mantra meditation, in a similar vein to transcendental meditation.

I have found it a lot more therapeutic than anapana, at least in dealing with stress.

For those unaware, mantra meditation involves the silent repetition in your mind of a seed syllable, like 'Ram' or 'Aham', which normally has some sort of religious significance, (although meaningless words like 'one' also work just as well, according to neuroscientist Howard Benson.)

I was practicing the other day and suddenly had a flash of inspiration to change the mantra to the syllable 'Hrih' - which is associated with Amitabha. Thus enabling the meditation to get a pure land 'flavour'.

Has anyone heard of a meditation like this before? I'm cautious about experimenting too much and going off piste.
There are sadhanas of Amitabha and Amitayus where the mantra is a single syllable.
And it's called Amrita-bhava. from Amitabha and -ayus from still being alive. The practitioner I mean. During his meditation.
We don't see him, yet he exists in meditation, in the Image.

Yup, that's the OP!
:bow:

:bow: to Malcolm for clarifying for us/me where Thunder is.

Miorita
Thunder
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:40 pm

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Thunder »

I wasn't sure what response I was going to get from this forum when I first posted here about this. But I wasn't expecting such a range of articulate and fascinating insights. Thank you so much to all.

I had no idea that seed syllables were used widely in esoteric traditions.

Has anyone encountered them used in an identical context to those in transcendental meditation? For instance, repeated in the mind as a nimitta or object of absorption, rather than out loud?
PeterC
Posts: 4557
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by PeterC »

Thunder wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 10:28 pm I wasn't sure what response I was going to get from this forum when I first posted here about this. But I wasn't expecting such a range of articulate and fascinating insights. Thank you so much to all.

I had no idea that seed syllables were used widely in esoteric traditions.

Has anyone encountered them used in an identical context to those in transcendental meditation? For instance, repeated in the mind as a nimitta or object of absorption, rather than out loud?
You need to be careful whether you're answering this question from (a) the perspective of using the syllable as a mantra, in which case the result you obtain is contingent on the empowerment and instructions you've received and the understanding you've developed based on that, (b) the perspective of using it as an object for shamatha (external or internal), in which case it really doesn't matter what you say - there are traditions that will have you do shamatha on a pebble or a stick, for instance - or (c) the perspective of this particular sub-forum, in which you're calling on Amitabha. In this sub-forum we should really answer the question from the last perspective, because that's the rules of this board - in each sub-forum the local law applies. But it's important to remember that practices can look superficially similar but have radically different frameworks for the path and result, depending on which tradition/perspective you're taking.
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 2433
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Meditation on Hrih

Post by Zhen Li »

Thunder wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 10:28 pm I wasn't sure what response I was going to get from this forum when I first posted here about this. But I wasn't expecting such a range of articulate and fascinating insights. Thank you so much to all.

I had no idea that seed syllables were used widely in esoteric traditions.

Has anyone encountered them used in an identical context to those in transcendental meditation? For instance, repeated in the mind as a nimitta or object of absorption, rather than out loud?
Peter's comments are worth bearing in mind. That being said, I could say that when I learned meditation on the letter A, there was no out-loud recitation of the letter, just visualisation. Some mantras are used in opening and closing frame rites.

I am not familiar with meditation on HRIḤ, so cannot advise on that in particular. But I think it could work similarly.
Shaku Shingan (釈心願)
Shingan's Portal
Post Reply

Return to “Pure Land”