General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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Agent Smith
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Re: Mantra

Post by Agent Smith »

Abhidharmic wayfarer wrote: Wed Mar 01, 2023 11:31 am There are many differing answers to these profound questions. I personally like the way mantra is defined by Master Kukai (Kobo Daishi) in his Himitsu mandala jujushinron. He defines the “exoteric” as “the shallow and incomplete” and the “esoteric” as “the profound and hidden.” With these definitions in mind, He writes:

“Using many words and phrases to teach a single meaning is the shallow and incomplete [i.e., the exoteric]. When each individual word possesses infinite meanings, that is mantra and the esoteric.”
I'm in your debt mon ami. Is there a Christian analog to the Buddhist mantra?
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Re: Mantra

Post by Soma999 »

I don’t think there is any scientific evidence, as proof in science is hardly possible for such things. They do not even acknowledge the existence of invisible beings, so to recognise the effect of subtle energy…

Still, a start of evidence could be found in cymatics if you are inclined to study.

There are in christianity sentences repeated like mantra. Sentences from the Gospel could be recited like mantra.
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Re: Mantra

Post by Aemilius »

There have been a lot of studies concerning the effects of Transcendental Meditation, which uses mantras (I am told). These studies were done in the 1970's and 1980's, as far as I know, -I don't anymore have contact with anyone in that tradition.

I have also read about japanese studies about the effects of Shingon or Tendai mantras, but that is also decades ago.

However Buddha Weekly says: "The Science of Mantras: Mantras Work With or Without Faith; Research Supports the Effectiveness of Sanskrit Mantra for Healing — and Even Environmental Transformation"

"Mantra is thought of as a beneficial meditative practice ­— empowered by faith, intention and concentration. Yet, there is a significant body of evidence that mantras, regardless of concentration or faith, are beneficial to health and surroundings. In other words, they may have influence over mind — and even environment (for example growth of plants) — even if the recipient of the sound has no faith in its efficacy. Expectant mothers play mantras for unborn babies. Caregivers chant mantras for pets. Neither babies nor pets have faith, but many swear by the effectiveness of mantra. Faith certainly empowers mantra further, as does intention, but some research seems to indicate benefit specifically from the sound and frequency."

Related story: “Cognitive Research: Om Ah Ra Pa Cha Na Dhi, Manjushri’s Arapachana mantra, proven to “enhance cognitive functions to a significant degree” versus non-spiritual”tongue twisters.”

more in ... formation/

In the above it says: "Neither babies nor pets have faith", but I don't think that is necessarily true. In Buddhist countries it is generally accepted that animals can have faith. There are many popular stories about that. Master Sheng Yen tells about a dog that lived in the grounds of a monastery. After its death its body was cremated, and three relics were found in the ashes of that dog!
Ven. Sheng Yen explains in a short video why he thinks this is possible. He says that dogs can understand to some degree what humans are doing. They can understand the thoughts and mental states or attitudes and maybe even the speech of human beings. Sheng Yen continues that it is probable that this dog that lived in the monastery grounds had learned the intention and mental attitudes of Dharma.
You have to be quite advanced in morality, meditation and wisdom for relics to appear, this is my understanding, Sheng yen doesn't say this.
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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明安 Myoan
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Re: Mantra

Post by 明安 Myoan »


A personal example is when my cat was in the veterinary hospital for several days near death because of respiratory collapse. His lungs were full of fluid. I chanted the Medicine Buddha's mantra to comfort him and pray for his future life. Now that he's recovered, whenever he hears the mantra, he becomes so happy and relaxed.
I continue to say this mantra for him when it's time for his asthma inhaler, which no cat enjoys :smile:
I hope he's made a positive connection between the mantra and his wellbeing, which is a seed for taking refuge in future lives.

Interestingly, the sound of this mantra doesn't affect my other cat the same way at all.
She seems to prefer Green Tara's mantra, which makes her very relaxed and playful. I've used it to soothe her during environmental stress (fireworks, home renovation), which reminds me of Tara's bestowing of fearlessness, or when it's time to give her eye medicine.

Zopa Rinpoche has given great advice on benefiting animals, which mantras are well suited for.
It was through chanting mantras years ago at a cat shelter where I volunteered that I first gained faith in the Mahayana and Vajrayana, seeing the amazing impact of mantras on my state of mind and the response of animals to hearing them. I certainly didn't know enough to have a deep faith in mantras, but sincerity and instructions from trustworthy sources were enough to get me started :twothumbsup:
Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Mantra

Post by justsit »

Agent Smith wrote: Thu Mar 09, 2023 2:39 am Is there a Christian analog to the Buddhist mantra?
The closest thing is probably the "Jesus prayer" of the Hesychasts.
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