Use of Mantra

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Use of Mantra

Postby JKPenumbra » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:18 pm

I've decided to make a commitment to meditate every day, for a minimum of 1 hour. I have done so for the past couple of days, and had been thinking of increasing the amount of time spent doing so. I will add walking meditation eventually, but for now I haven't. I do notice my mind has calmed, most noticeably so directly after, and it is easier in day to day life to stay present (though I do go off in thoughts a lot)

I realllly didn't want to meditate today, but I managed to go do it, as I'm going to stick to this resolution, and I did so for about an hour and a half.

I read something earlier today, and was wondering if it were true --
"Of course, we make use of words in order to convey the idea, but at the time of doing it, it is out of question to use words, neither verbally, nor mentally except for the fresh beginners whom it can help. Quickly, one must stop all this, and simply turn his attention to reality and know it as it is."

Is this how it should be?

and, ""When a sound does manifest, only know what is heard. When a sight does occur, only know what is seen. When there is a smell, only know what is smelt. When there is a taste, only know what is tasted. When there is a mental object, only know what is thought."

Does this mean, for instance that I would focus on what the object that I was smelling was? Or, that I was simply smelling, and let my mind only be consumed by the thought of the sensation of smelling? These small details still confuse me.. I suppose what I would do would be to just think smelling smelling while simultaneously focusing on the smell.. But that's not what this is suggesting..

Hope this isn't too vague..
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby Virgo » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:40 pm

JKPenumbra wrote:I've decided to make a commitment to meditate every day, for a minimum of 1 hour. I have done so for the past couple of days, and had been thinking of increasing the amount of time spent doing so. I will add walking meditation eventually, but for now I haven't. I do notice my mind has calmed, most noticeably so directly after, and it is easier in day to day life to stay present (though I do go off in thoughts a lot)

I realllly didn't want to meditate today, but I managed to go do it, as I'm going to stick to this resolution, and I did so for about an hour and a half.

I read something earlier today, and was wondering if it were true --
"Of course, we make use of words in order to convey the idea, but at the time of doing it, it is out of question to use words, neither verbally, nor mentally except for the fresh beginners whom it can help. Quickly, one must stop all this, and simply turn his attention to reality and know it as it is."

Is this how it should be?

and, ""When a sound does manifest, only know what is heard. When a sight does occur, only know what is seen. When there is a smell, only know what is smelt. When there is a taste, only know what is tasted. When there is a mental object, only know what is thought."

Does this mean, for instance that I would focus on what the object that I was smelling was? Or, that I was simply smelling, and let my mind only be consumed by the thought of the sensation of smelling? These small details still confuse me.. I suppose what I would do would be to just think smelling smelling while simultaneously focusing on the smell.. But that's not what this is suggesting..

Hope this isn't too vague..

Hi JK (may I call you that?). Samatha meditation, as far as I understand, is about settling your mind on a conceptual object. You settle your mind onto it. Sometimes, a verbalization is used to help you focus on the object (as described in the Visuddhimagga), but I don't think mantras are used in Theravada. They originally come from the Vedas (Ancient Hindu religious and medical scriptures) and they then found there way into Mahayana Budddhism (and most notably Vajrayana Buddhism).

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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:46 pm

there is the object, and there is contact with the sense door, this is smelling, when you label it as the smell of rice or smoke etc that is thinking and you have moved away from "just smelling"
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby JKPenumbra » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:10 am

jcsuperstar wrote:there is the object, and there is contact with the sense door, this is smelling, when you label it as the smell of rice or smoke etc that is thinking and you have moved away from "just smelling"

So then I should only focus on smelling, the sensation itsself, not the object in which I am smelling?

And Theravada doesn't use Mantra's? Yuttadhammo had told me to use mantras such as rising and falling of the abdomen, thinking, thinking, smelling, thinking thinking
Etc.
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby bodom » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:16 am

JKPenumbra wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:there is the object, and there is contact with the sense door, this is smelling, when you label it as the smell of rice or smoke etc that is thinking and you have moved away from "just smelling"

So then I should only focus on smelling, the sensation itsself, not the object in which I am smelling?

And Theravada doesn't use Mantra's? Yuttadhammo had told me to use mantras such as rising and falling of the abdomen, thinking, thinking, smelling, thinking thinking
Etc.


Not mantra per se but rather mental noting or labeling as Yuttadhammo practices and teaches Mahasi technique. Yuttadhammo refers to the label as a "clear thought" and this works the same way as a mantra.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:24 am

JKPenumbra wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:there is the object, and there is contact with the sense door, this is smelling, when you label it as the smell of rice or smoke etc that is thinking and you have moved away from "just smelling"

So then I should only focus on smelling, the sensation itsself, not the object in which I am smelling?

And Theravada doesn't use Mantra's? Yuttadhammo had told me to use mantras such as rising and falling of the abdomen, thinking, thinking, smelling, thinking thinking
Etc.

ajahn Yuttadhammo is a great guy.
these are not mantras per say as a mantra has some magic power embedded in the mantra itself, but you can use these labels as a sort of mantra, or int he way a mantra is used. does that make sense?

you should ask ajahn Yuttadhammo the same question you have asked here. i believe he is back in L.A. now so has Internet access.

but my feeling is the sooner you cut off the mental additions to smelling the better it is as an object of meditation. you have the object you have contact and that is smell, it is then either good, bad, or neutral and then you decide if you like it how you want it etc.. you just end up in thinking, craving and way off the real object of your meditation.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby bodom » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:32 am

Heres his site. Highly recommended.

http://yuttadhammo.sirimangalo.org/

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby JKPenumbra » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:40 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
JKPenumbra wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:there is the object, and there is contact with the sense door, this is smelling, when you label it as the smell of rice or smoke etc that is thinking and you have moved away from "just smelling"

So then I should only focus on smelling, the sensation itsself, not the object in which I am smelling?

And Theravada doesn't use Mantra's? Yuttadhammo had told me to use mantras such as rising and falling of the abdomen, thinking, thinking, smelling, thinking thinking
Etc.

ajahn Yuttadhammo is a great guy.
these are not mantras per say as a mantra has some magic power embedded in the mantra itself, but you can use these labels as a sort of mantra, or int he way a mantra is used. does that make sense?

you should ask ajahn Yuttadhammo the same question you have asked here. i believe he is back in L.A. now so has Internet access.

but my feeling is the sooner you cut off the mental additions to smelling the better it is as an object of meditation. you have the object you have contact and that is smell, it is then either good, bad, or neutral and then you decide if you like it how you want it etc.. you just end up in thinking, craving and way off the real object of your meditation.


Before I posted in this forum, I did ask Ajhan Yuttadhammo
His reply was this

"Dear Jesse,

You have to see what works best for you.

Yuttadhammo
"
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:53 am

Greetings,

The closest thing to a mantra that I'm aware of in Theravada Buddhism is the use of the word "buddho".

Using Buddho to gain jhana
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3727

It seems more popular in the Thai Forest tradition than elsewhere.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby cooran » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:25 am

Hello all,

Mantra is often used in Theravada practice. My favourite for Walking Meditation is:

Buddho ... Araham ... Bhagava
Bhagava ... Araham ... Buddho

Buddho ... Araham ... Bhagava
Bhagava ... Araham ... Buddho

The keeping of the term Araham in the centre is a mindfulness support. If you suddenly notice that you have Araham at the beginning or end of the line, you are alerted to the fact that mindfulness has slipped.

If this happens ~ "begin again".

This Manta is an echo of parts of the Recollection of the Three Treasures which was chanted everywhere at the Four Holy Places and other buddhist sites by all Theravada groups on my recent pilgrimage in India:

Iti pi so bhagava araham samma-sambuddho vijja-carana-sampanno sugato lokavidu anuttaro purisa-dhamma-sarathi sattha-deva-manussanam buddho bhagava'ti
Svakkhato bhagavata dhammo sanditthiko akaliko ehipassiko opanayiko paccattam veditabbo vinnuhi'ti

Supatipanno bhagavato savakasangho, ujupatipanno bhagavato savakasangho, ñayapatipanno bhagavato savakasangho, samicipatipanno bhagavato savakasangho yadidam cattari purisayugani attha purisapuggala, esa bhagavato savakasangho, ahuneyyo pahuneyyo dakkhineyyo añjalikaraniyo, anuttaram puññakkhettam lokassa'ti.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby cooran » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:28 am

Hello all,

Sabbe satta sukhi hontu
Sabbe sattā sukhi hontu is a Pali phrase meaning “May all beings be well (or happy)”.
It’s not, properly speaking, a mantra, but is a chant that is used in exactly the same way as a mantra.
Unlike most mantras, it has a definite grammatical meaning.
Sabbe = all
Sattā (or sattaa) = beings
Sukhi = happy, well
Hontu = may they be

The chant has an attractive tune, and it’s lovely to chant this at the end of a period of the metta bhavana (development of lovingkindness) practice. It makes a beautiful group chant as well.
Outside of formal meditation, you can chant this mantra while walking, driving, or while engaged in any other such activity. It can help if you keep your attention centered on your heart, and also if you imagine that light is flowing from your heart and touching other people.

There are many other Pali chants that are similar and that are also closely related to the practice of lovingkindness, yet none seem to be as common as sabbe satta sukhi hontu, which really expresses the essence of lovingkindness.

Variants include:
sabbe satta avera hontu (may all beings be free from enmity and danger)
sabbe satta abyapajjha hontu (may all beings be free from mental suffering)
sabbe satta anigha hontu (may all beings be free from physical suffering)
sabbe satta dukkha muccantu (may all beings be free from suffering)
sabbe satta sukhi attanam pariharantu (may all beings protect themselves joyfully)

Click on link below to locate the chant in RealAudio
Or to listen to an MP3 version

Pronunciation notes:
a is pronounced as u in cut
ā (or aa) is pronounced as a in father
Sabbe satta sukhi hontu is the key of the development of lovingkindness and compassion. Although most religions teach us to love our neighbors and even our enemies, it’s often hard to know exactly how to do that. Buddhism, being a very practical tradition, offers a number of practices, including the development of lovingkindness (metta bhavana), and the development of compassion (karuna bhavana) meditations. Each of these practices helps us to develop a healthier and more loving relationship to oneself and others.

Metta is often translated as love as well as lovingkindness, and the essence of love in this sense is that we recognize that all beings, just like us, wish to experience happiness and do not wish to experience suffering. Metta is an empathetic sense of caring for others’ wellebing. It’s for that reason that sabbe satta sukhi hontu (“may all beings be happy”) is considered to express the heart of the lovingkindness practice.

In cultivating lovingkindness we commonly repeat phrases such as “May all beings be well; May all beings be happy; May all beings be free from suffering.” The accumulated effect of those words, when they are mindfully repeated, is to create a genuine sense of caring.
http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/figures/sabbesatta

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby JKPenumbra » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:44 am

Virgo wrote:
JKPenumbra wrote:I've decided to make a commitment to meditate every day, for a minimum of 1 hour. I have done so for the past couple of days, and had been thinking of increasing the amount of time spent doing so. I will add walking meditation eventually, but for now I haven't. I do notice my mind has calmed, most noticeably so directly after, and it is easier in day to day life to stay present (though I do go off in thoughts a lot)

I realllly didn't want to meditate today, but I managed to go do it, as I'm going to stick to this resolution, and I did so for about an hour and a half.

I read something earlier today, and was wondering if it were true --
"Of course, we make use of words in order to convey the idea, but at the time of doing it, it is out of question to use words, neither verbally, nor mentally except for the fresh beginners whom it can help. Quickly, one must stop all this, and simply turn his attention to reality and know it as it is."

Is this how it should be?

and, ""When a sound does manifest, only know what is heard. When a sight does occur, only know what is seen. When there is a smell, only know what is smelt. When there is a taste, only know what is tasted. When there is a mental object, only know what is thought."

Does this mean, for instance that I would focus on what the object that I was smelling was? Or, that I was simply smelling, and let my mind only be consumed by the thought of the sensation of smelling? These small details still confuse me.. I suppose what I would do would be to just think smelling smelling while simultaneously focusing on the smell.. But that's not what this is suggesting..

Hope this isn't too vague..

Hi JK (may I call you that?). Samatha meditation, as far as I understand, is about settling your mind on a conceptual object. You settle your mind onto it. Sometimes, a verbalization is used to help you focus on the object (as described in the Visuddhimagga), but I don't think mantras are used in Theravada. They originally come from the Vedas (Ancient Hindu religious and medical scriptures) and they then found there way into Mahayana Budddhism (and most notably Vajrayana Buddhism).

Kevin


Yes, you may call me JK, or Jesse if you remember it :)
But you're correct, my Buddhist vernacular isn't quite par yet.
Mantra probably wasn't the word I should've used

jcsuperstar wrote:there is the object, and there is contact with the sense door, this is smelling, when you label it as the smell of rice or smoke etc that is thinking and you have moved away from "just smelling"

After reading over this a second time, I have a better understanding...
So then, it's just that.. "smelling", or whatever sense, "itching"
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:17 am

JKPenumbra wrote: But you're correct, my Buddhist vernacular isn't quite par yet.
Mantra probably wasn't the word I should've used
We have all been there. You learn by asking.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:32 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:
JKPenumbra wrote: But you're correct, my Buddhist vernacular isn't quite par yet.
Mantra probably wasn't the word I should've used
We have all been there. You learn by asking.


Yep, that's my mantra.

:jumping:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby catmoon » Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:01 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:
JKPenumbra wrote: But you're correct, my Buddhist vernacular isn't quite par yet.
Mantra probably wasn't the word I should've used
We have all been there. You learn by asking.


Yep, that's my mantra.

:jumping:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Editorial note: This represents a marked change of direction from Retro's old mantra, which for many years was, "Om mani pudding oops".
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby Virgo » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:06 pm

Hi Jesse. Yes, asking is always good and is welcome.

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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:42 am

Greetings,

From venerable Dhammika's blog...

Dhamma Musings
http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2010/03/m ... on-of.html

Mantras
A mantra is a sound or a combination of sounds used as a spell. The Brahmanism at the time of the Buddha taught that repeating certain mantras would impart spiritual power and blessings and evoke the help of the gods. Some of these mantras consisted of lines or verses from the Vedas, but single syllables like hum were being used too (Vin.I,3). The Buddha rejected the efficacy of mantras as he did all forms of magic and replaced it with the idea that the greatest strength and protection comes from having a pure mind. In the Vinaya he says that the enlightened person will not chant hum (Vin.I,3). The Sutta Nipata says that chanting mantras, making offerings and performing sacrifices (mantahutiyanna), i.e. the central sacraments of Brahmanism, could not help someone plagued by doubt (Sn.249). In the Jatakas there is a story he told about a group of virtuous men who were falsely accused of doing wrong and were sentenced to be trampled by elephants. But try as he might, the executioner could not get the elephants to kill the men. Assuming that they must be reciting some protective spell or incantation the executioner asked them; 'What is your mantra?' The leader of the men replied; 'We have no mantra other than this, that none of us kills, steals, sexually misconducts ourselves exploits, lies or drinks alcohol. We cultivate love, practise generosity, repair roads, construct watering holes and built rest houses for travellers. This is our mantra, our protection and the thing by which we flourish' (Ja.I,200). The use of mantras was an aspect of Hinduism incorporated into some schools of Mahayana and later more so into Vajrayana. In fact, mantras became so central within Vajrayana that this Buddhist movement was sometimes also called Mantrayāna.


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:26 pm

Shravasti Dhammika said: A mantra is a sound or a combination of sounds used as a spell. The Brahmanism at the time of the Buddha taught that repeating certain mantras would impart spiritual power and blessings and evoke the help of the gods.

This is not the way Mantra is viewed or used in Theravada. No Theravadin I know uses meaningless sounds as a magic spell.

In Living Buddhist Masters, Jack Kornfield wrote:
The use of mantra or the repetition of certain phrases in Pali is an extremely common form of meditation in the Theravada tradition. Simple mantras use repetition of the Buddha’s name , “Buddho,” [actually "Buddho" is a title rather than a name] or use the “Dhamma,” or the “Sangha,” the community, as mantra words. Other mantras that are used are directed toward developing loving kindness. Some mantras direct attention to the process of change by repeating the Pali phrase that means “everything changes,” while other mantras are used to develop equanimity with phrases that would be translated, “let go.”
Very often mantra practice is combined with breathing meditation, so that one recites a mantra simultaneously with in-breath and out-breath to help develop tranquility and concentration. Mantra meditation is especially popular among the lay people. Like other basic concentration exercises, it can be used simply to still the mind or it can be the basis for an insight practice where the mantra becomes the focus of observation of how life unfolds, or an aid in surrendering and letting go.

The Venerable Ajahn Sumedho recommended the “Buddho” mantra. He suggested that we inhale on the “Bud” and exhale on “-dho” so that the mind is occupied with the mantra for the full cycle of the breath.
He encouraged that the mantra be used to develop “clarity and brightness” rather than letting the mind sink into passivity. While the word “mantra” in contemporary English has come to mean something repeated mindlessly, or so often that it has lost all meaning, Sumedho said:
Make the mantra fully conscious instead of just a perfunctory passive thing that makes the mind dull; energize the mind so that the inhalation on “Bud” is a bright inhalations, not just a perfunctory “Bud” sound that fades out because it never gets brightened or refreshed by your mind.
He also recommended visualizing the spelling so that the visual capacity of the mind can be used in the meditation as well and “so that you’re fully with that syllable” for the inhalation or exhalation.

Ajahn Dhammadharo, another Theravadin teacher, outlined a seven-step meditation on “bud-dho.”
Start out with three or seven long in-and-out breaths, thinking bud- with the in-breath, and dho with the out. Keep the meditation syllable as long as the breath.
Be clearly aware of each in-and-out breath.
Observe the breath as it goes in and out, noticing whether it’s comfortable or uncomfortable, broad or narrow, obstructed or free-flowing, fast or slow, short or long, warm or cool. If the breath doesn’t feel comfortable, change it until it does. For instance, if breathing in long and out long is uncomfortable, try breathing in short and out short. As soon as you find that your breathing feels comfortable, let this comfortable breath sensation spread to the different parts of the body.
To begin with, inhale the breath sensation at the base of the skull and let it flow all the way down the spine. Then, if you are male, let it spread down your right leg to the sole of your foot, to the ends of your toes, and out into the air. Inhale the breath sensation at the base of the skull again and let it spread down your spine, down your left leg to the ends of your toes, and out into the air. (If you are female, begin with the left side first, because the male and female nervous systems are different.)
Then let the breath from the base of the skull spread down over both shoulders, past your elbows and wrists, to the tips of your fingers, and out into the air.
Let the breath at the base of the throat spread down the central nerve at the front of the body, past the lungs and liver, all the way down to the bladder and colon.
Inhale the breath right at the middle of the chest and let it go all the way down to your intestines.
Let all these breath sensations spread so that they connect and flow together, and you’ll feel a greatly improved sense of well-being.
Learn four ways of adjusting the breath:
1. in long and out long,
2. in short and out short,
3. in short and out long,
4. in long and out short.
Breathe whichever way is most comfortable for you. Or, better yet, learn to breathe comfortably all four ways, because your physical condition and your breath are always changing.
Become acquainted with the bases or focal points for the mind — the resting spots of the breath — and center your awareness on whichever one seems most comfortable. A few of these bases are:
1. the tip of the nose,
2. the middle of the head,
3. the palate,
4. the base of the throat,
5. the breastbone (the tip of the sternum),
6. the navel (or a point just above it).
If you suffer from frequent headaches or nervous problems, don’t focus on any spot above the base of the throat. And don’t try to force the breath or put yourself into a trance. Breathe freely and naturally. Let the mind be at ease with the breath — but not to the point where it slips away.
Spread your awareness — your sense of conscious feeling — throughout the entire body.
Unite the breath sensations throughout the body, letting them flow together comfortably, keeping your awareness as broad as possible. Once you are fully aware of the aspects of the breath you already know in your body, you’ll come to know all sorts of other aspects as well. The breath, by its nature, has many facets: breath sensations flowing in the nerves, those flowing around and about the nerves, those spreading from the nerves to every pore. Beneficial breath sensations and harmful ones are mixed together by their very nature.
http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/theravada-mantras

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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cooran
 
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby PeterB » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:01 am

That is the way that mantra practise is taught in the Vajrayana. ( see " Foundations Of Tibetan Mysticism " by Lama Anagarika Govinda.)
The teaching i.e. that the "seed sylable" ( bija-mantra ) contained in the mantram is not different from the object itself. So that the seed sylable "hrang" for example found in some sanskrit mantras in both the Vajrayana and in Vedanta denotes "fire", and is seen as not- different from fire. It expresses the essence of fire.

Clearly the Theravada has no such teachings concerning " objective" language.
I think therefore it behoves us to be careful when using terms like " mantra" in an informal way.
Strictly speaking " Buddho" is not a mantram . It is a skillful means to aid concentration.
Last edited by PeterB on Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Use of Mantra

Postby PeterB » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:25 am

cooran wrote:
Shravasti Dhammika said: A mantra is a sound or a combination of sounds used as a spell. The Brahmanism at the time of the Buddha taught that repeating certain mantras would impart spiritual power and blessings and evoke the help of the gods.

This is not the way Mantra is viewed or used in Theravada. No Theravadin I know uses meaningless sounds as a magic spell.

In Living Buddhist Masters, Jack Kornfield wrote:
The use of mantra or the repetition of certain phrases in Pali is an extremely common form of meditation in the Theravada tradition. Simple mantras use repetition of the Buddha’s name , “Buddho,” [actually "Buddho" is a title rather than a name] or use the “Dhamma,” or the “Sangha,” the community, as mantra words. Other mantras that are used are directed toward developing loving kindness. Some mantras direct attention to the process of change by repeating the Pali phrase that means “everything changes,” while other mantras are used to develop equanimity with phrases that would be translated, “let go.”
Very often mantra practice is combined with breathing meditation, so that one recites a mantra simultaneously with in-breath and out-breath to help develop tranquility and concentration. Mantra meditation is especially popular among the lay people. Like other basic concentration exercises, it can be used simply to still the mind or it can be the basis for an insight practice where the mantra becomes the focus of observation of how life unfolds, or an aid in surrendering and letting go.

The Venerable Ajahn Sumedho recommended the “Buddho” mantra. He suggested that we inhale on the “Bud” and exhale on “-dho” so that the mind is occupied with the mantra for the full cycle of the breath.
He encouraged that the mantra be used to develop “clarity and brightness” rather than letting the mind sink into passivity. While the word “mantra” in contemporary English has come to mean something repeated mindlessly, or so often that it has lost all meaning, Sumedho said:
Make the mantra fully conscious instead of just a perfunctory passive thing that makes the mind dull; energize the mind so that the inhalation on “Bud” is a bright inhalations, not just a perfunctory “Bud” sound that fades out because it never gets brightened or refreshed by your mind.
He also recommended visualizing the spelling so that the visual capacity of the mind can be used in the meditation as well and “so that you’re fully with that syllable” for the inhalation or exhalation.

Ajahn Dhammadharo, another Theravadin teacher, outlined a seven-step meditation on “bud-dho.”
Start out with three or seven long in-and-out breaths, thinking bud- with the in-breath, and dho with the out. Keep the meditation syllable as long as the breath.
Be clearly aware of each in-and-out breath.
Observe the breath as it goes in and out, noticing whether it’s comfortable or uncomfortable, broad or narrow, obstructed or free-flowing, fast or slow, short or long, warm or cool. If the breath doesn’t feel comfortable, change it until it does. For instance, if breathing in long and out long is uncomfortable, try breathing in short and out short. As soon as you find that your breathing feels comfortable, let this comfortable breath sensation spread to the different parts of the body.
To begin with, inhale the breath sensation at the base of the skull and let it flow all the way down the spine. Then, if you are male, let it spread down your right leg to the sole of your foot, to the ends of your toes, and out into the air. Inhale the breath sensation at the base of the skull again and let it spread down your spine, down your left leg to the ends of your toes, and out into the air. (If you are female, begin with the left side first, because the male and female nervous systems are different.)
Then let the breath from the base of the skull spread down over both shoulders, past your elbows and wrists, to the tips of your fingers, and out into the air.
Let the breath at the base of the throat spread down the central nerve at the front of the body, past the lungs and liver, all the way down to the bladder and colon.
Inhale the breath right at the middle of the chest and let it go all the way down to your intestines.
Let all these breath sensations spread so that they connect and flow together, and you’ll feel a greatly improved sense of well-being.
Learn four ways of adjusting the breath:
1. in long and out long,
2. in short and out short,
3. in short and out long,
4. in long and out short.
Breathe whichever way is most comfortable for you. Or, better yet, learn to breathe comfortably all four ways, because your physical condition and your breath are always changing.
Become acquainted with the bases or focal points for the mind — the resting spots of the breath — and center your awareness on whichever one seems most comfortable. A few of these bases are:
1. the tip of the nose,
2. the middle of the head,
3. the palate,
4. the base of the throat,
5. the breastbone (the tip of the sternum),
6. the navel (or a point just above it).
If you suffer from frequent headaches or nervous problems, don’t focus on any spot above the base of the throat. And don’t try to force the breath or put yourself into a trance. Breathe freely and naturally. Let the mind be at ease with the breath — but not to the point where it slips away.
Spread your awareness — your sense of conscious feeling — throughout the entire body.
Unite the breath sensations throughout the body, letting them flow together comfortably, keeping your awareness as broad as possible. Once you are fully aware of the aspects of the breath you already know in your body, you’ll come to know all sorts of other aspects as well. The breath, by its nature, has many facets: breath sensations flowing in the nerves, those flowing around and about the nerves, those spreading from the nerves to every pore. Beneficial breath sensations and harmful ones are mixed together by their very nature.
http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/theravada-mantras

with metta
Chris

Thats excellent Chris, thank you.
:anjali:
PeterB
 
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