Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
fragrant herbs
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Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by fragrant herbs »

If he did where can this be found? If not, why didn't he teach it? Thanks.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

The only case that I know of his teaching to Cūlapanthaka:
“Sit with your face to the East,” said the Buddha, “repeat the words 'rajoha-ranam' and wipe your face with the cloth.”
Why didn't he teach it? Because its not effective for most people to gain insight. Cūlapanthaka was a special case.
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plwk
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by plwk »

What is a mantra? Since the definition is not given in the OP, may I suggest a simple one...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantra" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation" (cf. spiritual transformation).
Its use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra.
...sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...
Now see below...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"But I tell you this: If — when you have gone into the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building — there should arise fear, terror, or horripilation, then on that occasion you should recollect Me:
'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.'
For when you have recollected Me, whatever fear, terror, or horripilation there is will be abandoned.
Now read on the late Ajahn Chah's comments...
http://www.amaravati.org/abmnew/index.p ... ticle/387/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Meditate reciting Buddho, Buddho 2 until it penetrates deep into the heart of your consciousness (citta).
The word ''Buddho'' represents the awareness and wisdom of the Buddha. In practice, you must depend on this word more than anything else.
The awareness it brings will lead you to understand the truth about your own mind. It's a true refuge, which means that there is both mindfulness and insight present.
Footnotes:
2. Buddho: a parikamma (preparatory) meditation word for the recollection of the Buddha. Frequently used as an initial object for developing concentration.
Another example...
A traditional & popular paritta (protection) chant for expectant mothers and those in child labor...the Angulimala Paritta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Then Ven. Angulimala, early in the morning, having put on his robes and carrying his outer robe & bowl, went into Savatthi for alms. As he was going from house to house for alms, he saw a woman suffering a breech birth. On seeing her, the thought occurred to him: "How tormented are living beings! How tormented are living beings!"

Then, having wandered for alms in Savatthi and returning from his alms round after his meal, he went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "Just now, lord, early in the morning, having put on my robes and carrying my outer robe & bowl, I went into Savatthi for alms. As I was going from house to house for alms, I saw a woman suffering a breech birth. On seeing her, the thought occurred to me: 'How tormented are living beings! How tormented are living beings!'"

"In that case, Angulimala, go to that woman and on arrival say to her,
'Sister, since I was born I do not recall intentionally killing a living being.
Through this truth may there be well being for you, well being for your fetus.'"

"But, Lord, wouldn't that be a lie for me? For I have intentionally killed many living beings."

"Then in that case, Angulimala, go to that woman and on arrival say to her,
'Sister, since I was born in the Noble Birth, I do not recall intentionally killing a living being.
Through this truth may there be well being for you, well being for your fetus.'"
[2]

Responding, "As you say, Lord," to the Blessed One, Angulimala went to that woman and on arrival said to her,
"Sister, since I was born in the noble birth, I do not recall intentionally killing a living being.
Through this may there be well being for you, well being for your fetus."

And there was well being for the woman, well being for her fetus.
Notes:
2. This blessing is often chanted at house blessings in Theravada countries.
PeterB
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by PeterB »

I dont think there is actually a contradiction here.
Ajahn Chah is describing the function of a parikamma which many on this forum have found to be of great usefulness.
A mantram on the other hand is of a different order. A true mantram is believed by those who practice Hindu or Buddhist Tantra to be the sound embodiment of that which it represents. A Sanskrit mantram will contain a seed syllable. ( " Bija mantra " ) That seed syllable is not different to that which it represents. It is not merely symbolic. Its recitation is believed to have an objective effect by dint of its nature.
There is no such concept within the Theravada.
Buddho is therefore a mantra -like construct which carries a profound symbolic meaning, that can be utilised like a mantram. But it is not technically a mantram.
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Prasadachitta
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by Prasadachitta »

PeterB wrote:I dont think there is actually a contradiction here.
Ajahn Chah is describing the function of a parikamma which many on this forum have found to be of great usefulness.
A mantram on the other hand is of a different order. A true mantram is believed by those who practice Hindu or Buddhist Tantra to be the sound embodiment of that which it represents. A Sanskrit mantram will contain a seed syllable. ( " Bija mantra " ) That seed syllable is not different to that which it represents. It is not merely symbolic. Its recitation is believed to have an objective effect by dint of its nature.
There is no such concept within the Theravada.
Buddho is therefore a mantra -like construct which carries a profound symbolic meaning, that can be utilised like a mantram. But it is not technically a mantram.
Hello Peter,

I believe Buddhist Tantra does not make the distinction you describe. The mantra is not said to be "merely symbolic" but it is also not "believed to have an objective effect by dint of its nature". There is an effect by way of Dependent Arising. The mantra is an extension of recollecting the Three Jewels and therefore its objective effect is dependent upon that. This is one of the main distinctions between Hindu Tantra and Buddhist Tantra. This does not mean that Buddhist tantra practitioners dont "believed it to have an objective effect by dint of its nature", but I expect you will find this kind of thing among Theravada practitioners as well. Many people are fettered by rites and rituals regardless of the tradition.

Take care

Prasadachitta
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
PeterB
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by PeterB »

Sorry Prasadachitta but in terms of the Higher Yoga Tantras of the Vajrayana you are incorrect.
The Bija Mantra or seed syllable is considered to have objective reality as it arises non dependently from the Tathagatagharbha, and is therefore not different from that which it denotes.

For example The Guru Rinpoche mantra
Om Ah Hum Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung is considered to be not different from Padmasambhava.
fragrant herbs
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by fragrant herbs »

Peter, so you are saying that there is nothing in the Pali Canon that even speaks of using mantras? A mantra is what Tibetan Buddhists and Hindus use, om mani padme hum, or om namah shivaya, etc.

Does the Theravada method of meditation cause one to go into bliss states like mantras do?
PeterB
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by PeterB »

As Bhikkhu Pesala indicates there is nothing in the Pali Canon to support mantra practice.
Buddho is not a mantra as such. It is a skillful means which involves repetition to achieve one pointedness...
However the OP asked did the Buddha teach mantra meditation, and of course the Mahayana would say yes he did..
You pays your money and you takes your choice.
2600htz
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by 2600htz »

Did the Buddha teach mantra meditation? I don´t think so.
Why? A mantra its one of many games where u lock the mind in some specific task to create a hindrance free zone by means of narrowing your field of perception-cognition-experience (u could do the same thing counting sheeps, staring at one object for long periods of time , so on..and this was very explored before the Buddha). Actually its quite amazing the similarity between that and a man who bury his problems watching tv, he could easily say: I feel better now, my mind its pure, my concentration in the movie its really good. At the end you are developing an ability to close yourself, but when u come out hindrances reappear...its the opposite of opening yourself, accepting reality, letting go hindrances instead of bury them..

With Metta.
palchi
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by palchi »

2600htz wrote:Did the Buddha teach mantra meditation? I don´t think so.
Why? A mantra its one of many games where u lock the mind in some specific task to create a hindrance free zone by means of narrowing your field of perception-cognition-experience (u could do the same thing counting sheeps, staring at one object for long periods of time , so on..and this was very explored before the Buddha). Actually its quite amazing the similarity between that and a man who bury his problems watching tv, he could easily say: I feel better now, my mind its pure, my concentration in the movie its really good. At the end you are developing an ability to close yourself, but when u come out hindrances reappear...its the opposite of opening yourself, accepting reality, letting go hindrances instead of bury them..

With Metta.
That is not my experience at all! Quite the contrary....
namaste
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by namaste »

fragrant herbs, in Prof. Ronald Davidon's "Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A Social History of the Tantric Movement", mantras evolved from spells used in India in the medieval period, possibly earlier. They found their way into Buddhism at that time, and evolved into the chants that are known in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism today. So they were a later addition, due to cultural influence you might say. The Buddha didn't teach spells or mantras because he was against the use of divination, spells, and the like. I don't have suttras at my fingertips to provide quotes, but hopefully someone else does.
fragrant herbs
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by fragrant herbs »

Hi, I didn't think he taught mantras, and I don't believe that he was a tantric teacher, but that is another thread and one I don't wish to get into.

What I would like to know now is this? Does the type of meditation that Buddha taught cause blissful experiences?
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acinteyyo
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by acinteyyo »

fragrant herbs wrote:What I would like to know now is this? Does the type of meditation that Buddha taught cause blissful experiences?
amongst others but there is more than blissful experiences. Buddhist meditation in the end serves the purpose to make an end on suffering...
MN141 Saccavibhanga Sutta
"And what is right concentration? Herein a monk aloof from sense desires, aloof from unwholesome thoughts, attains to and abides in the first meditative absorption (jhana) which is detachment-born and accompanied by applied thought, sustained thought, joy, and bliss.

"By allaying applied and sustained thought he attains to, and abides in the second jhana which is inner tranquillity, which is unification (of the mind), devoid of applied and sustained thought, and which has joy and bliss.

"By detachment from joy he dwells in equanimity, mindful, and with clear comprehension and enjoys bliss in body, and attains to and abides in the third jhana which the noble ones (ariyas) call: 'Dwelling in equanimity, mindfulness, and bliss.'

"By giving up of bliss and suffering, by the disappearance already of joy and sorrow, he attains to, and abides in the fourth jhana, which is neither suffering nor bliss, and which is the purity of equanimity-mindfulness. This is called right concentration.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.
namaste
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by namaste »

What a great post, acinteyyo! I've often wondered if some of the Eastern practices that lead to bliss don't just cause people to become addicted to bliss. Enlightenment is wisdom, beyond bliss. Your post really clarifies that the ultimate goal is to go beyond bliss, thank you! _/\_
fragrant herbs
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Re: Did Buddha Teach Mantra Meditation?

Post by fragrant herbs »

Addicted to bliss. So true.
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