Chanting

The chanting of mantras or sacred syllables as part of the path to realization
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    The Buddha of Infinite Light and Life Paid Member

    Taitetsu Unno, professor emeritus of religious studies at Smith College, is one of the major figures in post–World War II American Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Besides his numerous scholarly publications on Buddhism, his books River of Fire, River of Water: An Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin Buddhism (Doubleday, 1998) and Shin Buddhism: Bits of Rubble Turn into Gold (Doubleday, 2002) have helped many people to discover the riches of this major Buddhist tradition. More »
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    Faith in Revolution Paid Member

    DAISAKU IKEDA is President of the Soka Gakkai International, the world’s largest Buddhist lay group and America’s most diverse. In a rare interview, Ikeda speaks to contributing editor Clark Strand about his organization’s remarkable history, its oft-misunderstood practice, and what its members are really chanting for. More »
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    Mantra: Tool for Thinking Paid Member

    The Sanskrit word mantra combines the root man (“to think”) with the suffix tra (“instrument” or “tool”). Therefore, mantra means literally “tool for thinking.” Since earliest Buddhist times, the repetition of sacred phrases has been used as an aid for meditation—to purify and focus the mind, to offer devotion or thanks, and to protect and nurture the spiritual activity of a particular person or place. Some authors differentiate between bijas, or “seed syllables” (pure sounds, such as om); “mixed” mantras, which combine bijas with words having translatable meanings; and dharanis (phrases that are similar in function to mantras but can be translated word for word). More »
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    The Form of Compassion Paid Member

    It is said that the Enlightened Ones possessed of the omniscient eye of wisdom can state with certainty exactly how many drops of water have fallen during an uninterrupted twelve-year rainfall but that they cannot calculate the benefit that comes from a single sincere, perfectly focused, and pure recitation of the six-syllable mantra of Chenrezi, the Bodhisattva of Compassion: Om mani padme hung. Chenrezi, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The goal of deity practice is to develop qualities that mirror those represented by the deity. Avalokiteshvara (detail) Dorje and Sunlal Talang, 2006 © Robert Beer More »
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    The Heart Sutra Paid Member

    THE GREAT PRAJNA PARAMITA HEART SUTRA Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva doing deep Prajna Paramita Perceived the emptiness of all five conditions, and was freed of pain.O Sariputra, form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form;Form is precisely emptiness, emptiness precisely form;Sensation, perception, reaction and consciousness are also like this.O Sariputra, all things are expressions of emptiness, not born, not destroyed,Not stained, not pure; neither waxing nor waning.Thus emptiness is not form; not sensation nor perception, reaction nor consciousness;No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind;No color, sound, smell, taste, touch, thingNo realm of sight, no realm of consciousnessNo ignorance, no end to ignoranceNo old age and death, no cessation of old age and death More »
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    What’s in a Mantra? Paid Member

    SO YOU’RE SITTING there, reciting the Heart Sutra, either the long version or the short version. Perhaps you do so every day. It has been recited millions of times over the centuries, without the person reciting it necessarily paying much attention to the meaning (whatever that might mean). But today, let’s imagine that you do. After dutifully negating each of the major categories of Buddhist philosophy (“no eye constituent up to and including no mental consciousness constituent, no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, no aging and death up to and including no extinction of aging and death. More »