Originally posted by dyllels
Originally posted by Fevrier
And even beyond that, the Surangama Sutra, and the Surangama Mantra itself contain so many high high high level teachings, that learning the mantra
would, even if you never cultivated yourself, it would help you have the knowledge to help others who cultivate, by simply giving it to them.
There are many other ways of explaining this, but ultimately it's simply this much: those words come from a lineage of enlightened beings just as real
as you are, they represent things and call things by name, and form sound structures and image structures and name structures and all sorts of
structures that I cannot know about (and I am an avid knower of poetry, yet the levels of interconnectedness in sanskrit are a bit different), and
while Buddhism itself tells you that the universe is illusory, it also tells you tomorrow morning you'll wake up in that same universe, and inside
that universe these words have meaning and are strongly connected to things which have meaning.
Oh wow, you explained that really well. Thank you.
The part above was quite an eye opener to me. I've printed out the first link, and I'm definitely going to spend some time running through the ideas
and concepts tonight.
Just a quick question: Do you think that when someone understands a mantra fully, they arrive at the exact same place as another, who has also
understood the mantra completely? In other words, does your personal life or outlook play any part in how much that specific mantra resonates with
you? You think that there will always be a further step of comprehension which dispels any personal attachment to the mantra?
I'm sorry if that was confusing. It is quite hard to explain what I mean
Well, a mantra can't be understood unto itself, and it can't be understood unto you.
But before we can understand that, let's try and see what a mantra is made up of.
There's names. These are the names, most often, of fully enlightened beings. Buddhas. To reach full, complete enlightenment, you must not only wake up
to the fundamental nature, but you must fully cultivate the three bodies (which are also shown in Christianity for example, the Holy Trinity). You can
read a full discussion of this here
but what cultivating the three bodies and reaching perfect wisdom means is that you've not only seen through illusion and into the fundamental nature,
but you've removed all negative karmic ties, all hindrances, all the forms that could ever hold you back or down. You have in fact mastered all the
functions of this universe, through those three bodies.
So you could say that a Buddha is one with the entire universe, and has also gone beyond it, into that one thing, that oneness which is the source of
all. But what remains behind? It's the story. This beautiful story of the fearless victory and compassion. And the name. While you could say, well,
what does a name matter, I say, why wouldn't it matter. It's the name of the being, that inside this universe, achieved full and perfect liberation,
so how could that name not matter inside this universe.
Therefore, in a way, a mantra that names all these names, ties them together in ways who knows how perfect, is it not speaking of that fearless
victory, and bringing it closer to whoever you are, wherever you are, whenever you are. Is it not speaking of both the fearless victory inside this
universe, and the oneness source it has gone into.
So that's one thing. In this sense, there is no understanding, but simply victory. In the same way that saying "factory farmed chicken" refers to the
horrible and, on this planet, all-pervasive habit of breeding millions of chickens inside tiny rooms, so saying that phrase relates to that fact and
that act and all its karmic meanings - for how could it not, without these millions of chickens and their miserable lives and deaths, the phrase
itself couldn't and wouldn't exist - in the same way saying the names of the Buddhas and of places eons away in time and who knows how distant in
space, in the ways that it was intended to be said, also carries a karmic meaning and power. That in itself cannot be understood, it simply is. Can
you fully understand the death of a billion chickens? I think not, and that is far smaller than some of the things reffered to by some mantras.
The other thing, the other part, refers to wisdom. Buddhism, and Zen, have as their purpose to bring about the realization that the Fundamental Nature
of all things is mind. Not your mind, not my mind, not a mind which can be defines, but - Mind. This cannot be known with words, that is why I said it
has to be Realized. If it could simply be intellectually understood, that would be very easy, and we'd be living in a much simpler, much gentler
No, it has to be Realized, and that's why all these enlightened beings throughout the ages have perfected various means of trying to pass down wisdom.
In Islam, for example, they call becoming enlightened Seeing the Face of God. That is, they say all you have ever seen, inside or outside yourself, is
nothing but the face of God. This of course, was originally intended to cause a certain amount of awe and respect. Every sage tried to pass down
knowledge in the way they feel it will be picked up most easily by the people of that time and place. In Islam their prophet felt like this awe and
respect was needed. In Christianity, it's a religion based very much on form, that's why very few Christians become enlightened, though it's not
impossible. But the thing is, whether you call it God or Mind or Oneness, the idea is really the same. Saying that all you ever see is God's Face or
saying the Fundamental Nature and saying Oneness, these are ultimately the same thing, but they have different nuances and those nuances affect people
who aren't enlightened. In Buddhism it's all about Buddha nature, Fundamental Nature, and the idea that it's in all things.
That's why I wasn't very impressed with the earlier story of a Zen master burning a Buddha statue.
But returning to you, a mantra like the Surangama also contains various wisdom teaching, which are meant to give you insight into the Fundamental
Nature, and eventually awaken. Maybe in this life, maybe in another. That's another thing, saying a mantra many times create a karmic connection to
it, which makes it a lot easier to come accross these teachings in another life.
I just discovered the mantra last night. I've known about the Surangama sutra for close to a year, but I never read the mantra. A Buddhist might say I
didn't have enough merit to read it. In the first link I gave you, that Zen master says as much, that many people will come accross it but not
recognize it for what it is.
So last night I debated whether or not I should post it here, knowing most people would be negative about it, but I decided to post it and then stick
around to debate.
I cannot explain here the various ways in which emptiness teachings, mind-only teachings, wisdom teachings, meditation-concentration teachings, can
help you awaken. Suffice is to say, they're in there, and in other mantras and sutras.
But I'll try and answer your questions. Personal attachment to something good isn't bad. If you do someday become enlightened, what's there to do. I
mean look at it, it's a huge universe with lots of things to do in it, and that's what you'd be doing - good things. But you wouldn't be "attached" to
them, because someone enlightened cannot be attached. Until that day however, becoming attached to high wisdom should be the least of your worries.
But yes, the ultimate step of comprehension would dispel personal attachment to the mantra, although I'm not sure it would dispel its usefulness.
As for your personal life and outlook, think of them as many handful of seeds. These seeds can be either the seeds of fearless, victorious wisdom, or
they can be the seeds of various other things.
If you become enlightened, and you have a wife, she won't suddenly dissapear. Neither would your dog, or your neighbours, or this government. But the
seeds of all these things would be much easier for you to transform into something good, into that fearless victory. And you wouldn't think of it as
"your life" anymore. As in, you would see far more seeds needing to be turned, much farther away, and you wouldn't discriminate between yours and mine
and his, it would all seem equally in need of transformation. It doesn't mean you'd abandon your wife and your friends, but that all doubts, all
murkiness, all fear, they would vanish. Some things would still go wrong, but enlightment is not an excuse to get meditate on top of a mountain, but
the ultimate nature of self and of positive change.
The only way of truly transforming all these karmic seeds, is of course that of reaching this ultimate nature. But that is damn hard, and requires
very high wisdom, experience and merit.
So in the meantime, in your personal life, the connection to a powerful mantra can bring merit, it can bring an opening up of wisdom, who knows what
it can bring. I do not know. But if a mantra is a connection to such supreme, compassionate victory, then the way I see it is, even if caught within
time and space and ignorance, without much personal power, if you pass a beggar and you have no way of helping him, of liberating him from his
condition, but the fact that you had the luck and merit of learning a powerful mantra can help you, with the silent uttering of a few words, to als
connect that moment, that place, that beggar, to the fearless victory of the mantra, to give him some karmic connection to it, some lightening of his
place, some protection or maybe sweetness, who knows how to call it, then why not do it?
So why is it a mantra can't be understood unto itself? It's just words. Those words have no self-meaning, they are just a form of the Fundamental
Nature. That is the meaning of the universe being illusory, in Buddhist thought. It does not have self-existence, it is only a form of the fundamental
nature of Mind, or God, or whatever you want to call it. But these words do have co-meaning, they have meaning inside the universe, that is, together
with the many many other things with which they are karmically connected, they form a very powerful meaning inside the universe.
Why can't the mantra be understood unto you? The same reason, you are also Fundamental Nature, Buddha Nature. But just as before, the wisdom and the
karmic connections inside the mantra can help you within the existence real of the universe, and they can help you awaken to the Fundamental Nature.
So you ask can personal attachment to it be dispelled. I already said yes. Because a mantra is like a match. It burns, it produces a flame, and it
dissapears. In the sense that it being just an aspect of the Fundamental Nature, once it has produced the flame it needed to produce for you, if that
day ever comes, sure, it could dissapear. Run its course. But the question is, if that day ever comes, and you choose to remain in this universe, is
it not useful for producing more flames. To that only you can give the answer, if you ever get there, and that's why the Buddha had the habit of
saying you have to practice yourself, in order to prove him right or wrong.
edit on 10-8-2011 by Fevrier because: (no reason given)