The Origin of Buddhist Mantras and the Function of Reciting Mantras

The role of the mantra should be affirmed; it is a symbol composed of specific musical notes and specific sentences, representing the honorific title and power of a specific god or Buddha or Bodhisattva.

The emergence of mantras is generally through the medium of so-called psychics, taught by gods, and adopted by the people. Whether in the East or the West, there are spread, use and belief of mantras. In Chinese folk, spells are used together. Talisman is a symbol drawn with a pen, and it also represents the spiritual power of a specific god. Therefore, if you encounter some minor unhappiness, what modern people call folk therapy can also produce curative effects. The power of the so-called folk belief talisman can be used to exorcise evil spirits. , the purpose of avoiding evil and seeking good luck.

During the time of Lord Sakyamuni, a few disciples used similar mantras, but the Buddha did not allow them. After the death of the Buddha, the elements gradually became more complicated. Some of them were originally heretic magicians who became monks after becoming monks. Therefore, there are some useful mantras to treat them in Volume 27 of “Four-Fun Vinaya” and Volume 46 of “Ten-Recitation Vinaya”. Records of illness. However, according to the basic Buddhist teachings, you should see a doctor when you are sick, repent when you have a disaster, have a kind heart, and do good deeds. This is the best way to turn misfortune into good luck, resolve grievances, and eliminate karma. Therefore, in principle, mantras are not valued usage of.

However, by reciting the same specific words repeatedly, the power of the mantra will be generated. Of course, there is spiritual power representing the gods, but the most important thing is the concentration of the reciter’s mind. Therefore, the longer the chanter recites the mantra, the stronger the effect will be; if he can concentrate and recite the same mantra repeatedly, he can also achieve the effect of unifying the body and mind, from having thoughts to no thoughts. Therefore, later Buddhism did not object to the use of mantras, and because mantras in Sanskrit have the meaning of “total holding”, that is, one mantra is used to control all dharma. Any mantra, as long as it is practiced properly and persevered, will be It has considerable effectiveness. The main reason is that by reciting mantras, observing precepts, and cultivating concentration, we will generate compassion and power, which will definitely enable us to eliminate attachments and eliminate karmic obstacles. This will also enable us to sense the power of the original vows of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Therefore, what is the King of Curses? In the sense of general upholding, any mantra that can be held effectively is a King of Curses; except for evil methods and evil curses, which are used to harm others and benefit oneself, or for the purpose of harming others, such as revenge, revenge, venting anger, etc. In addition to mantras, it can be recited.

Early Chinese Buddhism did not pay much attention to reciting mantras. If you recited mantras, they were called miscellaneous practices. Therefore, although the “Peacock King Sutra Mantra” had been translated as early as the Wei and Jin Dynasties; It has been translated into Chinese since then. This is the first time that esoteric Buddhism was introduced into China. However, it was not until the Song Dynasty that it was promoted and popularized by Master Siming Zhili of Tiantai Sect. The “Surangama Mantra” has been spread in China since the late Tang Dynasty, but it was not until the Song Dynasty that it was recited in various monasteries as the “Surangama Sutra” was generally valued. At the end of the Ming Dynasty, the “Zen Daily Chanting” textbook began to include many mantras.

Therefore, in the Buddhism that was introduced to Japan in the Tang and Song Dynasties, mantras were not popular, and except for Tantric Buddhism, they did not attach much importance to mantras. Their Pure Land Sect specialized in reciting the Buddha’s name and practicing Zen, and the Tiantai Sect specialized in practicing Samatha and Vipassana, which is very important to our modern China. In Buddhism, the Japanese Buddhist community would find it strange that everyone practices mantras. However, there are quite remarkable examples of people in China being inspired by reciting the Great Compassion Mantra. Therefore, we cannot oppose the method of reciting the mantra.

Most of the mantras used in Buddhism today are the names of gods and titles representing divine power. This is because Mahayana thinking regards the power and effects of all good laws as the manifestation and manifestation of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Therefore, all god kings and ghost kings are regarded as representatives of Buddha and Bodhisattva. Since it is a mantra used by Buddhism, it must contain the names of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as statements about taking refuge in the Three Jewels. However, it is a literal translation of Sanskrit pronunciation rather than a literal translation in Chinese. For example: “Namo Buddha, Namo Bodhidharma, Namo Sangha” are Sanskrit words for taking refuge in the Three Jewels. If you recite “Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva”, it becomes a mantra with clear meaning.

People who truly recite the mantra also speak the mantra, and it is best to pronounce it with the original sound of Sanskrit, and each syllable has its own meaning and role in India. Therefore, people today have the way of saying “A (ㄛ) Amitabha” There is a reason why it is best to pronounce it as “Ah (ㄚ) Amita”. However, in all cultivation methods, the heart is the main focus, and the sound is secondary. For thousands of years, the Chinese have chanted “Amitabha” without any adverse consequences or effects, nor have they been compromised by it. Record. The same is true for the Great Compassion Mantra. Tibetans, Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese and Han people today all hold the Great Compassion Mantra. Their pronunciations are different from each other, but they can also have the same effect.

The so-called secret teaching and secret transmission of mantras are those classified as high-level tantras by Tibetan Buddhism, namely Yoga Tantra and Supreme Yoga Tantra. They have certain rituals and practice procedures, which are more important than psychological guidance, so they require Passed down from teacher to teacher. Normally used spells do not require this.

Today’s heretics who adhere to Buddhism and the ghost sects who claim to be masters all have the theory of secret transmission of esoteric teachings. This phenomenon is also seen among various sects of heretics in India. For example, the popular Transcendental Meditation has its Secret Mantra, and Taiwan’s Yiguandao also has its Five-Character Secret Mantra. For a normal society, the spread of this secret method is unhealthy.


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