Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

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LittleDee
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Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by LittleDee »

Hello and thank you.

I am lucky to have a friend who is answering my questions and sending me PDFs of books on tantra and vajrayana - I am already acquainted with and feel very close to what Buddhism means...

I have an esoteric background and feel drawn even more to Buddhism now that I see what tantra is, that there is an open minded side to Buddhism and deep practices and rituals even...

With that, I am not initiated or training. I haven’t taken vows.

Am I allowed to use mantras and pray to certain beings? Am I allowed to explore this side - any books, information, useful suggestions, please send them my way.


I am definitely drawn to the use of the Namgyalma mantra and or interesting in Green Tara...

Anyway...
Maybe there is more I am overlooking? Anything helps

Sorry for the long post!

D

avatamsaka3
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Two thoughts here:

1) There are PDFs circulating on the internet of books that are available for purchase from publishers. Unless the books have been made freely available by those publishers online, it's not recommended to read them in that form. Both local public libraries and local university libraries should have the resources you're reading, although I know in many cases people aren't close to a good library system. Local Buddhist centers also may have libraries you can access.

2) Please be careful about Buddhist tantric texts. Many people these days just pick up a text on tantra and start practicing, without even noticing a warning in the beginning of the text that practice of what's contained within is restricted to those with an empowerment. To be clear, the empowerment must come from a guru (human being, usually in person). Even if the text does not contain a warning, please check to be sure it's not a restricted practice.

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

LittleDee wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:27 am
Hello and thank you.

I am lucky to have a friend who is answering my questions and sending me PDFs of books on tantra and vajrayana - I am already acquainted with and feel very close to what Buddhism means...

I have an esoteric background and feel drawn even more to Buddhism now that I see what tantra is, that there is an open minded side to Buddhism and deep practices and rituals even...

With that, I am not initiated or training. I haven’t taken vows.

Am I allowed to use mantras and pray to certain beings? Am I allowed to explore this side - any books, information, useful suggestions, please send them my way.


I am definitely drawn to the use of the Namgyalma mantra and or interesting in Green Tara...

Anyway...
Maybe there is more I am overlooking? Anything helps

Sorry for the long post!

D
By my understanding:

In general mantras of Green Tara and Chenrezig can be practiced with no requisite empowerment. Sadhanas and practices it's recommended get the lung - the reading transmission from a qualified teacher. If you are interested in tantra you should find a lineage of teaching/a teacher, it's not meant to be just practiced however, and it is not actually Tantra at all without connection to a Guru and lineage. Tantra means (among other definitions given) something like "continuity"...go figure. There are some unrestricted Chenreazig practices here and there - you can check out Bokar Rinpoches Chenrezig:Lord of Love for a kind of intro.

If you are new to Buddhism and interested in Tibetan traditions it might be worth contemplating the Four Thoughts that Turn The Mind, and studying some foundational Mahayana material. That way, once you find a teacher etc. you have a base to work from. Other than that it might be worth checking out local centers, known Vajrayana teachers online, etc.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

LittleDee
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by LittleDee »

Thank you!

There are online teachers??

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Vasana
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by Vasana »

I don't know enough about Namgyalma but don't overlook dharanis (like longer mantras or invocations with different functions ) which are often found in sutras. These rarely need transmission and even great tantric practioners of the past dedicated time to reading and studying sutras.

This amitabha sadhana and mantra doesn't require transmission to practice.

https://thubtenchodron.org/2017/07/amitabha-sadhana/

I would imagine there is a Tara practice on that website that doesn't need transmission too so it's worth having a look on ther. If unsure, always assume you need transmission unless you get a definite answer. The people of the Thubten Chodron wevsite and Sravasti Abbey website are usually quite quick to respond.

There is also a medicine Buddha practice (below) from Dudjom Rinpoche that doesn't require transmission. The short book with commentary is recommended.

https://www.academia.edu/5598599/Dudjom ... a_detailed
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

LittleDee
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by LittleDee »

Thanks for your response and help!


I am so interested... I suppose regardless I need to get to cracking on real training

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justsit
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by justsit »

If you are interested in a good general introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, I would recommend "The Essence of Buddhism" by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche. https://www.namsebangdzo.com/Essence-of ... 307885.htm It is clearly written and covers the basics without being too simplistic or too scholarly. Walking into tantra without a solid dharma background can be very confusing.

ETA Re: online teachers. There are many, many frauds out there, they throw around lots of dubious teachings and fake lineages. Caveat emptor.

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jake
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by jake »

LittleDee wrote:
Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:44 am
Thanks for your response and help!


I am so interested... I suppose regardless I need to get to cracking on real training
I know there is a Tibetan center in Nasvhille. You could start by contacting them.

LittleDee
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by LittleDee »

I have jake, no response

Must be a busy time of year

avatamsaka3
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by avatamsaka3 »

It's best if you go in person. If you go during a special holiday (Lama Tsongkhapa day tomorrow?), and present yourself respectfully to a monk, you might make a good connection!

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by 明安 Myoan »

LittleDee wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:27 am
I am definitely drawn to the use of the Namgyalma mantra and or interesting in Green Tara...
Hello, I'm happy to hear of your interest in Namgyalma.

Here is a thread with some resources about precious Namgyalma, also named Ushnishavijaya.

Here is Namgyalma's mantra. Here is an article from FPMT. Here is her circular mantra. Here is her appearance. Each aspect of her appearance is related to a teaching which you can learn over time. This site contains some teachings about her appearance. For example:
Namgyälma has three faces. Her middle face is white in color, her right face is red, and her left face is blue. Her white face expresses that she is neither peaceful nor wrathful but is fully balanced. The expression on her white face means that she removes all obstacles that endanger the life-span of sentient beings. Her red face that faces to her right side symbolizes her pacifying activities. Her blue face that faces to her left side symbolizes her subjugating activities. Namgyälma has three faces because she deals with a great variety of sentient beings. Some of them are in need of wrathful methods to relinquish obstacles and thus to tame their mind. Others need peaceful methods to help them tame their mind. Others do not need the one or the other but a state between the two, which is why Namgyälma has a smile on her middle face.
Question: “Why learn about Namgyälma if one has another practice?”
Chöje Lama: She is in the entourage of many deities, so it is good to know about her.
This isn't to say it must all be memorized and kept in mind, but bit by bit, you remember things, and seeing her reminds you of more and more of the teachings. It's a pleasant progression.

As for practices involving her, FPMT has lots of easy suggestions which are open to the uninitiated as you put it :)

Lama Zopa Rinpoche says her mantra blesses anyone who sees it. If you put the mantra in your house, Lama Zopa Rinpoche says it blesses your house and anyone who sees it or comes near it. I put it in my bedroom and stopped having nightmares that night. I stopped feeling fear in the dark, and went from needing 9 hours of sleep to 7.

You can print out a small version of the circular mantra (laser jet works best), laminate it, and keep it in your shirt pocket as a protective amulet. Remember it's there and keep it upright and protected.

If you encounter adversity, you can remember that Namgyalma is aware of you and your problems, so she will purify the appearance of obstacles into wisdom; i.e. you'll learn from whatever it is. If you encounter other people, Namgyalma gazes upon them with compassion too and purifies their suffering. The biggest way Namgyalma can help us is to remind us of this selfless concern for others, bodhicitta. Namgyalma is an example of someone who has this selfless attitude.

If you're alone and remember Namgyalma, saying her mantra, or imagining some part of how she looks, or how she looks at you with motherly love, then she sets your mind on the Dharma. She dispels fear, anxiety, and worry. Because she has many tools and mudras, she responds to the situation as required. Because she looks ahead and behind, she's like a great warrior who can't be taken by surprise.

For me, I often imagine her holding Amitabha out to me (top left arm in the image), which reminds me to recite nembutsu, my primary practice. She and Amitabha have a special connection worth exploring as well.

In terms of daily life practices, I have her mantra in my house and car dashboard, keep a small one in my shirt pocket, have placed it outside to follow Zopa's instructions on blessing mountains and parks. I recite her (short) mantra especially for purification, because it's open to everyone. It's nice to imagine what she looks like sometimes, or how her presence feels. And her mantra is very good for animals. One of my cats seems to love how her mantra sounds and looks, like it were catnip. Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains in the article how Namgyalma helps animals. I sometimes show the small mantra in my pocket to animals, like birds or dogs. I pray that this will help them in future lives.

None of this takes very much time to do.

There are sadhanas and deeper teachings available on Namgyalma as well, which require initiation. I don't know anything about those, unfortunately. Maybe someday :smile:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen

LittleDee
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by LittleDee »

Wow thank you so much.

You are very knowledgeable and generous!!!

humble.student
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by humble.student »

The Cundī Dhāraṇī of Cundī (or Zhunti/Jun-ti/Ch'un-ti) Bodhisattva is especially popular in East Asian Buddhism, and can be practiced without empowerment. You can read some articles about the practice here:
https://lapislazulitexts.com/articles/cundi-dharani
http://www.meditationexpert.com/meditat ... hnique.htm
http://www.meditationexpert.com/meditat ... enment.htm

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by 明安 Myoan »

Please explore FPMT.org for more basic teachings about buddhas and bodhisattvas in the Vajrayana Gelug school. :) Including teachings on Green Tara and Namgyalma.

They also have a lot that is geared towards laypeople, letters with questions from students and responses from Lama Zopa, whose teachings on benefiting animals have meant a lot to me.
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With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen

avatamsaka3
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by avatamsaka3 »

The cat likes the circle thing with the letters.

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by 明安 Myoan »

It's Namgyalma's mantra, the circular design linked in a post above.
:bow:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen

avatamsaka3
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Re: Mantra, practices available to uninitiated

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Yeah, the circle thing with the letters, paw, paw, meow.

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