Unity of deity and mantra

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Monlam Tharchin
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Unity of deity and mantra

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:54 am

Bokar Rinpoche in Lord of love, p. 38-39 wrote:As we assimilate ourselves to our own name and are at one with it, in the same way, on the relative level, the mantra is identical with the deity. They form a single reality. When one recites the mantra, this is not other than the deity himself. By reciting the mantra, one receives the grace of the deity; by visualizing the deity, one receives the same grace without any difference.
If ... the recitation of the mantra OM MANI PADME HUNG has a meaning, it is because this mantra is invested by the grace and power of the mind of Chenrezig, who himself gathers the grace and compassion of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas.
I am having trouble understanding the bold parts above. Can someone please explain what the mantra being the deity means?

If I think of my husband's name, it conjures up all sorts of positive memories and feelings. Because of who he is, he's acted and said in certain ways that have made this impression on me. All of that comes up simply by thinking of his name. Is the name of Chenrezig similar?

Thank you :smile:

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Re: Unity of deity and mantra

Post by Vasana » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:50 am

I think there are multiple levels in approaching this topic. A simple way of looking at it is seeing how our own speech is the unity of speech and our own mind. The speech might gain it's form and tone through a combination of our voicebox,lungs, air, teeth and tongue but the origin of any movement of speech-sound has it's origin in the mind.

Many deities and divinities in sutras and tantra utter their mantras and dharanis as a quintessential method of connecting with the teaching that the mantra is associated with. Because it's associated with the teaching and the deity who gave the mantra, there's a unity in the meaning of the mantra and what the Deity teaches and represents. In the case of Chenrezig, the 6 syllables are connected with the 6 paramitas which close the door to the 6 lokas etc.

The deity also has no samsaric confusion so the mantra is spoken from the perspective of prajna/wisdom and maha-karuna /great-compassion as a method of upaya/skillfull-means for sentient beings to gain merit, purify karma, develop samadhis & gain liberation etc. Just as confused speech is an expression of the minds of confused beings, enlightened speech and mantra is an expression of the minds of wisdom beings, free from confusion. So then repeating the enlightened speech and mantras of realized beings, we're disconnecting from confused speech, mind and perception which is a unity in the enlightened essence of the deity and the essence of own minds.

Then there's the energetic perspective that looks at the relationship between mantra and the functioning of our own channels, chakras and karmic winds but those are quite context specific for certain divisions of tantra.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Unity of deity and mantra

Post by Fortyeightvows » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:24 am

Just yesterday I heard it put this way:
most words point to the thing-mantras are the thing itself.
hope this helps

My master likes to say that the syllable is a condensation of the deity's essence(體).

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Re: Unity of deity and mantra

Post by pemachophel » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:22 pm

This is something you can experience directly if you say a Deity's mantra enough times with one-pointed concentration. It is a nyam/meditative experience of non-dualism that leads to insight/wisdom. Once you have this experience, your recitation of mantra will be much more effective. It is a step towards gaining the siddhi of that Deity/mantra.

Good luck & best wishes.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Re: Unity of deity and mantra

Post by archaic » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:15 pm

I am new here. I have had a daily practice of meditation on the breath for a couple years, so this is what I'm used to... Please forgive me for what may be a beginners question on the use of mantra.

When I meditate on OM MANI PADME HUNG, I have up to this point, been meditating on the **sound or vibration of the syllables themselves** to experience their effect on my body and the calming they have on my mind. I notice a strong effect from performing this meditation, it is very calming to my body and mind.

Is this an appropriate use of mantra?

I ask because very recently I went to a local Vajrayana meditation centre for the first time. They prescribed that while I say the mantra, I must try to visualize the entity of Chenrezig, and fill my heart space with an overwhelming fullness of compassion, as well as think about what each of the 4 arms of Chenrezig mean. When I did as they said, I found my mind felt scattered as there were too many things to think about to do justice to any of these concepts. I asked this at the meditation centre, and they said my problem is that I was judging my experience too much, and not to think about it. They said any meditation is a good meditation and I should not "try" to do anything, or else I am missing the whole point of meditating.

I was somewhat unsatisfied with their advice. I find I cannot do all of these things at once (say the mantra, visualizing the deity, filling heart with compassion, and thinking about the 4 arms, let alone also concentrating on the sound/vibration of the syllables of the mantra).

Is there a recommended method, and is concentrating on the symbols themselves actually a wrong method?

Thank you very much for any responses to my beginners question!

Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Unity of deity and mantra

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:00 pm

I am using "Chenrezig - Lord of Love" by Bokar Rinpoche to help inform my Chenrezig practice. It answers many of your questions in clear, direct language. I highly recommend it.

And welcome :smile:

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Re: Unity of deity and mantra

Post by muni » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:15 am

Vasana wrote: A simple way of looking at it is seeing how our own speech is the unity of speech and our own mind.
May be simple, but wonderful. Being connected, no mind meanwhile wandering elsewhere.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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