Since I started writing about Mantras, I’ve received countless emails and sometimes phone calls asking me about the right intonation of a mantra. I know for people who have just been recently introduced to the power of Mantras, it may be a little daunting because some of the Mantras can be mouthful like the Medicine Buddha Mantra – TADYATHA OM BHEKANDZYE BHEKANDZYE MAHA BHEKANDZYE BHEKANDZYE RADZA SAMUGATE SOHA – or the Prajnaparamita Mantra – TADYATHA OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SOHA. The truth there are other mantras, such as the Cundi Avalokitesvara Mantra – NAMO SAKTANAM SAMYAKSAM BUDDHA KOTINAM TADYATHA OM CALE CULE CUNDI SOHA (I’ll write about Cundi Avalokitesvara soon), that are way longer than the mantras that I’ve talked about on this blog.
I realize that this might be causing a little worry to some of you thinking that your wish might not happen because you are not pronouncing it properly. Also, because you might be agonizing too much on the proper pronunciation that you tend to forget to concentrate on the intent why you’re saying the mantra.
‘A Hermit and A Monk’ is a story that was shared by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, one of the most revered monks of high status.
Lama Zopa Rincpoche is considered as the one strongly propagates Buddhism to people who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of Buddhism. His work with Lillian Too also helped bridge the gap between Buddhism and Feng Shui, which was largely considered to be a Taoist practice. He is also task by the Dalai Lama to lead the Maitreya Project. A very ambitious project that hopes to build the largest Maitreya Buddha – the Future Buddha, in the world.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche first shared this story with the members of the ‘Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition’, it was since then shared with other groups like the Amitabha Buddhist Center (a sub-center of FPMT), and he also shared this with Lillian Too.
A HERMIT AND A MONK…
A monk visited a hermit, who lived alone on an island doing retreat. The hermit had given himself three years to complete chanting ten million of the powerful six-syllable mantra of the Compassionate Buddha. The hermit had been told that attaining this level of practice would awaken his yogic powers. The mantra was “OM MANI PADME HUM”.
The monk listened as the hermit did his mantra and, with the best intention in the world, leaned over to him and whispered:
“I think you have got the pronunciation wrong. This mantra should be chanted this way…” and he proceeded to demonstrate. The hermit listened attentively and then watched as the monk walked back to his boat to leave the island.
Ten minutes later when the boat was halfway across the river the monk heard his name being called, and looking around, he spied the hermit and heard him call:
“Listen to this, have I got it right now?” and the hermit proceeded to chant the same mantra but with the monk’s intonation. Astounded, the monk turned around and saw the hermit walking on the water next to his boat. In that instant he realized that the hermit’s faith and sincerity had given his mantra recitation far more power than he had realized.
As you will see, the story state that what counts more is the faith and sincerity in reciting the mantra. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive hard to do our best to recite them properly, but let’s not agonize about it. If you have faith and sincerity then it’s simply impossible for it not to work!