This is a long post. A very long post at that. But also very important.
I should have written this post for quite some time now, but there are several things that prevented me from doing it. The first one is whether I’m adequate enough to write about the Surangama Mantra, which is also spelled as Shurangama, because the Surangama or Shurangama mantra is considered to be the king of all mantras not because it is the longest and considered as one of the most powerful mantras, but it is also the hardest to understand. In fact, chanting the Surangama Mantra or wearing the properly consecrated Surangama Mantra amulet is considered to be a powerful and effective way of gaining access to heaven’s power. It is said that one creates a direct link with the heavenly beings that has an affinity with us. Thus, it was not surprising that Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, one of the most famous and leading Pure Land Buddhist masters called his lecture about the Shurangama Mantra as the mantra that is “The Efficacious Language of Heaven and Earth”.
Another reason for delaying the writing about the Surangama Mantra and the Surangama Mantra amulet is because I know once I have written it I would be receiving several emails requesting for a legitimate and properly consecrated Surangama Mantra Amulet, and I was unable to do this before.
Lastly, the least of the three reasons is that I was mildly concern that if and when I write about the Surangama Mantra and Shurangama Manta Amulet, my detractors will start attacking it again. I’m no saint, I have done a lot of bad things, but with all humility I thought I don’t want my writing to be the cause of their bad luck and for this to create more negative energies on them. A few people badmouthed the VAJRAPANI RUEL, and I’m sure they would be doing the same thing again with the Shurangama Mantra and Surangama Mantra Amulet. My point is when you slander a Buddha, a Bodhisattva, a Deity, a Dharma teaching or Dharma instrument this will create bad luck and tremendous amount of negative energies to the people who slandered it, and while I’m not the one slandering it, by writing it and causing them to slander it just because I was the one who wrote it I will indirectly cause them to have bad luck. But, I would like to clarify that this is limited to the people who are malicious and malicious in their attacks. I truly believe that people who are not malicious in their attacks and are sincere in raising a concern and as long as they don’t slander the amulets are exempted from this.
But why am I writing this now?
That is because if I wait for myself to feel adequate about it, then it will never happen because I will never be adequate to write about the Surangama Mantra, because in reality nobody is adequate to write about it. Do I have enough knowledge about it for me to write about it since one of my prerequisite is for me to have stock knowledge first before I write some thing. Well, I have enough stock knowledge about it that when supplemented with a further on – phone lecture with a Pure Land Buddhist monk and some research and review of my books, I can say that I’m confident enough to write about. In the history of this blog, I think this is the only third time I’m writing about something that I have to do further research on, one is about the Ghost Month – Mercury Retrograde dilemma last year, then the other one is when I wrote about the Vajrapani Ruel. Much of the details I wrote in the post “The World’s Most Powerful Amulet in the Buddhist Pantheon’ and the very first “Vajrapani Ruel Stories” were told to me by my Guru Lama.
Second, the Pure Land Buddhist monk who I consulted with this post provided me with several Surangama Mantra Amulet. Lastly, I cannot stop writing just because I have made some mistakes in the past which I’m trying to correct now, and stop writing it will be open to attack by a few people as compared to the many who may believe this writing and benefit from it or to the few who may have not believe it but sincerely consider and think about it.
So what is the Surangama Mantra and the Surangama Mantra Amulet? (Again this can be spelled as Shurangama Mantra and Shurangama Mantra Amulet.)
For me to explain it properly, you will notice that I have lifted a lot of passages from the teaching of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua whose lecture can be found online and also published by Malaysia Dharma Realm Buddhist Association and Prajna Kuan Yin Sagely Monastery.
But before anything else I would like to explain the benefits of chanting the Surangama Mantra or wearing the Surangama Mantra Amulet. It is said that when one chants the Surangama Mantra all the heavenly beings that has an karmic affinity with the person chanting it will stop moving and simply listen to the person chanting it, when this happened, it creates a lot of merits for the person chanting because a lot of the good heavenly beings energies is directed to the chanter of the mantra. When one wears the Surangama Mantra Amulet, which is also known as the Shurangama Mantra Amulet one is surrounded by the Heavenly Beings that has a karmic affinity with the person who is wearing it. When this happens, no hungry ghost, no negative energies can attack the person because this person is constantly protected. Furthermore, one will also develop a positive outlook in life and it will create a lot of good luck for the person. One will find one’ aura getting lighter and more positive, so some people use it as a love charm, although I would like to strongly advice against as primarily using it as a love charm. These are just some of the very simple benefits of chanting the Surangama Mantra or wearing the Surangama Mantra Amulet. As we go one you will see more of the things that wearing a Surangama Mantra Amulet can bring to a person.
But I think it is best to understand why Buddha created the Surangama Mantra.
According to the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:
The Shurangama Sutra was spoken for the sake of the Shurangama Mantra. There’s no way to ever finish expressing the importance of the Shurangama Sutra and the Shurangama Mantra; to the ends of all time their merits, virtues, and wonderful functions could never be told–so absolutely inconceivable and ineffable are they!
So that is where I like to start. Buddha has a disciple called Ananda. Ananda is the Buddha’s cousin, who is also a royal prince, and later on became a disciple and personal attendant of the Buddha.
Ananda is said to be very handsome and one day while he was out to beg for food (something that they do every morning), he came across a prostitute’s house. Ananda had second thoughts but thinking about Buddha’s teaching that one must not discriminate he knock on the door to ask for food. The prostitute upon seeing Ananda fell in love with Ananda, and concocted a plan to entice him right there and then. Ananda, being a disciplined and devout monk didn’t fell for the prostitute’s evil plan. So the prostitute decided to ask for her mother’s help who is said to be very good in practicing black magic. Armed with some potion and magical incantation, the prostitute waited for Ananda the following day, Ananda wanted to avoid the prostitute but she called on him and told him that she wants to make an offering to Ananda. As a monk and disciple of Buddha, Ananda has a strict vow that he cannot refuse any offering even if it has a poison. Ananda approached her, and she gave him something to drink and immediately Ananda fell under her spell, she then start to lead Ananda to her room.
Buddha being enlightened knows what’s happening and immediately send a monk to go and pick up Ananda. He also gave this particular monk a mantra, which he is to use to protect himself from the black magic of the prostitute’s mother and for him to break the spell of which Ananda is under.
This monk went to the house, and use the spell. He found Ananda still under trance and about to break his vow of celibacy or no sexual misconduct. He used the mantra and brought Ananda out of the spell.
Usually Buddha will say a sutra first and within the sutra one can find a mantra, but for the Surangama Sutra and the Surangama Mantra, it was the mantra that came first and the sutra came after.
According to Venerable Hsuan Hua:
The word “Shurangama” translates as “Ultimately firm and strong.”
The entire title of the Shurangama Mantra is “Great White Canopy of Light Dharani Mantra” (mo he sa dan tuo bo da la tuo lo ni zhou). It is also called “Brilliant Buddha’s Crown, Great White Canopy of Light, Unsurpassed Spiritual Mantra.” The Buddha’s Crown refers to the transformation Buddha atop the Buddha’s crown. There is no way to conceive the subtle wonder of the mantra. The content of the Shurangama Mantra subdues heavenly demons and controls externalists. Every line, from beginning to end, is the Buddhas’ mind-ground Dharma-door.
Each line has its own function; each possesses its own esoteric wonder; and each is endowed with incredible power. The recitation of a single word, a single line, a single assembly, or the recitation of the entire mantra causes the heavens to vibrate and the earth to tremble; it’s said that heaven and earth are shocked, the ghosts and spirits wail, the demons keep a wide distance, and mountain and river sprites hide away.
This shows that the Surangama Mantra and the Surangama Mantra Amulet are very good protection against demons. You will notice that Venerable Master Hsuan Hua used the term Heavenly Demons. I’m sure that most people will find this weird, how can heaven have demons. This will take another post to fully clarify this but for now allow me to say that in Buddhism there are different levels of Heaven. And the lowest level of heaven is where some demons stay. This means they have supernatural power but they have evil thoughts. Earlier, I said that when one chants the Surangama Mantra or wears the Surangama Mantra Amulet, all the Heavenly Beings that has an affinity with the chanter or the wearer will surround the chanter or wearer, obviously, I refer to the Heavenly Beings that are good. That is like our angels, although angels are used here as a reference only and to describe these heavenly beings, because in Buddhism there are no angels. And I would like to clarify that in this post whenever the term Heavenly Being is always used to refer to the ‘angel’s’ and not to the Heavenly Demons that Venerable Master Hsuan Hua mentioned.
Chanting the Surangama Mantra or wearing the Surangama Mantra Amulet will also erase all karmic obstacles. This was also validated by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:
…then you can get rid of your karmic obstacles from last life and all past lives. That’s the incredible function of the Shurangama Mantra!
If one can chant the Surangama Mantra one will be able to emit this celestial light from the mouth, furthermore chanting or wearing the Surangama Mantra Amulet will also have us emit celestial lights from our body and mind. These celestial lights are lights that can only be seen by highly powerful psychic people and by demons and heavenly beings. Because of this light, neither hungry ghost nor demons can get near us.
This means that Surangama Mantra or the Surangama Mantra Amulet is one of the most powerful amulet one can use during the Hungry Ghost month and also for those whose job involves working in Yin places like hospitals, cemetery, funeral parlor, or if you go to one of these places. It is also a very powerful protection for those who travel a lot and for those who work at night.
Again, I would like to support this claim by quoting a passage from Venerable Hsuan Hua’s lecture.
The Venerable Ji is a well-known High Master in Buddhism. His expert use of this passage of the mantra to subdue heavenly demons and control externalists was extremely efficacious. And so the last line says: Dharma Master Ji, the Venerable, mastered these wonderful sounds. This passage of the mantra instructs us to “take refuge with all the Buddhas, all the Bodhisattvas, all the Hearers and Condition-Enlightened Ones, and all the gods throughout empty space and the Dharma Realm.” It’s a passage that protects the Triple Jewel, and so when you recite it the demons flee and the ghosts don’t stop running until they’re ten miles away. Not just ten miles, they back off until there’s no more room to retreat. They don’t dare make trouble; they are forced to behave themselves.
That’s a general description of what this passage of mantra is about; the details are even more wonderful.
Of course, the ten miles here is used as a figurative of speech to show that demons and ghost will not dare come near us.
But more than that, because of chanting the Surangama Mantra or wearing the Surangama Mantra Amulet, as mentioned earlier, powerful Heavenly Beings that has an affinity with the chanter or wearer, what will also develop a very positive aura, will surround one and thus one will have a competitive advantage in business and other endeavors.
Talking about the Surangama Mantra or the Surangama Mantra Amulet is a very big task and I really don’t want to run the risk of writing something that may be misunderstood, so allow me to simply copy here for you essential portions of the lecture of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. But before that allow me to share a few more things.
The Surangama Mantra is more powerful when chanted, and is also powerful when worn as amulet. If you can do both, it is obvious that one can magnify its effect. However, in choosing a Surangama Mantra Amulet it is highly advisable to wear something that is blessed by a Mahayana Buddhist monk, specifically Pure Land Buddhist monks and preferably a high ranking one because this usually means that this particular monk has a higher level of experience and divinity. . It is only when this is done that the Surangama Mantra Amulet becomes truly powerful.
Please note that when wearing the Surangama Mantra Amulet, you are surrounded by Heavenly Beings, so when engaging in intimate physical activity with your spouse or partner, it is better to keep the Surangama Mantra inside a pouch (preferably red or yellow) and properly set aside.
But just how powerful is the Surangama Mantra? To answer that allows me to post here a story shared by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. Please note that Patriarch Hongren was able to gather such manifestation of the power of the Surangama Mantra because he himself is a holy person.
In the past, Great Master Hongren, the Fifth Patriarch, was cultivating in Hubei at East Mountain. He upheld the precepts strictly and cultivated with unusual intensity. Once when a group of bandits surrounded the city of Hubei, Great Mater Hongren could bear it no longer and decided to try to save the people in that city.
He came down the mountain and walked into that city. As soon as the bandits saw Great Master Hongren coming, they were terrified, dropped their armor and weapons, and fled. Why? Because although Great Master Hongren came alone into the city, the bandits saw an army of heavenly generals and heavenly troops clad in golden armour. It was as if the gods themselves had come down to earth–all donning golden armour and carrying jeweled swords and other awesome weapons. That’s what caused the bandits to retreat in such haste.
And so, without the use of a single knife, spear, or arrow, he routed the bandits. It was because Great Master Hongren recited the Shurangama Mantra that the bandits found him to be so terrifying. You could say that was a manifestation created by the Vajra Treasury Bodhisattvas or you could say it was the awesome virtue of Great Master Hongren that frightened them. That a cultivator was able to frighten the bandits into retreat without the use of a single soldier or weapon is verification of his genuine skill. How else could there have been such a response in the Way?
Shakyamuni Buddha proclaimed the Shurangama Mantra in order to protect of all of us who have brought forth the initial resolve to study the Way; to aid us in attaining samadhi; to help us be at peace in body and mind; and to keep us out of trouble. Therefore we should never forget this Dharma. We should recite and uphold the Shurangama Mantra with single-minded sincerity. By doing so we are helping to perpetuate the Buddhadharma, to keep the Proper Dharma long in the world.
Now allow me to share with you some excerpts from the lecture of Venerable Hsuan Hua. Mind you, this is quite long even though I’m not putting it here in its entirety.
Unendingly miraculous and mysterious, it’s extremely hard to fathom. The Shurangama Mantra is quite esoteric and its changes and transformations are inexplicable; it’s not easy to figure out. This vajra secret language wells forth from your own nature. The Shurangama Mantra is the secret within the secret. That’s the vajras who come to protect the mantra. Your own nature–it is born from your own Buddha nature. Inside the Shurangama Mantra is marvelous magic! The Shurangama Mantra is called an efficacious language because of its spellbinding power. That’s what “marvelous magic” is referring to.
Then come five eyes and six penetrations and the Way opens up. If you can continually uphold the Shurangama Mantra–single-mindedly without entertaining other thoughts–then you can attain the Five Eyes and Six Spiritual Penetrations. You will then experience the inconceivable, unfathomable changes and transformations that occur which ordinary people are totally unaware of. And that’s the reason why I hope everyone will learn to read the Shurangama Mantra and memorize it.
Why is it that the demons, ghosts, and goblins don’t dare show themselves when you recite the Shurangama Mantra? It’s so powerful that there isn’t a place in all of space or the entirety of the Dharma Realm that isn’t flooded with auspicious light. Recitation of the Shurangama Mantra patches up the imperfections in the heavens and the earth. One person reciting the Shurangama Mantra creates power equivalent to one person. A hundred people reciting create power equivalent to a hundred people. And the weird beings here in this world become very well-behaved. So it’s better if more people recite.
It’s an unsurpassed spiritual mantra. The negating prefix “un-” actually means “lofty to the utmost; brilliant to the extreme.” Peerless radiant illumination piercing the heights is the meaning of “un-“. And “surpassed”? Well, there’s nothing more esteemed, nothing more venerated. “Spiritual” is what is inconceivable and ineffable, what is awe-inspiring, efficacious and unfathomable. The power of mantras brings a response with the Way. When you recite mantras, something happens. “Brilliant Buddha’s Crown, Great White Canopy of Light, Unsurpassed Spiritual Mantra.” This means that the light at the crown of the Buddha’s head is like a great white canopy that comes to shelter and protect all of us who recite the mantra.
No one understands this mantra, nor can they explain line-by-line and word-by-word. But if you want to understand it, I can try my best to explain it to you. The Shurangama Mantra can’t be explained in a year’s time, or three years’ time, or even ten years’ time. Now I will explain the general intent of this mantra. This mantra is composed of five assemblies, which represent the five directions of east, west, south, north, and center.
The east is the vajra division with Akshobhya Buddha as the teaching host. The south is the welling up of jewels division with Welling Up of Jewels Buddha as the teaching host. The center is the Buddha division with Shakyamuni Buddha as the teaching host. The west is the lotus division with Amitabha Buddha as the teaching host. The north is the karma division with Accomplishment Buddha as the teaching host.
Altogether these five divisions watch over the five demonic armies that abide in this world. Because of these five demons, the Buddhas split up in five directions to repress these demons. Without the Buddhas, these demons would show themselves here in our world. And so, when you recite the Shurangama Mantra, the five demonic armies in the five directions submit and surrender. They behave themselves and don’t dare try to oppose the power of the Shurangama Mantra. The five divisions in the mantra are what make it so fine. But you shouldn’t be attached. Your becoming attached won’t be so fine.
Within the five assemblies of the Shurangama Mantra are more than thirty sections of Dharmas. Before, when I was in Manchuria, the reason I was able to cure people’s illnesses was all because of the power of the Shurangama Mantra. But the Shurangama Mantra cannot be used casually. If used, it’s not the entire thing that’s used, because within it are, in general, more than thirty different Dharmas. If looked at in detail there are over a hundred.
As to these Dharmas, there’s the Dharma of Accomplishment. That means by reciting the Shurangama Mantra, whatever method you are practicing will be perfected; whatever thing you want to do will get done. There’s also the Dharma of Increasing Benefits. That means, for example, if you don’t have enough resolve for the Way in your practice, by reciting the mantra you can increase your wisdom; increase your Bodhi mind; increase the power of your vows; everything will get better. When you recite the mantra, everything you hope increases will surely do so! It will increase for others, too.
The Dharma of Quelling Disasters means that if a calamity is due, reciting the mantra will make it disappear. The disaster will be quelled. Suppose someone is due to drown in the ocean. Reciting the mantra can change the situation so that he doesn’t get drowned. Or you’re on a boat that’s supposed to sink. Recitation of the mantra can keep the boat from sinking. Or the airplane is supposed to crash, but you are reciting the mantra and so it doesn’t.
Nonetheless, you have to take responsibility for dispelling the calamities in your own mind. What calamities are there in your mind? Well, if you merely rely on the mantra, but inside you are a bundle of false and malevolent thoughts, scattered and impure thoughts, lustful thoughts, then you certainly haven’t expelled the calamities in your own mind. In that case, no mantra is going to work. And so if you want to avoid disasters you must first purify your own mind.
The purity of your mind is what really dispels calamities. If you are full of greed, hatred, and stupidity, no mantra is going to be efficacious. Our frame of mind is extremely important. We must be kindhearted and filled with goodness, wishing to help others. Our mind should be wholesome.
The Dharma for Hooking and Summoning is for use when you meet up with heavenly demons and externalists and want to catch them. Just as law enforcement officers catch criminals, so too, the Hooking and Summoning Dharma catches weird creatures, demons, and ghosts. They do something here to harm others or do some bad thing that causes people to get sick and then they run away. But you want to catch them and so you recite the mantra, using the Hooking and Summoning Dharma. Well, no matter how far away from you they are, the Dharma-protecting good spirits, or members of the eightfold division, or some of the eighty-four thousand Vajra Treasury Bodhisattvas will immediately snatch them and bring those demonic beings back.
Even then, sometimes they won’t give in and you have to use all kinds of expedients to teach and transform them. If you use brute force to subdue them, then that’s the lowest grade of dharma, it’s not a good method. The best methods don’t use any sort of power plays to oppress beings. Don’t oppress them and don’t contend with them. Don’t be like an asura–tough and looking for a fight. Even when you clearly have the power to do so, don’t use the dharmas to subdue them. You should use virtuous conduct to influence beings and then teach and transform them.
And finally, there is the Dharma of Subduing. Demons have spiritual penetrations and they also have mantras. You recite your mantra and they recite theirs. But when you use the Shurangama Mantra, you break through all their mantras and subdue them. You use the power to quell them and make them behave.
I’ve told you all before that the Shurangama Mantra has within it a few lines of mantra that rends the nets of demons. Why was the mantra from the Brahma Heavens rendered useless? It was because of the Five Great Hearts Mantra. The Five Great Hearts Mantra destroys the mantras underlying the demons’ and externalists’ spells and incantations. It doesn’t matter what mantra they use, when you recite these lines, their spells are smashed and their mantras become ineffectual.
Furthermore, the Dharma of Auspiciousness enables things to go your way when you recite the mantra. Good fortune prevails. Now I’ve given you an explanation of these Dharmas.
I could talk for several years and never finish describing the good points of this mantra. All Buddhas of the ten directions come forth from the Shurangama Mantra. The Shurangama Mantra is the mother of all Buddhas. It was by means of the Shurangama Mantra that all Buddhas perfected Unsurpassed Proper and Pervasive Enlightened Knowledge.
The ability of the Buddhas of the ten directions to create response bodies and go throughout the ten directions turning the Dharma wheel to teach and transform living beings; to rub the crowns of those beings and bestow predictions upon them; to rescue beings from their complex sufferings; to enable beings to escape both large disasters and small calamities–their ability to do all that comes from the power of the Shurangama Mantra Heart.
If you want to attain the fruition of Arhatship, you absolutely must recite this mantra to keep demonic things from happening. During the Dharma-ending Age if people can memorize the Shurangama Mantra or encourage others to memorize it, well, fire cannot burn such people and water cannot drown them. No matter how potent a poison, it cannot harm them. For those who recite the Shurangama Mantra, poison turns to sweet dew as soon as it enters their mouths. People who recite the Shurangama Mantra will never get born in bad places, even if they want to. Why is that so? It’s because the Shurangama Mantra pulls you back and won’t allow you to go.
Someone who recites the Shurangama Mantra may never have amassed any blessings or virtue, but, simply because he recites the mantra, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions will bestow their own merit and virtue upon that person. Wouldn’t you call that a bargain? That happens based on the recitation of the Mantra alone. If you recite the Shurangama Mantra, you will continually get to be born at a time when a Buddha is in the world and will be able to immerse yourself in cultivation under that Buddha’s guidance.
If your mind is terribly scattered so that you can’t concentrate and don’t have any samadhi-power, but you think about the Shurangama Mantra and recite it with your lips, the Vajra Treasury King Bodhisattvas will very attentively watch for ways to invisibly help you gradually until your confusion has disappeared and you develop samadhi. They will imperceptibly help you open your wisdom and concentrate your mind to the point that you become crystal clear about all the events spanning the previous eighty-four thousand Ganges’ sands of eons.
If you can learn the Shurangama Mantra until you have memorized it fluently–so that you become one with the mantra–then you attain the mantra’s samadhi and your recitation will be like flowing water, welling up uninterrupted. If you can do that, then at the very least for seven lives to come you will be as wealthy as America’s richest oil magnates. And you say, “That’s great! I’m going to learn the mantra right away! I wouldn’t mind being a magnate of some kind!” Well, if you are that selfish, then don’t even bother learning the mantra. Seven lives pass in the blink of an eye anyway.
What should those who learn the Shurangama Mantra be hoping for? You should hope for ultimate Buddhahood; hope to attain the Unsurpassed Proper and Equal Right Enlightenment. Don’t be so petty! Actually those who are really dedicated in reciting the Shurangama Mantra are transformation bodies of Buddhas. Not just any transformation bodies, but those atop the Buddha’s crown–transformation bodies of that transformation body! And so you see that the wonderful aspects of the Shurangama Mantra are difficult to express, difficult to conceptualize.
Wherever someone is seriously reciting the Shurangama Mantra, a great white canopy will be there in the space above him. If your skill in reciting the mantra is high-level and far-reaching, then when you recite, the canopy will extend for thousands of miles, preventing any disasters or difficulties. If you only have a little skill, then the canopy will be right above your own head protecting you. If you have virtue in the Way, if you are a High Sanghan, then when you recite, the entire nation will be benefitted and no calamities will occur. Or if disasters are unavoidable, big ones will turn into little ones, and the little ones won’t even happen.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a nationwide famine, plague, war, or plunder, all those kinds of disasters will be alleviated. Suppose you were to write out the Shurangama spiritual mantra and place it at the main entrances to the city, or in its watchtowers or other lookout places; suppose you could inspire the nation’s inhabitants to show interest in the Shurangama Mantra, so that they bow to and revere it and single-mindedly make offerings to it as if they were offering to the Buddhas themselves; suppose you could get every single citizen to wear the mantra on their person or to keep it in their place of residence; well, if you could do that, all disasters would disappear.
Whenever the Shurangama Mantra can be found in a place, the gods and dragons are delighted, and so that place will be free from devastating storms; the crops will produce in abundance; and the populace will be peaceful and happy. That is why I say that the merit and virtue of the Shurangama Mantra is inexpressible; it can’t be reckoned in the mind; it can’t be cognized in our thoughts. That’s the wonder of it!
Basically broken precepts cannot be mended. But if you recite the Shurangama Mantra, you can return to purity. But when I say recite, I don’t mean you can just do it casually. You have to attain the mantra-recitation samadhi. The recitation of the mantra must flow forth from your mind and the mantra must flow back into your mind. That’s called “the mantra is the mind and the mind is the mantra.” Your mind and the mantra become united. There isn’t any distinction. It reaches the point where you couldn’t forget it if you wanted to. That’s called even when not reciting, the recitation continues; when reciting there really isn’t any recitation. You recite until there aren’t any idle thoughts remaining. The only function of the mind is the recitation of the Shurangama Mantra. That’s called meshing with the mind. There are no second thoughts. The flow of the mantra’s recitation is like water that flows on in uninterrupted waves.
At that point, everything expresses the Mahayana–the sounds of the breezes blowing and the water flowing are all the Shurangama Mantra’s Heart Mantra. If you can reach that level, then if you have broken precepts, you will be able to return to pure precepts. You will be endowed with the precepts without going through the formal transmission. If you are someone who doesn’t want to progress in your practice, who doesn’t want to investigate the Buddhadharma, but you recite the Shurangama Mantra for a period of time, quite naturally you will be inspired to be vigorous; those who lack wisdom can open their wisdom.
If you are not pure in your cultivation so that you break your vegetarian practices and violate the precepts, but you have not forgotten the Shurangama Mantra, you will be able to quickly return to purity. If you violated precepts before you began upholding the mantra and prior to receiving the precepts, then once you start reciting the mantra you can completely wipe out all those former offenses, no matter how serious they were, including even the Four Parajikas, the Five Rebellious Acts, the Four or Eight Offenses warranting dismissal from the Sangha, which are basically unpardonable. Not even a hair’s breadth of an offense will remain. And so I say that the power of the Shurangama Mantra is beyond all conception or description!
Every line of the Shurangama Mantra contains infinite meanings as well as infinite functions. You should realize that the Shurangama Mantra is the most efficacious language in the world–the efficacious within the efficacious, the esoteric within the esoteric! It is an unsurpassed Dharma Treasure–the gem that can save living beings’ lives. It embraces all that exists.
From the Buddhas of the ten directions to the Avichi Hell, all the four kinds of sages and six sorts of common realms pay homage to the Shurangama Mantra. None of the ten Dharma realms transcends its scope. All categories of ghosts, spirits, Dharma-protecting deities, Hearers, Condition-enlightened Ones, up to the Buddha Vehicle are contained within the Shurangama Mantra. The Shurangama Mantra contains the names of ghost and spirit kings. When the names of those leaders are recited, all the ghosts and spirits in their retinues become very obedient and behave themselves. They don’t dare to make trouble.
Reciting the Shurangama Mantra every day can cause demonic beings and weird ghosts throughout the world to settle down and stop harming people. The substance and function of the Shurangama Mantra are all-encompassing. It can be said that within the mantra can be found the entirety of Buddhism’s teachings and meaning. If you can understand the Shurangama Mantra, then you have understood the essence of Buddhism’s esoteric teachings.
The Shurangama Mantra is extremely efficacious, but it is not that easy to master. First of all you cannot be selfish; next you cannot be out to get your own private gains. You have to be magnanimous and devoid of selfish thoughts. You have to be impartial and not prejudiced. You have to be willing to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others. You have to have the resolve to universally save all living beings. If you can embody the above-listed qualities, then you will have swift success. Pay close attention: you must hold the five precepts and practice the ten good deeds. That’s the very least you should do.
When you are developing your skill in reciting the Shurangama Mantra, you may dream of yourself bowing to the Buddhas; or in a dream see the Buddhas emitting light; or dream that you see the Buddha come as rub the crown of your head; or dream that the Buddhas speak Dharma for you; or dream that you see the Bodhisattvas, or Condition-enlightened Ones, or Hearers, or Sagely Sanghans or gods and heavenly generals; or in a dream see yourself ascending into space; or dream that you can fly. All of these are good experiences.
Or you may be riding a horse or crossing a river and encounter all sorts of auspicious lights; or there may be other extremely rare appearances that manifest. If you do attain responses such as these, then you should be very careful. You should bring forth the resolve for Bodhi; guard the purity of the karma created by your body, mouth, and mind; and increase your efforts and tighten your skill in reciting the mantra.
You should not tell others what kinds of responses you’ve had in order to get others to believe in you or to think highly of you. It’s enough for you yourself to know what responses you’ve had. If you keep advertising your own merits and selling your cultivation out on the streets, then you are wrong. If you act like that, you leave yourself open and the demons will attack. That’s like failing to put your jewels in a safebox. If you leave them at the doorway, then someone is certainly going to steal them.
You may also want to read my other post about the Surangama Mantra entitled – THE SURANGAMA MANTRA AMULET: BEYOND BEING AN EFFECTIVE PROTECTION AGAINST THE HUNGRY GHOST MONTH!
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