Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Laurens
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Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by Laurens »

I find mantras a very useful practise for staying centred and mindful when doing work or going about my day when the breath is not necessarily as easy to focus on. I am aware of the use of Buddho among the Thai Forest Tradition, but was just wondering whether there were any different mantras used in the Theravada tradition?

I know that the Buddha never taught mantra practise, but I do think it can be very effective, in some instances it has brought me to far more still states of meditation than anapanasati. So, spare me any replies telling me that the suttas never taught it, as I already know that.

I just find they are useful for my particular temperament, and wondered whether there were any different mantras to add to my toolkit, from this particular tradition.

:anjali:

L
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Sam Vara
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by Sam Vara »

I've known the Forest Sangha to also teach "Dhammo" as a mantra.

JohnK
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by JohnK »

Metta phrases are bit like mantras.
I have heard (from lay teachers influenced by Theravada) of the use of "peace" on the in breath and "ease" on the out breath to aid settling the mind in difficult circumstances.
Another phrase I've heard referred to as a mantra is "not now" when noticing distracting thoughts -- it supports a non-aversive reaction to thoughts but reminds us that pursuing thoughts is not the task at hand.
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]

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bazzaman
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by bazzaman »

I believe that the practice of Buddhanusati used to be widely practised in Burma. The nine qualities of the Buddha were recited, and one bead of the rosary was rolled. These days people often used "clickers" instead of rosaries to do the counting.
Just speculation... but the use of rosaries might have been a remnant of previvious Mahayana/Vajrayana traditions before Theravada became dominant.

itipi so bhagavā arahaṃ sammā-sambuddho
Such indeed is the Blessed One : the worthy one, the one who has attained the perfect enlightenment.

vijjācarana-sampanno sugato lokavidū
the one who is consummate in knowledge & conduct, the one who has gone the good way, the knower of the cosmos,

anuttaropurisadamma-sarathi
the unexcelled trainer of those who can be taught,

satthā devamanussānam
the teacher of human & divine beings,

buddho bhagavāti
the enlightened one, the holy one.
Atāṇo loko anabhissaro...

Yena yena hi maññanti tato taṃ hoti aññathā,

tamdrin
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by tamdrin »

If you like mantras why not just learn some of the Mahayana or Vajrayana mantras? Vajrayana has millions of them.


In the forest tradition they use buddho, dhammo, sangho.

I have heard Ajahn anan also say you can use "lokavidu"


I think the point is not so much any magical power the words bring but the power that focusing on an object brings.

Disciple
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by Disciple »

Mahayana/vajrayana is chock full of them. They have been useful to me and are especially good for those with a busy lifestyle. Not everyone can live like a monk unfortunately.

befriend
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by befriend »

I like chanting namo Tasso bhagavato arahato samasambuddassa its devotional and calms my mind it's a gentle recollection of the Buddha and has made me experience rapture
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

Buddho93
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by Buddho93 »

befriend wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:15 pm
I like chanting namo Tasso bhagavato arahato samasambuddassa its devotional and calms my mind it's a gentle recollection of the Buddha and has made me experience rapture
I concur, it’s longer than Buddho but not too long that it’s difficult to memorise. It can be great for centering oneself 🙏

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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Aloka
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by Aloka »

Chanting a gentle and tuneful "Let go" to oneself can be helpful sometimes!

:)

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greenjuice
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by greenjuice »

Maybe

sabbe satta bhavantu sukhitatta

"may all beings be happy"

from Metta Sutta.

Gregor_Ackermann
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by Gregor_Ackermann »

Mantras don't have any magical power so I guess any word could do. However, as words do posses a power to suggest and change mood we should carefully choose the appropriate one.

Traditional Thai forests mantras like Buddho, Dhammo and Sangho are used for that reason- those mantras should awake inspiration and devotion.

I find words "Peace" and "Happiness" are helpful to focus the mind. Also, I find that having mantra in your native language is more energising then if it is in another language- like Pali or English if it's not your first language.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by Kim OHara »

bazzaman wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:42 am
..Just speculation... but the use of rosaries might have been a remnant of previvious Mahayana/Vajrayana traditions before Theravada became dominant...
It might have gone all the way back to pre-Buddhist traditions in India, too. The rosary is an incredibly old and widespread tool.
Wikipedia has this:
The English word bead derives from the Old English noun bede which means a prayer.[2][3][4][5] The oldest image of a string of beads in a religious context and resembling a string of prayer beads is found on the fresco of the "Adorants" (or "Worshipers") at the Xeste 3 building of the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri, Santorini (Thera,) Greece (Wall Paintings of Thera.)[6] dating from the 17th c. BC (c. 1613 BC.) The exact origins of prayer beads remain uncertain, but their earliest historical use probably traces to Hindu prayers in India.[1][3][7] Buddhism probably borrowed the concept from Hinduism.[1][3] The statue of a Hindu holy man with beads dates to the third century BC.[3][7]
and
According to Vedic scriptures 103 beads were used during Treta Yuga, 108 beads during Dvapara Yuga, and 111 beads in Kali Yuga.[citation needed]
:reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_be ... _etymology

:focus:

That Hindu connection reminded me that a mantra with a tune is still a mantra, afaik, and I find that the melody and rhythm help to keep it going without interruption. Just think of Hare Rama...
But I don't know anything about singing mantras in Buddhism.

:namaste:
Kim

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bazzaman
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Re: Mantra in Theravada (aside from Buddho)

Post by bazzaman »

Yeah well "Wikipedia"... " Buddhism probably borrowed the concept from Hinduism.[1][3] The statue of a Hindu holy man with beads dates to the third century BC.[3][7]"
Buddha Dhamma already well established by this time; so it's a toss-up as to who appropriated what from whom. Besides it wasn't "Hinduism" as such yet. Maybe some wandering ascetics were using beads; but it seems that the spread to other countries might well have been initiated by contact with Buddhists. Alexander for instance. Greece, worry-beads...? Just speculation of course.
Atāṇo loko anabhissaro...

Yena yena hi maññanti tato taṃ hoti aññathā,

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