2006-01-10 20:41:15 UTC
most effective means of transcending for each individual. According to
Lama Govinda (Hans Hoffman) the Shakya often gave mantras for
meditation. In fact, the whole of the Tibetan Mahayana tradition is
based on the mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum,' a fact so apparent that the
Lama Govinda wrote a whole book concerned with this one mantra.
('Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism', Rider 1964).
Bija mantras are non-ideational mnemonic devices used for experiencing
the subtle states of consciousness. Used in this way they are an
intelligent way to awakenening. Bija mantra meditation is precisely
what the Buddha taught.
A bija mantra, in fact, is the primary sound of the universe as
perceived by humans, called shabd in Sanskrit. Shabd is none other than
Vac, the first primal sound as human speech personified as Tara.
However, for clarity, here is a definition of mantra, according to
Swami Ageananda Bharati:
"A mantra is a quasi-morpheme or a series of quasi-morphemes, or a
series of mixed genuine and quasi-morphemes arranged in conventional
patterns, based on codified esoteric traditions, and passed on from one
preceptor to one disciple in the course of a prescribed initiation
According to Swami Ageananda, this definition does not include any
reference to the purpose or purposes of mantra, for the statement of
purpose is a material statement, which must be excluded from a
definition, which is a set of formal propositions of exception less
validity. If there is a single exception to a statement, then that
statement forfeits its claim to being a definition. As there is a
conceivable exception with regard to the purpose of mantra, purpose
could not be included ('The Tantric Tradition' Rider, 1965).