Using Mantra Meditation Techniques or Prayer Recitations to Calm Your Mind
Reciting mantras or prayers is today's topic. Now I don't care about your religion or sect or whatever prayer or mantra you use, but if you want quick and sure spiritual progress from reciting prayers or mantras ("japa meditation" in India) as your form of meditation or spiritual practice, then here's the principles to follow.
Follow them and you make progress. Don't follow them and you only gain a bit of merit, and that's about all.
All because they don't know the principles of practice...they only know they should sing.
The best way to recite mantras (japa practice) is internally. You recite a mantra within your mind and listen to it within. In fact, here's the key: you recite the mantra or prayer CONSTANTLY and listen to it with one-pointed concentration (not trying to figure out the meaning, but listening to the sound), until all your thoughts die down and your mind quiets.
When THAT happens, you have succeeded.
Remember to listen to the mantra with MINDFULNESS, but not trying to fathom the meaning.
You can use any type of virtuous and time-tested mantra to do this...the website has several. Don't use sounds like "Coca cola, coca cola" because they will plant the seeds of subtle psychological problems. Don't make up your own sound either if time-tested ones are available. That would be stupid now, wouldn't it?
"Ohm mani bei me hon," "Namo Amitofo," and so on will do just fine. They're tested, they work. So will the Jesus prayer, "Hallelujah" or the Islamic prayer to Allah: "Laa ilaaha illallaah." Most of these mantras, by the way, are based on the "Ah" sound, aren't they? "Jehovah" is, too. Notice the Islamic mantra "Laa ilaaha illallaah," and you'll quickly realize why reciting it over and over again, according to the proper principles of cultivation practice, has led many dervishes and Sufis to samadhi attainments.
Now as I stated, it doesn't matter what you use as long as it's virtuous, it's tested, your intent is virtuous and you follow the principles to calm your mind. On the other hand, if you just recite a prayer or mantra without listening within and don't calm your mind, then all you can hope to have done is attain a little bit of merit from the practice and that's about all. You don't succeed in meditation that way. You put in all this time and you get nothing out of it when if you follow the correct principles of practice, you put in the same amount of time and get the REAL result.
Choose the outcome you want, okay?
If you want REAL spiritual progress, you must recite a holy sound (discovered by spiritual masters in the past) until you reach inner mental calming, and at that point, you try to forget yourself, the sound and everything and enter into samadhi. That's what cultivation is all about, whether you use this meditation practice, that one, or yet another.
That's mantra practice in a nutshell.
Remember, if you choose to recite a prayer or mantra, do it continuously all day long until it becomes a type of internal habit. Don't do this with untested sounds or prayers, but with the ones that various traditions have found work.
CD AVAILABLE: If you want to learn even more about the Zhunti mantra on CD (and the Lotus Buddha mantra), you can listen to an mp3 I've produced that's available from Kunaki and answers all the questions I get sent by people, including pronounciation, and the rules for mantra recitiation in general. The mp3 is more than 75 minutes long (which is the timelimit for a CD to be able to play in your car or anywhere else) so can only be played on your computer. You can find ALL my meditation CDs at Kunaki, and check back often to browse the list because I'm always adding new topics by public demand.
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