Saturday, November 30, 2013

How to become a Mantra Reciter


After hearing a mantra from somebody who has the transmission, one learns and memorizes it. Short mantras like OM MANI PADME HUM or NAMO AMIDA BUTSU are easy but to become skilled at mantras, take something longer, at least 20 syllables, for instance the mantra of FUDO MYO-O or the 100-syllable mantra of VAJRASATTVA or the DAI HI SHIN DARANI (the Great Compassionate Heart Dharani).

Once it is memorized, begin repetitions on a daily basis. Every syllable needs to be clearly pronounced. However, sometimes you may experience getting tongue-tied & mush-mouthed, thus garbling the mantra. In such cases, employ a well-known technique used by radio announcers-in-training:

First, take a moutful of 10 marbles and practice reciting the mantra this way  until it becomes smooth and clear. For the next session, remove one marble and practice with a mouthful of nine.  Then eight, and so on until the last marble is removed.  When you have lost all your marbles, then you are certified as a Mantra Yogin!



Wednesday, November 13, 2013


A bear visits the temple, leaving behind footprints of volcanic ash. This is the third visit by bears in a week. There was no damage to the temple, and everyone knows not to leave food out, but a word of advice to those who live in bear country: using teeth and claws, bears explore other items searching for food. They munch on prayer flags, rubber rain boots and UPS packages, bat around empty ice chests, and the worst was puncturing and turning over a 5-gallon plastic gas container, spilling its contents into the ground. But the bears themselves don't seem dangerous. Seeing one on the second visit, I shined a flashlight on him and said, "Go away, go away," at which he lurched 180deg and trundled off.