BRIEF DISCUSSION ABOUT MANTRAS
Mantras should not be chanted in their translated form. They were composed in Sanskrit with focus not only on meaning (which is important), but on mnemonic, rhythm and general 'chantability'. As aids to meditation, the power of the mantra's sound vibration is important. However, sound vibration alone is not enough. It it were, then Wayists would be working on putting a satellite in orbit with a huge speaker to boom OM SHANTI SHANTI OM down to earth. Writer of this, nevertheless thinks the mega speaker is a great idea, but you need human emotional energy and mind behind a mantra to make a true difference.
Sanskrit is the usual choice for mantras because it is so phonetic and easily transported across cultures.
Wayism teaching holds that mindless repetition of a mantra does not do much for the soul. However, those practices are not totally in vain because it does focus body-mind and stops it's propensity to static-noise chatter.
A mantra is a tool, like a lens. In a child's hand the lens can be used for many things, even a toy, an object of fascination, and a learning tool. In the hands of a trained person the lens can be used to see deeply into realms that are otherwise unknown and unknowable to physical human faculties.
Are mantras prayers?
Yes and no, depending on your definition of prayer. We discuss Prayer on other pages, but as you read below you will see why we answer Yes and No. Mantras have more uses than prayers.
Take a break from the onslaught on our senses
As we go through our days, sometimes, we need a break from the overload of information in this new age, and we can use a mantra to escape ~ to buy some quiet time.
Recharge your soul batteries ~ restore your inner beauty
Another time, we may want to connect, tune in to the Presence of the Divine (The Holy Spirit in another tradition's words). We know it is always there but our soul-mind receivers are not always tuned in; we use a mantra to tune in to bask in the glory of the Presence of the Divine.
Protect soul-mind against body-mind gone wrong
Mantras are often used to dispel body-mind noise and emotions. Fear, horror, depression, and anger, lust, sorrow and trepidation are examples of emotions that can be strong enough to pose a threat to our soul-minds and cause long term imbalance. The mantra of Green Tara is known to not only dispel the aforementioned emotions from body-mind, but is powerful in attuning soul-mind to the soothing Presence of the Divine in creation.
Body-mind does a fine job at keeping the body alive at all cost. Its fear of death, or survival instinct, is so strong that it can effectuate strong emotions that can potentially cause damage not only to body-mind itself but the surge can cause harm to soul-mind as well.
Contribute to the pool of positive emotion-vibrations to help change the world of someone.
Thoughts have creative power. Share space with destructive and negative people, and your world will likewise turn upside down. If your community, or someone, can benefit from a stream of positive emotional energy to help them change their inner or outer world, mantras do a fine job. You can direct your thoughts to particular people or to a community in general. We know this instinctively, but of course if science cannot measure or weigh it, it does not exist. Therefore, in our spoken languages all people can say, "I am thinking of you", to help another through crises, or "pray for me", to help me through an interesting time.
Mantras are great tools to use in guided meditation.
Guided meditation is often sound only, but some devotees may want visuals as well. This is not a reflection on a person's 'level' of soul development so much as it is a matter of the right tool for the right occasion. Sometimes we are in the right mood and meditation flows smoothly, deeply, and the mystic connection comes beautifully. Yet, life in the body is often busy, troubled, and sometimes hectic. To meditate during such a mood experience, we need to employ more tools to condition body-mind. A guided meditation with sound and visuals helps to condition body mind during busy periods.
Below is a video clip of a guided meditation. During the audio-visual guided meditation we endeavour to attune our consciousness to the Divine Energy that flows throughout all creation, that continually creates and upholds all. We become conscious of the Energy in us, animating the atoms, giving intelligence to elements, and personality to cells...
Using the guided meditation, we imagine this One force (that we call The Way) to emit a vibration (sound) like the Sanskrit syllable OM. For us, OM is the sound of The Way, a symbol of the Way. We sound Om during our meditation, assisted with the video's sound and images and after a while, body-mind is conditioned to allow soul-mind to reach into mystical awareness of the presence of the Divine in us. Great learning and much help result from this.
Different people require different visual images to guide them. This example is but one of many possibilities. Nevertheless, soon into the audio-visual experience, you may not need the visuals anymore.
If you want training in different mantra techniques, contact me. My schedule is planned for several seminars, group training sessions and one-on-one sessions every years, in North America and in Cambodia.
COUNTING BEADS, PRAYER BEADS or MALAS
Malas are counting beads used by devotees to keep track of the number of mantras they repeat.
There are several reasons why one would want to keep track of this: 1) Once you "get into it" it is normal to lose track of time and you may have an appointment with a bus to make it to work on time for a change. 2) Many devotees set targets to discipline their meditation time. 3) Some traditions, not Wayism, believe that a 1 million repetitions get you in favour with one particular diety, and 2 million gets a pass to a particular heaven so they need to keep count. Etc.
Malas come in various bead counts. 108 beads is fairly standard because sages of old suggested that 108 repetitions is a good standard for a single session. Many devotees like to keep their malas close, so they can meditate to take breaks during their day (an excellent practice for many reasons!). Therefore, we find wearable, often shorter mala versions with 12 or 18 or 54 beads.
Some tradition, not Wayism, believe that the forces of metaphysical nature are to be manipulated with the use of different malas for different wishes. Use (an expensive) mineral mala for desires of wealth, this wood for healing, that wood career success, and another woody for sexual prowess. Unfortunately we don't believe that to really be so. Our online store could have cashed in on such a belief. We have seen gilded malas in the east selling for $4000, beautiful pieces of art. Nevertheless, Wayists just use the ordinary ones (mostly out of fear). There is no way that I, for one, will sit in front of the Lord counting beads on a $300 mala with my eyes closed ~ it is highly possible He will preoccupied by thoughts of how many starving children could be fed by that money and I end up receiving a well earned fat slap on the ear amid my "humble" meditation.
How to use your Mala
Malas start and stop at the 'guru bead'. The guru bead reminds us of our deity (Avalokiteshvara or Christ or the Holy Spirit (same thing, different name) or Tara, the Yin manifestations of the Way). To anchor or meditations, the guru bead (guru means teacher) reminds us of our spiritual guides. Therefore, we don't cross the guru bead. Slip the mala over four fingers with the guru bead resting on your index finger. Start mantra repetition by anchoring on the teacher, the using thumb to move the string forward, the guru bead moves away from your hand. When you reach the guru bead again, turn the mala around and start over.
See the WAYIST LIFESTYLE STORE for a selection of malas.