Sharing the Buddhist View

Dear Pitaka Readers:
For quite some time some Zuru Ling members have commented that it would be splendiferous if there were a public forum in which people old and new to the Dharma could raise their most burning questions regarding troublesome, obscure, or just plain curious points of Dharma teachings or practice.

The Pitaka staff is pleased to announce that with this issue we are introducing the beloved "Geshe Samsarananda" to satisfy this demand and offer grist for the mill of Dharma thought. So to see YOUR questions answered in future issues, send them to:

Geshe Samsarananda
c/o Pitaka
#318-336 East 1st Ave.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V6T 4R6

All queries will be anonymous, so don't be shy.


Dear Geshe Samsarananda:

Why at the end of reciting the Manjushri mantra (OM AH RA PA TSA NA DHIH) do we quickly repeat the final syllable DHIH?

Seeking Wisdom
Dear Seeking Wisdom:

The practice is to say "DHIH DHIH DHIH DHIH DHIH DHIH DHIH DHIH…" as many times as can be uttered (preferably 108) on one breath. "DHIH" is the seed syllable of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Divine Wisdom. According to the Manjushri Sadhana, when doing this one-breath recitation, you visualize a golden-orange DHIH on your tongue from which billions of DHIHs manifest and are swallowed, filling your entire body, purifying all negative energy and its imprints, especially the dark shadow of ignorance. The visualisation and the quick recitation are connected with purifying energy winds within the body and have a physical benefit. Recitation of the Manjushri mantra invokes such qualities as the wisdom of explaining, the wisdom of debating, the wisdom of writing and the power of not forgetting possessed by the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and realised practitioners, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist.

Dear Geshe Samsarananda:

When we visualize ourselves as a deity while practising a sadhana, why dowe have to visualize a seed syllable before emergence of the deity?

Would Like to Know

Dear Would Like to Know:

What you are referring to is a profound practice of highest yoga tantra and common to all deity practices of that class. In layperson's terms, it is part of a meditative process transforming death, bardo and rebirth. In tantric terms, this process is known as "taking the three kayas as path." The three kayas (Buddha "bodies") are: Dharmakaya, Samboghakaya and Nirmanakaya. Arising as a seed syllable symbolizes the Samboghakaya (literally, the "Enjoyment Body"), the subtle mind of a Buddha, and purifies the bardo state. The "seed" then "grows" into the form of the deity, the Nirmanakaya, or actual manifestation of a Buddha, purifying rebirth. The seed syllable is the essence of the deity. It arises from emptiness, Dharmakaya, into which one has previously dissolved, purifying death. From emptiness comes the label, the concept in the form of a seed syllable from which then arises the object, the actual form of a Buddha. Visualizing the seed syllable is a natural, indispensable part of the process, as everything has a basis for its arisal. 

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