Buddhist Reflection: Mantras & Affirmations

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Sometimes when I am meditating I like to repeat mantras or affirmations. A mantra is defined as a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of creating spiritual or mental transformation. Not only are they great ways to keep focused during meditation but they are a very effective form of positive reinforcement.

Virtually anything can be used as a mantra, as long as it has meaning to the person reciting it. It can consist of one word, such as “Happy. Happy. Happy”, to an entire sentence or phrase, “May I be well. May I be at peace.” Some recite poetry, blessings, prayers, etc.

As for me, I have a couple of “go to” mantras I like to use. When I’m upset or distracted I repeat the phrase “Breathing in, I calm mind and body. Breathing I smile.” Sometimes I substitute “smile” for “let go”. When I’m doing metta (loving kindness) meditation I use the following, “May I be happy. May I be free. May I be disciplined. May I let go.” When I want to extend that positive energy to others I visualize the person I want to send metta to and say “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from harm.” The following is a favorite of mine, one that I draw strength from. It’s a Tibetan meditation song called Locana: The Shakti of Vairocana:

The musicality of being is a great mountain cracking open
Splintering powerful lights and shining colors in all directions
It is the rumbling of massive ice flows, bursting open
That the inside may be seen, of new and clear crystal

I am the opening one, the knife which slashes the Void
Spilling out from within the jewels which it holds
Like a bandit, splitting his burlap bags to see the silver and gold
Like a king scattering precious stones
Like a saint, rending his body that the animals may eat

I am creativity, birth, and new beginnings
My light is mother of pearl, shining silver at a distance
Shining all colors when close

I open the tree that the branch may grow
I spread the tissues of women that the infant may emerge
I cause rain in great profusion
New worlds, the exploding of great suns
The entrance of new ideas

I open the skies that light may shine down, that plants and animals may flourish
I open the eyes of all beings, that they may perceive around them
The endless birth

My lord is Vairocana, the most high one
He is the essence of being, the beginning of existence
He has no form, yet he creates order
He is the first shimmering light which floats upon the Void
He is nothingness whose desire to create
Has created me

He is endlessly sweet, the nectar of true knowledge
He is pure and delicate, yet endlessly powerful
When all form is destroyed, by fire and black rain
He is untouched, to begin again
The cycles of creation.

I’m still working on memorizing this, it’s extremely long, but it’s a great inspiration to meditate to. I encourage others to find mantras or affirmations that inspire them. They really work wonders for the state of mind.

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