Monday, April 25, 2005

Assessment due - again.

Today I wrote a thousand words on the Tantric tradition in Buddhism which, suprisingly, turned out to be pretty damn interesting. I say this because, as you all know, I am completely over uni this semester - already. But, I learnt some very interesting things, such as why Buddhist monks chant mantras. I had always, in my ignorance, assumed that a mantra was a sort of prayer.

A mantra is actually a collection of sacred words (mostly meaningless syllables) that possess great power because it is believed that they are related to the “universal rhythms of the cosmos”. When a mantra is pronounced the right way with the right attitude (this a meditation thing), it is believed to “tune in” the student to the deity. This allows the deity to appear in a visualised form in the mind of the student. Each deity has their own mantra which acts as a type of psychic key.

Oh, and mudras, I have to tell you about the mudras. A mudra is a gesture or position of the hands during meditation. The mudra is the physical expression of a particular energy, for example, when someone is angry they will often clench their fists, displaying the physical expression of anger. In the Tantric tradition, rather than the mind dictating the gesture, a particular mudra will serve to release the relevant energies in the mind. These mudras are used during meditation to help the mind focus. The most common mudra in images of a Buddha is abhaya mudra, in which the right hand is raised with the palm facing out. This mudra is a gesture of reassurance or blessing and of fearlessness and is sometimes called the Gesture of Renunciation. The Bhumisparsa mudra is when a Buddha’s right hand is position so that it touches the earth and this represents the truth of his words. The Dhyani mudra, in which the hands are relaxed in the lap with the tips of the thumbs and fingers touching each other, is a gesture of balance and meditation.

How cool is that?


Post a Comment

<< Home