Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 05/23/2013

Tayata Om Muni Muni Maha Munaye Soha

Sakyamuni BuddhaThe title of today’s post is the mantra of the Lord Buddha according to the Tibetan tradition. If you have been following my posts of late, you will know that I am exploring the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism with a view to learning additional techniques for cultivating the brahma viharas, especially compassion  Still, I am continually finding myself stymied by my own preferences and proclivities. Perhaps the greatest stumbling blocks for me are the bodhisattva ideal of aspiring to full buddhahood and of venerating and taking refuge in deities and beings other than the Ti-Sarana.

In regard to the first issue, I simply cannot honestly declare that I want to achieve the state of a samma-sambuddha for the sake of all beings let alone understand what such an aspiration would mean. Even the Lord Buddha himself paused immediately after his Awakening and considered if he should teach for the benefit of all beings before being asked to do so by Brahma. So, although I commend and take inspiration form the Mahayana in certain respects, I certainly cannot aspire to be a buddha nor lead other eigs to buddhahood. Maybe it’s simply a problem of terminology but it is a problem for me nonetheless.

The second issue is one that has actually caused a truly visceral reaction: taking refuge in other beings besides the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Initially, when I considered exploring the Vajrayana I thought I could hack it but the idea of venerating and placing Avalokiteshvara above the Lord Buddha literally fills me with disgust and dread.  I am, quite frankly, surprised and embarrassed by my reaction but I guess I didn’t realize quite how deeply my saddha had penetrated into my heart.

So, because I hate to give up a project once I have undertaken to complete it I went in search of sadhana and visualization practices that took the Lord Gotama Buddha as their object of veneration and refuge. Hence the mantra which I am using for the title of this post. In addition to the mantra, there are several sadhanas which require only a slight bit of editing for me to be able to use them in my practice and there are also a number of visualization meditations which I would like to learn as an alternate way of practicing buddhanussati. Why all the trouble to reinvent the wheel? Well, as I said, I am interested in learning additional practices not found in my home tradition and my stumbling upon the Sakyamuni mantra and visualization just gives me more of an impetus to do so. I think it’s especially timely given that tomorrow is Visakha Puja.

Please find these excellent mediation instructions on visualizing the Lord Buddha here:

In addition, you can find many variations of the mantra on YouTube but here is a good one:


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A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.