The Benefits of Reciting the Six-Syllable Mantra
by Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche
Everyone has assembled here in order to recite the six-syllable mantra. It is indeed the best way to make our human lives meaningful. In this world, the six-syllable mantra is the most suitable practice for ordinary people like ourselves. Lord Buddha has taught many different kinds of Dharma teachings, and if all those teachings are summarised in a nutshell, it is the six-syllable mantra. There can be no Dharma practice more profound than this mantra. Reciting the six-syllable mantra is extremely beneficial and necessary at this point of time. We have taken countless births in samsara, and every time we are born in samsara, we committed lots of negative karma and we have had many transgressions of precepts and vows. All these downfalls, transgressions and defilements can be purified through the recitation of this mantra.
Not only do we have this precious human life, we also possess the Buddha-nature, which is the potentiality or the seed for attaining complete enlightenment. Generally speaking, all sentient beings are Buddhas. The only difference between a Buddha and a sentient being is that the Buddha is free from all defilements while the sentient being is not. The moment the defilements are removed from the Buddha-nature of a sentient being, the sentient being becomes a Buddha. It is important to know that all these defilements which have covered our mind are temporary. They can be removed and eliminated through skillful methods such as by reciting the six-syllable mantra. All these defilements that have covered our Buddha-nature have been accumulated from countless lives in samsara. And all these defilements fall into two categories – the defilement of afflictive emotions and the defilement that obstructs one from realising the absolute reality. Both these defilements can be purified and eliminated from its roots through the recitation of the six-syllable mantra.
Everyone of us here has formed this great opportunity to recite this mantra. We must appreciate that we have formed this great opportunity through our good karma and great aspirations in the past. Each mantra that we are going to recite here will be more precious than all the wealth of the entire world, because at the end of our lives, none of that wealth can be taken with us to our next birth, but each of the mantra that we are going to recite here can be “taken” with us, even after this life. If we do not recite the six-syllable mantra, and we do not do any Dharma practice or any mental transformation, then at the end of this life, we have to go empty-handed.
I’m sure everyone of us who is here has come with devotion and faith in the Dharma. And through such devotion and faith, the power and benefit of the recitation will be extremely great. With this recitation, we can truly benefit from the teachings of the Buddha, and benefit all mother sentient beings. The six-syllable mantra actually represents our Buddha-nature. In other words, the six-syllable mantra is our own enlightened nature in the form of mantra. The six-syllable mantra also represents the three bodies or the three ‘kayas’ – Dharmakaya*, Sambhogakaya* and Nirmanakaya*.
When we do the recitation, we should not miss any word of the mantra, we should pronounce each word very clearly and completely from OM to HUM in a pleasant melody. During the recitation, we should constantly feel that we are doing the recitation in order to purify the karmic defilements, the negative karmas and the afflictive emotions of all mother sentient beings. We should again and again make supplications within our mind and say: “May all mother sentient beings attain Enlightenment. May all mother sentient beings get the opportunity to meet the Buddha within themselves.”
During the recitation, we should also keep our body, speech and mind absolutely pure by getting rid of non-virtuous deeds that we usually commit. We should try to spend the few days in this retreat like a monk in a monastery. In this way, when we do the recitation with virtuous body, speech and mind, and pure aspiration for the benefit of all mother sentient beings, then truly there will be no practice better than the recitation of this mantra. During this retreat, if we can, we should also at all times refrain from eating meat, consuming alcohol or smoking. We should try and maintain a pure body, speech and mind. And with that kind of body, speech and mind, whatever practice we do will be more powerful and meaningful. Thus, when we do the recitation, there is a great power to it which will bring happiness and peace to all sentient beings.
I personally have received some kind of a prediction or prophecy from the three ‘kayas’ to benefit sentient beings by expounding the powerful benefits of the six-syllable mantra. Because of that, I have been promoting the recitation of the six-syllable mantra everywhere. I would like to reiterate that all the defilements, all the negative karma that we have been accumulating, can be purified and dispelled from our mind because they are temporary. It is very important to know that the recitation of the six-syllable mantra is the antidote to these temporary defilements. The benefits of reciting the six-syllable mantra are so immense that they are immeasurable. Hence during the recitation of the mantra, you should constantly supplicate within your mind:
“May all the defilements in the minds of all sentient beings and myself be purified. May all of us get the opportunities to meet the Buddha within face to face. May all sentient beings and myself take birth in the land of bliss, in Western Paradise – the land of Amitabha Buddha, after death, and from there may all of us attain complete Enlightenment.”
In this way, you can benefit yourself as well as others. The six-syllable mantra which we called “mani” is the most suitable Dharma practice that ordinary people like ourselves can have. Through this skilful way of practice, we have the way to become enlightened, we have the way to purify our minds. If we don’t attempt to expel the defilements and negative karma from our minds and practise in this way, then we will always remain as ordinary sentient beings.
You should recite the mantra at all times, even when you are walking and sitting, and not just at the shrine. You should recite the mantra whenever you can, and as often as you can. If you recite OM MANI PADME HUM, you will meet the Buddha within.
My health hasn’t been good for the past few months. Even then, I have decided to come here to lead this retreat. Because I thought if I do not come and lead this retreat, it would be like giving up on sentient beings and if I do that, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will not be pleased. Thus, despite my poor health, I am here.
* Dharmakaya : The Body of ultimate reality which is the absolute emptiness aspect of all Buddhas.
* Sambhogakaya : The Bliss Body of a Buddha.
* Nirmanakaya : The Manifestation Body of a Buddha.