The problem of mantras is particularly interesting
to discuss because Europeans (or Americans) and Tibetans differ in their approach.
In Tibet, the Buddhist tradition is ancient, the result being that everyone
acknowledges reciting mantras has beneficial effects. As for Westerners, they
often see the mantras only as words, just an activity of speech, and do not
understand their effect. They do not clearly see how these words can act on
POWER OF SPEECH
It is true, in a certain way, that words are only sounds getting lost in space. Nevertheless, they are vectors of great power. This power is obvious even in daily situations. ¡K
The importance words play in our studies is known; they are an indispensable vehicle. A Tibetan saying well emphasizes the power of speech:
"Words are neither sharp nor cutting,
but they can cut the heart of a human being."
CHASING OUR RETICENSES
Some Westerners, as previously stated, think that mantras are nothing but sounds without meaning, that reciting them is only wasting time, and that it is much better to meditate.¡KIn a way, meditation should arouse even more doubts than mantras. One does nothing while meditating!
Reticence concerning the recitation of mantras comes from two factors.
h ignorance of the function and benefit of the mantras described by the Buddha
h lack of reflection on the precious human existence, death and impermanence, law of karma and on the unsatisfactory nature of samsara [cyclic existence - a state of ignorance characterized by suffering, in which one experience a continuous round of rebirths].
Even if one has some knowledge of the Dharma [Buddhist teachings], but is lazy, reciting a mantra seems a difficult exercise.
Kalu Rinpoche, at Samye Ling, March 1983