One must understand the basic usage of mantra, or sacred syllables, in the teachings of Buddhism. Mantra is not at all a magical spell used in order to gain psychic powers for selfish purposes, such as accumulation of wealth, power over others, and destruction of enemies. According to the Buddhist teachings, all tantric practices, such as visualizations, hatha yoga, or any other yogic practices, must be based on the fundamental teaching of the Buddha, which is the understanding of the four marks of existence: impermanence (anitya), suffering (duhkha), void or emptiness (shunyata), and egolessness (anatman.) Divinities in Buddhism are not external. In other words, they are aspects of the awakened state of mind, such as the great bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara representing the compassionate aspect of buddha nature. There are various mantras, or sacred syllables, connected with these great beings, which help to achieve the essence of compassion, wisdom, or energy. From "Hum: An Approach to Mantra," in THE COLLECTED WORKS OF CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, Volume Five, pages 317 to 318. . All material by Chogyam Trungpa is copyright Diana J. Mukpo and used by permission.
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