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The Three Word Complete Maintainer Mantra
Living Buddha Dechan Jueren, May 28, 2000
Transcriber: Jim Stewart
Dari Rulai Temple, Los Angeles, CA
Esoteric Buddhism teaches the attainment of Buddhahood in this body. My goal is that, among my disciples here, about 60% should reach a certain level of understanding within a few years. To attain that level of realization depends first on my teachings, and, more importantly, on your effort to learn. If you don’t practice, then it will not be effective. If you are hungry and I give you a dish of food, but you don’t eat, then it does not satisfy your hunger.
The first mantra is “the complete maintainer,” or the “three syllable” mantra: Aum, Ah, Houm.
Aum symbolizes “All and Every Buddha.”
Ah symbolizes “All and Every Bodhisatva.”
Houm symbolizes “All and Every Vajra.”
That’s why this mantra is called “the complete maintainer.”
The application of this mantra depends on the different temples, altars and rituals involved. If you are making an offering of food or money to the altar, this mantra symbolizes your intent. When you do a service, this mantra is a blessing for the service you are performing for a person.
For example, when you are making an incense offering to the Buddhas, take three sticks, light the fire at the tip, but do not blow on it. Just move it in a circle to encourage the fire. Do not use a broken piece of incense.
Every day make an incense offering as a way of practicing dharma. When you raise the incense sticks above your head, you are forming a mudra. Silently chant the three syllable mantra, and visualize as follows:
Aum – hold your hands in front of your crown, visualize, “My body, mind and speech are three as one as the Buddha.”
Ah – hold your hands in front of your throat, visualize, “My mind is as pure as the lotus.”
Houm – hold your hands in front of your heart, visualize, “My consciousness is a firm seed to attain the highest awareness.”
After you have made the three movements, place the incense on the altar, the first stick goes in the middle, the others go on either side, left or right first doesn’t matter, just as long as the tips of the three sticks line up.
Another use of this mantra is as follows:
Aum – visualize a brilliant white light nectar of elixirs enter the top of your head, wash through your body so all the karmas of your bodies through many lifetimes are quickly purified.
Ah – visualize a brilliant red light nectar of elixirs enter your throat and quickly purify the karma of your mouth in this life.
Houm – visualize a brilliant blue light nectar elixir enter your heart and
all the karmas of your mind through many lifetimes are quickly purified.
As you go through your day to day work, every moment think of these 3 things and you will quickly purify your body, mind and speech. You will receive blessings of every Buddha, Bodhisatva and Vajra.
Please take this knowledge into your heart so you will never forget it.
Until June 30, every day I will lead the chanting and I will teach you the “Tongue Dharma”, the Surangama Dharma and many rituals and stories about how to attain enlightenment, so try to be here every day.
The main dharmas I will teach you this year are the Surangama – Heroic March and the Vajracita – Diamond Heart, and perhaps at the end of the year, the Lion’s Roar and the Great Compassion.
You can also come to the temple during the day and learn from whoever is here.
My wish is for at least some of you to quickly attain to a certain level of understanding so you will know enough to go and teach others. Then you will be the light that leads everyone toward enlightenment, to help them rise to ever higher standards of attainment. On that day the Master and Kuo will no longer teach, and will just translate the dharma, sutras and tantras.
Questions and Answers by Kuo (not Master Yu)
Note that there is a nasal m on the end of the word Houm.
We will not translate the meanings of the mantras, because they are difficult to translate.
After June 30, the master is likely to be traveling and Kuo will lead the teachings, supplemented by the other students.
After you light it, you circle the incense three times in either direction (it doesn’t matter).
Aum – Buddha symbolizes the highest purity and awareness (white)
Ah – Bodhisatva symbolizes those on the path toward Buddhahood (red)
Houm – Vajra symbolizes the indestructible thunderbolt (the dark blue is the color of space of the night skies)
You should chant the Surangama mantra every day, any number of times, any time in the day. You can also listen to the meditation tapes if you have the time, but learn the mantra first.
Counting with the hands and fingers: each finger position is a mantra, (there are over 2000 mantras).
Start with palms down. When you start chanting, turn left palm up and touch the thumb to the first finger. Move the little finger to right for the first saying of the mantra, then move each successive finger to right. After you finish moving the thumb, then turn the right palm up and move the fingers and thumb in succession, starting with the little finger. After completing ten chants, move the left thumb to the second finger, turn the right palm over and repeat. After you complete 30, place the left palm in the right palm, raise your hands to your heart, and move your right fingers and thumb for five more, then move your left thumb for #36. Then place your hands on your knees and begin the second round of 36.
If you are only counting six, use only the left hand, touch your thumb to the index finger, then the rest of the 4 fingers. turn over hand with fingers curled, for #5 first extend the thumb, then for #6 extend the index finger.
To count 9 times, do 4 with left hand as above, then 4 with the right hand with 4 fingers, then for # 9 place both hands palms down.