No written word can do true justice for the Shurangama Mantra and its power.
It is the longest Buddhist mantra in existence, and the prosperity of the world depends entirely on the practice of this mantra.
It is nearly impossible to master but reaps great rewards when its powers are harnessed.
It is said that this mantra is what protects all of humanity from evil demons, ghosts, spirits, and natural disasters. It also protects humanity from itself, helping to stop impulsive human desires that could harm people and the earth.
Every line of the Shurangama Mantra has significant purpose and reach; even just connecting with the mantra in parts is a fruitful practice.
If you learn the mantra fully, you will undoubtedly become a Buddha in your lifetime. It is the mastery of this mantra that promises a flourishing future for Buddhism itself.
The Full Title
The full title of the Shurangama Mantra is “mo he sa dan tuo bo da la tuo lo ni zhou” which means, “Great White Canopy of Light Dharani Mantra.”
The great white canopy of light symbolizes the pure protective canopy that envelops one who learns this mantra.
If you learn parts of it or are a less dedicated practitioner, the great white canopy may only emit right above you, protecting you but not radiating to those around you.
The stronger bond you form with the mantra and the more dedicated you become to it, the broader reach that canopy has and the more protection you can offer the world from evil.
The great white light is said to illuminate from the crown of Buddha and radiate all over the entire earth when the Shurangama Mantra is alive and well.
If the mantra is ever forgotten, or no one aims to learn it, chaos will break out around the world, evil will present itself in so many forms, and all connection with the harmony Buddhism brings will be lost.
This mantra was created to protect a young monk, Ananda. It is said that Ananda was having alms round and collecting food offerings from strangers when he passed by a house of prostitutes.
Ananda was sexually excited in this situation, going against Buddhist teachings.
He almost lost his monk status, but Shakyamuni Buddha realized Ananda’s possible peril and illuminated light from his crown and proclaimed the Shurangama Mantra.
Shakyamuni Buddha asked Manjuri Bodhisattva to help release Ananda from the grips of evil. Once Ananda was released and joined Buddha, he asked for the Shurangama Mantra to be repeated so he could learn it.
It is the cycle that Ananda started that has kept the Shurangama Mantra alive and well in Buddhism all these years.
Mastering the Mantra
To be clear, this mantra is not a simple one to master. It’s incredibly long and complicated, requiring a complete surrender of one’s mind to the practice and understanding of this mantra. It is not enough to memorize the mantra, though that itself is a near-impossible feat.
You have to become one with the mantra, internalize it, and memorize it so well that reciting it back is almost an involuntary function of your body and brain.
There is a saying that goes, “The mantra is the mind and the mind is the mantra,” which highlights the importance of memorizing and internalizing the mantra so deeply that you become one entity with it. The mantra flows out of you and back into you in a constant loop.
Once the only function of the mind becomes the Shurangama Mantra, you have mastered it. No idle thoughts are allowed in, and you feel compelled to recite the mantra through and through, that’s how you know you have mastered the Shurangama Mantra.
The Reach of the Mantra
It’s nearly impossible to understand the full reach and capabilities of the mantra.
At a high level, it gives guidance and protection over many things. Some of the main teachings of the mantra are:
- The understanding of the potential within all beings to become a Buddha. This is called the Buddha nature.
- It teaches how and why Buddha-nature is hidden within all of us.
- It shows how to reveal this nature and harness it in our own minds.
- Emphasizes the fact that personal integrity and a pure life are prerequisites in achieving enlightenment
- It introduces principles of Buddhist meditation and many meditative practices.
It’s a disservice to the Shurangama Mantra to try and explain it in a concise, summarized way since it’s so vast and ever-reaching.
It is said that if even one person in existence connects with and keeps this mantra alive, then all of the earth will be protected from evil.
It’s clear that with influence that strong on all beings that it’s not easy to understand or connect with.
Buddhists can spend their whole lives trying to become one with this mantra, but it’s rare to be successful.
Our Prosperity Depends on the Shurangama Mantra
This is not something to be taken lightly; if the Shurangama Mantra is lost, humanity as we know it is doomed.
We need to keep the light alive, allowing all Buddhas and their crowns to emit radiant light over all human and non-human life.
The tangible world itself can be overwhelmingly dangerous and protection is needed from that. However, the intangible world is even more complex and dangerous to life, so the Shurangama Mantra has to provide a canopy of light from both tangible and intangible dangers.
If you are a Buddhist and you are committed to salvation for all, please connect with this mantra.
It won’t be simple, and it may be all-consuming, but it can also be all-protective for all living things. It’s difficult to truly understand the peril that humanity would face without this mantra circulating as the ultimate protection. Without it, we could see a rapid release of disease, catastrophes, and evil.
The evil that we see will not only be evil that we, as humans, can understand. For the sake of all of us, the Shurangama Mantra has to flow over us.
If that happens forever, the success of Buddhism will be proven.
Image credit – @Getty
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