Pronunciation of Mantras

Yutang Lin

Sanskrit, ancient or dialectal pronunciation of mantras
Compete for the claim to be most efficient and correct.
Tantric teachings are revealed through mouth and ears;
Only the Guru's pronunciation is esteemed as genuine.


How to decide on the standard pronunciation of mantras? In recent years some advocated Sanskrit pronunciation, while others ancient pronunciation or certain dialectal ones in accordance with some archaeological studies. According to tantric traditions mantras should be transmitted by Gurus of proper lineage. Disciples should rely only on the pronunciation of the Guru, and disregard any other considerations.

As to mantras that have become well-known to many Buddhists such as the Six-syllable Mantra of Avalokitesvara and the Great Compassion Mantra Buddhists, who have not had the opportunity to receive them from authentic Gurus but have great faith and esteem in them, and have practiced their chanting with devotion and perseverance, could also inspire Buddha's blessing and yield miraculous effects. This is due to the fact that Dharmakaya is omnipresent and eternal, and that whenever the mind is pure it is naturally in oneness with the Dharmakaya, transcending the bondage of formality.

Written in Chinese on March 12, 2002
Translated on March 16, 2002
El Cerrito, California

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