Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

Mantra

Posted: July 20, 2012 in Theology
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From ignorance, lead me to truth;
From darkness, lead me to light;
From death, lead me to immortality
Om peace, peace, peace

Mantra’s originated in the Vedic tradition of INdia, an essential part of the Hindu tradition and also a customary practise within the Buddhism, Sikh and Jainism religions. The Om Syllable is believed to be the “Sound of the Universe” and in Vedanta mysticism is a mantra in it’s own right.

Hindu tantre also came to see the letters as well as the sounds as divine representatives, the shift towards writing came when Buddhism travelled to China. The Chinese culture prized their written language far more highly then those of the Indian Buddhist Missionaries, and the writing of mantra’s became a spiritual practise in its own right.

The Brahmins had been strict on the correct pronunciation but the Chinese were more concerned with the correct text. This practise of writing the mantra’s was refined further in Japan. The writing in the Siddham script, in which the Sanskrit of many Buddhist Sutras was written, is only really seen in Japan nowadays.

Mantras were originally part of the Vedas, most follow a pattern of two line “shlokas” though they can be found in a single line, or even a word. The most basic being the Om, known as pranava mantra. Om is considered the most fundamental and powerful mantra and is suffixed to all Hindu prayers. Whilst some might invoke individual gods the most fundamental like “Om”, the “Shanti Mantra” and “Gayatri Mantra” all focus on One reality.

In the Hindu Tantrea the universe is sound, creation consists of vibrations and sounds and these ultimately create the world and the purest vibrations are the Var.nas. Each letter becomes a mantra and the language is reflected in this manner, the seed syllable Om represents the underlying unity of reality, which is Brahman.

Here are some of the forms of Mantra, I have taken the list from Wikipedia.
Bhajan: spiritual songs.
Kirtan: repetition of God’s name in songs.
Prayer: a way of communing with God.
Healing mantra
Guru mantra: the first initiation (Diksha) given by the master to the
disciple.
Bija mantra: a bija mantra represents the essence of a mantra (e.g. Om).

Mantra Japa – the concept of the Vedic sages uses the repetition of mantra. It is repeated in numbers (often multiples of three) with the most popular being 108. Hindu Malas (bead necklaves) would often contain 108 beads for this reason, and also the head beads. The fingers counts each mantra and should the devotee wish to do another 108 they would turn the mala around without crossed the head bead and repeat.

One of my favourite subjects is vampires. I have tried to hold off from making this yet another vampire blog but I can hardly ignore them now can I?

I’ll try to keep this set of posts to a minimum, there is so much to cover but I will just go through the bits I love the most and hope to get it out of my system and on to other weird, wacky or strange finds.

Vampires are recorded through many cultures and seem to have various  claimed roots. Romania is probably one of the most famous thanks to Bram Stoker’s Dracula but that’s not the only book, I would of course advise any enthusiast of non-sparkling vampires to get their fangs into it. Some of the most heightened panics of vampire hysteria led to beheaded corpses and staked bodies.

The romanticised version can most likely be traced back to John Polidori, The Vampyre, 1819 who gave the vampire a charismatic and sophisticated overhaul, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel secured the vampire’s literary romance and passion creating a genre of horror that has brought the nightmares to many modern formats including gaming and television series.

A noted first appearance of the word vampire comes from the Oxford English Dictionary, 1734. They reported about a local practice in Europe of exhuming bodies and “killing vampires.” Quite often a trait of the vampire is that are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, witches, or a possessed malevolent spirit in a corpse or by being bitten.

It is hard to make a single definition of what a vampire actually is but the biggest thing that seems to have followed them around is the desire to drink the life fluid, blood. Without blood the vampire cannot feed correctly and will whither away, though not necessarily die. Common denominators in the vampire’s appearance are a healthy, perhaps bloated, corpse that show recent blood drinking. Perhaps there was even blood escaping when the body was later exhumed, the teeth had developed to be sharper or even fangs (see previous posts about fangs) and the nails and hair had grown. It is worth noting that in many tales of this undead creature there are not always mentions of fangs.

Finding the vampire might lead you to need a virgin stallion (black or white depending on the area) to lead around the graveyard. If it shies you know you are on the right spot. Hole around a grave might show signs of a vampire (or mole infestation in my view), perhaps the livestock keep dying off and if you are not in goatsucker territory you might consider a vampire. Oh and if your vampire is of the fanged variety I would suggest a regular check for bite marks.

Creating a vampire.

Again there seems to be no generic way, which is probably a good thing for any writers out there. Perhaps an animal jumped over the corpse, a body was left along with untreated wounds, people who have come back from beyond and taken a new body (I’d prefer a living sample to possess thanks). Another is that the vampire forces it’s blood into a living victim (and of course it’s bound to be a sexy virgin).

There are of course attempts that can be made to prevent the terrible curse of blood drinking immortality, ranging from burying someone upside down to pre-staking them just in case. Earthly objects can be put into the mouth, though I suspect that would be better placed with the idea of paying to cross the River Styx than to worry about vampires.

One I do like is the idea that a vampire is suddenly imbued with a supernatural OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) so putting rice or poppy seeds on the floor would force them to be distracted into counting them until they could be despatched after the confirmation of their being. This one seems more common place in Indian, Southern American and Chinese myths.