Hindu Roots, Buddhist Roots

Beads photoI’ve been in Paris several weeks now and my life is starting to take on some shape.

I have some work teaching English to keep me ticking over and have been extremely lucky to have linked up with a French friend of mine from the old days who has plugged me into her group of friends, so it’s not all work, work, work.

And my daily practice continues.

I wrote a while back about the Gayatri Mantra.  It has become a daily fixture for me, alongside Green Tara.  In combination, these two mantras create a mental and physical reality in me so peaceful and at the same time so active that I can truly say I have never felt better in my life than I do now.

Since starting my practice over two and a half years ago, I have been struck by the fact that the mantras I chant originate in two different traditions; Buddhist and Hindu.  It seems to me from my continued reading and research that these two spiritual ‘lines’ are closely linked.  Indeed, I understand that Green Tara is chanted to in both groups.  Representations of Tara are found from the lush hillsides of Sri Lanka right up to the crags and plateaus of Tibet.  She is everywhere!

For me there is a slightly different ‘feel’ to the Buddhist and Hindu mantras.

The former have a bracing quality of the steady movement of air at high altitude and the distant view of mountain tops in an endless, sparkling sky.  The latter evoke in me the low-lying plains of India, fecund, still and quiet, where the smoke from the temple incense rises undisturbed in the shimmering heat.  Both are beautiful to me.

Part of me wishes I understood why the chanting of mantras has such a palpable effect.  My mind, my body, every part of me feels them.  Sometimes I set myself anew on the search, consulting Uncle Google again to see if somewhere, someone has delineated the mechanism whereby the repetition of certain groups of sounds can change the state of the one who utters them so profoundly.  But another part of me is content simply to experience them.

Life is, after all, a complete and utter mystery.  We don’t know where we came from, why, or where we are bound when it comes to (what seems to be) the end.  So, I reason, why not reflect that mystery, dive in to that mystery, acknowledge that mystery?  No use fighting it.

We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend we’ve got it all sewn up if we wish.  Personally, I would rather not spend my time doing that.  🙂

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

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