I have written this book, The Divine Mantra, as a means of drawing to purity those who practice the Dhamma, because the chant given here brings benefits to those who memorize and recite it, inasmuch as it deals directly with matters that exist in each of us. Normally, once we are born, we all dwell in the six properties. These properties are brought together by our own actions, both good and evil. This being the case, these properties can give a great deal of trouble to those who dwell in them, like a child who can be a constant nuisance to its parents. Repeating this chant, then, is like nourishing and training a child to be healthy and mature; when the child is healthy and mature, its parents can rest and relax. Repeating this chant is like feeding a child and lulling it to sleep with a beautiful song: the Buddhaguṇa, the recitation of the Buddha’s virtues.
The power of the Buddhaguṇa can exert influence on the properties in each individual, purifying them and investing them with power (kāya-siddhi), just as all material properties exert gravitational pull on one another every second. Or you might make a comparison with an electric wire: This chant is like an electric current, extending to wherever you direct it. It can even improve the environment, because it also includes the chant of the Kapila hermit, whose story runs as follows:
There was once a hermit who repeated this chant in a teak forest in India. As a result, the forest became a paradise. The trees took turns producing flowers and fruit throughout the year. The waters were crystal clean. Any diseased animal that happened to pass into the forest and drink the water would be completely cured of its illness. The grasses and vines were always fresh and green. Fierce animals that normally attacked and ate one another would, when entering the forest, live together in peace as friends. Life was joyous for animals in this forest. The smell of dead animals never appeared because whenever an animal was about to die, it would have to go and die elsewhere. This forest is where the Buddha’s ancestors, the Sakyan clan, later established their capital, Kapilavatthu, which still stands today within the borders of Nepal.
All of this was due to the sacred power of the chant repeated by the Kapila hermit. And this is how he did it: First, he faced the east and repeated the chant day and night for seven days; the second week, he faced north; the third week, south; and the fourth week, west. The fifth week, he looked down toward the earth; the sixth week, he raised his hands and lifted his face to the sky, made his heart clear, and focused on the stars as the object of his meditation. The seventh week, he practiced breath meditation, keeping his breath in mind and letting it spread out in every direction through the power of a mind infused with the four Sublime Attitudes: good will, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Thus the chant was named The Divine Mantra.
When all of this was related to me while I was in India, I couldn’t help thinking of the Buddha, who was pure by virtue of the peerless quality of his heart to the point where he was able to invest the properties in his body with power, making them more pure than any other properties in the world. His relics, for example, have appeared to those devoted to him and, I have heard, come and go on their own, which is very strange indeed.
All of these things are accomplished through the power of a pure heart. When the heart is pure, the properties also become pure as a result. When these properties exist in the world, they can have a refreshing influence on the environment—because all properties are interrelated. If we Buddhists set our minds on training ourselves in this direction, we can be a powerful influence to the good in proportion to our numbers. But if we don’t train ourselves and instead run about filling ourselves with evil, our hearts are bound to become hot and disturbed. The flames in our hearts are bound to set the properties in our bodies on fire, and the heat from these inner fires is certain to spread in all directions throughout the world.
As this heat gathers and becomes greater, it will raise temperatures in the atmosphere around the world. The heat from the sun will become fiercer. Weather will become abnormal. The seasons, for example, will deviate from their normal course. And when this happens, human life will become more and more of a hardship. The ultimate stage of this evil will be the destruction of the world by the fires at the end of the eon, which will consume the earth.
All this from our own thoughtlessness, letting nature by and large go ahead and follow this course—which shows that we’re not very rational, because everything has a reason, everything comes from a cause. The world we live in has the heart as its cause. If the heart is good, the world is sure to be good. If the heart is corrupt, the world is sure to be corrupt.
Thus, in this book I have written down the way to train the heart so as to lead to our happiness and wellbeing in the coming future.