The Divine Mantra

Ajaan Lee

The Divine Mantra

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.

This reflection by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo is from the Chanting book, The Divine Mantra, “Introduction,” translated from the Thai by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu.