Mantra & Deity Yoga
Updated: Jan 12, 2022
The purpose of deity yoga is to connect with the mind of an enlightened being. Through mantra, visualization and in some cases, an empowerment from a guru, a practitioner can create a powerful connection with omnipotent personage. This is one of the functions of the Generation Phase practice in Buddhist Tantra.
The mantras and practices of various deities have particular effects. For example, the Cundi, Mantra is extremely effective for opening the heart chakra, awakening prajna (wisdom), changing one's fortune and has a strong wish fulfilling capability. Other mantras like Om Mani Padme Hum, which means the Jewel in the Lotus, are used to awaken the Pineal Gland and connect with the female Buddha Kuan Yin.
Cundi Bodhisattva (above) is recognized as a manifestation of Kuan Yin, the female Buddha of compassion and mercy. Through the recitation of her mantra, it is possible to connect with her mind of infinite compassion. Each one of her eighteen arms represents are particular quality of enlightenment, such as the undying zeal to save sentient beings from suffering. The Cundi practice was probably absorbed into Mahayana Buddhism through the tantrism of ancient India.
The Mahacundi Dharani Sutra of the Mahayana Canon states that the mantra has saved numberless beings and liberated countless dharma-farers. Cundi is referred to as the mother of seven million buddhas, which may also be a poetic way of saying she is a manifestation of wisdom. Wisdom is the mother of countless buddhas.
The Cundi mantra opens the heart, central channel, and crown center, which allows you to experience boundless compassion, spiritual transformation, even as some claim, enlightenment. Why can't we be one with God, See the Tao or have infinite compassion right now? Because in the ordinary person the heart chakra, crown, and central channel are not fully 'opened.' Active sure, but not opened at the level of spiritual attainment. All spiritual attainment and evolution is linked to the development of consciousness, merits, the chakras and energy body.
According to William Bodri, the Cundi Mantra is one of two mantras that can actually open the heart chakra and is so effective that it was even used by the Zen school, which is a sect of Buddhism that disregards reliance on techniques and methods. The late Master Nan Haui-chin and the chinese historical figure Liao Fan used this mantra for enlightenment and wish fulfillment.
When reciting the Cundi mantra from the heart center, you can visualize the materialization and manifestation of a wish or goal. So be careful what you wish for. The mantra is also used as a healing prayer.
According the Mahacundi Dharani Sutra, an auspicious sign of progress with this mantra is to dream of vomiting a black substance. This is indicative of the purifying effects of the mantra on the physical body, channels, meridians and subtle bodies.
The supramundane function of the Cundi mantra is to awaken prajna (wisdom), which can be described as (1) direct insight into the nature of reality and/or (2) unobstructed, awakened mind.
"Learned Audience, what is Prajna? It means Wisdom. If at all times and at all places we steadily keep our thought free from foolish desire, and act wisely on all occasions, then we are practicing Prajna. One foolish notion is enough to shut off Prajna, while one wise thought will bring it forth again. People in ignorance or under delusion do not see it; they talk about it with their tongues, but in their mind they remain ignorant. They are always saying that they practice Prajna, and they talk incessantly on Vacuity, but they do not know the Absolute Void. The Heart of Wisdom is Prajna, which has neither form nor characteristic. If we interpret it in this way, then indeed it is the wisdom of Prajna." -6th Patriarch Hui-Neng
In meditation, the application of mindfulness is the placing of attention, which will produce samadhi or concentration. The opened-up consciousness which is observing or witnessing in meditation is a form of prajna wisdom. There are other definitions of prajna we will touch on later.
After some time practicing the Cundi mantra, it is not unusual to begin to experience non-duality, or oneness with all. This effect, I believe, is attributed to the merging of consciousness with the mind essence of Cundi Bodhisattva, and the activation of the heart center.
Activation of the heart chakra causes an increase in the downpour of divine energy into the crown chakra. Aside from these observable effects, the mantra works on personal karma and deeper levels unfathomable to sentient beings and yet-to-be enlightened meditators.
To practice the simplified version of the Cundi Mantra, feel the image of Cundi at the heart center on the breastbone or 6 inches from the breastbone and recite the mantra below.
Namo Saptanam Sammyaksambuddha Kotinam Tadyatha
Om Cale Cule Cundi Svaha
Which means, I pay homage to Cundi, the mother of 7 million Buddhas! What else is referred to as the mother of Buddhas? Prajnaparamita, revealed by Avalokiteshvara in the famous Heart Sutra. There's a clue on opening the backside of the Heart center.
Om Brin is the mantra for Manjushri Bodhisattva and is sometimes added to the end of the Cundi Mantra. Recite the mantra. Memorize it. Practice and after a short period of time, take the backseat and listen to the mantra from within.