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The Buddhist Mantra

Go into any Buddhist temple, anywhere in the world, and you will see people praying to the Buddha. Though these people are true believers, they do not follow the basic understanding of their own religion. The Buddha was/is not a god.
When Siddhartha Gautama, the Sakyamuni Buddha was asked, “Are you a god?” He said, “No, I’m just a man.” Are you a guru?” “No, I’m just a man.”
In Christianity, for example, Jesus is understood to be the son of god. In John 11:25, Jesus proclaims, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” In Mark 14:61, 62, it is stated that Jesus, during his arraignment before Caiaphas, was asked, “Art thou the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Blessed?” He answered, “I am.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus is quoted as making the statements, “Before Abraham was, I am.” “I and the Father are one,” And, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” In the Christian religion, which rose out of Judaism, there is a definite god that one is expected to prey to.
Though Jesus proclaimed his god status, this was/is not the case with the Buddha. Yet, throughout the centuries, the Buddha has been eternally worshiped and prayed to by his followers.
For anyone who has studied the Tenets of Buddhism, they understand, worship is not what this religion is based upon. Yet, everywhere you look, people are praying to the Buddha.
Buddhism is a religion based around the individual gaining a higher state of personal and universal awareness. This is accomplished via meditation. Buddhism teaches relinquishing the constraints of the material world. But, what is prayer? Prayer is asking that the higher being give you what you want. Prayer is about desire. But, desire is the exact opposite to what the entire concept of Buddhism is based upon.
To the Buddhist, they use meditation as a tool to guide one way from material desire. Though there are a number of methods of meditation taught in Buddhism, the goal of each of them is to silence the mind so it can gain insight into the Higher Self. Thus, leaving behind the need for material adornments. One of the primary methods to achieve this is via mantra mediation. Perhaps the most well known of the Buddhist mantras is, “Om Mani Padme Hum.” This mantra is known as the Avalokiteshvara Mantra. This mantra first appeared in the Mahayana Kāra
ṇḍavyūhasūtra composed near the end of the fourth century of the common era.
The literal translation of Om Mani Padme Hum is, “Praise to the jewel in the lotus.” This has been interpreted many ways over the millennia. But, in brief, Om is the primordial sound. The most sacred sound in the universe. Mani Padam Hum describes the lotus representing purity and the jewel that can be thought of as the individual finding their own enlightenment in this purity.
This mantra is based in the Hindu philosophy which was the parent to Buddhism. Hinduism, unlike Buddhism, does embrace the worship of gods, and the praying to gods. There are many ceremonies in the Hindu faith designed to invoke the blessing of the gods. But, though the Buddha was a Hindu, this is in complete contrast to what this new religion uses as its fundamental teachings. One does not worship a god. One does not pray for their desires. Instead, one seeks to move away from all things material in order to find the Buddha Mind.
The reason all of this is important is that what we find here is one of the key flaws in all religions. People interpret them to suit their own needs. They read the scriptures and construe them to mean what they want them to mean. Though the various scriptures, from all religions, may be very pure in their absolute teachings, people choose to take parts and parcels, grab a word here or a stanza there, and decipher them so that they mean what they want them to mean. Thus, by the very nature of the human being, many/most due to possess the aptitude to truly understand the subtle doctrines presented in the scripture. They are simply a means for each individual to find and to justify a reason for their behavior. The followers of Buddhism are a prime example of this.
What can we learn from this? What we can learn, and hopefully truly understand, is that scripture should not be altered by the human mind to mean what we want them to mean. If we are true to our faith, we must practice our faith as it was laid down by its founders, not by someone who simply takes the words of the scriptures and turns them around to develop their own meaning.