Home' Nova National : January 2009 Contents 30
© NOVA JANUARY 2010
In a previous article on Buddhism, I
mentioned the importance placed in
the practice of daily meditation. While
there are multiple forms of meditation being
practised in Eastern religions, in Buddhism
the most common exercise is known as the
four thoughts, or the four mind changers.
The goal of this form of exercise is to help
reach a state of inner peace, and help us turn
away from seeking superficial contentment
through material possessions or temporary
sensual experiences. By reflecting on the
four Buddhist principles of ethics, honesty,
altruism and loving kindness, one can
attain a more lasting form of happiness and
In order to achieve this goal, we need
to learn to think and react in a different way
from how we have in the past. Unfortunately,
as we all know, changing our way of thinking
and behaving is very difficult to achieve.
Most of us bring preconceived notions
to everything we do, even if we don't
acknowledge it ourselves. Our mind follows
a well trodden path, which is very difficult to
alter.And, of course, we all live in a materialistic
world where we are constantly being
persuaded that buying goods we don't
need will make us happier. In Buddhism,
the untrained mind is often compared to
a monkey swinging from branch to branch,
constantly moving from one random thought
to another. Meditation teaches us to do the
opposite -- to stop and stand still.
In meditation, we practise mindfulness
to improve our concentration, and learn to
live in the present. This teaches us to fully
experience each moment of our existence
as it comes.
One way to achieve this goal is to
practise meditation while reciting mantras.
Mantras are sentences of just a few
syllables that are repeated over and over
again in harmony with the cycle of the
breath. It can be as simple as saying OM.
While this selected word doesn't have any
real meaning (although it is reputed to have
been the original sound of the universe),
saying OM creates vibrations inside the
mouth that are similar to striking a gong.
These deep sounds have been known to be
deeply conducive to a meditative state.
In another mantra, favoured by the Dalai
Lama himself, the words Om Mani Padme
Hum, which can be loosely translated as
"the jewel is in the lotus", or "wisdom and
compassion is inherently within us", are
repeated throughout the meditation.
In that mantra, the first and last words
Om and Hum don't have any meaning, but
are included for their phonetic resonance
which helps induce a state of peace in the
practitioner. One can practise this exercise to
develop unconditional love and liberate the
heart and the mind.
We need to first take a deep breath, then
we can start visualising the most powerful
image of unconditional love we can imagine.
It could be the Buddha, or Jesus, or Mary, or
somebody we know. By concentrating on
this image we project thoughts of gratitude,
devotion, faith and appreciation. With these
Olivier Lejus MHSc. (TCM), BHSc. (Acup.)
is an accredited acupuncturist practising in Sydney.
Oriental Medicine practitioner Olivier Lejus explains
the principles of Buddhist meditation.
feelings in mind, we repeat this mantra to
develop compassion, soften our mind and
dissolve constriction around our heart and
It is interesting to realise that most
religions have some form of chanting, or
spoken words, which are repeated over and
over again, from Gregorian chants or Jewish
songs to reciting the Lord's Prayer or the
Koran. In these cases, the aim is the same
-- to induce in the practitioner a state of inner
peace and send sublingual messages to the
subconscious. Incidentally, we find the same
sound devices being used in these religions,
where words such as Amen or Shalom have
been selected for their resonance. After all,
praying is really another form of meditation.
In other cultures, such as throughout
Africa, people have for centuries used
chanting in their daily lives to alleviate
hardship and reach a state of euphoria.
One needs to remember that singing and
meditation force us to use our breath
differently. Consequently, the amount
of oxygen in the body is altered and the
heartbeat slows down, which has a calming
effect on the brain. This explains why we
are constantly reminded to take a few deep
breaths when we are nervous.
These meditative exercises or prayers
and chants have been practised for centuries
all over the world, in wars, slave ships,
concentration camps, during famines, and
have given hope and relief to millions of
One can find a correlation with the use of
sounds and vibrations for therapeutic results
in traditional medicine. It is interesting to
draw a comparison with a form of
acupuncture practised by the late Dr Manaka
in the 1950s. In an earlier article on Japanese
acupuncture (NOVA, Jan 2009 Vol 15. No
11), I mentioned that this practitioner had
perfected a treatment method in which a
mallet was used to gently tap a stick on the
skin of the patient along an acupuncture
channel at a specific frequency. This
Japanese expert had done extensive
research which showed that each
acupuncture meridian and its associated
emotion would respond to a very specific
frequency, note and rhythm. By tapping a
stick at a speed determined by a metronome,
this acupuncturist accomplished remarkable
improvements in the physical and mental
health of his patients.
'Most religions have some form of chanting, or spoken words, which
are repeated over and over again, from Gregorian chants or Jewish
songs to reciting the Lord's Prayer or the Koran.'
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