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    I have that impression as well. But it could be as you said, a false one. One that i have not been able to shake. Thus i use Amituofo as my constant companion. I agree that rebirth in Sukhavati is by far the preferred result over even taking very fortunate rebirths in samsara. As you will be forever free from samsara. Although once you have received sufficient training it is possible to go back to help as many as possible. I still practice other mantras and dharanis when i feel moved to. Many times i find that when i do use other mantras i will encounter someone who may be in need of the energy of that mantra. Others i still practice with are the mani, medicine buddha, padmasambhavas mantra, thousand armed Avalokitesvara dharani, and the rebirth dharani. I do not count or have a number i aim for. What i aim for is continuous repetition so therefore no need to count. Constant as the ticking of a clock. Of course life intervenes but that is the goal. Most is mental or diamond recitation. I do out loud when i am able. I have found the use of Amituofo to be nearly effortless now where its always there and i just have to tune in to it. I was never able to reach that point with the mani.

    I do not do any direct visualizations. I try to maintain the perception of deity, mantra, wisdom. All things arising as Amitabha and the pureland. By trying to maintain that vision all things appear as the pureland. Also see all things as reciting the mantra or buddha name with you. The world will appear as a prayer wheel. I am far from being able to maintain this perception but in moments of clarity that is the way it is seen and what i aim for.

    I believe it would be ok to stick with the mani mantra for your goal of taking birth in Sukhavati if that is your preference. Just make sure you vow to go there and dedicate your merits towards that end. If i remember correctly in the Karandavyuha sutra it mentions that just hearing the sutra results in going to sukhavati let alone dedicatedly reciting the mani mantra. It does mention being born in one of Avalokitesvara's pores which would serve the same function as being born in sukhavati. In the book Journey to Realms Beyond Death by delog Dawa Drolma, it describes her visit to Avalokitesvara's Pure realm where she received teachings. It states that those who see me, think of me, recite the essence mantra(mani), etc in a state of rapture will be taken to sukhavati upon death and to have no doubts about this. It is also stated to always keep in mind that all forms are Avalokitesvara, all sounds as the mani, the absence of any conceptual reference point as the uncontrived realm of bodhicitta, and ro always recite the mani. That alone is all that is required. That being said i too grappled with sticking with the mani or switching to nianfo. I noticed a lot of good results from the mani in my everyday life. But like you my goal is to reach sukhavati and make whatever spiritual progress i can in this life. For me for whatever reason it was getting harder and harder to stick to. Maybe i was on the verge of a big breakthrough. I dont know. If you are continuing to get good results from the mani and medicine buddha i think you should consider sticking to it. It is possible that the nembutsu works at a subtler level than he is able to pick up. If in doubt ask to be shown the correct path. Hope this helps

    I actually made that one up for myself with various influences. The jesus prayer being one of them. I used the jesus prayer intensely for a period of time. My main practice for the first 10 years of my spiritual life was self inquiry via Ramana Maharshi. It helped get my mind quiet and to see the true nature of the mind. After that i realized its always there just being covered over by karmic impressions. The jesus payer had the same effect by turning the mind back upon itself and led to surrendering to a higher wiser power. Same as all mantras and such. I got into the mani mantra to eliminate karmic hindrances and that led in to the pureland path. In that prayer i usually say "i surrender to you" instead of bow. And i find it has better flow when i eliminate the have mercy on me.

    Great synopsis. Have you found it to help you with worldly issues as well? In general, I would say yes. Most issues seem to work themselves out with more ease. It does seem to bring up much karma to be resolved as well. For more stubborn problems i might use various prayers to Avalokitesvara and Amitabha. Namo Avalokitesvara, buddha of great loving kindness, Your form is white as you are unstained by any defect, Your crown is adorned with the fully enlightened one Amitabha buddha, Your eyes of lovingkindness watches over all beings, Avalokitesvara, to you i pray, Please come and grant your blessings. 3x+ Namo Amituofo, Buddha of infinite light and infinite life, I bow to you, Have mercy on me, Please come and grant your blessings 3x+ You can modify the words to better suit you. Those prayers have helped me to resolve some tougher situations. At the end you can make it more specific like help me with such and such. During more formal practice i usually start with making a vow to go to pureland before chanting Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Namo Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva, I vow to take birth in sukhavati, the land of bliss, Please grant your blessings so it is accomplished quickly without hindrance Hope this helps
  6. On walking

    I have also tried virtually all forms of exercise and i came to the same conclusion. I found that walking is the best for overall health and vitality. I like to sprinkle in some strength calisthenics, yoga, and qigong as i feel moved to. It goes perfect with my mantra practice. Every step is a syllable. Ah Mi Tuo Fo I agree walking really is the best medicine.

    After doing the mani mantra as my main practice(basically it was as much as i could day and night) for several years, i felt guided to use nianfo as my main practice. I use the 4 syllable chant of Amituofo as i found that easiest to keep going with the least effort. It is also much easier to keep it in mind amidst the various noise and distractions the world will throw at you when you get serious about it. I have been seriously on the path for close to 20 years. After exploring just about every major spiritual discipline available I have come to the conclusion that there really is nothing else like this path. When you take a cold hard look at the possibility of making it all the way in this lifetime without the personal guidance of a fully enlightened guru, the possibility is remote even if you are very serious and dedicated. With the pureland path if you dont make it this lifetime you are guaranteed to go all the way in the next lifetime with full access to all teachings, buddhas, high bodhisatvas, and a perfect environment where all experience of suffering comes to a halt and even the lowest experience constant peace and bliss. It really got my attention when i read that many confirmed zen masters turned to the pureland path after they were fully awakened. I have now been using the amituofo mantra as my main practice for a couple years now. It has many benefits such as increased feelings of peace and bliss and a general smoothing of the ups and downs of life. A feeling of connection to Amitabha Buddha and his all embracing light. It is also a complete practice as it includes samatha(stopping) and vipassana(observing). Stopping means reciting the name without other thoughts. Vipassana is reflecting back as you recite, observing from where the name arises and where it falls. Same as where all other thoughts, sensations, body and world also arise and fall.
  8. where to start ?

    Sukhavati is an excellent introduction to Pure Land practice. I would also reccomend Awakening The Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das as a good overall introduction to buddhism that is accessible to most people new to the subject.
  9. Chundi mantra

    That was great. Thank you for sharing
  10. Oops, haha, you caught me. It can be used as a main ingredient in a path when used in conjunction with the other mentioned ingredients and watching from where it rises and falls. It is possible to feel the energy of the mani vibrating in everything and everywhere with or without the mental repetition. I agree that still doesn't guarantee complete awakening, but it can purify the karmic obscurations to realizing the natural state which is always there but covered over by the karmic hindrances. Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche on the mani as a complete path: https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/benefits-of-the-mani-mantra/ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche states in the book Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones "If you take the maṇi as your refuge both in happiness and in sorrow, Chenrezi will always be with you, you will feel more and more devotion without any effort, and all by itself the realization of the Mahāyāna path will arise in your being." With practice I am experiencing the truth of these words.I have complete faith that all the elements necessary for complete enlightenment will come forth as needed and if not completed in this life, I will be able to complete it in Sukhavati, the pureland of Amitabha Buddha. You can have whatever opinions you want about the practice, but it will not deter me in the pursuit of this path. I wish you great success in your chosen path. May you quickly attain the fruit of your chosen path. Om Mani Padme Hum my friend
  11. https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/mani/ This site has teachings from many tibetan masters about the use of the mani. Also on that site is a relatively recent story of a blind man attaining full realization from the guru rinpoche mantra. A great book about using the mani mantra as a full path is Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones. I highly reccomend it if that is your chosen path.
  12. I forgot to mention that in the end the mantra has to fall away for liberation according to some sources. As Ramana Maharshi said you use one thought to destroy all other thouhts and in the end that one thought will be consumed resulting in liberation
  13. Many tibetan masters have stated that the mani mantra is a complete path all by itself. After working with the mani for several years myself i am of the conviction that it is true as they have said. Although I'm not there yet, i have experienced enough to realize that it can take anyone all the way and eliminate all the karmic obscurations that are in the way of realizing the awakened state and enlightenment. It should be used along with bodhicitta, the intention that all beings be happy, free from suffering, and realize the true nature of mind. You should also see everything as manifestations of deity, mantra, and wisdom. All forms are the body of chenresig, all sounds are forms of the mani mantra, all thoughts as the wisdom of chenresig. If you keep these things in mind it can be a complete path. This goes for all other mantras also that can be used for liberation. The guru rinpoche mantra is another good one from the tibetan heritage I'm out of time now so when i get a chance i'll give sources and links for examples of people who have achieved enlightenment through mantra of various sorts
  14. Chanting

    The recitation of om mani padme hum has been my main spiritual practice for the past 3 or so years. I simply love it. I chant it silently in my mind as much as I can. It has brought much peace and joy into my life but it has also brought much karmic cleansing which is definitely not pleasant. The mani is my anchor through good times and bad times. If you stick with it I hope it does the same for you. Here is a website that has some teachings on the benefits of the mani mantra: https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/mani/ If you are seriously interested in pursuing this as a lifelong practice I would also recommend a book by the title of Heart Treasure of the Enlightened ones. om mani padme hum
  15. Spring Forest Qigong is nice free download

    Lol. It could be. I guess we will never know unless someone here knows tibetan and can translate it.