The Secret School
You must cultivate it yourself and then you will know the mantra’s influence for yourself; just as when you drink water you yourself know whether it is warm or cold. It is not that the mantras themselves are secret.
If you meet a soldier whom you do not know, then you ask him what the password is. If he says “victory”, then you say “right”. You know that he is one of us.
I secretly escaped and came to this country.”
The king of this country really does not know whether he is genuine or not. He is a phony, but the king thinks that he is genuine, so he gives him one of the princesses for a wife. This makes him a prince, a member of the king’s household. He was not a king before, but he acts like it.
Day in and day out he is always losing his temper.
Then a person comes to this country who knows that this impostor was a poor and lowly person, and says to the princess who is married to him, “When he gets angry, you need only say these few sentences:
‘Originally you were a poor and lowly person who drifted in from another country far away. Why must you have such a big temper?’
As soon as you say this, he will know, ‘Oh, she knows my humble origins,’ and will not get angry anymore.” A mantra has the same effect. As soon as you recite the mantra, the gods and ghosts will assume that you understand their origins, that you know what they are all about, and so they will not dare to cause you trouble.
4. Mantras are the mind-imprint of all Buddhas. “Mind-imprint” alludes to the way in which the minds of two enlightened beings interact and acknowledge each other. They are the secret language of all Buddhas which can only be known by them. Because all other living beings do not understand them, mantras are left untranslated.
In the Sutras it clearly explains that people who keep mantras must very carefully uphold the moral regulations. For example, the Buddha, in the Shurangama Sutra, gave these instructions on what is required for mantra cultivation:
After perfecting the precepts, they should put on fresh, clean clothes, light incense in a place where they are alone, and recite the spiritual mantra spoken by the Buddha of the mind one hundred and eight times.
One who receives and keeps this spiritual mantra (Shurangama Mantra) is prohibited from eating meat, or the five pungent plants (garlic, onions, leeks, chives and scallions); taking intoxicants; engaging in sexual misconduct; eating or drinking in impure abodes.
If in reciting and keeping the mantra (Shurangama Mantra) one violates propriety, or if one does not keep the moral precepts, or if one is not pure, not only will one be unsuccessful with this Dharma, one will bring harm upon oneself.
A person who follows the moral regulations and diligently practices mantra recitation achieves a great deal within the Dharma. In the Great Compassion Heart Dharani Sutra, Bodhisattva Observer of the World’s Sounds says:
If you can apply your mind with pure sincerity, maintain vegetarianism and the moral precepts, and repent of and reform all your past offenses on behalf of living beings; if you can repent and confess your own various evil acts committed throughout countless eons past;
and if you can recite the Dharani continuously, without skipping a single sound, then in this very life you may certify to the four fruits of a shramana. You will be endowed with a keen disposition, wise contemplation, and expedient methods.
These six words together make up the brilliant mantra of Six Words. Each word is able to emit brilliant light. Mantra study and practice comes under the province of the Secret School, one of the five major divisions or “schools” of the Buddha’s teachings. The five schools are:
The Vinaya School focuses on questions of ethics and cultivating moral self-discipline. Vinaya students strive to be “awesome, majestic, and pure in Vinaya, great models for the three realms of existence”.
Then there is the Secret School. “Secret” means “no mutual knowing”. And finally, the Pure Land School teaches the exclusive mindfulness and recitation of “Na Mo A Mi To Fo” (‘Homage to Amitabha Buddha’) the “Vast Six Character Name”.
Some people say that Chan School is the highest of the five. Others claim that the Teaching School, or the Vinaya School, is highest. Cultivators of the Secret School say “The Secret School is supreme”.
Now I will explain the Secret School. In fact, the Secret School is not secret. Within the secret teaching, the apparent and the secret perfectly penetrate. The apparent teaching also includes the Secret School.
Foolish people say that secret things are the best. Why? Because they are secret, and they are not available to everyone.
So people who do not understand Buddhism speak of the supernatural and mysterious saying, “Oh! I cannot tell this to you! It is from the Secret School, and it cannot be spoken for you to hear!” If they cannot speak of it to others, why mention it? Why do they say they cannot talk about it?
If it is really the Secret School, and it is best not to speak of it, why do they say, “I cannot tell you”? Their “not talking” is just talking about it.
Now I will tell you something about the Secret School.
I recite mantras and have my efficacious response, and you do not know of it.
If mantras are really secret, they should not be transmitted to other people; for if you transmit a mantra to someone else, it is no longer secret. It is the same as the Sixth Patriarch’s answer to Hui Ming’s question:
If you return the light and look within (examine yourself) the secret is yours.’”
Speak it and it is not secret.
Take a look; he said it very clearly. Once spoken, it is no longer secret. The “secret” is that which is not transmitted. If it can be transmitted, it is not “secret”.
The secret cannot be transmitted; it is on your side, within you; it is where you are.
I believe that even many Secret School Dharma Masters do not understand how to explain “secret” dharma correctly. They think that mantras are secret. But all mantras can be orally transmitted to people; there are no mantras which cannot be spoken.
If they could not be spoken, there would be no way to transmit them. Isn’t that right? If it is transmittable, it is not secret – and by that odd logic, it would be no longer be the Secret School.
Because the “secret” is untransmittable, I say that the “secret” is the mantra’s power, and there is no way anyone can tell you about it. No one can say, “This mantra has this power, and when you recite it, such and such will happen.”
Incorrect or not, I will still speak this way. And if you say I am right….there is no way for you to say that, either.
Since you basically do not understand this dharma, how can you say that I understand? I do not understand, I am even more confused.
Previously, however, I had a teacher who taught me with great clarity so that I understood, and this confused person changed into one who could speak and explain the Brilliant Mantra of Six Words according to the Secret School.
By conforming to the regulations, they stay on the proper way. Recite this once and all ghosts and spirits do not dare rebel and create confusion; they do not dare disobey orders. This is the first sound in the mantra.
“Mani” means “silent wisdom”. Using wisdom one is able to understand all truths, and thus abide in the state of quiescence that is without birth. It is also defined as, “separating from filth”, which means living a morally pure life free of defilement.
Every vow you make will be fulfilled. These are its benefits.
Next comes “Hum”, which means to “give rise to”.
Now I will tell you a little about what cannot be told of the Secret School’s power. Why do I say “what cannot be told”? Because my talking does not even comprise one ten-thousandth part of it.
What is it? If you are able to constantly recite and maintain the Brilliant Mantra of Six Words, the darkness of the six paths of existence will change into bright light. You must be single-minded when reciting this mantra to achieve this type of Samadhi.
Then, not only will the six paths of existence emit light, but all of the ten dharma realms will become “a great storehouse of light”. So now we know something of the power of the Brilliant Mantra of Six Words. I hope everyone will set aside time from their activities to recite the Brilliant Mantra of Six Words.