Dubbed “Bhumisparsha: Touching the Earth,” a global mantra accumulation to recite the mantra of Shakyamuni Buddha has been launched for the benefit of “the Earth, for humanity, for animals, and for all sentient beings.” Conceived by the revered Bhutanese lama, teacher, filmmaker, and author Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, and organized by Siddhartha’s Intent India, the worldwide cyber-gathering was launched on 24 July with the objective of reaching at least 100 million global recitations of the Shakyamuni Mantra by 1 January 2021.
Om mune mune mahāmunaye svāhā (The Shakyamuni Mantra)
The global initiative has, over a little more than a week, attained at the time of writing on 3 August almost 4.7 million recitations.
“As human beings we are prone to having goals. So even though there is absolutely no difference between a single mantra and a million mantras, we are aiming here to complete 100 million Shakyamuni mantras by the end of 2020, starting from 24 July, which is an auspicious Dharma Wheel Day,” Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche said in a statement for the project. “And here we don’t dismiss any way you recite the Buddha’s name. Indeed, we value and celebrate just the fact that you are sacrificing your time and energy to do this. And so, we will cherish and venerate every single mantra you do whether while walking, watching TV, window shopping, or sitting on a meditation cushion in a very serene temple on a mountain.” (Siddhartha’s Intent India)
Running in parallel with the mantra accumulation, the project also encourages people all over the world to share their own story of how they first heard the Buddha’s name, and about their connection with his teaching: through words, art, music, or any other means of expression.
“There are a few objectives for this project,” Prashant V, projects director for organizer Siddhartha’s Intent India, told Buddhistdoor Global. “One is the 100 million Shakyamuni Buddha mantra accumulation target, and that is more for Buddhists who are used to doing mantra accumulations—not all Mahayana practitioners do that and Theravada practitioners don’t often do that. Second is the target of increasing awareness about the Buddha. That’s where people can send in drawings, people can share their stories, their admiration—but they don’t have to be Buddhists. This is all about celebrating the Buddha, remembering the Buddha, thinking of the Buddha.”
Siddhartha’s Intent, which first came to be in Australia in 1986, is an international collective of Buddhist groups supporting Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s Buddhadharma activities by organizing teachings and retreats, distributing and archiving recorded teachings, transcribing, editing, and translating manuscripts and practice texts, with a global community committed to continual study and practice.
Prashant explained: “There is also a lot of participation in the mantra accumulation coming from Buddhist communities in India, especially followers of Dr. Ambedkar—in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, we already have, I think, more than 10,000 mantra accumulations, and also from the Himalayan region. Various Nepalese groups are coming together to create some local media to spread information about this. We’re taking something of a decentralized approach, for example a lot of mainstream Indian Buddhists and a lot of the Himalayan communities are not very internet savvy, so they are creating their own ways of spreading awareness about the Buddha and about this project.”
“In addition, Siddartha’s Intent India has so far commissioned about 20 mantra performances and video messages by various figures and communities—some not yet released and some very big ones coming,” Prashant added.
Born in Bhutan in 1961, and now based in Himachal Pradesh, India, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche gives teachings all over the world. He is the son of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and was a close student of the Nyingma master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–91). He is recognized as the third incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, founder of the Khyentse lineage, and the immediate incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1893–1959). In addition to Siddhartha’s Intent, his projects include Khyentse Foundation, established in 2001 to promote the Buddha’s teaching and support all traditions of Buddhist study and practice; 84000, a non-profit global initiative to translate the words of the Buddha and make them available to all; Lotus Outreach, which directs a wide range of projects to help refugees; and more recently The Lhomon Society, which promotes sustainable development in Bhutan through education.
Rinpoche is the author of several books, including: What Makes You Not a Buddhist (2006), Not For Happiness (2012), and The Guru Drinks Bourbon? (2016), and has garnered renown within and outside of the global Buddhist community for the feature-length films he wrote and directed: The Cup (1999), Travellers and Magicians (2004), Vara: A Blessing (2012), and Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I wait (2016).
So let us recite the Buddha’s name. Let us sing his name. Let us dance his name. And let us praise, honor, and hail his name. — Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Bhumisparsha: Touching the Earth (Siddhartha’s Intent India)
The Shakyamuni Mantra (Siddhartha’s Intent India)
Siddhartha’s Intent India