Om mune mune mahāmunaye svāhā (The Shakyamuni Mantra)
Bhumisparsha: Touching the Earth, the ongoing global accumulation of the mantra of Shakyamuni Buddha, conceived by the revered Bhutanese lama, teacher, filmmaker, and author Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, and organized by Siddhartha’s Intent India for the benefit of “the Earth, for humanity, for animals, and for all sentient beings,” has soared beyond expectations, reaching 100 million mantra recitations in just six weeks.
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. At the time of writing on 9 September, the global initiative had attained well in excess of 133 million accumulated recitations, and still gaining altitude with more than three months to go.
“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 announcing 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)
Siddhartha’s Intent India also announced that Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche will give a global online public teaching on Saturday, 12 September, beginning at 3:00pm India Standard Time (2:30am Los Angeles; 5:30am New York; 10:30am London; 11:30am Berlin; 5:30pm Singapore/Hong Kong; 6:30pm Seoul/Tokyo; 7:30pm Canberra). Full details will be announced on social media.
Siddhartha’s Intent, which was formed 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.
Running in parallel with the mantra accumulation, Bhumisparsha: Touching the Earth also encourages people of all ages, from all over the world, to share their own mantra performances over social media as offerings for the project, as well as stories of how they first heard the Buddha’s name and about their connection with the Buddhadharma: through words, art, music, or any other means of expression.
“The initiative launched with 17 different renditions of the Shakyamuni mantra, commissioned and compiled specifically for project, and available on Bandcamp and Soundcloud,” Prashant V, projects director for Siddhartha’s Intent India, told Buddhistdoor Global. “Through this curation of 17 commissioned mantras, the project offers a fresh and diverse presentation of the sound of Shakyamuni’s name. The artists were selected from varied genres and countries, from Kathmandu to Kagoshima, from Indian classical ragas to even a Leonard Cohen-inspired version.”
Prashant added that among upcoming performance contributions to be announced soon were offerings from acclaimed Indian movie stars Vidya Balan and Nimrat Kaur.
“Project participants are asked to submit stories, art, video, or music celebrating and inspired by Shakyamuni Buddha, and to use our submissions tag #ShakyamuniFanClub,” said Prashant. “We have received numerous submissions from across the world since day one, and are now posting two or three daily on our platforms
“We’ve received videos from rural Buddhist villages in eastern India to urban cities such as Bombay; from the hills of South America to beaches in Australia and to Central Park in New York. Renditions of the Shakyamuni mantra have been in various genres, such as traditional Indian, Japanese contemporary, Mexican and Scandinavian folk, modern rock. We’ve also seen personal stories of growing up with the Buddha from followers in Bhutan to a girl finding Buddha in a book read by her grandfather in Greece,” Prashant noted.
“From little adorable children who have just begun to learn about the Buddha to youths who are inspired by the Buddha to adults who practice the ways of the Buddha, submissions have and are still coming from them all!”
Born in Bhutan in 1961, and now based in Himachal Pradesh, India, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche 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).
Yes, human beings have discovered antibiotics and put a man on the moon. But despite those marvels, we’ve also learned that when push comes to shove and when danger comes at us from all directions, the basic solution comes down to something as simple as washing our hands.
But there is a solution even simpler, more basic, and much more powerful than that—which is what Gautama Shakyamuni taught us 2,600 years ago, and which has been passed on in unbroken lineage ever since. That is simply to turn inward, to be mindful, and to remember that we naturally have kindness, compassion, and a fully awakened state of mind.
That’s the great gift and inheritance of Buddha Shakyamuni. Indeed, we have great leaders going all the way back to Emperor Ashoka who have taken the wakefulness, love and compassion they learned from the Buddha and put it into action – politically, socially, economically and even technologically. This has happened. We can do it.
So it’s to celebrate, nurture and hype this gift and its tremendous potential for the world at this crucial time, that a group of us are launching this endeavor to recite the name of Shakyamuni Buddha – the one who fully embodies wisdom, love, compassion, and complete openness. The world needs this now.
So let us recite the Buddha’s name. Let us sing his name. Let us dance his name. And let us praise, honour and hail his name. — Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Bhumisparsha: Touching the Earth (Siddhartha’s Intent India)
The Shakyamuni Mantra (Siddhartha’s Intent India)
DJKR Bhumisparsha (YouTube)