The Practice Of The Three Mysteries
The symbolic activities of Body, Speech, and Mind (the Three Mysteries
or Three Secrets) are present everywhere in the universe. Natural
phenomena such as mountains and oceans and even humans express
the truth described in the sutras. The universe itself embodies
and can not be seperated from the teachings. In his work, "Attaining
Buddhahood in This Body," Kobo Daishi said,
"Form mudras with your hands,
recite mantras with your mouths,
and dwell in meditation with your minds."
These secrets allow you to experience the Buddha nature that exists
within yourself and also of the larger Universe.
The Secret of the Body: Esoteric mudra
Hand gestures called mudras express the form of the secret activity
of the body. These mudras symbolically identify the practioner
with the universe. The human body functions as symbolic of the
larger universe. In the "Discourse or Visualization of Truth by
Mindful Recitation," Kobo Daishi wrote:
"If the Buddhas are the Dharma Realm,
they exist within my body.
If I myself am also the Dharma Realm,
then I exist within the Buddhas."
The Secret of Speech: Esoteric Mantra Recitation
The Three Secrets practice of speech expresses the secret activity
speech through mantras and dharanî. Mantras and dharanis are formulas
of invocation. Kobo Daishi wrote in "The True Meaning of the Voiced
"By reciting the voiced syllables with clear understanding, one
manifests the truth, What is called ?the truth of the voiced syllable?
is the three secrets in which all things and the Buddha are equal.
This is the original essence of all beings. For this reason, Dainichi
Nyorai?s teaching of the true meaning of the voiced syllable will
startle into awakening those long sleeping.?
Shingon describes mantras in terms of the sound, the written Sanskrit
and the symbolic meaning.
The Secret of Mind: Internal Visualization
The secret activity of the mind is expressed in the internal visualization
of the Buddhas and other daities, mantric symbols and other symbolic
forms. The activity of mind permeated throughout all beings and
Kobo Daishi wrote about this in "The Meaning of the Hum Syllable:"
?The three secrets of the Dharma Body are not limited even in
the finest particles, and are not dissipated even by filling all
of space. They enter stones, plants, and trees without discrimination.
They enter humans, gods, demons, and animals without choosing.
They extend to all places.
There is nothing through which they do not act."
The goal of exoteric meditation is the state of voidness, where
body and mind are absorbed in non-activity. Shingon views this
as a foundation to move to an awareness and affirmation of self
and all phenomenon, at the esoteric level.
©1998,1999 Shingon Buddhist International Institute