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A Syllable

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A Syllable

“The Sanskrit prefix ‘A’ means ‘not’, the negative.

Before another vowel a consonant may be added. (Humphrey).” The meditation on the Sanskrit letter ‘A’ is the most important meditation in Esoteric Buddhism.

“The entire system of doctrine and practice set forth in the Mahavairocana Sutra (key text in Esoteric Buddhism) is symbolized in concentrated form in the single seed syllable ‘A’.

The commentary on the Mahavairocana Sutra says, ‘The ‘A’ syllable gate is the king of all mantras.’ (T. Yamasaki, Shingon).” Yama:

“The sound ‘A’ is regarded as the source from which all words are produced.

It is therefore termed the ‘mother of all sounds’. It exemplifies the Mahayana doctrine that the world of change is immediately the realm of ultimate reality or, in other words, Samsara is identical with Nirvana.

‘A’ is also employed to suggest the idea of the evolution of all phenomena from thusness. In Esoteric Buddhism, it symbolizes the unity of the whole world. Thence it is identified with Vairocana [the primordial Buddha.”

Dait: 5


Buddhism of Wisdom & Faith – excerpts:

“If the mind is very unsettled and we cannot use Buddha Recitation], we should, with each utterance, concentrate firmly on the letter ‘A’ in Amitabha Buddha. When the letter ‘A’ is present, all the other letters are also present.

If, because of delusion and forgetfulness, the letter ‘A’ is lost, all the other letters are also lost.

Moreover, the letter ‘A’ is the key and fundamental letter of the alphabet and is therefore considered the mother of all other letters.

Through concentration on reciting the Buddha’s name while simultaneously holding fast to the letter ‘A’, eventually mind and environment both dissolve and amalgamate into one bloc, as great as space itself.

Buddha Amitabha and the practitioner will then both disappear.

At that time, naturally, the letter ‘A’ will have ceased to exist as well. However, it was lost earlier because the mind was unsettled and scattered, while it no longer exists now precisely because of the harmonious state of ‘perpetual concentration.’

This is the manifestation of emptiness of Mind and environment – the entry point into the Buddha Recitation Samadhi (q.v.).”


See also: Buddha Recitation Samadhi; Dual Birth.

source: (The Seeker’s Glossary Of Buddhism)