Using sacred sounds to access wisdom and compassion and cultivate healing
by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
I am happy to report I have a new favorite meditation CD that I’ve been chanting to, and it is included with the new release, Tibetan Sound Healing by lama and Bön meditation master Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
The Bön people are the indigenous people of Tibet, with one of the world’s oldest unbroken spiritual traditions that predates the arrival of Buddhism. Bön “is a tradition rich with methods to guide beings on the path to liberation,” explains the author. One way to achieve this is via sound chanting, utilizing the five warrior syllables. These are: A, OM, HUNG, RAM and DZA. Apparently, these warrior syllables are referred to as seed syllables because each possesses the essence of enlightenment.
Rinpoche writes: “The term warrior refers to the ability to conquer the forces of negativity. Sacred sound has the power to eliminate obstacles, emotional blocks, and mental obscurations that prevent us from recognizing the nature of mind and from being our authentic self in any given moment.”
Each syllable corresponds to a chakra, which is activated while chanting the sound. A corresponds to the third eye; OM to the throat chakra and HUNG to the heart chakra. It is also the heart chakra where the Four Immeasurables are located. These Four Immeasurables are the enlightened qualities of love, compassion, joy and equanimity that reside in that chakra, waiting to be energized. The last two syllables are RAM, located in the naval chakra, and DZA, which corresponds to the “secret chakra.”
In chanting the syllable while visualizing the corresponding chakra and its color association, it is possible to conquer obstacles and negativity. One replaces the old vibration with, for example, joy that already exists within, but might need some coaxing to come forth. That is where the sound healing comes in. The CD provides step-by-step instruction for chanting each syllable, and after each one is mastered, a 30 minute exercise is provided incorporating each of the five sounds. I recommend this half-hour meditation highly! The end result suggests changes through “effortless action,” and it does seem that all manner of small miracles have occurred since I have begun to practice the Tibetan sound healing. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I don’t think so!
Lastly, I would like to point out that the author mentions the following in the text: “I know a man who likes to hear people’s problems. He will greet you with, ‘How are you?’ If you respond, ‘I’m fine, and you?’ he will press your hand into his, look into your eyes, and repeat, “How are you, really?’ You can almost hear what kind of response to his question he would like to hear. It is as if he is saying, ‘Are you sure you are fine? Please tell me about your problems.’ He can actually make you feel a little sorry for yourself with that approach. His intention of asking, ‘How are you?’ is actually to hear that you are not well so he can take care of you. That is not enlightenment!” I totally agree with that passage, and am so glad it is included in a book on spirituality.
Tibetan Sound Healing
By Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Sounds True, Inc., 2006
96 pp. plus CD, $19.95
Review by Diane Saarinen