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Sunday, November 23, 2008

FWBO Websites II: Visible Mantra

Welcome to Part II of our series showcasing websites created by members of the FWBO or Western Buddhist Order. Please email us if you would like to suggest a site for inclusion.

Visible Mantra is a remarkable resource created by Jayarava, an Order Member based in Cambridge, UK. Starting with the shapes of simple seed syllables, or bijas, it progresses to beautifully-calligraphed representations of over 40 of the best-known Buddhist mantras and chants - Avalokitesvara, Tara, Prajnaparamita, as well as lesser-known ones such as the Five Female Buddhas Ākāśadhātvīśvarī, Locanā, Māmakī, Paṇḍāravāsinī, and Tārā.

Jayarava has been interested in mantras for many years, and says of them, “We often ask what does a mantra mean, but a better question is what does it do? A Buddhist mantra evokes and invokes qualities of the Awakened Mind. Mantras bring us into relationship with Enlightenment, and are a vehicle by which our consciousness can awaken to the way things really are. They are rooted in age-old traditions emphasising the interconnectedness of all things. For Buddhists a mantra may also be an expression of devotion towards, or faith in, the Three Jewels.

“As writing encapsulates sounds, so a written mantra captures something of the symbolism of the mantric sound. Visible Mantra presents calligraphy of the seed syllables or bījas and mantras used in the most common Buddhist visualisation and devotional practices performed in the Western Buddhist Order. Additional mantras from the Shingon School and Tibetan lineages are included. The main script used on Visible Mantra is Siddhaṃ, but it also features Tibetan, and Lantsa/Ranjana examples”.

Besides the mantra's and seed-syllables, there’s sections on pronunciation, instructions for writing many of the syllables, and a number of thoughtful essays on one or another aspect of mantra. A wide range of more experimental work can be seen on Jayarava's associated Flickr site, and finally, through a clever piece of internet wizardry, there’s the not-to-be-missed Visible Mantra "Shirt City" shop, which allows you to design a range of clothing and gifts, such as cups and mouse-mats, with a selection of original Visible Mantra designs.


Next week we’ll feature the Buddhist Images website – Order Member Dhiramati’s very beautiful and comprehensive online shop for Buddhist images, thankhas; and all associated items.

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Blogger Jayarava said...

Hey Lokabandhu,

Thanks for the plug!



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