Mantra: Shurangama Mantra
Among the Buddha's teachings, “Shurangama Mantra” is considered to be the king of all mantras because it is the longest and the most important one. The flourish or demise of Buddhism rests entirely with this “Shurangama Mantra”.
The origin of “Shurangama Mantra” is that when Ananda was having an alms round, which is collecting food given by donation, he passed by a house of prostitution. Unfortunately, he was processed by Kapila mantra recited by Matangi’s daughter. Ananda was about to lose his status as a monk due to his sexual excitement over to this woman. Realizing Ananda was in danger, Shakyamuni Buddha emitted light from the roof of his head, and the transformation body of Buddha proclaimed this important mantra. He transmitted “Shurangama Mantra” to Manjusri Bodhisattva and asked him to help Ananda. When Ananda was released from the evil spell and joined Buddha, he repented and requested Buddha to repeat “Shurangama Mantra” once again before an assembly of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Arhats and devas. Therefore, this important mantra is being circulated and recited up to present.
"Shurangama" translates as "Ultimately firm and strong". The content of the “Shurangama Mantra” subdues heavenly demons and controls externalists. Every line, from beginning to end, comes from the top of Buddha’s Dharma. Each line has its own function, esoteric wonder and incredible power. The recitation of the entire mantra causes the heavens to vibrate and the earth to tremble. Even though demons have spiritual penetrations and their own mantras, “Shurangama Mantra” can break through all of their mantras and become ineffectual. The power of “Shurangama Mantra” can make demons behave. Therefore, the ghosts and spirits wail, the demons keep a wide distance, and mountain and river sprites hide away. The power of the mantra can dispel every sort of darkness and enable people to amass all kinds of merit and virtue.
Therefore, as long as there is a single person reciting “Shurangama Mantra”, the demons, ghosts, and strange entities don't dare to show themselves in this world. They fear the power of “Shurangama Mantra”, so that prevents heaven and earth from being destroyed. However, when no one recites “Shurangama Mantra” anymore, demons and ghosts will come out from hiding and the Proper Dharma will no longer be abided. Then, the world will be destroyed very quickly.
Each and every line of “Shurangama Mantra” contains limitless meanings and numerous functions. Every kind of ghost, spirit, Dharma-guarding Deva, Arhat, Pratyeka-Buddha and Buddha vehicle is included in “Shurangama Mantra”. As soon as their names are chanted, all of their family members will obey to the rules and do not dare to harm anyone.
If one wants to attain Arhatship, one must recite “Shurangama Mantra” to keep demonic things from happening. In fact, “Shurangama Sutra” states that all Buddhas of the ten directions come forth from “Shurangama Mantra”. Therefore, one should practice “Shurangama Mantra” until he forgets all about time and space. Everything disappears and one thought extends for infinite eons, while infinite eons is one thought. The mind and the mantra are united and without distinction.
If one’s mind is terribly scattered, unable to concentrate and without any Samadhi-power, as long as one continues to practice, his wisdom will gradually be opened. Eventually, confusion and karmic obstacles from past lives will be removed, and enlightenment will be achievable in the long run.
Although “Shurangama Mantra” is definitely efficacious, one must uphold precepts, refrain from defiled thoughts and disengage in impure activities. Otherwise, there is no merit in the recitation and Bodhisattvas will not protect the reciter. Therefore, one must not misuse the power of “Shurangama Mantra” to oppress other people, demons, monsters, goblins, or ghosts for personal gain. Rather, one must have the unsurpassed resolve for Bodhi, kindness, compassion, giving and renunciation.
Shakyamuni Buddha proclaimed “Shurangama Mantra” in order to protect all the Buddhism practitioners, to aid them in attaining Samadhi, to help them be at peace in body and mind, and to keep them out of trouble. If one has the bless to encounter this rare “Shurangama Mantra”, one should use every effort to chant it, memorize it and never forget it. Then, one is doing what a Buddhist disciple should do, which is prolonging proper Dharma in this Saha World.