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Million Mani Club News

2024 Million Mani Challenge News

Please join us in recitation of the mantra of compassion, om mani peme hung, during the holy month of Losar, the Tibetan New Year. It began on February 10 and continues through March 10, with the multiplication of merit peaking at the full moon Saturday February 24. All manis reported during this period using the form on this page will automatically be counted toward the mani challenge. All participants are said to receive the merit of the entire group recitation, which is further enhanced by the vastly multiplied merit of this auspicious month. All are welcome!

Please scroll down for more information about how to count manis and track your lifetime total.

Million Mani Club Member Update

From Kathleen Beecher of Maine, who completed her third million at the end of 2023: I am a student of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. I went to Kham, Tibet with a group from KTD in 2015 to attend the consecration of the new Thrangu Monastery, after the original was destroyed in an earthquake in 2010. It was an incredible trip.

Upon arrival in China, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche asked us to recite as many manis as we could and to keep track with little plastic finger counters he handed out. After the 5 day long consecration ceremonies, we made the long journey by bus back to Beijing, visiting 8 or 9 monasteries on the way including Palpung. There was a lot of time to practice. At one of the monasteries the abbot offered us a piece of cloth from the robes of a deceased master and said we could accept it only if we promised to say a million manis. I’m a little vague about which monastery it was, as it was all a blur being on a bus day after day. I took the promise to heart and set some daily goals.

By the end of our 3 weeks I had recited 162,500 manis. I wore out the little finger clicker and “exploded” a mala. Luckily there was a ready replacement offered from a fellow traveler. I continued reciting manis when I got home to Maine, though much less consistently. The following May, Khenpo Jigme from Thrangu Rinpoche’s Colorado Retreat Center came to Portland to give a teaching. I had lost my dear friend of 37 years, also a sangha member, in March. I asked him what I could do for Kiki, and he said to recite 1,000 manis per day. I figured I would know when to “end.” I followed his simple advice and I continue to do so.

I don’t remember when or from whom I learned of the mani count sponsored by Palpung Thubten Choling Monastery, but it was fairly early on and it has been invaluable. If I miss a day, I make up for it the next day so that at the end of the month I multiply the days in that month by 1000 and I send in my mani count. To Dean Hill and Lama Chodron, thank you for keeping track all these months/years, and for issuing the recent challenges.

The practice itself has done wonders for my perspective, especially opening my understanding of “all beings without exception.” I really do not get to exclude ANYBODY. In the political climate of recent years, this has been a good reminder to me. Through this practice, I have had to look again and again at my judgmental mind. All beings in the world need boundless love and compassion.
OM MANI PEME HUNG!

Invitation from the PTC mani coordinator: If anyone else would like to share a story or comments about what motivates you to recite manis and how you feel it benefits you and others, please email us at manicoordinator@gmail.com. Here’s an archive of previously shared stories.

Manis can be recited any time, not just during challenges

Mani challenges are a great way to earn extra merit and benefit beings above and beyond our personal recitation, which is already extremely beneficial in itself. When we practice in a group, even in a virtual group, it is said that we accumulate not only the merit of our own recitation but also the equivalent of the entire group recitation. Even beyond that, when we recite mantras during one of the annual holy days or periods, the merit is vastly multiplied by a factor of up to 100 million (some sources say 10 million – either way is a lot!).

We also encourage everyone to report manis any time, not just during group recitations. PTC’s online tracker will keep a cumulative record of your lifetime total. There’s a traditional Tibetan saying, quoted in the Torch of Certainty by Jamgon Kongtrul, that barley fills a silo grain by grain. The Chinese philospher Lao-Tzu said that a journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step. Likewise, if we keep reciting manis regularly, eventually we are bound to reach a million, and each of our manis sends compassionate energy into the world, along with our heartfelt aspiration to free all beings from suffering.

What is the Million Mani Club?

Chenrezig

Chenrezig painting by
HH Seventeenth Karmapa
Ogyen Trinley Dorje

The Palpung Thubten Choling Million Mani Club was established in December 2012, when our monastery sangha banded together with the aspiration to accumulate one million recitations of the mantra of compassion, om mani peme hung, to benefit the long life, health, and well-being of our teachers and all sentient beings. The word spread quickly, and with the participation of practitioners all over the world, within just a few weeks we far surpassed our original goal, reaching a collective total of over five million manis!

Since then we have recited over a million manis as a group on other occasions, especially during sacred times of the year when merit is vastly multiplied, such as Losar (Tibetan New Year) and Saka Dawa (anniversary of Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana).

Hundreds of participants have benefited sentient beings and earned merit (momentum toward enlightenment) by reciting mani mantras as part of our group accumulations, and almost two dozen individuals have gone on to accumulate a million or more recitations on their own, thus becoming members of the Palpung Thubten Choling Million Mani Club.

We invite you to join us – all you have to do is recite manis at your own pace and track them with our online tool on this page. Designed by Dean Hill for our very first mani challenge in 2012, it not only records your current mani count but also reports your cumulative total back to you, along with your entire mani-reporting history.

When you reach a million manis, you’ll be added to the club! Of course, there is no need to stop there: several Million Mani Club members have accumulated two million or more. Explore the topics below to get started:

What is a Mani?

Mani is short for the sacred six-syllable mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion, Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara. Chenrezig’s form represents, embodies, and radiates the fully awakened compassion of all the buddhas — which is also innate in our own minds. We too are said to be buddha in essence, the union of wisdom and compassion. Reciting the mani mantra helps remove obscurations to manifesting our fully awakened nature, and sends postive compassionate energy into the world.

The mantra may be pronounced either om mani peme hung (Tibetan pronunciation) or om mani padme hum (Sanskrit pronunciation). When we recite it, we maintain the aspiration to free all sentient beings from suffering, and can also include any specific people or animals we know to be suffering in any situation. We can also recite it in response to our own suffering. It is traditionally said that any being — human, animal, insect, or invisible being — who hears this mantra even once will eventually attain freedom from suffering and the full awakening of a buddha.

Om mani peme hung is the most commonly recited mantra in Tibet. Everyone knows it, even young children, and many elderly Tibetans who can no longer work spend their days reciting manis for the benefit of their loved ones and all beings. Prayer wheels are often filled with mani mantras.

If you’d like to learn more about Chenrezig and the sacred power of the mani mantra, we highly recommend Bokar Rinpoche’s book Chenrezig Lord of Love.

What is Merit?

Reciting manis (or any other mantra) is a powerful way to accumulate merit, which, along with wisdom, is one of the “two wings of awakening.” Merit is the positive energy that fuels our dharma practice and all our activities to benefit beings, and is an important factor in eliminating obstacles of all kinds in our practice and our lives. Lama Norlha Rinpoche always emphasized the need to engage in meritorious activity if we truly want to free ourselves and others from suffering and fully awaken to our true nature.

Other ways to accumulate merit include all dharma practice; engaging in any of the six paramitas or perfections such as generosity, patience, and joyful diligence; circumambulating stupas and sacred spaces and objects; supporting monasteries, dharma centers, and practitioners through donations, offering food, and other types of help; sponsoring dharma activities and sacred images; helping other beings in any ways we can, large and small; and even rejoicing in the merit and good fortune of others.

We hope you will accumulate vast amounts of merit through reciting manis and other beneficial activities! In particular, participating in group practice, such as PTC’s million mani challenges offered once or twice a year, is an especially powerful way to accumulate merit, because it is said that each participant earns merit equivalent to that of the entire group.

We Will Help You Count!

You can  report your mani accumulation on this page at any time, always using the same email address each time you report your numbers. Our system will automatically organize your entries. If a sangha or group is accumulating manis together, the collective total can be reported using a single email address for the group, or you can track your manis individually, keep your own group count, and let us know by email when your group has reached a million.

Each time you report, your subtotal will be automatically added to your previous count and you will receive an email confirmation with your current total along with a history of previous numbers you’ve submitted.

If you have questions or need support at any point, you can email the Million Mani Club Coordinator.

When you reach a million manis, we’ll add your name to the official roll of the Million Mani Club. If you accumulate another million, we’ll acknowledge both achievements.

How To Count Mantras

Using a mala: It’s traditional to count mantra recitations using a string of 108 prayer beads that is similar to a rosary. Even though there are 108 beads, each round is counted as just 100, to allow for errors and moments of distraction. Malas can be found at dharma shops online, or in the Palpung Thubten Choling bookstore when the monastery is open.

Mechanical counters: A variety of mechanical tally counters can also be found online. This type of counter can be held in the hand and pressed to register each mantra. There are also various styles of counters you can wear on a finger. These can be found by searching for “prayer counter.”

Phone apps: There are also smartphone apps specifically for keeping track of mantra accumulations. One of the best counting methods we’ve found is using the stopwatch function on a smartphone. Start the stopwatch when you begin, pause it if you get interrupted, and when you hit “stop” you’ll have a precise record of how long you recited. You can then calculate how many mantras you’ve accumulated by using the method below in “counting by time.” You can also use the stopwatch as an aid to figuring out how many mantras you recite on average per minute.

Counting by time: For those who prefer to track mantra recitations by time, or in case of a physical limitation or activity such as driving or washing dishes that makes using a mala or counter difficult, this is another option. You will need to use a mala or counter or pencil on paper to determine how long it takes on average for you to recite 100 mantras, and you can then do the math and track mantra totals according to the length of your recitation period. When this method is used, it’s important to make sure you are reciting continuously and at an even speed so your count isn’t overestimated. If you realize you have become distracted, you can adjust your total to take that into account.

Formal Meditation and Practice Texts

The best and most powerful way to recite manis is during formal practice on the chair or cushion, when your full attention can be clearly focused for a period of time. To further empower your recitation, we recommend doing it within the context of the three aspects of genuine Vajrayana practice: refuge and bodhicitta, the main practice, and dedication of merit to all beings. If you already do the practice of Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion, you can count all mantras recited during your regular practice. If you don’t already have a text, you may download three English versions of the Chenrezig practice: full-length, medium, and abbreviated. Some people prefer to chant in Tibetan and you may use that text as well. Either language is fine: the practice in Tibetan is said to carry the blessings of all the generations of practitioners who have realized Chenrezig through chanting it, while the practice in English connects us directly with the meaning.

Informal Recitation in Daily Life

It’s also very beneficial to recite manis as you go about your daily activities. It’s easy to recite manis while walking, driving, or waiting for something, and they can also transform any routine activity that doesn’t require full attention, such as household or outdoor tasks, into dharma practice. Manis can even be counted while watching TV, as long as we are careful to keep an accurate count. Reciting manis while circumambulating a stupa or engaging in other virtuous activity is merit upon merit!

Occasionally we are asked if it’s okay to count manis recited during sleep and dreams. Unfortunately, since we are not able to count mantras reliably in these circumstances, we don’t include them in our total. But if you do find yourself reciting manis while you are sleeping, it is certainly an auspicious sign!

As with formal practice, the benefit of informal recitation is also strengthened if we remember to renew our refuge and bodhicitta at the beginning and dedicate the merit at the end. This can be done with traditional prayers, in our own words, or just by remembering our intention.

A note about volume: When alone or with others who enjoy hearing mantras, it’s fine to recite aloud. In fact, it’s considered very beneficial for animals, insects, and other beings to hear mantras, especially om mani peme hung. In public or within earshot of others who might not be receptive to Buddhist mantras, it’s best to recite silently or in a barely audible voice (traditionally described as “to the shirt collar,” meaning no one can hear it but you).

Group Recitation

We are taught that when we practice or recite mantras together as a group (with a local or online sangha, or as part of an organized group recitation such as Palpung New York’s million-mani initiatives, which are open to everyone), the benefit and merit of our individual recitation is multiplied by the number of participants. So we encourage group practice whenever feasible, in addition to the ongoing benefit of individual recitation.

The Mani Habit

We hope you will join us in benefiting beings and earning merit by reciting the mantra of compassion om mani peme hung and keeping track of your numbers through the mani counter on this page. And if you continue reciting manis over time, we very much look forward to welcoming you to the Palpung New York Million Mani Club.

The more opportunities we find to recite manis throughout the day, the more we develop a habit of reciting them, and soon we may find ourselves reciting manis in the back of our mind without even thinking about it. This is an illustration of how we can turn our typically samsaric propensity to form habits into a positive momentum toward enlightenment.

Record your mani mantra recitations here

Million Mani Club Members

Congratulations to all our Million Mani Club members!

 

Name Location Year
Rebecca Cheng 2012
Dean Hill New York 2013
Linda Jordan New Hampshire 2013, 2015, 2016, 2023, 2024
Ellen Eylers New York 2014
K.D. 2014
Tania Dennis Corbo 2014
Anthony Ferreira New York 2015
Candace Chaite New Mexico 2015
Enrique Pagan 2015
Jian 2015
Susan Bagley New Zealand 2015
Tashi Drolma United Kingdom 2015
Walt Thompson Massachusetts 2015
Ray Furminger United Kingdom 2016, 2022, 2023
Joe Mikrut 2017
Kathleen Beecher Maine 2018, 2021, 2023
Jampa Thaye Australia 2020, 2021
Keith Luck Virginia 2021, 2023
Su Sagarino California 2022
John Fallon New York 2022
Jim Streit New York 2022
Eric Swanson New York 2022
Dan Gussin New York 2023
Sonam Wangmo New York 2023 x 2, 2024 x 2
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