(The original question was in Vietnamese. It was translated as follows: )
1. Before reciting the Buddha’s name, I used to recite the Great Compassion mantra every day. Occasionally, when I would not be able to recite the Mantra for a few days in a row because I could not find the time to recite, I would dream that I was reciting it. About eight months ago, I started switching to reciting the Buddha’s name and stopped reciting the Great Compassion Mantra. Recently, I started dreaming that I was reciting the Mantra again. Does it mean that I have good affinity with the Mantra? If so, what should I do? If I recite both the Mantra and the Buddha’s name, would it make it difficult to be single-minded?
2. When I recited the Great Compassion Mantra, my intention was to eradicate karmic obstructions and in particular, increase the mind of compassion and not to defeat the deviant and demons. But I dreamt of using the Mantra to fight with those who wished to harm me. Why is there such discrepancy between my normal state of mind and my state of mind in my dreams?
Thank you for your guidance.
1. It’s rather difficult to answer the questions because we need more details. You are much better off seeking out the instructions of a good knowing adviser in person in order to get a better resolution.
However, I’ll try to give general answers to help shed some light.
There several ways to practice the Great Compassion Mantra. One could recite it five times, twenty-one times or 108 times etc… depending on one’s potential and conditions. You practiced the Mantra for a while and have obtained a small response. If I were you, I would not stop maintaining the Mantra but would invest more time in reciting the Buddha’s name as well.
Having affinity with a particular Dharma will make it easier to become single-minded. Furthermore, once you know how to be single-minded, you can practice any Dharma.
On the other hand, specializing in a single Dharma may not necessarily result in becoming single-minded no matter how long you will practice it.
Finally, if you have the guidance of a good knowing adviser, it would be easier for you to become single-minded regardless of which Dharma door you practice.
2. Although we specialize in practicing Chan and Pure Land in parallel, a small number of our students were transmitted the Great Compassion Mantra Dharma door. Unlike the majority of the people who practice the tantric dharmas because they hope to obtain spiritual penetrations, we practice the Great Compassion Tantra in order to eradicate our offenses and develop our mind of Great Compassion.
I myself have been practicing the Great Compassion Mantra for quite a while but have never dreamt of using it to fight the demons that came to harass me in my dreams. Furthermore, when I discovered that some of my pupils used mantras to fight the ghosts and demons, I gave them a good scolding and asked them to stop. We practice in order to unfold our wisdom and not to impose our will on our enemies.
If you still have fighting dreams, you should repent of your mind of fighting and desire to prevail over others. That shows that your practice lacks the proper foundation and would make it difficult to become single-minded.