Myōe – ln Recommending Faith in the Sand of the Mantra of Light 01
Type of Spiritual Experience
IN THIS CONTEXT sand roughly = spirit input, and thus gold sand is spirit input of great value to a person
The different colours are symbolic of the different types of spirit input one can obtain - wisdom, inspiration, healing etc
A description of the experience
From Shingon Refractions – Professor Mark Unno
Purity and the sand of the Manta of Light Purity is a central component of Myoe's practice of the Mantra of Light. ln Recommending Faith in the Sand of the Mantra of Light (which Myoe presents in a question-and-answer format), he goes to great lengths to explain that the sand used in conjunction with the Mantra of Light must be extremely pure:
QUESTION, Let us say there is a Shingon master living deep in the mountains where fine-grained sand is not available. If there is a person who hears of its efficacy and desires some sand, obtains it from an impure place, sends it deep into the mountains, and requests that the mantra be intoned to transfer its mystic power [to the sand], is this to be rejected?
A N S W E R: Such a thing should never, never happen. The teaching of the mystic power of the Mantra is exceedingly pure and comes to fruition. If it is defiled, then Vinayaka and other deities will gain a foothold and hinder the realization (Skt. Siddhi) of [mystic power]. Even if there are obstacles to be overcome such as mountains to be climbed and valleys to be crossed, sand from the purest place should be placed in a new container and sent to the Shingon master.
He instructs the practitioner to cull all impurities out of the sand including seashell fragments:
Only sand from the purest of places should be used. This fool [Myoe] has made this a matter of the greatest importance, and at first I went to gather sand from an island located very far from any human habitation. However, there were broken shells mixed in, and I discarded it [all] and did not use it. Sekisuiin, one of the buildings of Kozanji, is located at the source of water for various other buildings. The rocks there are craggy and soar up high, and there is little sand there, but it is very pure.
QUESTION, What is this sand?
A N S W E R: [The various grains] of sand differ in color, being blue, yellow, and so on; likewise, they differ in shape, being rectangular, round, and so on. [Together] they form a mass of tiny, hard [particles]. This is called "sand."
QUESTION: But then, grasses and trees also differ color, being blue, yellow, and so on; likewise, they differ in shape, being rectangular, round, and so on. Why are they not regarded as sand?
A N S W E R: They are larger and not hard. Sand is hard and small.
QUESTION, But then, dried grains of rice that have been ground into pieces are also hard and small. Why are they not regarded as sand?
A N S W E R: Those grains were originally soft and only later dried and hardened. Sand is hard and small from the beginning.
QUESTION, But then, gold, iron, and the like are also hard and small. Why are they not regarded as sand?
A N S W E R : It is so. Thus, people call [bits of gold] sagon, "sand-gold." They are not sand.
QUESTION, You originally said that the various grains of sand differ in color, being blue, yellow, and so on, that they differ in shape, being rectangular, round, and so on, and that they are hard and small. Since sand-gold and earthen sand both have these qualities, how do you distinguish the two?
A N S W E R: Golden sand is a rare treasure, stored wrapped up in the bottom of a [jewel] box. Earthen sand is not a treasure and fills the whole earth. The two are not comparable.
QUESTION, Why is it that sand-gold found where it is dug up, nor wrapped up in the bottom of a box, but found everywhere in the earth, is not regarded as treasure?
A N S W E R : It is, in fact, a treasure.
QUESTION, It already fills the earth. It is not kept in a storehouse, nor is it accumulated in a box. Who regards it as treasure? Again, it is people who gather and store it. Thus, if people merely gather and store sand, is it regarded as treasure? And if golden sand is scattered all over the earth, is it not regarded as treasure?
A N S W E R: Sand-gold would still be treasure.
QUESTION, Various meanings have been examined exhaustively. There is no [way to ascertain which is] greater or lesser, golden sand or earthen sand. Who would still assert that sand-gold is [inherently] better?
A N S W E R: Although one has listened to this discussion of equality, if one still desires sand-gold and does not desire ordinary sand, then one still regards sand-gold as treasure. Thus, it is the mind or consciousness that desires and values gold that makes it gold instead of sand: