Is there any similarity between the mantra meditation found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age practices, and praying the Rosary?
The Bible’s instruction about the repeating of prayers over and over again seems unequivocal:
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: (Matthew 6.7-8a)
Yet there is so much focus on mindfulness in the general culture and in the church, that praying the Rosary seems such a natural and wholesome thing to do. In addition, the Roman Catholic Church promotes such prayers as meritorious. What’s the truth?
The Mantra and the Rosary
In Transcendental Meditation, the mantra is the name of a Hindu deity. This becomes a touch point used to bring the person to a state of mental quietness such that the voice of the divine may be apprehended.
In Roman Catholic prayer with the Rosary, the Hail Mary or Our Father are used to center the person’s mind in much the same way.
Roger Oakland writes the following:
Mantra-style meditation is actually divination, where practitioners perform rituals or meditation exercises in order to go into trances and then receive information from spiritual entities. (Tony) Campolo elaborates on the fruit of mysticism, an atmosphere he calls “the thin place” _The constant repetition of his name clears my head of everything but the awareness of his presence...The thin place is that spiritual condition wherein the separation between the self and God becomes so thin that God is able to break through._ (Tony Compolo, as quoted by Oakland)
Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to “thin” the division between our world and the spiritual realm. On the contrary, this type of behavior is condemned, for our own good.
(Divination: the discovery of hidden knowledge through mystical practices.)
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. (Deuteronomy 18:10)
I have been to the country of Myanmar (formerly called Burma) twice. On both occasions, I observed and videotaped both Catholics and Buddhists practicing repetitive prayer. By the way, in both cases they were chanting these prayers over and over again while counting beads. Yes, Catholics and Buddhists both have a rosary technique to keep track of how many times they have chanted a prayer. I have also interviewed Catholics and Buddhists praying in Myanmar. I have asked them what they are doing and why they are doing it. Each time I asked this question, I have been told the same thing. It is a way to concentrate and focus their thoughts and get in tune with the spirit world. Chanting repetitive phrases to get closer to God is not biblical; it is Satanic. -Oakland, Roger. _Faith Undone: The Emerging Church-- a New Reformation or an End-Time Deception_
God speaks to Christians through his Word
If you use repetitive prayer or any kind of focusing meditation practice like the Rosary, please stop now. You are doing yourself harm, and quite likely being seduced. Instead, read the Bible with an open heart. The Holy Spirit will speak to you in the way he has ordained - through his word. He will lead you into all truth, and conform you to true holiness in a safe, clean and honest way.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (Ephesians 5:11)
Cover image nun-Bhutan.