Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Mantra Meditation

Sit : Love : Give

Wildmind is ad-free, and it takes many hours each month to create and edit the posts you see here. If you benefit from what we do here, please support Wildmind with a monthly donation.


You can also become a one-time benefactor with a single donation of any amount:


How is mantra meditation used?

Sacred Sound: Mantra Meditations for Centeredness and Inspiration is available as a double CD or MP3 download from our online store.
Mantras may be used on their own or as part of a visualization practice. In a typical visualization practice there is a communication from the “deity” to the practitioner (in the form of blessings, or rays of light, or even speech), and there is a communication from the practitioner to the deity, in the form of mantra.

Mantras can also be used as “mind protectors” while walking, doing the dishes, or even in sitting meditation. I often chant a mantra (internally) while I’m in an airplane taking off or landing, and I find this to be helpful in combating anxiety.

Often, Buddhists will count the mantras they are chanting by telling beads on a “mala.” The physical action of counting round the mala helps to keep the mind focused. A mala usually has 108 beads, this number having a mystical significance in ancient India.

The mala can be worn round the neck so that it can be accessed when needed. Some malas have 21 beads and are worn round the wrist. But the use of a mala is not essential.

To use mantras in formal meditation, chanted out loud or internally, first of all make yourself comfortable and upright, and spend a few minutes following your breathing and letting your mind settle.

You may want to slow your breathing, directing it into the belly, and deepen it. This will help to still your mind, although you don’t need to have an absolutely quiet mind before you start the mantra.

If you’re saying the mantra out loud, then let the sound resonate in your chest.

It will help if you take a deep breath into your belly before each mantra. Generally, mantras sound better if you can do each mantra with a single exhalation. But if you can’t manage that, then that’s okay.

Let the last note of each mantra linger before starting the next mantra. You’ll find that the mantra naturally falls into rhythm with your breathing. Make sure that the mantra follows your breathing and not the other way round, otherwise you may become breathless.

Don’t actively think about the meaning of the mantra (if it even has one!). If you know what some of the words mean, then they will have associations for you. These associations will have an effect on your mind, and will deepen in significance over time as you explore them outside of meditation.

Let go of any concerns that may arise about whether you are doing the mantra properly. It doesn’t matter if your pronunciation is a little off — it’s the spirit that counts.

To bring the mantra to a close, gradually let your chanting decrease in volume until it fades away as an external sound and can only be heard internally. Then let the internal sound fade away into silence.

At the conclusion of the practice, sit in the resonant silence, letting the vibrant quietness have a refreshing effect on your mind and emotions.

Comments

avatar

Comment from Mbeleck Mandenge
Time: July 12, 2007, 10:03 am

I wish I have learnt a mantra: I’m not sure of the pronunciation of the words. Can you guide me on the pronunciations.And also on the associated Boddhisaatva. The mantra I chant telling the beads on a mala is OM MANI PADME HUM

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: July 12, 2007, 10:51 am

Hi Mbeleck,

If you click on the link on the left that says “Buddhist Mantras” you’ll find lots of information about that mantra and about Avalokiteshvara, whose mantra that is. Alternatively, just click here

avatar

Comment from themis
Time: August 28, 2007, 11:44 am

i use a variety of mantras, depending on the time of year or my needs. i go to sleep with a mantra, use it when i’m anxious or worried to redirect my mind, and, beautifully effective, hang onto it in the dentist’s chair to release stress.

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: August 28, 2007, 1:20 pm

For a while I became rather nervous during take-offs and landings (probably because of one rather hairy landing during a storm in Montana). I found that chanting mantras completely took away the anxiety. I don’t know whether this would have happened anyway, but after a while I just stopped feeling nervous while flying.

avatar

Comment from Leonard
Time: October 11, 2007, 4:21 am

I chanted the Guru Padmasambhava Mantra, “Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung” whenever I pray or offer to Him and whenever my emotions took over my conscious and objective mind. I hung on to the meaning of each syllable and visualized Guru Rinpoche being enlarged and towering over me. His dorje splitting my emotions into thousands of pieces like a powdering effect. Just moving the focus all over his features/objects as I chanted the mantra. Amazingly, it is like Katrina being stabilized instantaneously. It is powerful for mind-clearance. The next level will be doing full prostrations for me. Cheers in your endeavours!

avatar

Comment from Wahab Abayomi Omiwole
Time: January 8, 2008, 9:57 am

It is amazing to know that one can engage in mantra meditation even “while walking, doing the dishes, or even in sitting meditation…” but could you please expatiate on how one can do this?

avatar

Comment from Zenshin
Time: August 3, 2008, 4:44 pm

In formal sitting each day I silently chant “Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi satva” for abour a half hour. Otherwise throughout the day whenever it comes to mind I chant the mantra silently to myself for as long as I remember to do it. Later (a minute, 5-minutes, or hours later) when I remember it again I pick up the practice and so on through the day. I silently chant to mantra as I fall asleep at night and when I wake up.

avatar

Comment from Borut
Time: December 16, 2008, 4:25 pm

Hi there;

does anyone know how to choose the most adequate mantra? By personal ‘good sound’ or something else? Thanks :-)

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: December 16, 2008, 9:35 pm

Hi Borut,

You can just pick one you like. Or if you have a connection with a particular Buddha or Bodhisattva you can chant that mantra.

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

avatar

Comment from Borut
Time: December 17, 2008, 3:55 am

Thanks for ansewer. I’ll try to choose one. But my mind is very wild (wildmind, really…!) and often says ‘oh, let’s try another one, now this one is not so interesting like before!’ I must ignore that begging…..:-)

avatar

Comment from TenaciousTyler
Time: May 20, 2010, 11:03 pm

Hello,

Is there any mantra in particular I should chant? All are different and have different meanings that could be used for various things. I just need some suggestions. Thanks!

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: May 20, 2010, 11:06 pm

Hi Tyler,

Seriously, pick one you like. Pick one you like the sound of, that that you feel good hearing/chanting, or that’s associated with a figure you resonate with. It’s like finding a date — you have to “meet” the mantra to know whether you think it’ll click with you.

avatar

Comment from TenaciousTyler
Time: May 20, 2010, 11:29 pm

Haha, Thanks. I Just Started Getting Into Buddhism about 2 months ago. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on it. but I’m still a bit confused with some things. I don’t have the time to go to a center where they offer classes so I found this.

avatar

Comment from Glassbear84
Time: July 5, 2010, 3:22 pm

I found your site after finding the Mantra Om Shanti it has been so very helpful for my panic attacks. I am a Gnostic but study Buddhism. I look at all religions and take from them what feels right. Thank you for this very wonderful website. I see people all over the world that need hope, peace, and Love!!

avatar

Comment from zina
Time: September 3, 2011, 12:08 pm

Hello I listen to you every moning and is truely inspired by your words. Just wanted to say I enjoy listening to your program

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: September 3, 2011, 1:21 pm

Thanks!

avatar

Pingback from Where Shikantanza is bench pressing Mantras are pushups « Zen@330
Time: December 26, 2011, 8:17 pm

[...] For a full definition of Mantra Meditation check out http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/definition, if you want. If you care about how mantra meditation works check out http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/method,again if you want. If you want to know how is mantra meditation used check out http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/how_used [...]

avatar

Comment from Shashi
Time: February 16, 2012, 1:36 pm

I’ve heard Hindus who practice mantra meditation talk about “mantra siddhi,” which I understand to be the attainment of the power of the mantra. They say that you attain that power after repeating it a certain number of times, and I’ve heard that number often calculated as a 100,000 times the syllables of the mantra. I’m wondering whether there this belief has any analogue in Buddhism. Do Mahayani and Varajayani believe that a certain number of repetitions of a mantra will give the meditator its power?

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: February 16, 2012, 1:40 pm

Yes, there is a similar belief in Tibetan Buddhism. I’m not sure whether there are supposed to be special powers attained by this, but Tibetan practitioners like to aim for 100,000 repetitions.

avatar

Comment from Alec
Time: February 20, 2012, 3:18 pm

Can a mantra still be a mantra if all it is, is chanting or thinking I will be kind ?

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: February 20, 2012, 10:02 pm

That’s a fine practice, but it’s an affirmation or statement of intent, rather than a mantra.

avatar

Comment from Henry
Time: April 22, 2012, 1:49 pm

Dear Bodhipaksa,

May i asked is it o.k to chant a numerous mantra daily.

At the moment i am chanting Om Mani Padmae Hung, Om Gabapateh Yeh Soha and Om Zambala Zalenraya Soha. I chant numerous 108 times of each mantra daily.

Sometimes i feel when i chant more, it doesn’t clear the obstacles in my daily life and at time the problems in life seem to intensify. I don’t know whether it is my own inner thought feeling or is it my previous karma or maybe i think too negatively.

I highly appreciate you can help me on this matter.

Thank you.
Henry

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: April 22, 2012, 1:56 pm

Hi, Henry.

Sure, you can chant as many different mantras as you want.

Do you only do mantra meditation? I’d suggest balancing this with mindfulness and lovingkindness practice. Sometimes motivation we have, or the kind of effort we put into our practice is unhelpful — for example if we’re grasping after results, or ar too willful, or are meditating in an egotistical way. Other forms of practice can help us fine-tune our motivation and effort.

avatar

Comment from AbdulAzeez
Time: December 8, 2012, 11:15 am

This site is wonderful, so is the inspiring comments from Bodhipaksa and others.Thank you.
I didn’t know about the wonders of manthra chanting,nor did I understand its effects on our minds.Bu since my childhood, as a tradition, though out of fear of my mother not giving night food, I was chanting Asma ul Husna, the 99 names of Allah,a sufi meditation, repeating 33 times of each at every trusandhya ( just after sunset). It was a horrible act for me then. I didn’t feel any effect on those. When I got matured I left all this bullshit and turned a communist. Thanks to this site and Bodhipaksa, I chant now with mindfulness and breaths. I remember my mother chanting some dhikr (manthra) everytime and she was happy, had no anxiety even in the midst of poverty.She was very happy inside all the time. But not my father who fought all his life for attaining physicals in life.
Azeez( India) from Canada

avatar

Comment from ginger
Time: December 11, 2013, 2:26 am

hi Henry, when I say a mantra a lot of times everyday; big changes happen very quickly and appear to be negative. I think what is happening is negative karma is being cleared out and speed it up. it appears its not a smooth transition moving up into a higher consciousness. its negative affects happen only say mantra for 10 times a day and then gradually increase it daily. this is what I had to do to prevent negative effects. I hope this helps, Ginger

avatar

Comment from Natalie Simon
Time: March 5, 2014, 8:31 pm

I have a question about chanting mantras. I want to do one for 40 days. I have decided to start a Shiva Mantra in the morning and a Lakshmi mantra in the evening. What to do before chanting mantras because I have read that you need to be clean first before chanting. Can you help me so that I won’t make mistakes.

avatar

Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: March 6, 2014, 7:58 am

You’re talking about doing Hindu mantras, and as a Buddhist I’m afraid I don’t know anything about Hindu rituals or practices.

Leave a comment