A mantra is a syllable, word, or set of phrases used in meditation. Most Buddhist mantras are based on the core teachings of the Buddha and bodhisattvas. But keep in mind that there are many different types of mantras used by different cultures around the world.
The word mantra is a Sanskrit word that means, “a thought behind a speech or action.” Mantras are practiced in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
Today, we’re going to focus on the most powerful Buddhist mantras still in practice today.
How do Buddhist mantras work?
Why do Buddhists use mantras? Well, it helps to think of mantras as a form of prayer.
Meditation is an important part of Buddhist practice. Mantras are used in Buddhist meditation as a way of encouraging attunement between the interior and exterior worlds.
Some experienced meditation masters encourage others to ground themselves with meditation. They go further to say that, “Meditation is the firmest foundation on which to build your spiritual temple.” It can be quite a profound practice.
When incorporating Buddhist mantras into spiritual practice, one can read, hmm, speak aloud, chant or sing Buddhist mantras. Some Tibetan Buddhism practices call for carving mantras into stones.
How Do You Chant a Mantra?
Using a mantra might seem pretty self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised by how involved this practice can be.
Select a word of phrase that has a powerful underlying meaning. It should be something that speaks to you on a deep and profound level.
Next, you must choose whether to formally or informally practice your mantra.
Formal practice is a form of meditation. Aim to practice for 5-10 minutes a day.
Settle yourself in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Practice some mindful breathing. Then, begin chanting your mantra.
You don’t need to chant out loud for the mantra to have an effect. In fact, practicing silently can be a powerful experience in and of itself.
Give yourself over to the deeper meaning of the mantra. Think about each word as you recite. Sink into them and let their power consume you.
Not enough time for formal practice? You can also practice your mantra informally as you go about your daily activities.
If you find yourself in a situation that calls for the help of your mantra, repeat it a few times under your breath, and practice momentary mindfulness to help ground the experience.
You’d be surprised just how big a difference your personal mantra can make in your daily life.