Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mantra Practice

A Mantra is a formula or a word with spiritual significance; however, when stripped of their Tantric undertones they become meaningless syllables which can help us to detach and relax very deeply. Mantra meditation is very easy to learn and effective in letting go of our attachment to thinking. Just repeating a mantra helps us to focus our attention on a single point and eventually reach a state of very deep rest. The regular practice of meditation can reduce our irritability and thus the feeling of being stressed, but more importantly is that continued mantra practice will reduce the time of recovery following all kinds of distressing situations.Mantra practice in juxtaposition with bowing practice can help cut through our karma very quickly.

Mantra practice should be done with a firm commitment by the student; however, it must not be looked upon as some sort of compulsion, this practice should be entered into lightly and with a strong commitment. During the first few weeks of practicing mantra meditation some students tend to become more sensitive to events that did not used to bother them. This is one reason why after beginning this type of practice it is important to consult your teacher to ensure the correct practice and effect. This practice should be undertaken during all quiet periods of the day when cognitive attention is not required. Examples would be: while driving a car, eating lunch, waiting for a bus, any time that doesn’t require us to use our conceptual thought should be filled with our mantra. Over time thoughts will emerge spontaneously and we will be tempted to follow them (this is our normal habitual pattern) and when we realize that we have strayed from our practice we must gently return to it over and over and over again. Try not to become judgmental about your practice. Thoughts and perceptions are simply allowed to come and go like single, detached events. During practice you just come back to repeating the mantra again without forcing yourself. Following are listed some of the common mantras used in our Zen practice. The explanation of their meanings and use are listed below the mantras.

Clear mind, clear mind, clear mind... Don’t Know
This mantra is intended to relieve the mind of a lot of thinking.

gaté, gaté, paragaté, parasamgaté, bodhi svaha
Litterally this mantra means: “gone, gone, gone beyond; opposites disappear, absolute appears”

Jijang Bosal
The Great Vow mantra: “I vow to save all beings”; helps the dead and the suffering.

Kwanseum Bosal
The Great Love and Great Compassion mantra which when invoked removes all kinds of suffering.

Namu Amita Bul
The Pure Land Mantra used to invoke the Western Paradise of Amitabha Buddha.

Namu–ata–shiji–nam–sammota–guchi–nam Om–ajana–baba–jiri–jiri–hum
This mantra is used to save all sentient beings stuck in Hell. If you try this, then Hell’s gates will be broken and all beings can come out.

This mantra is used to invite all the Buddhas of the ten directions.

This mantra envokes the Great Love and Great compassion of a mother’s mind and anytime there is a problem, if you try this, the problem will disappear.

Buddha taught that this world is complete, but it is our minds that are not complete. So this mantra helps our minds become complete and strong.

Namu–samanda–motdanam–abarji–hadasa–sananam–danyata Om–kaka–kahe–kahe–hum–hum–abara–abara–bara–abara–bara–abara Jita–jiri–jir–jir–badu–badu–sanjika–shiri–e–sabaha
For those with heavy karma this mantra will take away all good and bad, and all opposites, then cutting through this karma will become easy.

The Gods of the five directions (North, South, East, West and Center) are said to like the sound of this mantra, so when we do it, every god will hear our voice, and these gods will keep a clear mind and help us with our problems.

Namu Sogamuni Bul
This mantra for Śākyamuni Buddha is done to save all beings from suffering.

This is the universal mantra of truth. Chanting this mantra takes away everything.

This is the mantra of opening the Buddha’s true Dharma; it helps us to perceive the truth of this very moment.

This literally means; correct eyes, correct ears, and correct mouth. So if we have a problem seeing clearly, hearing clearly or speaking clearly, this mantra will help us.

A Pure Land Mantra that can assist in you in being reborn in the Western Paradise.

This mantra is used to clean the entire cosmos, so when your life seems cloudy and dark, this will clean all the darkness and bring forth brilliant illumination.

When the mind is chasing thoughts constantly this mantra opens the mind and results in a wide and spacious mind.

This mantra takes away all of your karma and allows you to see the truth and act appropriately.

This will protect the body so no bad energy can enter it, used when there is a sickness or to gain energy.

This mantra shatters the gates of Hell and opens the gate to nirvana.

This is an extra mantra (like an extra button on a shirt) it is used as a preventive measure even if things are going well.

This mantra is used for universal mystical energy, it can help you see through to your aspirations.

This is a mantra to begin ceremonies.

This is for when your mind is dark or small, when you cannot perform the correct actions. When cannot see and cannot hear correctly, this mantra will make your mind wide.

This is another mantra to clear away your karma and thereby help you to make changes in your life.

This mantra is for purification, when you need to purify the energy of a place that seems to have bad karma.

This is the universal mantra of repentance and is used to help correct an incorrect situation.

This is the last mantra in a ceremony – it is the ceremony is completed mantra.

This mantra will clean your mouth like your mom did when you were younger – it can rid you of bad speech and uncontrollable desires.


Just Zazen said...

Great stuff! Thank you for offering this teaching!

Algernon said...

You left out co-ca co-la, co-ca co-la, co-ca co-la....

(Never mind. Family joke.)

Barry said...

Thanks for this comprehensive list, Paul!

Jeane said...

You puck up all mantras in the chants :-)

Davi said...

Wonderfull. Thank you.

Salazius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salazius said...


I thank you very much for posting these mantras. I have chanted a couple of days the Om Maro Ruke Sabaha, and today I've been blessed, while chanting this mantra.
Thank you, may you be blessed also.


Paul Lynch said...

You are quite welcome Salazius

Ó Dochartaigh said...

I am a beginner to Zen practice, I have three questions. 1. What language are these mantras in? 2. Are there mantras in Japanese? 3. How do you synchronize your breath with the words?

Thank you

Paul Lynch said...

Hello Ó Dochartaigh

This name sounds Gaelic, based upon the little I heard and learned for my dearly departed mother.

You asked what language these mantra's were in and this is a bit of a slippery slope so I will try to explain it as clearly as I can. The mantras were written in Chinese; however, they are the attempt of some ancient Chinese Scholars to approximate the sound of the original Sanskrit Chants into Chinese Logographs. Now, understanding that Sanskrit contains many sound pronunciations which don't exist within Chinese Characters they are approximations.

Sometimes this is called "Transliteration." To make matters a bit more complex, they are the Korean pronunciations of those Chinese Characters, and not the Chinese Mandarin. As you may or may not be aware, Zen is the pronunciation of the Chinese Character Ch'an, in Korea the same character is Sŏn and its original sanskrit form it Dhyana.

So they are approximations of the original Sanskrit from a Korean perspective.

You should just breathe natural and fit it in to your practice and you physical self so that it flows with the natural rhythms of your body. I hope this helps.

Ó Dochartaigh said...

Thank you so much that was very helpful. Oh and yes that is the Gaeilge version of my last name.

Thanks again!

The Babes of Opera said...

What a wonderful site, I am new to Buddhism. I find it very soothing and revitalizing. I incorporate Buddhist philosophies into my daily life as a Catholic. I find the parallels between the Christ and the Buddha very revealing and beautiful. I am learning more everyday, I started with the OM Mantra and already there have been so many positive changes. Truth is love, love is truth :-)

The Babes of Opera said...

Sorry I forgot to mention I'm an opera singer (student) and my blog "The babes of opera" is a dedication to all the beautiful female opera singers :-)

Juan said...

hey great post. I just purchased your liturgy book on amazon. Can I begin my practice or would I have to be initiated by a teacher?

Paul Lynch said...

Hi Juan,

It depends on what it is you are doing with your practice, let me know and I will answer your question.

Roy said...

Happy to see my image made it to the big big time Buddhist wise!

Anonymous said...

think should not chant mantra when driving. what happen when meet an accident? tell the court you chant mantra?

loki said...

Any advice on pronunciation?

mantra meditation said...

Very comprehensive and informative article about mantra practice. This is a must read article especially to those who are having a hard time mastering mantra meditation.

Anonymous said...

Hi, an excellent site.

Could someone please let me know how to pronounce the words in the mantra Om–biro–gije–sabaha?

Is it biro as in beero or byro?
And is gije either geeje as in seige) or gyje with a strong i?

Many thanks


Rev. Yuánzhì Dàoqīng said...

It is biro as in beero, and it is gije as in geeje or like [Gi} the Japanases word for Judo uniform.

Anonymous said...

So... Its pronounced "geejee?"

While I'm bere confirming pronuciation, is this one....
Om Maro Ruke Sabaha
... pronounced Om Mah-ro Roo-kee Sah-bah-ha?

Which one do you think would be more helpful to chant when alcoholism temptations arise?

Anonymous said...


Just kidding (of course). Hoping another email might get sent or something and you might notice my post...

Hope all is well and I'd really like to know about the mantras. Thanks!

Vimlesh Tailor said...

Vashikaran is aastrology techniques and many astrologer are used it i think many time its work and we can get back our love using vashikaran thanks dude.
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Dr Prabhat Tandon said...

lot of thanks!!