Mantra For Meditation And Mantra Chants

by marciag

Mantra meditation is one of the oldest meditation techniques available to us, coming from the Vedic times where people used mantras in chanting to ask things from gods.

Mantras are either syllables, words or phrases that are chanted rhythmically in incantations either loud, in whispers or in the mind, silently.

Also called 'sound symbols', depending on the school or philosophy that the person belongs to, the mantras can be anything, ranging from various Buddhist figures, to the name of God in the respective culture, or simply letters from the alphabet.

The Meaning Of Mantras In History

Mantras carved onto rocks for meditationMantra meditation is said to be capable of spiritual transformation and growth in the person practicing it. Chanting mantras has been used in practically every culture throughout the times, starting from the Vedic tradition of incorporating them in the mantra meditation.

It has always been believed that words have powers, and chanting a mantra can control the various external elements and forces, such as gods or other higher spirits.

One of the beliefs of the ancient world was that if you knew the true name of the gods, you could control them and compel them to do whatever you ask of them. Even the Bible mentions the power of the words: (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. New Testament, John1:1-2 )

At some point mantras have become an integral part of the Hindu tradition, being practiced in Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

Especially the syllable 'aum' (also known as 'om', 'ah' or 'hum') was very popular in the various Hindu scriptures, and this mantra has been transmitted from generation to generation the modern times of today. Many meditators are using this syllable in their meditation practices.

It has been also used in the Japa meditation, being called 'mantra japa', which means the repetition of the mantra. Yoga meditation also makes use of it.

In Buddhist meditation, mantras have entered relatively late as a part of the spiritual practice known as Tantra. This used mantras quite extensively in order to influence the decisions of gods and achieve enlightenment.

Image credits: Creative Commons

Mantra In Modern Meditation

Many modern meditations, including the Transcendental Meditation are using mantras, however in most cases they do not have a particular meaning (such as 'god') for the meditation practitioner. It is the focus of the attention during the meditation session.

Most of the times they are simply sounds that the person needs to focus on to enter a state of relaxation for meditation. This does not mean that mantras with a meaning are no longer popular or used. They are.

When a person meditates using a mantra of 'God' for example, by repeating the name over and over again, either loudly or silently, they remove all their other impressions from the mind, remaining only with the name of God.

Today repetition of the mantra means that when you use it in mantra meditation, you will either say it loudly, whispering or completely silently. It is really up to your personal preferences. However it is important to repeat it at the same speed at all times. You can easily co-ordinate it with your inhaling or exhaling by repeating it once at each step.

Modern Magic: Mantras for Daily Life

Modern Magic: Mantras for Daily Life

Buddhist Mantras - Om Mani Padme Hum And Other Tibetan Buddhist Mantras

What Are Buddhist Mantras?

Buddhist mantras are as ancient as meditation itself. In some forms of buddhism, Tibetan buddhism among them, there are many buddhas, or awakened Bodhisattvas. For each of these buddhas, which represent things like compassion, wisdom, and protection, there is a mantra which is said to call on those attributes and dispel ignorance and attachment.

Buddhist mantras are most often used for meditation, by being repeated in the mind, spoken aloud, or chanted. They are also beneficial when heard, which makes Buddhist mantra CD's popular.

Choosing a mantra may depend on your particular goals in meditation, but it is wisest to choose one which resonates with you. But how do you find the right one for you? Well, this is how you do it.

When looking them over, say them aloud to yourself. See which rolls off of your tongue, which, if any, you experience a strong emotion to, whether negative or positive, or if one of them particularly appeals to you.

If you feel strongly toward a mantra, it might mean that you will benefit from it and it would help to incorporate it in your meditation practice.

Common Tibetan Buddhist Mantras and What They Mean

  • Om Mani Padme Hum

The most familiar buddhist mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum (ohm, manny pod ma hume), is the mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. The 14th Dalai Lama is said to an incarnation of this Buddha, and so this mantra is extremely popular among his followers and fans.

Buddhist mantra meditationThis Buddhist mantra is considered a sacred chant in Tibet. The first syllable “Om” is the sacred sound of the universe, and the syllable “hum” at the end is a traditional closing syllable in buddhist chants. The meaning of these two are untranslatable.

The central syllables do have, however, meaning. Manipadma is translated as Jewel-Lotus. This refers to the bodhisattva of compassion, also known as “Jewel-Lotus,” as well as to our own inner sense of compassion, and to higher wisdom.

Wisdom is what padma stands for, alone, and compassion is the jewel of our knowing and lack of ignorance.

The mantra calls on our inner wisdom and compassion to expel ignorance; but, what is most important is pronouncing and hearing the syllables, each of which are said to carry their own power and significance.

One of the easiest ways to start with chanting it is by listening to the Om Mani Padme Hum CD.

  • Akasagarbha Mantra

Another Tibetan mantra that is known to be very powerful is the mantra for Akasagarbha. This is the bodhisattva of boundless wisdom, and one of the 8 major bodhisattvas. His mantra in sanskrit is namo akasagarbhaya o? arya kamari mauli svaha (nomm oh akasa garb haya ohm ahr ya kah marie svah ha.)

This mantra translates quite beautifully into English as

wish the whole universe, 'OM', to pray all human beings flourish with all dedication.
Once again, each syllable and sound is more important than focusing on the meaning.

Nonetheless, contemplating what you are saying and letting it come from your innermost being is said to awake the bodhicitta, or, the desire to find enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.

  • Shiken haramitsu daikoumyo

Shiken haramitsu daikoumyo (shee-keen hah rah meet soo die ko mee yo), is a famous Japanese Buddhist mantra that is rich and complex in meaning.

The actual japanese letters making up this mantra point out the illusion and instability of the mind and emotional states and tell us that the awakened, pure and loving heart leads to freedom through enlightenment.

The literal American translation is something close to:

seek a bright future of enlightenment by loving, being true and natural, and persevering with dedication.

Image credits: Creative Commons

How To Say The Om Mani Padme Hum Mantra

Benefits of Buddhist Mantras

Mantras are known to have many benefits which have been gained for thousands of years by those who were using them regularly. Some of them are enlightenment and awakening of the bodhisattva mind, or the vow to attain liberation and bring it others.

They strengthen the desire to meditate and are said to have immediate effects on the mental state upon hearing them.

Maybe the most important one among mantras is the syllable OM, the sacred syllable which stands for God, the "absolute unmanifested", or the divine energy of the universe.
Each syllable in a chanted mantra contains benefits, such as generosity, patience, and wisdom, and helps purify the kleshas, or negative attributes, such as jealousy, passion, and aggression.

For new people to meditation, chanting mantras will prove to be valuable aids, and for seasoned spiritualists they are beautiful motivators on the path to greater insight.

Here Is A Very Useful Book To Learn About Incorporating Mantras In Your Meditation

Mantras: A Beginner's Guide to the Power of Sacred Sound

Do You Think Chanting Mantras Helps When Meditating?

Mantra Chants - Chanting The Mantras In Your Meditation

While mantras are using the repetition of various sounds (can be syllables, words or even phrases) that help in meditation practice to reduce stress, induce relaxation, help with better health and overall improving life quality, chants are the actual repetition of the mantras either spoken loud, or in a whisper or quietly, with the inner voice. We usually say 'chanting the mantra' as this is the proper usage of chants, which means repetition of mantras.

When it comes to chanting, there are various schools of thought that teach mantra chants in their own ways. For example in Hinduism, chants and mantras are used on a regular basis. One of the mantra chants, mantra japa makes use of the mantra chanting exactly 108 times in order to close one circle. If you have ever seen a japa mala (a meditation rosary, also called meditation beads), you might have counted exactly 108 beads on it.

While there are many mantras that are used in meditation, we will not focus here on them as this would mean writing a book on them only, the subject is so vast.

Also in the Western society, meditation has an easier goal than Eastern meditation, so we are focusing here on what works for us, and what allows us to benefit from without having to become Zen or Buddhist monks.

We are learning easy meditation techniques that can help us cope with our stressful and busy lives every day.

OM Mantra Chant

OM mantra chantMaybe the most popular, well known and most chanted mantra is the OM (also called AUM). It is said that if you practice mantra chanting of the OM for 15 minutes every day, you can gain many benefits of meditation as a result. It can calm and quiet the busy mind and help you greatly de-stress.

The history of OM says that it is the most basic sound that comes to us from the universe. It IS the sound that created the universe. It is the only sound that is not produced by bumping two things or objects together. OM is the mother of all sounds, it contains every other sound in it and it simply exists on its own.

If you are looking for an actual meaning for the OM word, there is no real translation for it from any language. OM is no word or phrase, it is simply a sound. In the Hindu tradition, OM is the name of God in its purest form.

The OM mantra chanting has no particular religious connotation associated with it, so OM can be chanted by anyone during meditation.

Image credits: Creative Commons

Chanting The Om Mantra

Beautiful relaxation meditation

Hare Krishna Mantra Chant

Hare Krishna chantThe Hare Krishna mantra is another quite powerful mantra. It has become widespread in our world as well. Coming from the Vedas, it is said to be one of the most powerful mantras in existence today. This mantra has an actual meaning from Sanscrit and the translation is: Hare - he who removes illusion and Krishna - He who is the source of all pleasure.

When chanting, you can repeat the mantra either loud or whispering softly (as noticed in Japa meditation), or quietly speaking with your inner voice. What you would normally chant is this:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Hare Krishna mantra chanting entered our society via A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who took the initiative to spread the teachings from India to our Western world. He came in 1965 to the US and then went to most parts of the globe several times, spreading the learning of this phrase all over the world.

Image credits: Creative Commons

Chanting The Hare Krishna Mantra

Other Mantra Chants

While these are the most popular ones, there are many other mantras that you can chant in meditation. For example HU is one such mantra (it is pronounced 'hue') and it is said to transform your life by opening your heart to the love of God.

Many Christians are using God's name in their Christian meditation. Usually though while mantras are used in the Western world, they do not have that strong religious and spiritual connection for everyone. Many people use any repetition of a syllable, word or phrase as a mantra for meditation and it works.

Positive affirmations are used as mantras in meditation especially when the meditation has a purpose, such as losing weight or getting rid of anxiety or giving up smoking, or simply becoming a better person.

Meditating with a mantra seems to add for many people a structure that they were previously lacking in their sessions and it seems to help greatly in achieving a greater sense of calm and peace.

Using chants and mantras people are starting to notice a change in their very thought patterns, a greater awareness of their thoughts and even in their behavior, patterns that are much more positive than anything experienced before.

Popular Mantra Chants That You Can Use To Learn Chanting When Meditating

Buddhist Chants & PeaceOm Mani Padme HumTibetan Incantations

Which Is Your Favorite Mantra Chant To use?

How To Use Buddhist Chants In Your Meditation Practice

using mantra chants in meditationUsing mantras is easy, and it can be done anywhere. We benefit the most from hearing them aloud, but contemplating one or more of the syllables, allowing them to repeat inside our mind, or participating in mental chanting is also very lucrative.

We can use them to stay focused while we drive or work, or we can use them to pull us deeper into a meditative state as we work to open our hearts and dispel the ignorance of loneliness and separation.

Chanting on the mat is a perfect opening to almost any meditation. It immediately focuses and stills the mind as sacred syllables draw our attention inward.

We can use a mantra only at the beginning, or we can use it as a form of concentrative meditation, using it as a hub which we come back to any time the mind wanders.

This is made very effective by recorded Buddhist chants that we can sing along with or listen to mindfully.

While repeating a mantra, listen to how it sounds in your voice or in your mind. By repeating it over and over again while breathing in and out, it will enter every pore of your body, every cell until you will become one with it, one with God. You can use various meditation accessories during the mantra meditation such as Japa mala meditation beads which have been used for thousands of years by spiritual enlightenment seekers.

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More Pages On Meditation Right Here On Wizzley

If you want to learn how to do meditation at home, there are some very easy steps you can follow for best results.Meditation is healthy, is fun and is a welcome change from stress.
If you want to learn how to meditate to relax, you've come to the right place. Meditation for relaxation is a great way to combat stress and relax the mind and body.
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Nature meditation exercise to enjoy the natural healing power of the outdoors.
Updated: 04/25/2013, marciag
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