Mantra (Sanskrit. मन्त्र, m mantra, saying, song, hymn ' ) denotes a sacred syllable, a sacred word or sacred verse These are " sound body " a spiritual force which is to be manifested by most repetitive recitation in this world. These repetitions of the mantra or the name of a deity, are sometimes called Japa or Nama Japa. Mantras can be recited in thought either talking, whispering, singing or. They can also be written ( Likhita - japa ), and even eaten in this form. In Hinduism, in Buddhism and Yoga reciting mantras during meditation and in prayer is common. Especially in the spirituality of Eastern Christianity the names orthodoxy ( Onomatodoxie ) plays an important role in connection with mantric prayer forms (such as Jesus or serenity prayer ).

  • 5.1 From the Hindu tradition
  • 5.2 From the Buddhist tradition


The Sanskrit word mantra (also mantram ) is mostly used as masculine, more rarely as neuter. In German mantra is usually neuter, rarely the masculine is needed.

The Sanskrit word mantram combines the two word roots manas ( mind) and tram (protection, protect or instrument ) so that the literal meaning mental protection or protection of the mind, but also an instrument of the mind / thought can be. Mantras as a means of meditation, such as in Vajrayana Buddhism (keyword Mantrayana ), the meaning of words used by, consequently, to the spirit respectively to protect the thinking - and from harmful ideas and concepts. The ideal is therefore that is recited during the mantra, the mind binds to the positive content of the words of the mantras and therefore not with others, ie, negative thoughts can employ.

Mantra is derived from the Indo-European root * men-, think, ponder ' from that was the Instrumentalsuffix * - tro - extended. The word is already Indo-Iranian, Avestan as mąθra, word, saying ' shows. This is often, holy spell holy word ' used and is in Yast 13.81 as white radiant soul of Ahura Mazda ' in the formula spənta mąθra circumscribed.


Reciting a mantra can serve to release mental and spiritual energies, often called prayer. Every syllable and every word during a puja, a Hindu worship, is considered as a mantra. The external activities of the priest receive their meaning and effectiveness only by reciting the prescribed words. One of the oldest mantras include the offering formulas and prayers of the Vedas.

Certain combinations of mantras are also called mantras, as against snakes, demons and other negative forces in use. As in the Vedic ritual, where the correct formula intoned fulfilled an important function as an effective force is measured in Hinduism at the sound and the singing of religious value and effectiveness.

Hindu students receive after initiation into the rite is usually provided by a personal guru mantra. This formula must be kept secret and is the treasure of the faithful be.

Three types of mantras are distinguished:

  • Saguna, literally, with form ', addressed to a particular deity or to a particular aspect of a god.
  • Nirguna, literally without form ', addressed to the formless divine.
  • Bija or bija - akshara are monosyllabic seed mantras, which are specially used in meditation or in ceremonies, and after tantric teachings can also act on the respective energy center, the chakra ( ham - ether, yam - air, ram - Fire, vam - Water, lam - earth ).

The most famous Bija mantra is Om, the most important mantra for Hindus in general, which contains all others in itself ( Pranava ). Other Bija mantras such Haum, Gum, Crimea, Shrim and Aim represent certain spiritual forces, which also correspond to certain deities in Hinduism, which are called meditative with longer mantras.


In Buddhism, sacred phrases or syllables are used as mantras. In Vajrayana Buddhism ( Tibetan tradition and Japanese Shingon ) are mantras ( ngag Tib, orth sngags ) so significant that they variously that tradition Mantrayana ( mantra - vehicle ', kyi theg pa sngags ) calls.

Mantras in Tibet have been handed down as a rule in Sanskrit, the transliteration ( in Tibetan script ), the debate has clearly sometimes changed. As in Hinduism Mantras of qualified teachers during an initiation (dbang bskur ) are transferred to the student. But there are also mantras (partly) in the Tibetan language, for example, for the reference to famous Tibetan saint (eg Milarepa ).

Each Buddha is called and visualized with a private mantra.

Practice and meaning


Essentially, it is in mantras to key messages (or aphorisms ) that are traditionally kept in their original language, mostly Sanskrit. As part of a sadhana recitation, it is possible that regardless of the language used a mantric sentence is spoken in Sanskrit, when one consciously makes the emptiness (eg Om sobhawa shuddha Sarwa dharma sobhawa shuddho ham ) or offerings to the Buddhas are made (eg, I dam gu ru ratna mandalakam niryatayami ), or more concretely, the individual offerings names (eg Om ah hum shabda ); Finally, you can linger in meditation by at least initially, the mantra of the yidam (that is, the Buddha, on the one meditates ) recited. Thus the mind is held in place by the idea (visualization) and the saying of the mantra on the object of meditation. The long-lasting reciting a mantra is to serve as a support to stay in the desired meditative thinking. The mantra recitation eventually turns into a quiet stay in the experience of the meditation object ( that is, without support ).


Furthermore, a distinction is made between seed syllables ( om, ah, hum, hrih ), which are associated with the energy system specific functions, and other components such as core statements (eg, " Everything becomes emptiness ", " jewel in the lotus ", " perfumes " ) or names of Buddhas (eg Amidewa = Amitabha ) or gurus. Often begins and ends with a mantra seed-syllable, between a statement (eg Om A mi de wa hrih = Om Amitabha hrih ). Furthermore, many mantras begin with teyatha (see Tathagata ) ( orth dya tha ta ) and end with hum or soha ( orth svah Hah from Sanskrit svaha "victim" ).


The mantra is a particular vibration and thus an aspect of the Urschwingung, referred to in Hinduism as Shabda or Nama. A multiple concentration and visualization with color and enhanced importance and changes the effect. This is the effect of the force of the meditator depends on the duration of the effect of vibration.

The mantra used in meditation the transformation of the meditator. The fact that a mantra of a certain mindset, a deity or a Buddha is associated, whose recitation is availed to bring forth this attitude, and by naming ( eg by means of the seed syllables ), attention is, for example, on certain energy positions in the body directed.


From the Hindu tradition

The most important mantra in Hinduism is the mystical syllable Om and the Gayatri, which is considered as the " mother of the Vedas ". The Shivaites the Panchaksharamantra namah Shivaya is the most important mantra in the Vaishnavites are the Ashtaksharamantra Om namo Narayanaya and Dvadashaksharamantra Om namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya. Also popular in the West Hare Krishna mantra is a mantra vishnuitisches. In tantric mantra seed syllables are preferred, such as the Mantra Om Hrim aim klim namah Chamundayai vicche where the Bijamantras the Goddess Sarasvati (aim ), Lakshmi ( Hrim ) and Durga ( dum ) symbolize, asking for wisdom ( Saraswati ), possession ( Lakshmi ) and protective ( Durga ).

From the Buddhist tradition

  • Om ah hum vajra guru padma siddhi Hum ( Vajra Guru Mantra or the twelve syllables mantra of Guru Rinpoche);
  • Om mani padme hum ( "Om, jewel lotus "; often inaccurately translated as "O jewel in the lotus flower ", referring to the all-encompassing compassion for all beings ) - Located in the Kagyu also, loving eyes ' called mantra is aimed at the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshvara universal, Tibetan Chenrezig;
  • Om ami dewa hri ( Buddha of Limitless Light, Öpame or Amitabha );
  • Namo amitabha BUDDHAYA (refuge for Amitabha );
  • Om tare tu tare ture soha (refuge for female Bodhisattva Green Tara );
  • Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.