Mantrayana, the vehicle of mantra

kaikei-amida-todaiji-web-photo-nara-natl-museumWhen we lack certainty, and when our understanding of the Dharma is inadequate, we require complex and difficult practices. However, since all that we do has as its objective to separate the mind from cognitive and affective stains, why not do so directly?

With mantra, we can protect (trayati) the mind (manas) at all times. Since the mind is naturally pure, clear, and peaceful, Buddha Nature spontaneously manifests. We can recite:

Refuge mantras upon waking and whenever we feel alone

  • namo gurave namo buddhaya namo dharmaya namo sanghaya

Purification mantras while bathing, washing, cleaning, eliminating, and before sleep

  • om vajrasattva hum
  • om vajrasattva samayam anupalaya…(100 syllable mantra)

Healing mantras when we take care of the body, and whenever we drink water, apply therapies, or take remedies

  • om ah hum amideva ayu-siddhi hum
  • tayatha om bhekandze bhekandze maha-bhekandze radza samudgate so’ha

Rebirth mantras before meals, and whenever we encounter danger, death, and dying

  • om amideva hrih
  • om namo bhagavate amidevaya tathagataya arhate samyak sambuddhaya 

Wisdom mantras whenever we need clarity

  • gate gate paragate parasamgate boddhi svaha
  • om svabhava suddha sarva dharma svabhava suddho’ham

Compassion mantras whenever we encounter suffering

  • om mani peme hum
  • om tare tuttare ture so’ha

Faith mantras when we have doubts

  • muni muni mahamuni shakyamuniye so’ha
  • lama chenno lama chenno palden tsawai lama chenno

Courage mantras when we feel fear

  • om tare tuttare ture so’ha
  • om vajrapani hum

Bliss mantras when we are sad

  • sarva mangalam bhavatu
  • om ah hum ho ham ksha

Peace mantras when we feel agitated

  • om svasti om
  • om shanti shanti shantih

Someday we may realize, as my Lama taught:

All mantras are not one mantra; and yet, one mantra is all mantras”.

That is, although there is no one mantra suitable for all persons, in all times, places, and circumstances, that mantra for which we develop a strong affinity with constant recitation, can fulfill all purposes for us.

In our Sangha, that mantra is om amideva hrih.

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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13 Responses to Mantrayana, the vehicle of mantra

  1. MindMindful says:

    I lovelovelove & strongly resonate with mantrayana — thanks for laying it out this way, mantras for different times & purposes.

  2. MindMindful says:

    Reblogged this on MindMindful and commented:
    Long time readers probably know I lovelovelove reciting mantras. This post lays out a way to understand when they can best be used. A good primer;)

  3. david says:

    Reblogged this on Out of Nowhere and commented:
    Wonderful! I feel especially drawn to mantra, and find it helps me in many ways in many situations. This is a beautiful and helpful overview/encapsulation. I’ll be referring to this post a lot.

  4. Thank you for sharing the mantras! I like using mantras to help me stay mindful and as a way of showing gratitude.

  5. ian davies says:


    what it the mantra that is said before the dharma talk on mental structures (1) and what does it mean?

    thank you


  6. Rus Thomas says:

    do you have to get your mantra from a teacher with a lineage that goes back to the buddha or can you start reciting one that you just found online? 😀

    • Tashi Nyima says:

      Some mantras are ‘open’ –that is, anyone can recite them without specific transmission. These include om mani peme hum, namo buddhaya, om tare tuttare ture so’ha, om amideva hrih, and many others. However, if you have the opportunity to receive them in disciplic succession from a lama, it is preferable. Mantras are not magical, and neither is transmission, but receiving individual instruction is usually better, in spiritual as in other matters.

  7. Pingback: Esoteric and Advanced meditations practices | Tai Chi Fighter's Blog

  8. maximo hudson says:

    Food preparation mantra?

    • Tashi Nyima says:

      You can recite any mantra during preparation. It is more important to recite just before consuming the food. A short prayer is also helpful, such as “May this food give me the capacity to help others. May all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May all embrace happiness and the causes of happiness. May all abide in peace, free from self-grasping. May all attain the union of wisdom and compassion.” Then bless the food with the mantra OM AH HUM

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