Tibetan mantras

Do you know their origins and meanings?

Have you ever used Tibetan mantras? Do you even know what a mantra is? A mantra is intended to protect and calm the mind, so it is a mental protection. A mantra is in fact a series of mystical syllables that invoke the energy of a Buddha or bodhisattva.

The repetition of Tibetan mantras in the Vajrayana Buddhism is so important that in esoteric Buddhism it is also called Mantrayana, the Mantra Vehicle. There are also dharanis, longer mantras, and seed syllables (sánsc., Bija) that synthesize the essence of the enlightened mind.

Origin of the mantras

The first occurrence of the word mantra is found in the Rig-veda (the oldest text in India, from the middle of the second millennium BC). There it meant ‘instrument of thought’, ‘prayer, request, hymn of adoration, surprising word, song’.

According to the Vedic tradition, the ancient sages could hear the subtle vibrations emitted by nature, the breeze, the volcanoes, the thunder, the butterflies, the sea, the rivers and all the energies that were found in nature.

They understood that these sounds are the manifestation of the spirit in nature, in matter. They recognized the “Om” as the most elemental sound and that it represented the universal and infinite consciousness. This is why for thousands of years, people have used this mantra to expand their consciousness towards the divine.