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Mantra (sngags) - 1) A synonym for Vajrayana. 2) A particular combination of sounds symbolizing and communicating the nature of a deity and which lead to purification and realization, for example: OM MANI PADME HUNG. We have chiefly three types of mantras: Three Mantras: guhya mantra, vidya mantra, and dharani mantra. [RY]

Mantra (sngags)

  • According to the tantras, the spiritual practices are designed to transform mundane body, speech and mind into buddha-body, speech and mind. This is achieved respectively by the hand-gestures or seals of buddha-body, the mantra recitations of buddha-speech, and the visualisations of buddha-mind. The mantras which are recited include the seed-syllables, which give rise to the resepctive forms of the peaceful and wrathful deities, and their corresponding Sanskritic formulae. The Sanskrit word mantra is itself an abbreviation of two syllables mana and tara, respectively meaning 'mind' and 'protection'. Hence 'mantra' literally means a device for 'protection of the mind'. The essential point is that the recitation of mantras protects the mind from the overwhelming influence of ordinary perceptions and conceptions, which give rise to deluded states of existence, thus inhibiting the full expression of buddha nature. In general, three types of mantra are differentiated: mantras of retention (Skt. dhāraṇī, Tib. gzungs sngags), gnostic mantras (Skt. vidyāmantra, Tib, rigs sngags), and secret mantras (Skt. guhyamantra, Tib. gsang sngags). Among these, the first comprises the incantations associated with the sutras which are designed to intensify discriminative awareness, the second are associated with specific deities of the outer tantras, and designed to intensify skilful means, while the third are associated with the inner tantras, and are designed to intensify the generation stage of meditation. The term "secret mantras" is also utilised as a synonym for the vehicle of indestructible reality (vajrayāna) and all the vehicles of the tantras in general. GD (from the Glossary to Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings)