Buddhist mantras are syllables and words chanted repetitively as part of a centering, consciousness-shifting practice. Their exact function can vary, but all have a goal of helping to inspire and invoke Enlightenment.

Chanting a mantra can assist in specific life concerns as well as offer a way to focus during meditation. It’s also believed that some mantras call forth helpful guides and energies to assist us on our path. Here are seven examples of mantras to try in your own practice:

The Medicine Buddha Mantra

This mantra helps to bring about success in all areas of life, assisting in relieving suffering to pave the way for success, growth, happiness and Enlightenment:

Tayata Om Bekanze Bekanze Maha Bekanze Radza Samudgate Soha 

Tayata: I now invoke
Om: The Universal sound
Bekanze Bekanze: Release the pain of illness
Maha Bekanze: Release the pain and darkness of delusion
Radza Samudgate: To achieve supreme spiritual heights
Soha: I offer this prayer to the Medicine Buddha

Lotus Sutra Mantra

This mantra is central to Nichiren Buddhism, which combines Buddhist teachings and wisdom from the Japanese teacher Nichiren Daishonin. The mantra offers devotion to the Lotus Sutra, which teaches that everyone has the potential to become Enlightened:

Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo

Nam: I pledge devotion
Myo: To the perfection wondrous beyond conception
Ho: The Dharma
Renge: Of the Lotus Flower
Kyo: Teaching (Sutra)

Shakyamuni Mantra

Shakyamuni, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, refers to the historic Buddha. He embodies Buddha nature, and this mantra is an homage to this first Buddha. The Shakyamuni Mantra has a goal of bringing forth the same Buddha nature that resides in us all.

Om Muni Muni Mahamuni Shakyamuniye Svaha

Om: I invoke the Universal sound, Buddha nature
Muni Muni: And the wise one, wise one
Mahamuni Shakyamuniye: Of the Shakyans
Svaha: Hail to thee!

The Avalokitesvara Mantra

Tibetan Buddhists chant this mantra as a prayer to invoke the blessings, power and benevolent attention of Chenrezig, or “compassion embodied.” This mantra focuses on both giving and receiving compassion. It is often carved in stone where it can be seen by practicing Tibetan Buddhists.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Om: I invoke the Universal sound
Mani: The jewel, the goal of Enlightenment, love and compassion
Padme: Lotus wisdom
Hum: And a pure, indivisible unity of wisdom with practice

Amitabha Mantra

This mantra means “To overcome all hindrances and obstacles.” It is said to protect the chanter from harm and help them to overcome obstacles standing in the way of Enlightenment. One’s loving, compassionate nature is enhanced, and many blessings await those who chant this mantra.

Om Ami Dewa Hrih

Om: I invoke the Universal sound
Ami: Infinite, limitless light
Dewa: Deity, Buddha nature
Hrih: With conscientiousness and self-respect

Green Tara Mantra

This mantra helps the chanter to overcome physical, emotional, mental and relationship blocks. The Green Tara figure is called upon to offer assistance. The only thing required is for the chanter not to cling to any one outcome; the more detached and non-grasping we can be, the happier we become.

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

Om: I invoke the Universal sound
Tare: And the Green Tara
Tuttare: To bring deliverance from suffering and delusion
Ture: Paving the way for compassion and Enlightenment
Soha: I offer this prayer to Green Tara

White Tara Mantra

This mantra is associated with longevity, good health and compassion. It is often chanted with positive intentions for the good of someone else in mind.

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jnana Pustim Kuru Soha

Om: I invoke the Universal sound
Tare: And the White Tara
Tuttare: To bring deliverance from suffering and delusion
Ture: And bring instead compassion and Enlightenment
Mama: To myself and to…
Ayuh: Long life and longevity
Punya: Merit from living life ethically and with good intention
Jnana: Wisdom
Pustim: Abundance, wealth and good things
Kuru: Like the auspicious land North of the Himalayas
Soha: I offer this prayer to White Tara

Suggested Reading: Om – The Sound of the Universe