Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Mantra Main Page

Abstract Concepts Glossary

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Mantra Description (below)
- Dharani
- Language
- Script
- Calligraphy
- Sanctification/blessing

- 'A' Letter
- Prajnaparamita in a Single Letter (Sutra)
- Edible Mantras
- Kalachakra Monogram (Mantra)
- Magic Scripts
- Mani Mantra
- Sakya Lineages as Mantras
- Yantra Diagram & Mantras
- Ye Dharma (Formula)
- Inscriptions Main Page
- Confusions
- Others...

Mantras belong to the Buddhist classification of dharani. The meaning of mantra is ‘man’ mind, ‘tra’ to protect - to protect the mind. Mantras are verbal formulas used by Buddhists to protect the mind from distraction and unwholesomeness. They are typically composed in the Pali and Sanskrit languages but can also be in Prakrit, Apabhramsha, and other languages. Although some written scripts such as Brahmi and Nagari are traditionally considered to be more auspicious any script can be used to write mantras.

According to tantric literature there are different types of mantras employed in different contexts and uses such as hridaya mantra, heart mantra, root mantra, essence mantra, near-essence mantra, name mantra, mantras of body, speech and mind. Mantras can also be categorized as protective, healing, wisdom and memory enhancing. For healing and mental health issues mantras can also be edible. Written on rice paper or extremely thin edible Tibetan paper with consumable dye or ink the mantras are often created with wood block print stamps.

Jeff Watt 11-2016 [updated 12-2018, 12-2019]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).