Mantra - Mentally, audibly or both?

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 6:38 pm

Mantra - Mentally, audibly or both?

Post by jonaz108 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:10 pm


I would like to hear your opinion about the efficacy of chanting mantras like
the Shurangama mantra or the long Mahakaruna Dharani, mentally or audibly.
What you think is the best and why.

Thank you for enlightening me.
My heartfelt gratitude.
Since I live in Portugal, I can only answer to posts between 9:00 and 20:00 (0º UTC).

User avatar
Posts: 428
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 3:08 am
Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?

Re: Mantra - Mentally, audibly or both?

Post by Nilasarasvati » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:26 pm

Jonaz, I've wondered the same thing...
I can't speak for your teachers, but mine told me when I asked that silently vibrating the mantra is much more powerful, even though there's nothing "inferior" about chanting aloud or saying japa or soft whispered repetition.
Hindus, I have heard, believe the same thing.

My own personal opinion is also that, when you can vibrate them internally without distraction (Even when there are other noises or people speaking) it leads to greater internalization of the mantra or Dharani. This will especially help, in my experience, with recalling the mantra in dreams or in liminal states of consciousness like just waking up. Or even at the time of death.

Knotty Veneer
Posts: 465
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:50 pm

Re: Mantra - Mentally, audibly or both?

Post by Knotty Veneer » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:31 pm

I think it can depend on the mantra. I was taught that generally mantras for wrathful practices (e.g. protector practices) are not repeated audibly, mantras for semi-wrathful practices are said barely audibly ("so only your collar can hear" - I think was translation of the Tibetan) and peaceful mantras are said audibly but not loudly. Another point that was made to me was that mantras should not be said too fast - each syllable should be distinguishable.
“Trump’s grand and vulgar self-absorption is inviting all of us to examine our own selfishness. His ignorance calls us to attend to our own blind spots. The fears that he stokes and the isolation he promotes goad us to be braver, more generous.” - James S. Gordon.

User avatar
Posts: 1001
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Mantra - Mentally, audibly or both?

Post by lobster » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:28 am

Audible mantras act more on the physical level. Improving voice, breathing and physical well being, as well as the aspects of concentration and meditation. Less audibly they give a clear, prescriptive feedback indication of physical and mental health. Inaudibly they allow 'secret' practice and therefore are more subtle and 'advanced'.

I do all three. :popcorn:

User avatar
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: Mantra - Mentally, audibly or both?

Post by mandala » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:10 am

Both is a good idea where suitable - when you speak the mantra out loud it also becomes a wholesome action of speech and body.
For a healing mantra like Shurangama, out loud can be of benefit to any beings around you like animals etc.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 32 guests