Mantra amulet, traditional drawing
Mantra Healing is natural cure in tune with the universe’s inherent vibration. Originating from Tibetan, Sanskrit, or the secret Dakini language, mantras can be learned and used by anyone regardless of professional, cultural or religious background.
Mantras can be used for oneself or others as supportive medical treatment with no side effects or to individually enhance spiritual practice. The teachings come with the proper transmission, explanations and practical session, as well as retreat instructions.
The word ‘mantra’ comes from the ancient Sanskrit language. The syllable ‘man’ means ‘mind’, ‘tra’ means ‘protection, rescue’. So a mantra’s real as well as literal meaning is to protect the mind. If asked ‘protection from what?’, the mantric tradition would answer ‘from suffering’.
Their down to earth function addresses all kinds of suffering in various degrees from small pains to serious diseases, from physical needs to natural disasters, from emotional stress to psychiatric disorders. Children, adults and elderly may all use mantras for themselves, for others in their environment, and also for the nature in general.
Mantras in Sowa Rigpa
As a healing method mantras share a strong connection to Sowa Rigpa, the Traditional Tibetan Medicine, in which they are systematically and philosophically rooted. Following the same principles, mantras are therapeutically used in preventing, alleviating and curing disorders of body, speech and mind, thus earning the name of ‘healing mantras’ or ‘mantra healing’.
Their application is intertwined with all therapeutic methods which are the four trunks of diet, lifestyle, medicine, external therapy. Though they are mostly associated with the
lifestyle due to their spiritual quality they help purify food; some mantras can even be eaten. They are used to bless medicine and traditionally they play a necessary role during the making of medicine: certain steps of the production have to be empowered by mantras.
Reciting mantras increases the healing power of a therapist and the effect of external therapy during a treatment session.
However mantras can act independently, therefore they are sometimes considered the ‘fifth trunk’ of Sowa Rigpa.
Though mantras in general originated in the Hindu philosophy, the tradition of healing through mantras may come from another source. However, the Hindu view that all phenomena in this reality have a name of some kind, still applies to healing mantras.
According to the Vedas the most basic name is OM, the primordial vibration that describes the creator Brahma. In many spoken healing or spiritual mantras of other traditions such as Buddhism this same syllable can be found as reference to the primal sound of existence.
The practice of mantra healing can be found in Tibet, India, China and many more countries. It is said though that mantra healing originated in the Himalayan region on Mount Kailash. Legend has it that in ancient times many thousands of years ago special people sought loneliness in remote areas in order to develop their mental potential and gain ultimate knowledge.
These people were called drangsong in Tibet or rishi in India - sages who abandoned
civilization and dedicated their life to meditation and yoga practices. Like the modern world has achieved great technological advancements through scientific study and research of the measurable and material dimension, people in former times gained immense wisdom and marvelous qualities through their focus on the inner dimension, the mind.
One of these is the knowledge of the healing mantras, obtained by the trained and developed mind only through extraordinary perception during total inner silence and relaxation. Among other accomplishments these mantras were transmitted from generation to generation, thus surviving in the Bon tradition until today.
Another transmission of healing mantras dates back to the eighth century, during which the famous spiritual master Guru Rinpoche established Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet and founded the lineage of tantric mantras. In reference to this Vajrayana is sometimes also called ‘Mantrayana’.
When looking at mantras they can be described in many way resulting in various kinds of classifications and divisions. The important thing is to have a good overview of these in order to not get lost. Therefore the most basic divisions will be explained here.
They include divisions and explanations according to:
- each mantra’s inherent effects or aspects, namely the outer, inner and secret aspects
- the purpose such as healing or spiritual development: healing mantras versus deity mantras,
- how mantras are perceived, e.g. through vision, sound, smell, taste or touch, and
- different applications such as using direct vibration or carriers (water, salt, various materials), or symbols.
Mantras work through vibration, therefore their basic nature is what physics would describe as wave or ray. This vibration expresses itself through various ways just as motion is naturally present in this universe, in every planet, every atom or even light. Science also calls it ‘energy’ of which not more but a fraction has been discovered, described and explored.
In ancient Western and Eastern philosophy this natural principle of energy is often presented as elements, such as The Five Elements or The Four Elements. They would constitute this world and form its face through the combination of their own qualities and characteristics.
According to some Buddhist texts there are two aspects of elements, subtle and gross.
In the TTM view the world consists of the elements. Physical elements originate from elements in a subtle dimension that cannot be physically described.
This light state dimension is called dang ma in which elements are in their pure state. These are the elements of emotions etc. The next state is already in the physical dimension called nyig ma in which elements are in their impure state. The rays manifest as form or material.
Mantras target the subtle aspects of elements and through the elements’ inherent ability of transformation have a positive effect on the physical elements.
The effect of mantras depends on various factors such as the therapists state of mind and healing power, the correct use of mantras, and the karmic circumstances of the beneficiary. Therefor integral stages of a mantric practitioner include their own general spiritual development after receiving a proper transmission, and correct specific preparation before the healing process (mentally, physically, possibly regarding suitable materials).
Retreats help the practitioner to activate mantra power and develop healing abilities. A certain commitment to this spiritual practice is necessary in order to progress. An initiation given by a qualified teacher is the foundation. Explanations and diligent practice clarify doubts and lead along the path.
Healing with Mantras
There are literally hundreds of different Mantras for Healing. Some mantras are for specific problems, such as diarrhea, flu, pimples or broken bones. Some cover more generalized conditions, for example disorders of the heart, disorders of the senses or pain in general.
Healing Mantras can be used to heal oneself or to heal others. They can be applied in personal meetings or from a distance.
Traditionally, there are also ways of using mediums to carry the mantric power. These include:
- mantra water - after the recitation of the mantras a certain number of times to activate its power, the breath containing the subtle energy of sound is blown onto water which is consumed
- mantra butter - the breath is blown onto butter which is either consumed or rubbed on the affected area
- mantra salt - the breath is blown onto salt which can be heated and is then applied to the specific area
- blowing mantra - the hands are rubbed together and the mantra is blown onto them, then they are placed on the body on the specific area
- metal mantra - hot metal is used to generate the healing energy
- mantra stone - warmed up, reusable stones are applied to the problematic area.
Healing Mantras are extremely versatile, and can be utilized in many other ways in addition to these methods. Sometimes the practitioner may simply chant the mantra themselves, at other times the patient may be encouraged to listen to the sound of the Mantra being chanted.
Certain body parts can be empowered by drawing on them mantras in specific colors; mantras can be made into amulets to be worn for protection from disease; specific mantras can be painted onto rice-paper and eaten for internal healing effects; incense which has been empowered with Mantras may be burned for purposes of healing or purification. In general, authentic Tibetan Medicines and incense and have been empowered with mantras.