All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness ... the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
About Mantras & Mantra Recitation

Mantras are repetitive sounds we make over and over to bring about a change in our consciousness. In Tibetan Buddhism the sounds are prescribed syllables that are meant to protect the mind from attachment, anger, ignorance, jealousy, and so on. Accoding to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director, FPMT, "When combined with the four opponent powers, mantra recitation is very powerful in purifying negative karmic imprints on our mindstream. While we recite mantras, we should also be thinking and visualizing in a beneficial way so that we are building up constructive habits in the mind."

Chenrezig - Om Mani Padme Hum

Pronunciation: "Ohm Mani Pehme Hung." Click here for a soundbyte.

Next to the Buddha himself, Chenrezig is probably the most exhaulted, most beloved, and most popular sacred being in Tibetan Buddhism. Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara in Sanscrit) is known as the Bodhisattva of Compassion and is seen as the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas.

For Tibetan Buddhists, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (as well as other loved and respected high lamas like the Karmapas who are considered to be Buddhas) is the emanation of Chenrezig. In this role, he is seen as guardian of this world in the interval between the historical Sakyamuni Buddha, and the next Buddha of the Future Maitreya.

"According to legend, Chenrezig made a a vow that he would not rest until he had liberated all the beings in all the realms of suffering. After working diligently at this task for a very long time, he looked out and realized the immense number of miserable beings yet to be saved. Seeing this, he became despondent and his head split into thousands of pieces. Amitabha Buddha put the pieces back together as a body with very many arms and many heads, so that Chenrezig could work with myriad beings all at the same time. Sometimes Chenrezig is visualized with eleven heads, and a thousand arms fanned out around him."

Buddha Shakyamuni - Om Muni Muni Maha Maha Muniye Soha

Pronunciation: Ohm Moonie Moonie Maha Moonie-ay Soha

Thubten Yeshe of FPMT writes:

The mantra of Shakyamuni Buddha could be said to be the essence of the Buddha, the essence of his enlightenment. It is in no way separate from the Buddha himself.

Mantras are said to carry this enlightenment essence in the very sound of the syllables themselves. It's an energetic thing. So, translations can sometimes get in the way of the experience of the energy of the mantra if we focus on the so-called meaning of the words at the expense of simply experiencing the sound that is being generated.

Mantra has been described as "a creative sound considered expressive of the deepest essence of things and understandings" thus the recitation of the mantra "can evoke in a formulaic or even magical way" a transcendent state of mind and energy. Also, "mantra is the pure sound of enlightened speech." Read more
Green Tara - Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soha

Pronunciation: OMm TAH Reh TEW TAh RAY TEW RAY SO HAH

The Tara mantra is one of the most widely-used mantras in Tibetan Buddhism. It works to liberate one of all fears, remove obstacles, and facilitate good intentions for the world. I have found it to be extremely powerful in my own life. In addition, the mantra is said to help with the well being of the world in general. In these current times, it is a very useful practice, serving to calm one’s own fears and at the same time, emit a strong positive intention.

Vajrasattva - Om Vajrasattva Soha

Pronunciation: Ohm Vaj rah sotva so hah

The 100-syllable Mantra is as follows:

Om Vajrasattva samaya - manu palaya,
Vajrasattva deno pa - thita dido may bhawa,
Suto kayo may bhawa - supo kayo may bhawa,
Anu rakto may bhawa - sarwa siddhi mapar yatse,
Sarwa karma su tsa may - tsitam shriyam kuru hum,
Ha ha ha ha ho - bhagawan,
Sarwa tatagata vajra ma may mu tsa,
Vajra bhawa maha samaya sattva ah hum pay.

In summary, the mantra means: "O great courageous one whose holy mind is the vajra nature of all buddhas, having destroyed every obscuration, attained all realizations and passed beyond all suffering, gone just as it is — do not forsake me but liberate me, please, according to your pledge." —McDonald, Kathleen (Sange Kyadro), How to Meditate, Wisdom Pulications, Boston. Chapter Six, "Vajrasattva Purification."

The Vajrasattva Purification Practice is said to be as effective in burning away delusions and negative energy as is a great fire in burning away thousands of acres of forest.

One of the characteristics of any action (thought and speech included) is that it grows larger over time. Consider the action a seed that can produce many fruits and many more seeds. In order to prevent this from happening with our negative thoughts, speech, and actions, it is necessary to destroy the seed. Therefore, to prevent the negative results from ripening, it is necessary to purify our minds of the imprints left by the negative actions of body, speech, and mind.

It is said that "A strong, pure confession and recitation of the Vajrasattva mantra at least 21 times at the end of each day prevents the power of that days negative energy from increasing."