In Hinduism and Buddhism, a sacred utterance (syllable, word, or verse) believed to possess mystical or spiritual power. Mantras may be spoken aloud or uttered in thought, and they may be either repeated or sounded only once. Most have no apparent verbal meaning, but they are thought to have profound significance and to serve as distillations of spiritual wisdom. Repetition of a mantra can induce a trancelike state and can lead the participant to a higher level of spiritual awareness. Widely used mantras include om in Hinduism and om mani padme hum in Tibetan Buddhism.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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