Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Fredrica R. HalliganEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_401
Many adherents of eastern religions, especially Buddhism and Hinduism, use brief verbal phrases or verses as objects for meditation. Such mantras are numerous, but best known are the Avalokiteshvara mantra of the Tibetan Buddhists, “ Om mani padme hum,” and the Gayatri Mantra which is widespread among the Hindus:

Om Bhur Bhuva Svaha

Tat Savitur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya


Dhi Yo Yonah Prachodayat

Any personally meaningful sacred word or phrase can be used as a mantra or as a focus for centering prayer. Well known among Christians is the “Jesus Prayer” described in The Way of a Pilgrim, a famous Hesychast text: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.” In Judaism, the simple word “Shalom” can be used repetitively as a mantra, or the Shema Israel can be said, affirming the unity and love of God. The comparable verse in Islam is called Dhikr.

Recent psychosomatic research (e.g., following Benson 1976) has shown mantrameditation to be very beneficial in eliciting the...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mind Body Spirit InstituteStamfordUSA