Mantra muddle

So it’s common at Buddhist rituals – and in home practice – to chant mantras repeatedly.

Examples include:

Om mani padme hum (Avalokiteshvara mantra)

Om muni muni mahamuni Shakyamuni svaha (Shakyamuni Buddha mantra)

Om Ratnasambhava tram (Ratnasambhava Buddha mantra)

There are many more,  each associated with a particular Buddha or Bodhisattva.

If anyone out there is reading this blog,  I have a simple question: what exactly is the purpose of chanting mantras? I understand that for some people the repetition of simple phrases can serve as an object of meditation in itself,  and in fact I have found it to be so myself,  but is that their main purpose?  Or is there another reason altogether for chanting mantras?

I’d love to hear some different Buddhist perspectives on this,  so if you have an answer or a suggestion please leave a comment below.

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