Been meditating for some years, been doing most anapana & also a bit of Goenka-vipassana. Have had certain experiences, samadhi states and jhana (although I'm still far from being able to stabilize and consistently maintain them).

In recent years, certain things transpired in my life such that I began a daily mantra practice. I now practice the mantra but I wonder if theres a point to it if I can already attain to samadhi states via anapana.

I've heard conflicting views regarding this; some say that mantra is just a way to concentrate the mind, and once you get samadhi you don't really need the mantra anymore. Others say mantra grant specific worldly benefits which make your practice in this human life more efficient, depending on the root deity/mantra being chanted.

Is there a value to mantra chanting over breath meditation? If my goal is to go towards liberation (or at least stream entry) as a layperson.

3 Answers 3


Mantra is a good way to concentrate the mind. But the purpose of mantras is to generate merit. If you are a fully enlightened being there is no need for merit. Just as there is no need for a boat after you have traversed a river and continued on your way, leaving the boat behind.

Merit counters afflictions. Once all affliction is cleared, there is no need any longer to generate merit, but I am repeating myself. Depending upon the vehicle you study under, afflictions are either actual entities, or they are just mental formations. I find the last understanding to be the clearest explanation for generating merit.


Mantras can be done in a way consonant with early Buddhist teachings. In that way, even one skilled in the jhanas, able to instantaneously enter jhana at will, still has use for them. For example, have key focus words that help trigger the memory on how to do different types of meditation, without having to recollect the mental verbiage of the meditation instructions. Even in late Abhidhamma for example, for a meditator who is using kasinas to do arupa samadhi, they mentally recite, "earth kasina, earth kasina", and it triggers their memory on how to enter that meditation they've done before quickly.


Mantras also generate insight in much the way koans do. Unless you're really sure you've exhausted all there is discover in the one you are using (you haven't 😉), there's some benefit in retaining that practice.

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