Managing Fear with a mantra

The mantra that I am going to share is taken from the Heart Sutra. This is one of the shortest Sutra in Mahayana Buddhism and many people are attracted by its verses of great wisdom.

For example, form is emptiness and emptiness is form.

It seems to be imbued with wisdom and yet in the same breath, seems to be beyond comprehension too. In one stroke of the pen, this sutra challenges us to examine our habitual tendencies to define things in life as either black or white, yes or no, existing or non-existing.

For people who don’t study Buddhism in-depth, Verses that state that our eyes, ears, nose, etc are empty sounded like a mystic incantation for invisibility. In a popular Japanese folktale, a monk inscribed this sutra on the body of a haunted man to make him invisible to his ghostly tormentor. Unfortunately, that monk forgot to write on that man’s ears and consequently, the tormenting ghost tore the ears off!

From the above, we can see how people in Asia are fascinated by this Sutra. Naturally, I will recommend studying the true meaning of this scripture instead of misinterpreting its content according to ill-informed whims and fancies.

Since this post is categorized under mysticism, I will proceed to share some mystical properties of the mantra. An explanation of how it works best requires a more lengthy article. I will spare everyone that “pain” here.

The efficaciousness of this mantra had been shared by many people and they are not necessarily Buddhist scholars. The fundamental requirement for our minds to work wonders is to have faith in the Triple Gems. Faith is a very powerful energy after all. Then we need to have faith in this sutra. Generally, many people recite this sutra without really comprehending its meaning, but its rhythmic verses seem to invoke a power that is beyond this universe, (try listening to the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese incantation on YouTube)


Fear can arise in our minds for the silliest reason. For example, a black cat crossed our path (western culture), waking up from a terrible nightmare that seems ominous, suspecting that someone is casting an evil eye or hex upon us, that kind of stuff. Or feeling unlucky, things seemingly not going right. Or feeling an evil presence in our house.

But before we start screaming this mantra as if we wish to drive an axe into our enemies’ hearts or banish some spiritual entity to an eternal hell;

Please note that Buddhist mysticism is not built upon anger, hatred, or ill will. Instead, we need to have Metta (loving-kindness) in our minds. We need to understand that unpleasant things happen to us because of our inherent bad karma. In short, we are the cause of our own misfortune. Ironically, such a mindset helps to calm us down greatly. And a calm person is better at managing their fear.

If we have an imaginary enemy in our mind, it is best to understand that their evil intent is creating bad karma for themselves. Instead of reacting with hostility, we react with compassion. Much like how a mother will remove the knife from a child to stop him from hurting himself. We likewise chant this mantra to nullify whatever mischief they are up to.

In short, chant this mantra with love and compassion, not with anger and ill-will.

Therefore, everyone is encouraged to chant this mantra anytime and use it as a meditational tool. If possible, read the Sutra and let its profoundness seep into your being before reciting the mantra. Here’s the mantra.


PRONOUNCED AS (Gah Tay Gah Tay, Para Gah Tay, Para Sum Gah Tay Boh Di Sva Ha)

You can recite this mantra whenever you feel fear and wish to nullify or dispel that ominous feeling. For example, we can recite this upon waking up from an evil nightmare. Concurrently, remind ourselves that everything is inherently empty, without any substance on its own. May the conditions for bad situations be dispelled! Chant until we feel comforted.

Below is a record of the mantra I did today. And me being me, I decided to have some fun with it along the way. Pardon my off-key singing but hope you can catch the pronunciation. And feel free to just say the mantra or sing it in any tune you like.

May all be well and happy.

Prajna Paramita Mantra

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