Protecting and Blessing the Mind with The Great Mantra

The MA TRI mantra at Gonggyal Monastery in Nya Rong, Tibet. Photo credit: Unknown


Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition the eight-syllable mantra OM MA TRI MU YÉ SA LÉ DU is known as the great mantra and is commonly referred to as the MA TRI mantra. It is the Essence Mantra of the Dzok ku, the enlightened state that embodies all perfected positive qualities and wisdoms. The sound and power of this essence mantra gives rise to the enlightened qualities and blessings of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché and Buddha Sherap Jamma as well as the six buddhas who offer guidance to liberation for the the six kinds of sentient beings within cyclic existence: hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, demi-gods, and gods.  Each year around the time of the Tibetan New year in Dolpo, Nepal, this mantra is recited continuously without any interruption for 15 days. It is one of the three essence mantras of the Yungdrung Bön tradition that is recited a minimum of 100,000 times as a preliminary practice in order to prepare the student’s mind for further spiritual practice. The benefits of reciting this mantra are vast and beyond the imagination.


Alas! Fortunate Ones Listen!

The long flowing river of birth is the first.

The thunderous waterway of aging is the second.

The raging whirlpool of illness is the third.

Death that has no escape is the fourth.

These four are the demon rivers from which there is no escape.

Noble ones who wish to cross over those rivers, proclaim the melody of the MA TRI MU YÉ!



Alas! Fortunate Ones Listen!

The excellent means of accomplishment is the first.

Discovering the stairway to higher states is the second.

The blissful stairway of gods and humans is the third.

Traveling upon the stairway of joyful effort is the fourth.

These four are the four stairways to travel for the path of liberation.

Noble Ones who wish to ascend those stairways, proclaim the melody of the MA TRI MU YÉ!”

— Excerpt from Inspirational Verses Regarding the MA TRI written by the 13th century Tulku Loden Nyingpo.

The MA TRI mantra above a doorway. Photo credit: unknown

“This mantra is the heart elixir of the princpal teachings. It is a sacred connection for sentient beings during a dark time.  It is a key to the collection of sacred teachings  It is a lamp that clears away the darkness of ignorance.  So that sentient beings during the 500 years-long time of darkness will not have to exert themselves in meditation and accomplishment, this mantra recitation is the practice advice.

This recitation practice of the MA TRI is a precious lamp. Whoever goes before an esteemed lama or sacred support such as a shrine, chorten, or sacred statue, if they recite the mantra while performing prostrations and circumambulation and making prayers of aspiration, whatever they wish for will be quickly accomplished.”

— Extract from 32 Benefits of the Recitation Practice of the Precious Lamp

Tibetan translation by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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Posted on May 2, 2020, in Prayer and Ritual, Tonpa Shenrap, Translation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Is the MA TRI mantra to the Bön tradition the OM MA NI PAD ME HUNG mantra to the 4 branches of the Buddhism of Shakyamuni?

  2. The MA TRI mantra and MANI mantra are different. MA TRI the Dzok ku/Sambhogakaya mantra of Yungdrung Bön and relates to Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche and Buddha Sherab Jamma. The MANI mantra is from the Buddhist tradition.

  3. Yungdrung Pawo

    I’ve heard it taught by lamas that the Ma Tri is the Trulku essence mantra. Have you ever heard this being taught?
    Thank you

  4. Hello and thank you for your question. The MA TRI mantra is definitely the Dzok ku mantra. The SA LÉ Ö mantra is the Bönku mantra and the DU TRI SU mantra is the Tülku mantra. For this reason, when completing the preliminary practices, 100,000 of the SA LÉ Ö mantra is accumulated 1st, then 100,000 of the MA TRI, and lastly a 100,000 of the DU TRI SU. Also, in general, Bönpos recite at least 100 of each of these mantras every day. Similarly, the SA LÉ Ö is recited 1st, then the MA TRI, the the DU TRI SU. 1st Bönku, then Dzok ku, the Tülku. All the best, Raven

  5. Yungdrung Pawo

    Thank you Raven. I asked because of a book of oral teachings had it incorrectly laid out. I’m sure it was just a slip of the tongue as the teacher is well-respected.

  6. Yes, it does happen. Raven

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