Mantra can be understood as:
1. the deity. Every mantra we recite emanates one deity. These deities then work for the benefit of beings
2. offerings. When the light rays radiate out from the mantra rosary during creation-stage visualization, each ray of light bears an offering goddess. Each of these hundreds of thousands of offering goddesses further emanates five goddesses who emanate still five more, and so forth, until space is completely filled with goddesses. All of these make offerings to the Buddhas.
3. purification of obscuration. When the light rays radiate out a second time and touch all sentient beings, they purify beings’ obscurations. These obscurations are self-grasping, and the light rays are rays of compassion. The rays of love melt self-grasping like a hot sun melting snow.
4. siddhi. When the light rays return and reabsorb to the deity, they bear siddhis in the form of blessings of the Buddhas/ enlightened body, speech and mind.
5. blessings. Mantra brings about loving kindness and compassion in the practitioner due to the blessings of the deity’s mindstream.
6. mandala. When one has fully trained in creation stage, reciting the mantra once will invoke the entire mandala. One no longer needs an entire sadhana text.
7. enlightened activity. All of the four activities-peaceful, increasing, powerful and wrathful-are performed and accomplished through mantra.
8. a wish-fulfilling jewel. Whatever we need to accomplish, mantra will bring about.
9. dharmata. When we meditate while reciting the mantra, conceptual thoughts are cut, and free from conceptual thoughts, we see the nature of the mind as emptiness. Since it allows us to see the nature of mind to be dharmata, mantra can be considered to be dharmata. Mantra cuts conceptual thought because it is sound-emptiness. Other sounds produce the graspings of attachment and aversion.
These nine benfits occur whenever you recite mantra. They apply equally to the mantras of all deities. This is the speech of Guru Rinpoche and is also found in the tantras.
Translated by Meghan Howard, November 2005, for the Vajrakilaya Drupchen at GBI.