The sounds om, ah, and hung (pronounced hoong, with a soft H) are viewed as the "seed syllables" of the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha, the fully enlightened nature. Because of the universality of these sounds, anyone can benefit from them. 

These three syllables comprise one of the most powerful chants in Buddhism. They are pure and archetypal in nature, free from elaboration, concepts, grasping, and rigidity. So just giving voice to these sounds allows us to be more open.


For Buddhists, these sounds also embody special meaning in their expression of all the qualities of the Buddha: om is the changeless strength and beauty of the true nature we all possess, the Buddha body; ah is the ceaseless expression and prevailing energy of reality, the Buddha speech; hung is the unmoving per­fection of reality's primordial openness, the Buddha mind. Long used in healing practices, these sounds have been blessed by many Buddhas and enlightened beings throughout the ages.

Each syllable represents particular healing qualities. Singing om brings peace, bliss, clarity, firmness, courage, stability, and strength; ah brings energy, openness, expansion, and empowerment; hung is associated with enlightenment, infinity, essence, and oneness.

You can sing each syllable with equal emphasis. Or else emphasize and repeat one syllable according to the particular healing qualities you need. For example:





Sing the syllables however you feel is soothing in a tune that rises and falls or on one note, quietly or loudly, with high pitch or low, with feelings, and images. Feel as if sadness or painful emotion is contained within the sound of om in the form of clouds, smoke, or mist. As you sing ah, let go of the problems forever. With hung, feel the healing of peace and openness of the sound. 

You can work with these sounds to transform difficult thoughts, You can also call forth your source of power with these syl­lables (or with the sound of ah alone). Feel that the sound is invoking and generating all the healing forces of the universe, and that the source of power emerges from and is itself an em­bodiment of the sound. See and feel warm, bright light radiating from the sound and the image. The light gradually fills your head and entire body. As you continue chanting, take your time cele­brating the sound and the light, which brings healing to every part of mind and body.




 Purifying Our Emotions Silently

Chanting can be silent too. An exercise called "threefold breathing" involves saying the three seed syllables to ourselves in unison with our breathing. This develops concentration and strength of mind, purifies negative emotions, and can be a good preliminary to any other healing meditation.

In threefold breathing, mentally say om as you inhale. Say ah as you pause, in the moment when the breath is about to begin moving the other way. Say hung on the out-breath. Feel that you are breathing in unison with the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha, all the Buddhas of all time, or the Cosmic Christ or your Perfect Model. If you are more comfortable with a secular approach, appreciate these syllables as the universal embodiment of strength, openness, and oneness.

Let your breath and the syllables flow naturally. Give yourself fully to this, so that your breathing, the syllables, and your mind become one. Finally, allow your silent chanting to dissolve into relaxed breathing, let go of the syllables, and merge within the silence of your breathing.

Amid the noise of modern life, it is tempting to fall back on noisy distractions that take us away from our true selves. Perhaps we are afraid of silence, like children afraid of the dark. By giving ourselves wholly to chanting or singing, produced by the body in union with the mind, we learn to appreciate sound. Then it becomes easier to fully appreciate silence.

Why not try in your home or in your city,  to chant or  sing, even near a busy, noisy street where no one will notice or care. Warm up slowly and with your relaxed out-breath build to a loud ah or any sound that feels natural. Really let go, it's your right to make a joyful noise.    S

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