Almost Dzogchen is designed to provide a Western Vajrayana Buddhist practicitioner view on what is happening out in my world. In no way should my views be considered those of someone who knows what I am talking about or should you consider me to know much about Dzogchen, Vajrayana Buddhism, or Buddhism at all. I am just slowly plodding along the path to Enlightenment.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ram Yam Kham Om Ah Hung

Within the final section of the Buddha Path’s Preliminaries are blessing and purification Mantras. These Mantra are in the language of Sanskrit. While Tibetans write the blessings in Tibetan script, the Mantras are still in Sanskrit.

Mantras contain power and energy, which vibrate through our bodies and expand out to the surrounding world. When we recite sacred Mantras, they support our mind and thinking. A Mantra, when repeated with full attention and focus actually can have affect on all of our body. The resonance of the Mantras can affect us deep inside. I know that when I have attend retreats or group practices with Vajrayana practictioners; some of my greatest feelings of calmness and inner-peace come from after an extended repetition of a Sacred Mantra. Whatever had been trapping my mind and thinking before then seemed to melt away and I was left in a state of knowing that everything was perfect exactly how is was. No worries. No fears. No planning. Just Present!

There has been some research on the affects of sound and vibrations on plants and animals including humans. It seems that most agree that vibrations and sounds can calm, encourage growth, excite, aid in healing, etc. The practice of Mantra recitation within Tibetan Buddhism is consistent with these scientific findings. There is nothing mysterious about the affect of Mantras – as we are now beginning to scientifically uncover.

The explanation of the Mantras written below, follow the teachings from my Nyingma teachers, most notably Khenpo Choga Rinpoche, Khenpo Sonam, and Lama Osel. While you can likely find other explanations, I sometime question the information found on sources such as the internet as possibly being incorrect or partially incorrect.


This is a general and very common purification Mantra. Often found at the beginning of many Tibetan Sadhanas (practice texts.)

Ram is the seed syllable representing fire and red in color – Purifying through burning up all impurities.
Yam is the seed syllable representing air and typically blue in color – Purifying through blowing away impurities.
Kham is the seed syllable representing water and typically white in color – Purifying by washing away all impurities.

Combined we are purifying with fire, water, and air. In this case we are purifying through our speech and our visualizations to all of the immediate surroundings in which we are practicing. As an extension, We are also purifying ourself, others and all surroundings for as far as we can visualize.


This is the resonance of purity of Body, Speech, and Mind.
OM – White in color (like water) and focused at the crown chakra is the sound vibration to purify the body.
AH – Red in color (like fire) and focused at the throat chakra is the sound vibration to purify speech.
HUNG – Blue in color (like the sky/air) and focused at the heart chakra is the sound vibration to purify the mind and thinking.

Through such repetition of the mantra, we are purifying our body, our speech, and our mind. We then maintain the purity of body, speech, and mind at the very least to our practice and ideally beyond to all of the future It is up to us to maintain pure conduct and commitments to maintain the purity.


This is a great Mantra. It can be called the Mantra of Pure Nature or the Mantra of the Purity of Dharmata.

OM is the opening seed syllable which contains all sounds and vibrations within Sanskrit. If you look into explanations, my teachers explain that the sound is actually extended out to sound something like “Oh Ah A Mm…!”

SWABHAWA –.Means “nature,” the essence.
SHUDDA - Means “pure,” naturally and intrinsically pure
SARWA – Means “all,” as nothing is left out.
DHARMA – Here Dharma means “things”

So far, the Mantra in a very abbreviated way says “All Things are Naturally Pure.”

SWABHAWA – Again, “nature”
SHUDDO – Again, “pure.” This time the pronunciation is modified when combined with “A Hum” (note I do not know Sanskrit so I can only repeat what I have been told).
HONG – “A Hum” here refers to the embodiment of something. Something is the extension of its nature.

The Mantra essentially says that “All things are naturally and in their essence naturally pure. All things are the embodiment (expression) of this natural purity.”

Therefore, since they are naturally pure, our purification is only to remove impurities from the “surface” and allow the natural purity to shine forth.

As my teachers have explained, our greatest obstacle in Pure View is our own failing to recognize the purity of all things which is already naturally present. I think that the greatest affect of this Mantra is on training our mind to recognize this naturally present purity of all things.

I would like to conclude with the translation of a autobiographical verses written by Chatral Rinpoche, which apply the Ram Yam Kham is a wonderful way:

The three qualities of ethics, samadhi and insight,
Untainted and proven through direct perception,
Like dry moss, free from the dampness of pretentious falsehood,
I consumed in the space of blazing fire jvala ram.

A religious façade, the jumble of materialism and Dharma,
I surely knew was not the friend of effective practice.
So I tossed the dry ashes of deceit and insensitivity
To the wind from the mountaintop, as the letter yam.

Funds given for the living and the dead, a hindrance to freedom,
And the schemes to collect, hoard and invest them to build sacred objects,
I resolved to cleanse away with the clear stream
Of renunciation, detachment and revulsion, as the element kham.

Many Dharma Blessings,