Seed syllables (Sanskrit bījākṣara) are the quintessence of mantra, and the ultimate condensation of the Dharma, containing infinite meaning in a single syllable. Oṃ has held a special place in Indian religion since before Buddhism. Other seed syllables were elaborations of the first letter of a deity's name elaborated with the anusvāra and/or the visarga. In Buddhist tantra the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are each associated with a seed syllable. I've included some seed words which are more than one syllable, but which function in a similar way to seed syllables.

If the seed syllable you are looking for is not in this list, try the figure that it is associated with. For instance loṃ doesn't have a separate page, but there are examples on the Locana page.

  a | āḥ | dhīḥ | hrīḥ | hūṃ | maiṃ | oṃ | stryi | tāṃ | traṃ | phaṭ | svāhā |



The mother of all written and spoken syllables. A is the seed syllable for Mahāvairocana.


seed syllable aah

āḥ is the seed syllable of Amoghasiddhi. It also occurs in the combination oṃ āḥ hūṃ.


seed syllable dhih

dhīḥ is the seed syallable of perfect wisdom. It is associated with Mañjughoṣa & Mañjuśrī and also with Prajñāpāramita.


seed syllable hum

hūṃ is frequently the last syllable of a mantra. It is particularly associated with Akṣobhya, Vajrapaṇi, and with Vajrasattva.


seed syllable hrih

hrīḥ is the seed syllable of Amitabha.


seed syllable maim

maiṃ (rhymes with sign) is the seed syllable of Maitreya. This syllable can be written in two different ways in Siddhaṃ.


seed syllable om

Oṃ begins many mantras.


seed syllable tam

tāṃ is the seed syllable of both Green Tārā and White Tārā. Tārā is known in Tibet as the mother of all the Buddhas.

There is an interesting relationship between the body of White Tārā, and the form of the tāṃ in the Siddhaṃ script which you can read about on White Tara, tāṃ, and the Mandala.


seed syllable tram

traṃ is the seed syllable of Ratnasambhava.

Bija words

These are words which do not quite fit the definition of being a seed syllable, but which function in more or less the same way.



svāhā comes from Vedic ritual is used on the end of Buddhist mantras



phaṭ is a very ancient Indian magical word.