Tibetan Mantra Calligraphy

Four Video Lessons with Tamding Tsetan

In this course we will learn the Tibetan art of calligraphy through the practice of writing Buddhist mantras. Mantra (literally meaning “mind protection” in Sanskrit) refers to sacred syllables or sounds, recited repeatedly for the purpose of cultivating particular enlightened qualities, enhancing awareness and concentration, and healing mental and physical illness. Writing or painting mantras is a profound meditative practice to connect with the  essence of mantra, and to join the “three gates” of body, speech, and mind, while learning a beautiful art form.

Materials Required for Course: Calligraphy brush, paper and ink


Session One

Introduction to the techniques of Tibetan Calligraphy. We will get familiar with the ink and brush and and practice brushstrokes and basic syllables of the Tibetan alphabet.

Session Two

Today we will practice writing the six-syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, Om Mani Padme Hung ཨོཾ་མ་ཎི་པ་དྨེ་ཧཱུྃ༔ The is one of the most famous Tibetan Buddhist mantras, chanted millions of times by Tibetans in order to cultivate the quality of compassion in one’s heart for the benefit of all beings. 

Session Three

Today we will practice writing the seven-syllable mantra of Manjusri, the Buddha of Wisdom, Om A Ra Pa Tsa Na Dhi ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Manjusri’s mantra is chanted in order to cultivate the qualities of critical intelligence and pristine wisdom. Traditionally students will accumulate this mantra in order to sharpen their memory and understanding of the subject of their studies.

Session Four

Today we will practice writing the ten-syllable mantra of Green Tara, the female Buddha, known as the “mother of all the buddhas”, Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha. Tara, “the great liberator” is invoked by Buddhists in order to seek blessings for the accomplishment of all activities. 

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

    • Course Basics

    • Online Classroom Etiquette & Technical Requirements

    • Navigating this Learning Platform (Video)

    • Navigating this Learning Platform (PDF)

  • 2


    • Class One | Introduction to Tibetan Calligraphy

    • Class Two | Avalokiteshvara

    • Class Three | Manjusri

    • Class Four | Tara


Tamding Tsetan

Tamding Tsetan is a multi-instrumentalist/singer, and artist (graphics, tattoo, calligraphy) born in the small village of Widu, in Amdo, Tibet. As a child, he herded his uncle’s sheep across the windswept mountains there. From a young age, he was naturally interested in drawing, painting, and music. In 2002, he made an important decision to escape from Tibet. It took Tamding 43 days to cross the Himalaya Mountains, on foot, in winter. He currently resides in Portland, OR.