om ［唵］ (; on): A mystic syllable expressing affirmation, uttered at the beginning of a Vedic prayer, recitation, or chanting. Om is regarded as a combination of the three sounds of a, u, and m, representing respectively beginning, continuation, and end. These three component sounds were identified respectively with the Brahman trinity, the three deities of Brahmā the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer, and Shiva the Destroyer. Om was later incorporated into Esoteric Buddhism as a mystic formula. The Protection of the Sovereign of the Nation Sutra, an esoteric sutra, identifies the sounds a, u, and m respectively with the Dharma body, the reward body, and the manifested body, which together constitute the Buddha’s three bodies.