What I want from a mantra is: purification, realization and connection with transcendence.
And of course a little help in my mundane affairs...
With this attitude you will get close to zero benefits. Work on purification by becoming less self-centered. That, by itself, will help you in the other three areas.
There is no way to avoid or skip over the purification needed, by just chanting. Start with practicing the 10 virtues (no killing, no stealing etc.)
Should you ever discover some real devotion
to a specific Buddha or Bodhisattva, then making that one a focus of your daily practice (which will include a mantra) will give you much benefit.
Thank you my dear Will, namaste!
In reality, I usualy offer the benefits of my daily chanting to people on the street
wich I see in dificulty, to the family, to the departed jivas in hell,
and when I chant in the city, I imagine myself "spraying" the merit to all the people in my path...
Right now, I have chosen Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva as my guide.
I chant 21 times the Maha Karuna Dharani long mantra,
1 time the Shurangama long Mantra,
2 x 108 times the Shurangama Heart Mantra,
2 x 108 times Sitatapatri White Canopy mantra, all that with the japa mala,
and I am not including what I chant mentally in my bed, at work and during the day, ...
I read all the Sutras in a daily base, I don't eat meat for almost 10 years now..
What I mean is: nobody can make a profile based only in one simple question.
Nonetheless, your words are wise, and I thank you for them Will.
To all the members that answered my question without deprecation,
my heartfelt gratitude!