retrofuturist wrote:Is it fundamentally any different to other words used to focus the mind on the breath (e.g. 'in / out')?
Yes and No. IMHO, it's no different to other words for those who are culturally unfamiliar with the word "Buddho" (eg Westerners, or Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc). It's popular with the Thais, Laos, Cambodians (or those with strong Pali influence) because in their daily language, the word "Buddho" already has a deep imprint of the Buddha's image in their mind: beside being just a sound to keep the mind from wandering, it is also a wholesome object to focus.
In my own experience, sometimes I feel the word "Buddho" is too short to focus and becomes boring, I use the string: "Bud-dho Dham-mo Sang-ho
" (the Triple Gem) to keep my monkey mind from wandering.