Om Mani Padme Hung
Om Mani Padme Hung is the mantra of compassion.
According to Tibetan culture, it is said that all the teachings of Buddha are contained in the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, and that to know the phrase is to know enlightenment.
Supposedly, contained in this verse is the truth of the nature of suffering and how to remove its root cause.
But there is a bit of a dilemma; the translation from Sanskrit to English is very tough. The definition is actually not possible in just a couple of sentences…in fact, the entire phrase has to be broken down to be properly understood.
First, the nature of a mantra and what it means:
In the Buddhist tradition, special words are repeated over and over again until they begin to gather a certain “emptiness”. This is not “emptiness” in the traditional sense where we imagine an experience of nothing…rather it is experiencing ourselves in the moment without the usual attachment of ego.
We become free or “empty” of everything but an inner awareness.
That form of enlightened awareness gives us the intuitive knowledge to save ourselves from suffering.
The 6 Syllables and Their Relationship to Suffering
Interestingly, each of the 6 syllables has certain Sanskrit meanings that are important.
These oppose certain internal forces that cause suffering.
Om (ohm)- Om is the sound or “vibration” of the universe. This sound is the most important of all; but in the context of chanting and mantras, it is meant destroy attachments to ego and establish generosity.
Ma (mah)- Removes the attachment to jealousy and establishes ethics.
Ni (nee)- Removes the attachment to desire and establishes patience.
Pad (pahd)- Removes the attachment to prejudice and establishes perseverance.
Me (meh)- Removes the attachment to possessiveness and establishes concentration.
Hum (hum)- Removes the attachment to hatred and establishes wisdom.
- “So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?”
Part of the practice of Om Mani Padme Hum is saying it as often as possible; but sometimes it’s hard to remember. That’s why many Buddhists use reminders to keep them on top of their chanting.
Things like prayer wheels, prayer flags, and bracelets all keep you thinking about the meaning of life- and the importance of finding deeper happiness.
It is pronounced by Tibetans as Om Mani Peme Hung. It encompasses the compassion and blessings of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and the four times. It specifically invokes the Buddha of compassion Avalokiteshvara. Avalokiteshvara is manifested in the Sambhogakaya.
The mantra is considered the essence of the Buddhas compassion for all sentient beings. In the teachings, it is explained that each of the six syllables has a specific meaning. When recited, they help to bring a transformation for ourselves, as well as all the innumerable beings who suffer in the six realms of samsara.
The six syllables when spoken with faith and the intention to free others have a tremendous power. These syllables help to root out the six negative poisons that sentient beings suffer from. These negative emotions which are the manifestation of ignorance are caused by our actions of the body, speech, and mind. They are pride, jealousy, desire, ignorance, greed, and anger. Therefore to chant or recite Om Mani Padme Hum, what we are in essence doing is purifying ourselves as well as others.Om Mani Padme Hum completely purifies the ego, and brings the six types of transcending actions to the heart of what we call the enlightened mind, otherwise known in Tibetan as Bodhicitta.
The six paramitas or transcending actions are known as generosity, harmonious conduct, endurance, enthusiasm, concentration, and insight. Om Mani Padme Hum protects from all the negative influences that make up samsara, even preventing sickness and disease. Om, is the essence of enlightened form; Mani Padme, represents the speech of enlightenment; and Hum, represents the mind of enlightenment.Therefore the mantra purifies and blesses all the aspects of body, speech, and mind. It truly encompasses the level of compassion for all sentient beings and the selflessness of Tibetan people. Their level of commitment to the Dharma is expressed at its deepest level when explained in this way: First, bring the mind to a place of complete compassion for all sentient beings. Second, wish deep in your thoughts that all the sentient beings of the six realms attain complete enlightenment, and that all of the six realms of samsara are completely emptied before you are liberated. Now that your intention is completely centered in Bodhicitta visualize and recite:
OM: In a white bright moon light and that light invoking Avalokiteshvara in the God realm. Imagine Avalokiteshvara completely purifying and liberating all the sentient beings in the God realm until it is completely emptied and purified.
MA: In a bright green light that invokes Avalokiteshvara in the Demigod realm. Imagine Avalokiteshvara completely purifying and liberating all the sentient beings in the Demigod realm until it is completely emptied and purified.
NI: In a bright yellow light that invokes Avalokiteshvara in the Human realm. Imagine Avalokiteshvara completely purifying and liberating all the sentient beings in the Human realm until it is completely emptied and purified.
PE: In a bright blue light that invokes Avalokiteshvara in the Animal realm. Imagine Avalokiteshvara completely purifying and liberating all the sentient beings in the Animal realm until it is completely emptied and purified.
ME: In a bright red light that invokes Avalokiteshvara in the Ghost realm. Imagine Avalokiteshvara completely purifying and liberating all the sentient beings in the Ghost realm until it is completely emptied and purified.
HUNG: In a dark blue light that invokes Avalokiteshvara in the Hell realm. Imagine Avalokiteshvara completely purifying and liberating all the sentient beings in the Hell realm until it is completely emptied and purified.