Buddhist Mantras

Om Mani Padme Hum Mantra: Lyrics, Meaning and Benefits

Om Mani Padme Hum is the universal mantra of compassion and love.

When we chant this healing mantra, we are in fact continually repeating the name of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of all love and compassion.

Scholars say the original name appearing in the old manuscripts was ”Avalokitasvara,” which was translated to Chinese as Guanyin.

The beloved king Songtsen Gampo (the founder of the Tibetan Empire) was acknowledged to be an emanation of Avalokitesvara, and some of the most respected meditation spiritual teachers, like the Karmapas and Dalai Lamas, who are considered living Buddhas, are also considered to be physical emanations of Him.

This amazing mantra is invested by the grace and power of the mind of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) who himself gathers the grace of compassion of all the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. In the Huayen Sutra (from the Mahayana Buddhist philosophy) it is said Chenrezig can manifest himself in many different forms to come and provide the best solution to living beings in need.

In this view, this mantra is blessed with the capacity to purify our mind from the mask that obscures it. This mantra opens the mind to compassion and love and leads it towards awakening.

According to Tibetan culture, it is said that all the teachings of Gautama Buddha are contained in this healing mantra, and that to know the phrase is to know the way to enlightenment.

„Through mantra, we no longer clasp to the reality of the speech and sound experienced in life but experience it as actually empty. Then confusion of the speech aspect of our being is metamorphosed into enlightened awareness.” – Kalu Rinpoche’s quote.

This higher state of awareness consists of whatever we might need to understand in order to save any sentient beings, including ourselves, from suffering. For that reason, the entire Dharma (spiritual teachings), the absolute truth about the nature of suffering and the countless ways of removing it’s causes, is said to be contained in the six magical syllables mantra.

He is depicted with four arms. In this aspect, Chenrezig sits in full lotus posture and His 4 arms signify the 4 immeasurable characteristics of a Bodhisattva: love, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

Additionally, He wears 13 thirteen different kinds of ornaments: a short necklace, a jewel crown jJewel earrings, tTwo long necklaces, one longer than the other, armlets on each arm, a golden belt at the waist with loops of jewelry, a bracelet on each wrist, and an anklet on each foot.

Om Mani Padme Hum mantra meaning:

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, special seed words are reproduced over and over again until they start to gather a certain „emptiness” (or sunyata).

This is not „emptiness” in the typical sense where we envision mentally an experience of nothing, rather it is experiencing our true selves in the awareness state apart from the usual attachment of ego and desire.

We become free (liberated) or „empty” of everything, but excluding an inner awareness.

That state of enlightened awareness gives us the intuitive wisdom and knowledge to save ourselves from suffering. Interestingly, each of the six syllables from this mantra has certain Sanskrit interpretations and meanings that are essential:

  • The syllable ”Om” is the vibration or „sound” of the universe. This primordial ancient sound is the most sacred of all, but in the context of chanting mantras, it is meant to establish generosity and destroy attachments to the ego.
  • The syllable ”Ma” removes the attachment to enviousness and establishes ethics.
  • The syllable” Ni” removes the attachment to desire and establishes humility.
  • The syllable ”Pad” removes the attachment to prejudice and establishes perseverance.
  • The syllable ”Me” removes the attachment to possessiveness and establishes a deeper concentration.
  • The syllable ”Hum” removes the attachment to hatred and establishes wisdom.

Likewise, each of the six syllables from this mantra is itself a prayer, each syllable of the mantra is itself the 6 perfections, each syllable is also related to the 6 Buddha families and each syllable also links them to the six incommensurable wisdoms:

  • the wisdom of equanimity;
  • the wisdom of activity;
  • the wisdom born of itself;
  • the wisdom of dharmadhatu (the realm of the Absolute Reality);
  • the discriminating wisdom;
  • the mirror-like wisdom.

6 syllables mantra translation in English:

„Hail the jewel in the lotus”.

Chanting Om Mani Padme Hum mantra benefits:

„The 6 syllables mantra, mean that in dependence on the practice which is in an the indivisible confluence of method and knowledge, you can change your impure mind, body, and speech into the pure mind, body, speech of a primordial Buddha.

It is known that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself. The wisdom for the achievement of Buddhahood is within. As Buddha Maitreya says in his Uttara Tantra, all sentient beings naturally have the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We carry within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One Gone Thus, that is to be changed and fully developed into Buddhahood”. – Dalai Lama’s quote.

“So in this way chanting of the six syllables mantra helps accomplish perfection in the 6 practices from generosity to knowledge. The path of these 6 perfections is the pathway walked by all the Buddhas of the 3 times. What could then be more important than to chant the mantra and accomplish the 6 perfections?” – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s quote.

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