The Meaning Of Om Mani Padme Hum
Considered to be the one powerful mantra that captures all the teachings of the Buddha, Om Mani Padme Hum is considered to be a sense of enlightenment incarnate. This is one of the most important mantras in Tibetan Buddhism as it contains the truth of the nature of suffering and expresses how to shed the root cause of pain and suffering too. However, as the mantra has been translated from Sanskrit, it can be difficult to express the meaning of this phrase without breaking it down to fully understand its meaning. As a quick translation, Om Mani Padme Hum can mean ‘the jewel in the lotus’ or ‘praise to the jewel in the lotus’- although this is also not a concrete meaning as translations have varied many Tibetan Buddhist practitioners believe it to be close to this phrase. Many consider this phrase to be more of a spiritual sound that surpasses singular meaning. Here we delve a little deeper into the meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum (sometimes called the Mani mantra for short) and celebrate its connection to the core of compassion.
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To understand the power of the Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, it first helps to understand the power of the mantra and why it plays such an integral role in Buddhist tradition and the art of meditation. A mantra is a phrase or selection of special words that are chanted over and over until they gather the momentum of emptiness. It is worth noting that emptiness in this sense doesn’t mean ‘nothing’ but rather is used to denote the absence of ego and attachment. When we experience this kind of emptiness, we let go of everything except our inner awareness. This means we are experiencing the full and enlightened truth of who we are and this sense of enlightenment shines a light on how we can move beyond suffering and into true wisdom and knowledge. The mantra of Om Mani Padme Hum is often associated with the four-armed form of Avalokiteshvara and the Bodhisattva of Compassion. It is considered to be one of the shortest and most condensed Buddhist teachings. It can be traced back first to the Mahayana Karandavyuha sutra and is considered to be the inner heart of the Avalokitesvara.
The 6 Syllables and Their Relationship to Suffering
To fully understand the mantra of Om Mani Padme Hum it makes sense to break it down into the six syllables that create this phrase and to decipher each Sanskrit mantra meaning stashed inside the sounds. Each syllable has a specific or close enough meaning whose translations have been agreed upon by many Buddhist practitioners.
Om (ohm) – this is the vibrational sound of the universe and one of the most important especially when it comes to any kind of chanting. It is believed that the sound of Om is the sound of creation itself and has the power to cut through attachments and sweep away any sense of pride. It is a sound that helps us to nurture generosity. The sound of Om lives within the samsaric realm of the gods.
Ma (mah) – let go of fast and fleeting pleasures and build a strong ethical foundation that will hold you up – this is one of the powers of the ma sound. This syllable helps you to drop jealousy and brings about the freedom of putting things down that don’t serve our love for the universe. The sound Ma lives within the samsaric realm of jealous gods.
Ni (nee) – the syllable of ni helps us to dissolve desires and cravings that may cultivate unhealthy attachments. Instead, ni guides us in establishing a sense of patience. When ma and ni come together they fuse as Mani which can be translated as ‘jewel’. The sound Ni lives within the samsaric realm of humans.
Pad (pahd) – this sound helps dissolve any attachments to prejudice we may have and this includes attachments to inbuilt judgments too. It also helps us to establish perseverance which keeps us internally strong. The sound Pad lives within the samsaric realm of animals.
Me (meh) – this sound helps us to open our arms and let go of any possessiveness we may be clinging to. It also helps us to improve and establish stronger concentration levels. When pieced together the two syllables of pad and me form the word padme which can be translated to the lotus. The sound Me lives within the samsaric realm of hungry ghosts.
Hum (hum) – with the final syllable hum we dissolve our attachment to any kind of hatred and aggression and instead cultivate a strong sense of wisdom and wonder, this becomes an unshakable force and stands strong. The sound Hum lives within the samsaric realm of hell.
“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?” —Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones
As with any mantra or chanting, part of using these potent and powerful symbols is to say the mantra as much as possible. For some people, it can be tricky to remember the flow of the syllables and to say them in the right order which is why little reminders can be invaluable in helping connect you to the right turn of phrase. It’s traditional practice to use prayer wheels, prayer flags from Tibet, and Buddhist or Tibetan bracelets so that you stay connected to this sense of enlightenment and have a visual reminder that keeps you seeking deeper joy and long-lasting happiness. Malas can also be a useful tool when chanting or meditating as they can help us to stay focused on the words and to count. As many mantras work best when we repeat them over and over, it can be useful to stay focused on the number of times by counting mala beads.
“The Jewel Is in the Lotus”
With the phrase translating to something similar to ‘the jewel is in the lotus’ it helps to understand what this phrase means. The lotus flower often shows up in Buddhist dharma and philosophy and holds integral meaning thanks to the way it grows. The lotus flower is one of the most beautiful flowers and it can bloom into its beauty in the harshest conditions. The lotus flower tends to be surrounded by mud and mire, but nevertheless, it persists and grows into its full flush of natural wonder. This can also represent our human state. We all have deep beauty and wisdom within us (AKA we all have the lotus within us) but it can be covered by the mud of ego and complex human emotions.
The 14th Dalai Lama suggests that if we repeat this six-syllable mantra over and over and take time to carefully consider the meaning behind each syllable, we can clear away the mud and welcome in fresh, sparkling, and pure energy which can lift us up to a more enlightened state of being.
What are the benefits of chanting Om Mani Padme Hum during yoga?
Yogis often use chanting in their practice as it can soften the senses, clear the mind, and direct energy to certain parts of the body. The power of chanting works on an individual level for many reasons but it also works on a collective level as it brings voices together and creates a sense of unity. Mantras are powerful tools that can also be used to help align our chakras and can simply help with nurturing joyous feelings in human beings. Mantras can soothe the central nervous system and can cleanse the practitioner’s impure body and mind through the art of vibration and sound.
Here are some reasons why you should recite Om Mani Padme Hum as part of your yoga practice.
It clears the mind
One of the best reasons for chanting during yoga and particularly using this turn of phrase is the fact that it helps to clear out the debris from your mind and dissolve certain ego attachments. This helps you experience the beauty of nothingness and the true connection to internal awareness. When our mind is clear and the body is emptied of attachments and negative energy, we have a vast space in which possibility and potential can start to grow.
It helps with manifesting
Om mani padme hum dissolves negative energies and can help you to let go of those karmas that could be preventing you from moving forward. When you use this series of sounds in your yoga practice, you can start to manifest the life you want to live. As this saying shakes loose those attachments to ego-like thinking and the emotions of jealousy, aggressiveness, possessiveness, and judgment, without them we can seek deeper freedom within ourselves and channel what it is we truly want.
It sets intention
Another reason to understand and utilize this mantra in your practice is that it helps to set altruistic intentions. Setting an intention during your spiritual practice helps you to stay connected to the energy of the universe, your core self, and the teachings of the Buddhist. This is why it’s so important to understand the power and potency of each syllable and the meaning that is married to each sound. When practiced frequently and with intention, these six syllables can wash away the mud of the ego and raise you up to an exalted state.
The chant of Om Mani Padme Hum is simple yet comes with incredible power and potential. It can help you to stay present and focused and it can clear space within. Understanding exactly what each syllable means within the makeup also helps to strengthen your practice as it sets you on the path to better intention and honors the practice the way it should be honored. You can speak this chant as an affirmation every day over and over as suggested to help manifest and set intention and deepen your meditation practice. You can also use it before, during, and after yoga practice to help empty the body and the mind and to keep the flow running pure. Another powerful way of utilizing Om Mani Padme Hum is also in a group setting. Chanting as part of a group has huge energy as it helps us to unify and stand together spiritually – something that seems increasingly important in a divisive world.
What happens if we chant Om Mani Padme Hum?
His holiness the Dalai Lama said that if we chant Om Mani Padme Hum then we can transform the impure body, speech, and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. With these six syllables, we can dissolve traits of the ego and cultivate more generous, joyful, and loving energies.
How many times should we chant Om Mani Padme Hum?
Part of the power of the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum comes from repeating it over and over so it cleanses the mind dissolves egotistical traits, and expands our understanding behind each syllable. It is suggested that you repeat this chant between 21-108 times with clear intention and committed to reaching a meditative state.
What does Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus mean?
The Buddhist phrase Om Mani Padme Hum which translates to ‘hail to the jewel in the lotus’ pays homage to the flower of compassion and beauty that grows in us all. It is a mantra of deep compassion and overcoming the ego. It pays homage to the metaphor of the lotus – a beautiful flower that blooms in mud. This tells us that we can emerge from the murky depths of mankind
and ego to embrace purity and love.
What are the benefits of chanting Om Mani Padme Hum?
There are many benefits to chanting the mantra of Om Mani Padme Hum. Not only does this chant help clear the mind and connect you to deeper consciousness, but as it is the mantra of compassion, it can help to dissolve negative energies and blocks and instead nurtures an inner environment of love and wisdom for all which helps you to reach an exalted state. In Buddhism is believed that this saying can transform impure thoughts and speech into the pure thoughts and speech of a Buddha.
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