Om Mani Padme Hum

ॐ मणिपद्मे हूँ (唵嘛呢叭𠺗吽)

Auṃ maṇi padme hūṃ (Sanskrit: ॐ मणिपद्मे हूँ, Chinese: 唵嘛呢叭𠺗吽) is the six-syllabled Sanskrit mantra particularly associated with the four-armed Shadakshari form of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. It first appeared in the Mahayana Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra where it is also referred to as the sadaksara (six syllabled) and the paramahrdaya, or “innermost heart” of Avalokiteshvara. In this text the mantra is seen as condensed form of all the Buddhist teachings.

The first word is a sacred syllable in various Indian religions. The word Mani means "jewel" or "bead", Padme is the "lotus flower" (the Eastern sacred flower), and Hum represents the spirit of enlightenment.

In Tibetan Buddhism, this is the most ubiquitous mantra and the most popular form of religious practice, performed by laypersons and monastics alike. It is also an ever present feature of the landscape, commonly carved onto rocks, known as mani stones, painted into the sides of hills or else it is written on prayer flags and prayer wheels.

Mantras may be interpreted by practitioners in many ways, or even as mere sequences of sound whose effects lie beyond strict semantic meaning.

The middle part of the mantra, MaṇiPadme, is often interpreted as being in the locative case, "jewel in the lotus", Sanskrit maṇí "jewel, gem, cintamani" and the locative of padma "lotus". The Lotus is a symbol present throughout Indian religion, signifying purity (due to its ability to emerge unstained from the mud) and spiritual fruition (and thus, awakening). MaṇiPadme is preceded by the oṃ syllable and followed by the hūṃ syllable, both interjections without linguistic meaning, but widely known as divine sounds.

The first known description of the mantra appears in the Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra (“The Basket’s Display”, c. 4-5th centuries), which is part of certain Mahayana canons such as the Tibetan. In this sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha states, "This is the most beneficial mantra. Even I made this aspiration to all the million Buddhas and subsequently received this teaching from Buddha Amitabha."

The Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra also sees the mantra as the pith or condensed expression of all "eighty four thousand Dharmas". Because of this it is called “the grain of rice of the Mahayana”, and reciting it is equivalent to reciting numerous sutras.

Thus, the significance of the mantra in the Kāraṇḍavyūha is mainly that it is the "innermost heart" of Avalokitesvara, and therefore is "a means both of entering into the presence of Avalokitesvara and of appropriating some of the bodhisattva’s power". Its practice is said to lead numerous positive qualities including:
  1. The seeing (darsana) the bodhisattva's "thousand-fold" form.
  2. Rebirth in into the myriad worlds contained in the pores of the bodhisattva's body.
  3. Innumerable samadhis (meditative absorptions), including the samadhi of “rejoicing in loving kindness and compassion” (maitri-karuna-mudito).
  4. The development of "great compassion" (maha karuna)
  5. Accumulation of immeasurable merit
  6. Accomplishment of the six perfections
  7. Awakening (bodhi)

It is said to be one of the most powerful mantras, such that even saying it a single time can be enough for an experienced disciple to release negative karma and achieve enlightenment!

While there are innumerable benefits of om mani padme hum, Buddhist tradition tells us there are 15 primary reasons to use this mantra. The major 15 benefits of reciting Om Mani Padme Hum are:
  1. In every life, you will meet with virtuous kings, or spiritual leaders, which will provide the opportunity to practice Dharma.
  2. You will always be born in a place where the practice of Dharma is widespread and easily available. For example, you will have access to temples, gurus, and practices to help you attain joy and enlightenment.
  3. You will always have all of the necessary conditions for your practice. You will have enough good fortune to be able to practice your meditations and teachings.
  4. You will have opportunities to meet virtuous friends.
  5. You will have a body that is perfect and capable of carrying you towards enlightenment.
  6. Your mind will become attuned to the path of virtue.
  7. You will create a strong sense of personal morality, which will not diminish.
  8. People in your life will be harmonious with you.
  9. You will always have enough financial well-being and wealth to live well.
  10. You will always be protected and served by others.
  11. You will not lose your wealth to thieves and robbers.
  12. You will have the ability to succeed at whatever you choose for yourself.
  13. You will always be protected by virtuous nagas and devas.
  14. In every life you will be in a position to see Buddha and hear the Dharma.
  15. When you hear the Dharma, you will be able to understand and practice the divine meaning of emptiness.

SyllableSix ParamitasPurifiesSamsaric RealmColorsSymbol
OmGenerosityPride and EgoDevasWhiteWisdom
MaEthicsJealous and LustAsurasGreenCompassion
NiPatiencePassion and DesireHumansYellowBody, speech, and mind
PadDiligenceIgnorance and PrejudiceAnimalsBlueEquanimity
MeRenunciaionGreed and PossessivenessPretasRedBliss
HumWisdomAggression and HatredNarakaBlackCompassion


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