Tibetan Ancient Mantra

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Tibetan Ancient Mantra

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Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ (Sanskrit: ॐ मणिपद्मे हूं, IPA: [õːː məɳipəd̪meː ɦũː]) is the six-syllabled Sanskrit mantra particularly associated with the four-armed Shadakshari form of Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan: སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས་ Chenrezig, Chinese: 觀音 Guanyin, Japanese: 観音かんのん Kannon, Mongolian: Мэгжид Жанрайсиг Migjid Janraisig), the bodhisattva of compassion.

The first word Om is a sacred syllable found in Indian religions. The word Mani means “jewel” or “bead”, Padme is the “lotus flower” (the Buddhist sacred flower), and Hum represents the spirit of enlightenment.

It is commonly carved onto rocks, known as mani stones, or else it is written on paper which is inserted into prayer wheels. When an individual spins the wheel, it is said that the effect is the same as reciting the mantra as many times as it is duplicated within the wheel.

 

Meaning

“om mani padme hūṃ hrīḥ”

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

The middle part of the mantra, maṇipadme, is often interpreted as “jewel in the lotus,” Sanskrit maṇí “jewel, gem, cintamani” and the locative of padmalotus“, but according to Donald Lopez it is much more likely that maṇipadme is in fact a vocative, not a locative, addressing a bodhisattva called maṇipadma, “Jewel-Lotus”- an alternate epithet of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. It is preceded by the oṃ syllable and followed by the hūṃ syllable, both interjections without linguistic meaning.

Lopez also notes that the majority of Tibetan Buddhist texts have regarded the translation of the mantra as secondary, focusing instead on the correspondence of the six syllables of the mantra to various other groupings of six in the Buddhist tradition.For example, in the Chenrezig Sadhana, Tsangsar Tulku Rinpoche expands upon the mantra’s meaning, taking its six syllables to represent the purification of the six realms of existence:

Syllable Six Pāramitās Purifies Samsaric realm Colors Symbol of the Deity (Wish them) To be born in
Om Generosity Pride / Ego Devas White Wisdom Perfect Realm of Potala
Ma Ethics Jealousy / Lust for entertainment Asuras Green Compassion Perfect Realm of Potala
Ni Patience Passion / desire Humans Yellow Body, speech, mind
quality and activity
Dewachen
Pad Diligence Ignorance / prejudice Animals Blue Equanimity the presence of Protector (Chenrezig)
Me Renunciation Greed / possessiveness Pretas (hungry ghosts) Red Bliss Perfect Realm of Potala
Hum Wisdom Aggression / hatred Naraka Black Quality of Compassion the presence of the Lotus Throne (of Chenrezig)

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