Om Mani is one of the few most–famed Buddhist mantras that most Asian Buddhists, mainly the Tibetans, put their firm believe in and recite regularly. The mantra has 6 syllables and so is also popularly known as the Great 6 Syllable Mantra. Some also know it by the name ‘Gwan Yin Mantra’ and it is called that because it is among the mantras from Gwan Yin, also known as Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva.
Om Mani Padme Hum comes from The Karandavyuha Sutra. This sutra exalts the qualities and supremacy of Avalokitesvara, and it is chiefly famous for bringing in Om Mani into the sūtra practice.
The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum
As mentioned before, Om Mani Padme Hum has 6 syllables and each syllable is based on one of the 6 Paramitas and works to purify the body through different means.
· OM is what brings perfection in generosity, i.e., the first paramita. It shuts the doors of the suffering for those who reincarnate in the gods’ kingdom or realm. Pride is what causes the suffering and this syllable purifies the soul for it.
· The second syllable MA is for paramita in ethics. This syllable closes up the door to suffering for those reborn in the warring gods (asuras) dominion. The suffering here is fighting and comes from jealousy.
· NI is the third syllable that is for patience paramita. It ends the suffering for those resurrecting in the human realm. Humans suffer from varying stages of life such as birth, sickness, old age, and death and the syllable purifies them for passion and desire to counteract this.
· The fourth syllable, i.e., PAD is for the diligence paramita. It put up the shutters to the suffering of those who resurrect in the animal realm. Here, the suffering is attacking each other, being dim-wit, and being killed by men for food, skin etc. This suffering comes from ignorance and prejudice, which the syllable purifies people for.
· ME helps achieve paramita in renunciation. It sets the doors close to suffering of those reviving in the realm of hungry ghosts. The agony here comes due to greed and possessiveness in the wake of hunger and thirst and that is what the syllables purifies for.
· The last syllable in the mantra is HUNG which accounts for paramita in wisdom in those being reborn in the realm of hell. It ends suffering due to heat and cold which things like anger and hatred are responsible for.
In literal translation, the word Mani in the mantra implies “jewel” while Padme refers to the “lotus flower” which is the sacred flower for Buddhists. Further, the word HUM represents the spirit of enlightenment. So, the mantra is translated as “Hail to the jewel in the lotus”.
There are several benefits of chanting the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra that the Buddhists believe it brings. A few of these include:
· It allows you to meet different righteous kings in all the lifetimes and practice dharma explicitly in presence of these kings.
· Those who recite will always be born in the righteous places, i.e., those with high religious significance.
· It will ensure you always face fortunate times and good conditions to practice dharma. With that, it will allow you to receive wisdom and to meditate.
· It will ensure you always meet righteous friends.
· You will have a perfect body.
· Your mind will be directed to the right path.
· You will be cautious about safeguarding your morality.
· Everyone around you will be kind and in agreement with you.
· You will always have enough wealth and means of livelihood.
· Others will always protect and help you.
· You will never have your wealth stolen or snatched.
· You will be successful in everything you do.
· The virtuous nagas and devas will protect you always.
· You will see Buddha and hear dharma in all of your lifetimes.
Listen to the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra: