Neeraj Mishra

Neeraj Mishra


November 2017
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Om Mani Padme Hum Explained

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Om Mani Padme Hum is one of the most beautiful
expressions for the ultimate experience. Its meaning is ”the sound of silence, the diamond in the lotus.”   -Osho

OM Mani Padme Hum is a Mantra or Chant and is done either in or out of Meditation. As per most Buddhist school of thoughts, you do not have to be in meditation to repeat a mantra, repeating mantra itself could be considered meditation.

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OM Mani Padme Hum with colors depicting each syllable

So how does one really interpret the Mantra? Different Practitioners interpret it in different ways. As explained by his holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the mantra can be broken down into four parts.  OM, Mani, Padme and Hum

‘OM’ symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech and mind. It also symbolizes the pure, sublime body, speech and mind of a Buddha.
Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure.

How can the transformation be achieved? The path to transformation is indicated by ‘Mani
Mani, which means jewel, symbolizes the method, the intention to be enlightened!  Just a jewel is capable of removing poverty the atruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing difficulties of cyclic existence (samsara) and finding solitude.

‘PADME‘, meaning lotus, symbolizes wisdom. Just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud. Wisdom which keeps the mind focussed on doing the right thing and to reject duality.

‘HUM’, indicates indivisibility – the immovable, the nonfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.

Therefore Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom. Thus the six syllables, OM MANI PADME HUM, mean that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

Also one should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within.

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. In Buddhism, the pāramitās refer to the perfection or culmination of certain virtues. In Buddhism, these virtues are cultivated as a way of purification, purifying karma and helping the aspirant to live an unobstructed life, while reaching the goal of enlightenment. Based on these pāramitās and focusing on the six syllables instead another interpretation of OM Mani Padme Hum can be derived.

Om purifies bliss and pride (perfection of virtue: generosity); Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (virtue: Ethics); Ni purifies passion and desire (virtue: Patience); Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (virtue: Diligence); Me purifies greed and possessiveness (virtue: Renunciation); Hum purifies aggression and hatred (virtue: Wisdom).

Each syllable in the mantra  is also symbolized by a color. The below table gives a general overview of what each color means in Buddhism.

Color Blue Black White Red Green Yellow
General Meanings
coolness,  purity, healing
primordial darkness, hate
 learning, knowledge, purity, longevity
 life force, preservation, the sacred, blood, fire
 balance, harmony, vigor, youth, action
 rootedness, renunciation, earth

The belief is that chanting this mantra every day as many times as you can in one sitting or throughout the day has the power to dilute your negative karma. In Mahayana Buddhist schools it is practiced as part of the person’s daily Buddhist cultivation or practice. Monks will sit for hours repeating this mantra in the lotus position.  Also as a note we can’t get rid of all the negative karma accumulated but we can certainly increase our Positive Karma and the ordeal should be always to be happy and spread and feel positive vibrations around us because thats the key to life 🙂

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Om Mani Padme Hum is also engraved on Rocks in Buddhist inhabited areas especially in the Himalayas and areas in Tibet. There are Also Written on Prayer Flags and on paper and inserted into the Prayer Wheels. It is believed that rotating these prayer wheels sends these prayers to heavens and equally as winds flutter the Prayer flags, it does the same. It also helps in creating a Positive energy in the area.

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Feel free to share your thoughts through comments and keep chanting Om Mani Padme hum! 🙂

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