Om Mani Padme Hum

Most of you know the mantra of Chenrezig, the buddha of compassion, "om mani padme hum". Om has three letters (A, U, and M) and represents the Buddha's body speech and mind. It also represents the three bodies of the Buddha, the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya. Most mantras start with Om. Mani represents the wish fulfilling jewel. Sometimes this is translated in Tibetan as konchog. Kon means rare and chog means great. It is very rare to realize the nature of compassion. Sometimes mani is translated as rinchen. Rin means precious and chen means great. Rin is the same syllable as in rinnpoche. Chenrezig is represented in pictures holding a jewel between his two hands, the wish fulfilling jewel. Padme is the lotus, which represents purity. The Chenrezig is visualized holding a mala in his right hand and a lotus in his left. Hung represents the seed of all the buddhas.

Each syllable also represents one of the six realms. Reciting the mantra benefits beings in the six realms. Each syllable also pacifies one of the six negative emotions. Om pacifies ignorance. Ma pacifies anger, Ni pacifies stinginess, Pad pacifies desire, Me pacifies jealousy, and Hung pacifies pride. So when reciting the mantra, it reaches all the six realms and pacifies all the six negative emotions. Practicing reciting this mantra also develops the six perfections. Om develops generosity. Ma develops ethics. Ni develops patience. Pad develops perseverance. Me develops meditation. And Hung develops wisdom awareness. Reciting this mantra also develops the siddhis. Om develops the ultimate siddhi, enlightenment. Ma develops the ordinary siddhis, psychic powers. Ni develops the siddhi of removing obstacles to practice and illness. Pad develops the siddhi of long life and increase of merit. Hung develop the siddhi of gathering the requisites of food, clothing, and shelter. So it is a powerful mantra. According to the sutrayana tradition of the stages of enlightenment, Om traverses the path of accumulation. Ma traverses the path of juncture, Ni traverses the path of seeing. Pad traverses the path of meditation. Me traverse the path of no more meditation. And Hung develops all the qualities of enlightenment.

Reciting the mantra develops the merit to achieve Chenrezig's body speech, mind, qualities, and activities. When meditating one should visualize Chenrezig as clearly as possible. His right hand holds a mala, symbolizing liberating beings. His left hand holds a lotus symbolizing compassion. The other two hands hold jewel symbolizing fulfilling the wishes of living beings. At Chenrezig's heart is a lotus and moon disk with the seed syllable Hrih, surrounded by the six syllable mantra, which circles around the seed syllable. The first aspect of the practice is developing a clear visualization and the second aspect is developing compassionate thoughts impartially to all. The buddhas, our root lama, and the lineage masters are inseparable from Chenrezig. Light radiating from the seed syllable and mantra, reaches every being purifying their defilements and liberating them. Then the light returns to Chenrezig and we remain in one pointed meditation. Although accumulating mantras is beneficial, to put a strong effort into doing the practice correctly is more important. So now we are going to do the practice together. If you can't do the complete visualization just see white light in the heart. If you can, visualize the mantra radiating light and receiving it back.

Acharya Lama Gursam
Susquehanna Yoga Center
July 30, 2010