The Om Mani Padme Hum Mantra is the most widely used of all Buddhist mantras, and available to anyone who feels inspired to practice it. It doesn’t require prior initiation by a lama (meditation master).
The six syllables of the mantra, as it’s often pronounced by Tibetans – Om Mani Padme Hum – are written in the Tibetan alphabet:
Reading from left to right the syllables are:
The syllable Pad is pronounced Pe (peh) by many Tibetans: Om Mani Peme Hung. The vowel in the syllable Hu (is pronounced as in the English word ‘book’. The final consonant in that syllable is often pronounced ‘ng’ as in ‘song’ – Om Mani Padme Hung.
What Does It Mean?
People who learn about the mantra naturally want to know what it means, and often ask for a translation into English or some other Western language. However, Om Mani Padme Hum can’t really be translated into a simple phrase or even a few sentences.
The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching:
Om represents achieving perfection in the practice of generosity;
Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics;
Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience;
Päd helps to achieve perfection of perseverance;
Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration;
Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.
“So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas.” (Rinpoche)
“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.” (The 14th Dalai Lama)
How to Use This Mantra:
Recite this mantra as many times as you have time for at one sitting. Recite it mentally without the spoken word, out loud or a combination of both. The more often you do it the sooner you’ll feel the soul deepening benefits of the vibrations of generosity, pure ethics, tolerance, patience, perseverance, concentration and wisdom at a cellular level. Your whole body will feel fortified by the combination of the essences of the six syllables.
© 2011, Revised 2017, Bil and Cher Holton, GlobalCenterForSpiritualAwakening.com