If you have been to a Buddhist monastery or stupa, you might have heard this mantra being chanted: Om Mani Padme Hum. It’s the most known and oldest Buddhist mantra. So what does it mean?
It’s a six-syllable Sanskrit mantra originated in India. If you have gone on a trek in the Himalayan region, then you have seen it carved on rocks in Tibetan words. It’s also written on prayer wheels and on papers which are inserted in the wheels. When a person spins the prayer wheels, then it is same as chanting the mantra.
It is said that this mantra contains all the teachings of Buddha. So it is argued that it can’t be translated into a simple phrase. However, if each word is translated literally, the mantra means “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus”.
Different people have interpreted Om Mani Padme Hum differently. One common interpretation goes like this: “each syllable corresponds to one of the six realms of existence and purifies the vice associated with that realm: Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods); Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods); Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm); Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm); Me purifies greed and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts); Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm)”.
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