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Om Mani Päme Hung

In our world today, we tend to say: “These are my parents, this is my country, this is my property etc.” From the point of view of Dharma, we look at all beings and deeply wish that they are liberated from suffering and reach enlightenment. If we generate bodhicitta in this manner, we practice bringing benefit to others. This thought is crucial not only for Dharma activities, but also for any kind of activity in our life.

If, keeping in our mind that we want to bring benefit to others, we say just one mantra ÓM MANI PÄME HUNG, it will help others achieve liberation from suffering and reach Buddhahood.

-- This teaching was given by the 16th Karmapa during his lecture at the Colorado University in 1980

Mantra Om mani päme hung in Tibetan - (source Wikipedia)


Mantra Om mani peme hung carved in the stone

Om mani padme hum (Sanskrit: ॐ मणि पद्मे हूँ) is probably the most famous mantra of Tibetan Buddhism. This mantra transforms negative emotions. Om transforms pride and egoism, Ma transforms jealousy and envy, Ni transforms attachment and selfish wishes, PÄ (PAD) transforms ignorance and confusion, ME cupidity and greed and finally Hum transforms hatred and anger. To recite this mantra, a new practitioner does not need to receive lung (empowerment or authorisation). It can be used by anybody who feels it will be beneficial for oneself and other sentient beings.

It is sometimes called the six-syllable mantra of the Bodhisattva of Compassion (skt. Avalokiteshvara, tib. Chenrezig). It is especially linked with his four-armed manifestation. Important figures of Tibetan Buddhism, such as Karmapas, Dalai Lamas and others are considered to be emanations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The mantra is often carved into rocks and stones, written on papers which are then put into prayer wheels and stupas.

From a linguistic point of view, the middle part of the mantra “manipadme” means a lotus jewel in Sanskrit (mani – jewel, padma – lotus, locative is manipadme). According to other explanations, it is a vocative of the name Manipadma, which is an epithet of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Om and Hum are interjections in Sanskrit without any specific meaning, and the syllable OM is believed to be sacred.

In various Buddhist schools you can see various transcripts of this mantra:

  • Tibetan: Om mani päme hung

  • Chinese: 唵嘛呢叭咪吽, Ǎn Mání Bāmī Hōng

  • Mongolian: Ум маани бадми хум nebo Um maani badmi khum

  • Vietnamese: Úm ma ni bát ni hồng nebo Án ma ni bát mê hồng

  • Japanese: オンマニハツメイウン, On Mani Hatsumei Un

  • Korean: 옴 마니 파드메 훔 Om Mani Padeume Hum