Meaning of Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum

The meaning of the six syllables in the Tibetan mantra, Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum, is said to be the mantra of Avalokiteśvara, a bodhisattva representing compassion. The mantra is also therefore related to compassion, a prominent virtue of Tibetan Buddhism.

Mahāyāna Buddhism relates Avalokiteśvara to the six-syllable mantra oṃ ma ṇi pad me hum. Avalokiteśvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. This bodhisattva is variably depicted, described, and is portrayed in different cultures as either female or male. In Tibetan Buddhism, Avalokiteśvara has a thousand arms, a thousand eyes (in his open palms), and eleven heads. He is said to have acquired his arms and heads as a result of his frustration in trying to free all sentient beings from samsara – the cycle of suffering from life to death, and then rebirth. Avalokiteśvara

The first word Om is a sacred syllable found in Indian religions. The word Mani means “jewel” or “bead”, Padme is the “lotus flower” (the Buddhist sacred flower), and Hum represents the spirit of enlightenment.

The Merits of Reciting the Six Symbol Mantra

Reciting the six syllables is said to illuminate the six roots of passion or alternative, free the reciter from the six negative emotions.

  1. Om purifies the practitioner’s ignorance
  2. Ma purifies anger
  3. Ni purifies miserliness
  4. Ped purifies desire or attachment
  5. Me purifies jealousy or hatred
  6. Hum purifies arrogance or excessive pride

Conversely, reciting this mantra develops the six perfections of generosity, ethics, patience, perseverance, concentration, and wisdom.

Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum and Prayer Wheels

Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel (or prayer wheel) is believed to give the same benefit as reciting the mantra. Mani wheels, small handwheels, and large wheels with millions of copies of the mantra inside are found everywhere in the lands influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.

See also

What is a Buddhist prayer wheel? 

What is a Tibetan prayer flag? 


Source: Tibetan Handicraft Co-operative, Wikipedia and