Om Mani Padme Hum

by mandy lipka

Tonight, I used a freebie on a restorative class and it absolutely did the trick. Our practice was completely devoted to our Sahasrara, or crown chakra. This chakra, located at the very top of the head, is devine wisdom, our spirit, our Oneness with the Universe, our Unity and our spirituality. This aura-center is also known as our “Thousand-Petaled Lotus.” The lotus encompasses our light.

Despite being able to hear the wheels of cars pass through the damp streets, my practice was very focused on my mind and my breath. Between the face-down frog and the Supta Baddha Konasa (reclining bound angle pose), my mind, body and soul synced. As I repeated my personal mantra for the day, “I am content, I am transitioning,” I freed my thoughts. I attempted to throw out the tension from an old haunting event from my past.

For those 90 minutes, I did exactly that. Freed an 8-year-old moment of my past that had me shackled and welcomed the possibilities of the future. As we repeated our mantras, I became fully aware. Finally, we ended our restorative practice by repeating the mantra, “Om mani padme hum.” It’s often called the most important mantra in Buddhism as it is the six-syllable mantra of the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshvara. In English, it loosely translates to Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus.

Though the significance of the six Tibetan syllables varies, one possibly interpretation is as follows:

  • 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 poverty and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts)
  • Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm)
Regardless of how you interpret these syllables in your practice, the power is unarguable. As Gen Rinproche says,
The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Päd, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.
How has the mantra helped you achieve perfection? Please share your experience!
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