Om Mani Padme Hum
This is the most sacred of all Tibetan Buddhist chants. It literally translates to "OM, jewel in the lotus, Hum". It is endlessly translated in depth and it is said that all of the teachings of the buddha are within these six syllables. It is Chenresig's mantra of great compassion, and Chenresig is considered Tibet's protector. It is considered the national mantra of Tibet, and it is the Dalai Lama's mantra. It can be heard all throughout Tibet, and can be seen on prayer flags, prayer wheels and carved in stones.
When you recite this mantra it is imperative to think about it's meaning. The meanings are so vast, and widely interpreted that you can probably study and read about it indefinitely. So, the brief introduction I am giving here is just that.
OM; is made up of three letters, A U M. It is called the source of all sound. These are symbols for the practitioners impure mind, body and speech as well as the pure mind, body and speech of a buddha. The question is can we transform the impure to the pure. All buddhas started out like we do, and along the path became enlightened. It is a gradual process that happens as we follow the path.
The path is laid out by the next four syllables:
MANI; translates to jewel and symbolizes striving for love, compassion and enlightenment. The jewel is enlightenment and with enlightenment comes the end to difficulties, Samsara and brings solitary peace.
PADME; translates to lotus. The lotus is a symbol of wisdom. It grows through the mud but it shows not one speck of the mud it came through. Just as we can grow and achieve wisdom despite what we come through, we don't have to carry those things on or with us. In wisdom, all of the defilements, negativity and ignorance go away. There are so many types of wisdom, the realization of impermanence, non-self...the list can go on and on. We strive for everything the lotus symbolizes.
The last symbol, HUM; translates to I am. I am compassion and wisdom. It indicates indivisibility. It is achieved by an indivisible unity of wisdom and compassion.
The six symbols are also associated with the six realms of existence. You will find as you study, many interpretations of this Mantra. It is up to the practitioner to discover the depth of it's meaning and intrinsic value for them.
Visualization of a buddha or bodhisattva along with this silent mantra is an excellent meditation method. ~Om Mani Padme Hum~