Om Mani Padme Hum is a mantra associated with the Bodhisattva of Compassion, also called Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit), Quan Yin (Chinese), and Chenrezig (Tibetan). Recitation of Om Mani Padme Hum is said to purify one of the sufferings of the ego: pride, jealousy, desire, ignorance, clinging, and anger.
Om Mani Padme Hum means: The Jewel in (the Heart of) the Lotus. Adding “in the heart of” to the translation adds a depth of understanding. As a meditation to the Bodhisattva of Compassion, this is a prayer to fill our hearts with Love and compassion for the benefit of all beings. Om Mani Padme Hum is a prayer for Peace.
The six syllables of this mantra also represent the Six Realms of Samsara and the Six Paramitas, or the Six Perfections of Tibetan Buddhism. The Six Paramitas are virtues that, when practiced, will help purify past karma and free us from suffering (samsara) so that we may attain awareness and enlightenment.
The Six Realms of Samsara and Six Paramitas according to the Lotus Sutra:
1) Dana – Devas; Generosity which purifies Pride
2) Shila – Asuras; Moral Conduct which purifies Jealously
3) Kshanti – Humans; Patience which purifies Desire
4) Virya – Animals; Diligence/Joyous Effort which purifies Ignorance
5) Dhyana – Hungry Ghosts; Contemplation which purifies Clinging
6) Prajna – Hell Beings; Wisdom/Insight which purifies Anger
To listen to Om Mani Padme Hum sung by Buddhist monks, click here.