Om Mani Padme Hum
is one of the most popular Buddhist mantras recited by Asian Buddhists. It is known as the 6 Syllable Great Bright Mantra or the Gwan Yin Mantra – because it is one of the Mantras from Gwan Yin/Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva – the Contemplator of the World’s Sounds.
Where does it come from?
The Karandavyuha Sutra.
The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum
Om – is often recited at the start of many mantras. In Ashtanga Yoga, it is recited long with Aaaaauuuuummmmm…. – if Om is recited with your palms together, really slowly like this, making the long sounds of each of the ooo, uuu, and mmm’s resonate deeply it concentrates the mind helping you bring your 3 karmas of your body, mouth and mind to one. It’s a sign of solemn respect.
Mani – means jewel.
Padme – means lotus.
The Benefits of Wearing the mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, on your upper body
“Noble son, those who wear this six-syllable mahāvidyā on their body or on their throat will be known to have a body that is a vajra body, will be known to be a stūpa containing relics, and will be known to be the wisdom of ten million tathāgatas.
The Benefits of Reciting the Mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum
“A noble son or noble daughter who repeats the six-syllable mahāvidyā:
will have indestructible mental brilliance. He or she will become a pure mass of wisdom.
That person will have great love and great compassion.
This is the Mani and the Padme of the mantra – the Jewel and the Lotus, the Wisdom and the Compassion already discussed above.
That person will complete the six perfections each day.
That person will receive the consecration of a vidyādhara cakravartin.
The Benefits of Inhaling the Breath of One who has Recited this Mantra
“Those who inhale that person’s breath, whether in love or in anger, will become irreversible bodhisattvas. They will quickly attain the highest complete enlightenment and be samyaksaṃbuddhas.
The Benefits of Touching One who has Recited this Mantra
“All those who just touch that person with their clothing will become bodhisattvas in their last existence.
The Benefits of Seeing One who has Recited this Mantra
“Women, men, boys, and girls who just see that person, and even the deer, birds, oxen, donkeys, and so on, who see that person, will all become bodhisattvas in their last existence. They will not experience the suffering of birth, aging, sickness, death, and separation from the beloved. They will become inconceivable yogins.”
In that way the Bhagavat encouraged the repetition of the six-syllable mahāvidyā.
The Benefits of Writing Out this Mantra – Om Mani Padme Hum
The Bhagavat said, “Noble son, those who write out this six-syllable mahāvidyā
are writing out the collection of eighty-four thousand Dharmas. If stūpas
were made from precious divine gold for tathāgatas, arhats, and samyaksaṃbuddhas equal in number to atoms, and if in one day they were all filled with their relics, the result ripening from that would only equal the result that ripens from one syllable of the six-syllable mahāvidyā, which has inconceivable qualities and brings liberation.
“The noble son or noble daughter who repeats this six-syllable mahāvidyā will attain these samādhis: the samādhi named Jewel Holder, the samādhi named Purification of Hells and Animals, the samādhi named Vajra Armor, the samādhi named Stable Conduct, the samādhi named Skillfulness in All Methods, the samādhi named Scattering, the samādhi named Revealing All Buddha Realms,268 the samādhi named Entering All Dharmas, the samādhi named Adornment of Dhyāna, the samādhi named Entering the Chariot of the Dharma, the samādhi named Complete Liberation from Desire and Anger, the samādhi named Eternal Calf, the samādhi named Teaching the Six Perfections, the samādhi named Holding Great Meru, the samādhi named Rescuing from All Existences, the samādhi named Seeing All the Tathāgatas, and the samādhi named Complete Stability.
“Noble son, it is like this: those who possess the six-syllable queen of mahāvidyās
will attain one hundred and eight samādhis.”
Source: The Noble Mahayana Sutra “The Basket’s Display”, Aryakarandavyuhanamamahayana Sutra, translated by Peter Alan Roberts with Tulku Yeshi, http://www.pacificbuddha.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Karandavyuha-Sutra.pdf p55 and 59
An Alternate Translation of this Sutra is here:
The Buddha Speaks the Great Vehicle Adornment Jewel King Sutra
“The Six Word Great Bright Dharani is the wonderful inherent mind of Bodhisattva Contemplate-at-ease. If there is anyone who knows this wonderful inherent mind, he thus knows liberation.”
“If there is anyone who is able to constantly receive and uphold this Six Word Great Bright Mantra, at the time of recitation, countless Tathagathas numberless as the grains of sands in the Ganges, and Bodhisattvas as numerous as dustmotes will gather together and bestow protection upon such an individual.”
“Ancestors of seven generations will attain liberation…all organisms inside one’s body will attain to the position of non-retreating Bodhisattvas.”
“If a person can be mindful of the Six Word Great Bright Mantra in accordance with the Dharma, such an individual will obtain:
- inexhaustible eloquence,
- accumulation of clean and pure wisdom,
- great kindness and compassion;
- daily perfection of the merit and virtue of the Six Paramitas and
- the anointing of his crown by the Great Wheel Turning King.
Whoever comes in contact with the breath of such an individual will give rise to kindness and stay away from the various poisons of hatred, will attain the position of a non-retreating Bodhisattva and quickly attain annutara-samyaksambodhi.
Whoever is touched by the hand of such an individual will quickly attain to the position of a Bodhisattva.”
“Such an individual who upholds this Six Word Great Mantra will never undergo the suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death, as well as the pain of being separated from loved ones. Instead, such an individual will receive inconceivable responses from his recitation.”
Atop the Lotus Flower Thus Come One said, “I can count the number of dust motes, but I can not reckon the merit and virtue that results from one single recitation of the Six Word Great Bright Mantra.”
“If a person writes the Six Word Great Bright Mantra out by hand, it is equivalent to writing eighty-four thousand dharma treasuries, without any difference.”
Source: http://www.goldwheel.org/data/200208E5e.asp – Master Hsuan Hua’s explanation of this mantra can also be found here.