Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hum, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. Viewing the written form of the mantra is said to have the same effect -- it is often carved into stones and placed where people can see them.
Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel (or prayer wheel) is also believed to give the same benefit as saying the mantra, and Mani wheels, small hand wheels and large wheels with millions of copies of the mantra inside, are found everywhere in the lands influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.
The Prayer Wheel: Spiritual Technology from Tibet.
It is said that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum can not really be translated into a simple phrase or sentence.
It is appropriate, though, to say a little about the mantra, so that people who want to use it in their meditation practice will have some sense of what they are doing, and people who are just curious will understand a little better what the mantra is and why it is so important to Tibetan Buddhists.
OM, in the Buddhist tradition, symbolizes the sound vibration that unites the practitioner’s body, speech and mind with that of the Buddha and all of creation.
MANI means jewel and symbolizes the altruistic intention to become enlightened, to become compassion, to become love.
PADME means lotus and symbolizes wisdom . The lotus flower transcends, unstained, the muddy waters from which it grows into the pristine beauty of its true nature.
HUM means something that cannot be disturbed. It symbolizes the purity that can be achieved through practice and wisdom.
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