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Om Mani Padme Hum, Avalokitesvara Mantra

Avalokiteśvara is one of the most revered bodhisattvas. A bodhisattva is said to be the personification of a quality of the Buddha, one who is on the brink but has not yet achieved the state of enlightenment that will lead him to become a Buddha. Avalokiteśvara, it is often taught, was the first bodhisattva to vow not to achieve enlightenment until he had guided all sentient beings towards an escape from their suffering. The embodiment of compassion, Avalokiteśvara has inspired countless other bodhisattvas to make similar compassionate vows.

His name translated means “Lord who gazes down.” This is said to be related to his ability to see everything, see everyone, and see everywhere. As the most revered and popular of bodhisattvas, often more revered than the Buddha, the Avalokiteśvara mantra is always one of the most well-known mantras of Buddhism.

Om Mani Padme Hum is the Avalokiteśvara mantra, and this mantra is repeated in order to welcome in compassion, while staving off the misfortune that can so often lead to sorrow, pain, and suffering. The mantra can be recited or can be inscribed on jewelry, canvas, or even stones.

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Oftentimes stones that have the Avalokiteśvara mantra carved on them will dot the landscape of Tibet, almost like a prayer flag. These carved stones are piled into cairns of all levels, or are often included in the building of walls that encompass important traveling routes. They can also be found perched upon mountain summits and surrounding homes. One of the most interesting locations that the Avalokiteśvara mantra has been found is carved onto a frozen lake in Tibet; with the tallest letters measuring several feet height, this mantra has garnered a lot of attention.

The Avalokiteśvara mantra is first seen in the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra, and it is said to fulfill the six perfections while also protecting the person reciting it against misfortune and suffering. While the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra has not been effectively translated into English, the six syllable Avalokiteśvara mantra is very often translated to being “the jewel is in the lotus.” This comes from the word Mani being reflective of a jewel and Padma being reflective of a lotus.

A better description of the Avalokiteśvara mantra is as follows.

  • Om is first recited because it is the essence of the five wisdoms.
  • Mani is translated to jewel, while Padme is translated to lotus.
  • Hum is recited at the end of the mantra because it translates to “being mindful of this.”

Very often when the Avalokiteśvara mantra is written down, each of the syllables of the mantra is colored in order to match the color of Avalokiteśvara’s manifestation in a particular realm. The Avalokiteśvara mantra is then recognized as initiating that universal quality, which in turn offers liberation from misfortune while embracing compassion.

  • Om – white
  • Ma – green
  • Ni – yellow
  • Pa – blue
  • Dme – red
  • Hum – black

A popular inscription on jewelry, this mantra invokes compassion in the wearer and reciter, while also encouraging the reciter to hold compassion towards other sentient beings.

The om mani padme hum mantra is one of the most popular mantras for jewelry, singing bowls, and many other products. We carry many products with the om mani padme hum mantra like this om mani padme hum pendant, this om mani padme hum bracelet, this om mani padme hum ring, and many of our Tibetan singing bowls.