Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum are the six true words, but what do they mean?
The six true words: Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum is the most common mantra in Tibet, recited by Buddhists, painted or carved on rocks, prayer wheels, or yak skulls and seen around Tibet very commonly. According to Tibetan culture, it is said that all the teachings of Buddha are contained in this mantra, and that to know the phrase is to know enlightenment. Tibetan people, who are almost all Buddhists, believe that it is very good to practice the mantra of Chenrezi, the Bodhisattva of Compassion (the protective deity of Tibet), which may relieve negative karma, accumulate merit, help rescue them from the sea of suffering and achieve Buddhahood.
In the Buddhist tradition, special words are repeated over and over again until they begin to gather a certain "emptiness". The word emptiness here does not mean one experiences nothing, but rather it is about experiencing ourselves in the moment, without the usual attachment of ego. There is no emptiness, but rather we are filled with an inner awareness, which give us the intuitive knowledge to save ourselves from suffering.
Speaking the mantra aloud or silently, spinning prayer wheels with the mantra, and carving the mantra into stones are the usual practices. It is very good to recite the mantra, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. But there is a bit of a dilemma as the translation from Sanskrit to English is very tough; one generally accepted interpretation is the following:
“Hail the jewel in the lotus.”
The full definition is actually not possible in just a couple of sentences… in fact, the entire phrase has to be broken down to be properly understood:
Om - The sound or "vibration" of the universe, it symbolizes one’s impure body, speech and mind, and also the pure noble body, speech and mind of a Buddha. Buddhism claims that an impure body, speech and mind can be transformed into the pure one of a Buddha, who were once impure and later by removing their negative attributes, achieved enlightenment on this path. It is meant to destroy attachments to ego and establish generosity.
Ma Ni - The jewel, symbolizes factors of method, compassion and love, the altruistic intention to become enlightened. “Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, and of solitary peace.” Similarly, just as a jewel fulfills the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfills the wishes of sentient beings establishing ethics and patience.
Pad Me means lotus and symbolizes wisdom. Growing out of mud, but not being stained by mud, the lotus indicates the quality of wisdom, which keeps you out of contradiction. The ability to remove attachment to prejudice (the mud) and establishing perseverance (the lotus) as well as losing possessiveness and gaining concentration.
The last symbol, Hum, means inseparability; symbolizing purity and can be achieved by the unity of method and wisdom. The removal of attachment to hatred and establishment of wisdom.
Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum
Pronounced: Ohm – Mah – Nee – Pod – Meh - Hum
This chant brings you joy and peaceful vibrations and supposedly, contained in this verse is the truth of the nature of suffering and how to remove its causes.