Om mani padme hum: a simple but powerful mantra for mindful living

Recently, I was introduced by my yoga instructor to the mantra: Om mani padme hum.   I had not come across this mantra before in my previous reading on the topic of Buddhism or mindfulness generally.

Om mani padme hum. I felt a powerful energy from this mantra as I repeated it to myself, even before I knew what it actually meant.

My yoga instructor encouraged me to research these six precious syllables. From what I have discerned in my preliminary research, the mantra can be translated into the expression: “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus.”  My mind immediately turned to the beautiful lotus pond (pictured above) I visited at Balboa Park in San Diego a few weeks ago.

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet has stated that each of the six syllables which comprise the mantra have a specific and significant meaning (source: lecture at Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center, New Jersey, online: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tib/omph.htm):

  • Om symbolizes “the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha.”
  • Mani symbolizes “factor of method- the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love.”
  • Padme symbolizes wisdom:  “Just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non- contradiction where as there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom.”
  • Hum symbolizes indivisibility: “According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to one consciousness in which there is a full form of both wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In the mantra, or tantra vehicle, it refers to one conciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one undifferentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the five conqueror Buddhas, HUM is the is the seed syllable of Akshobhya- the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.”

His Holiness offers the profound observation that if one adheres diligently to the principles embodied in the mantra Om mani padme hum, he or she has the capacity to transform their impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

I am humbled by His Holiness’ teaching. I have begun to incorporate this simple but profound mantra into my journey of mindful living.

The essence of the mantra is beautifully conveyed in my humble opinion in the song Om mani padme hum composed by the Yoga Mantra and Chant Music Project:

On a side note, my yoga instructor also encouraged me to consider attending this year’s Wanderlust festival promoting the yogic lifestyle and its deep and abiding connection to nature and mindful living.  Apparently, I’m told there are Wanderlust festivals held annually around the world. One of this year’s festivals in Canada will be held in Whistler, B.C. from July 30 to August 3, 2015.  I came across the below preview of what to expect at the festival:

I have not yet decided if I will attend the festival, but I trust the recommendation of my yoga instructor. If it leads me to expand my knowledge of the yogic lifestyle, mindfulness and the like, then the trip to Whistler would likely be worthwhile, and I’m certain there will be a community of fellow yogis who will be able to impart invaluable lessons to me about this increasingly impactful world of mindful living I have embarked upon.

Om mani padme hum.   May I one day appreciate the fulness of the truths contained in this simple but powerful mantra.

I am ever grateful for the rise of the sun each and every morning; for my breath that energizes my body; for the food that nourishes my soul; for those who have shown me abiding and unconditional love throughout my journey; and to those in my life who continue to set an example of humility, courage, resilience, and strength in times of adversity.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend. The highest in me bows to the highest in you, always.

Namaste,

Alex

UPDATE:  after publishing this post, my yoga instructor informed me that there is a smaller Wanderlust “108” festival happening in Edmonton on August 29, 2015!  These “108” festivals have three components: a 5K run, yoga, and meditation.  There is simply no way I am going to miss this chance to partake in this festival in August!

If you are in the Edmonton area, check out this short video of what to expect:

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