The history of OM MANI PADME HUNG

By Stanzin Odan Leh, Mar 20, 2014
Leh :
The matra of compassion, OM MANI PADME Hum is pronounced by the buddhist: OM MANI PEME HUNG. It embodies the compassion and blessing of all the buddhas and bodhisattavas, and invokes especially the blessing of Avalokiteshvara is a manifestation of the Buddha in the Sambhogakaya, and his mantra is considered the essence of the Buddha’s compassion for all beings. Just as Padmasambhava is the most important master for the Buddhist, Avalokiteshvara is their most important Buddha, and the karmic deity of Buddhist. There is a famous saying that the Buddha of compassion became so embedded in the Buddhist consciousness that any child who could say the word “mother” could also recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM.

Countless ages ago, it is said, a thousand princes vowed to become buddhas. One resolved to become the Buddha we know as Gautama Siddhartha; Avalokiteshvara , however, vowed not to attain enlightenment until all the other thousand had themselves become buddhas. In his infinite compassion he vowed too to liberate all sentient beings from the sufferings of the different realm of samsara. Before the buddhas of the ten direction, he prayed: “ may I help all beings, and if ever I tire in this great work, may my body be shattered into a thousand piece.” First, it is said, he descended into the hell realms, ascending gradually through the world of hungry ghost, up to the realm of the gods. From there he happened to look down and saw, aghast, that though he had saved innumerable beings from hell, countless more were pouring in. This plunged him into the profoundest grief; for a moment he had almost lost faith in that noble vow had taken and his body exploded into a thousand pieces .In his desperation ,he called out to all the buddhas for help, who came to his aid from all directions of the universe ,as one text said ,like a soft blizzard of snowflakes .With their great power The Avalokiteshvara had eleven heads, and a thousand arms ,and on each palm of each hand was an eye, signifying that union of wisdom and skillful means that is the mark of true compassion ,In this form he was even more resplendent and empowered than before to help all beings, and his compassion grew ever more intense as again and again he repeated this vow before the buddhas : “May I not attain final buddhahood before all sentient beings attain enlightenment .
It is said that in his sorrow at the pain of samsara, two tears fell from his eyes: through the blessings of the Buddha, they were transformed into the two taras. One is Tara in her green form who is the active form of compassion, and the other is the tara in her white form, who is compassion’s motherly aspect. The name Tara means “she who liberates”: she who ferries across the river of samsara.

It is written in the Mahayana sutra that Avalokiteshvara gave his mantra to the Buddha himself, and Buddha in turn granted him the special task of helping all beings in the universe toward Buddhahood. At this movement all the gods rained flowers to them, the earth shook, and the air rang with the sound OM MANI PADME HUM HRIH.
In the words of the poem:

Avalokiteshvara is like the moon

Whose cool light puts out the burning fires of samsara

In its rays the night-flowering lotus of compassion

Opens wide its petals.

The teaching explains that each of the six syllables of the mantra –OM MANI PADME HUM- has a specific and potent effect in bringing about transformation at different levels of our being. The six syllables purify completely the six poisonous negative emotions, which are the manifestation of ignorance, and which cause us to act negatively with our body, speech, and mind, so creating samsara and our suffering in it .Pride, jealousy, desire, ignorance, greed, and anger are transformed, through the mantra, into their true nature, the wisdom of the six Buddha families that become manifest in the enlightened mind.

So when we recite OM MANI PADME HUM, the six negative emotions, which are cause of the six realms of samsara, are purified .This is how reciting the six syllables prevents rebirth in each of the six realms, and also dispels the suffering inherent in each realm. At the same time reciting OM MANI PADME HUN completely purifies the aggregates of ego, the skandhas, and perfects the six kinds of transcendental action of the heart of the enlightened mind, the pararmitas of: generosity, also said that OKM MANI PADME HUM grants strong protection from all kinds of negative influences, and various different forms of illness.

Often HRIH, the “seed-syllable” of Avalokiteshvara, is added to the mantra to make OM MANI PADME HUM HRIH. The essence of the compassion of all the Buddhas, HRIH, is the catalyst that activates the compassion of the Buddha to transform our negative emotions into their wisdom nature.

“Another way of interpreting the mantra is that the syllable OM is the essence of enlightened form; MANI PADME, the four syllables in the middle, represents the speech of enlightenment; and the last syllable, HUM, represents the mind of enlightenment. The body, speech, and mind, and brings all beings to the state of realization. When it is joined with our own faith and efforts in meditation and recitation, the transformative power of the mantra arises and develops. It is truly possible to purify ourselves in this way.