The six syllabled Om Maṇi Padme Hūm mantra is associated with the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and more appropriately his four-armed form known as Shadakshari. Within Buddhism, this mantra is seen as the condensed form of all the Buddhist teachings meaning “The Jewel is in the Lotus”. It is an ever present feature on the landscape where it is commonly carved onto rocks (mani stones), painted onto the sides of hills or buildings, as well as being written on prayer flags and even prayer wheels.
Coming from the Sanskrit, the first word, OM is a sacred syllable as it is the sound of the universe, representing divine energy which purifies the ego
:: MANI means “jewel” or “bead”. It can be further broken down into MA (representing ethics and purification of jealousy) and NI (representing patience and purification of wants/desires)
:: PADME is the lotus flower – sacred within Buddhism as well as connected with many Hindu deities. It can be further broken down into PAD (representing diligence and purification of ignorance and judgement) and ME (representing concentration and purification of attachment)
:: HUM represents the spirit of enlightenment, unity of all, representing wisdom and purifies hatred.
“There is not a single aspect of the eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha’s teachings which is not contained in Avalokiteshvara’s six syllable mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”, and as such the qualities of the “mani” are praised again and again in the Sutras and Tantras …. Whether happy or sad, if we take the “mani” as our refuge … spontaneous devotion will arise in our minds and the Great Vehicle will effortlessly be realized.”
(Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche)