"Om Mani Padme Hum"
CHENREZIG and OM MANI PADME HUM mantra
(JEWEL IN THE LOTUS)
"Chenrezig, hold me fast in your compassion. From time without beginning,
living beings have wandered in cyclic existence, undergoing unendurable suffering.
They have no other protector than you. Please bless them that they may achieve
the omniscient state of buddhahood"
In the Mayayana Buddhist tradition, Bodhisattvas are those who dedicate themselves
to helping all beings reach enlightenment. They choose to remain in the world,
taking whatever form is needed, until all beings, from the smallest insects, have
gained freedom from the cycle of involuntary birth, death and rebirth. Chenrezig,
known as Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit, is the Bodhisattva of compassion. Amitabha,
the Buddha of infinite light, sent Chenrezig to help liberate all beings from
suffering. Chenrezig looked on all beings with compassion and saw that they were
weighed down with disturbing emotions, such as desire, greed, jealousy, pride,
aversion and the blindness of ignorance. When he saw their immeasurable suffering,
he vowed before Amitabha that he would work for the benefit of all beings until
every single one of them was liberated. Chenrezig worked for eons, but to his
despair he saw that countless millions of beings were still suffering under their
Karma and the agony of this made him split into many small pieces. Seeing this,
Amitabha re-assembled the body of Chenrezig, giving him one thousand arms and
one thousand eyes so he could reach out to and watch over all beings. Earthly
embodiments of Chenrezig have appeared throughout history, including Tibet's'
first king, Srongsten Gampo and Padmasambhava, who propagated Buddhism in Tibet
during the eighth century. Padmasambhava declared Chenrezig to be the patron Bodhisattva
of Tibet and widely taught the mantra of Chenrezig: Om Mani Padme Hum, which is
now an indelible part of Tibetan culture. Chenrezig also appears as his Holiness'
the Dalai Lama and the Gyalwa Karmapa, who will continue to reincarnate until
all suffering on earth is overcome.
The syllables OM MANI PADME HUM can be interpreted as an invocation to Chenrezig.
OM is the opening syllable of many mantras and signifies enlightened body, speech
and mind. It is a syllable on invocation and is used here to attract Chenrezig's
attention. MANI means "jewel", and signifies skilful means, such as
compassion and love, symbolised by the crystal prayer beads that Chenrezig holds.
PADME means "lotus" and signifies wisdom and the female element. Though
it grows from the bottom of a muddy pool, it is untainted by it. HUM is the seed
syllable of enlightened mind. Chenrezig combines perfected skilful means and wisdom.
Thus the mantras can be interpreted as a request;
"You who hold the jewel and the lotus, please look on me with compassion
and bless me to become like you".
True compassion is not just an emotional response,
but a firm commitment founded on reason.
Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change,
even if they behave negatively.
Through universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others:
the wish to help them actively overcome their problems.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama