Mantras can be orally chanted, intoned, visualized and/or repeated mentally to oneself. Mantras can also be sung. I love singing. Vocal improvisation and mantras are a part of my practice. In this post I’m sharing two very different versions of the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra and I hoping you will give an ear to both.
“Chanting involves the body, mind, and spirit; it utilizes intention, concentration, the breath, the heartbeat, chest, lungs, voice, tongue, mouth–our entire being.” — Lama Surya Das
One of my favorites mantras is Om Mani Padme Hum (pronounced Om Mani Peme Hung), the mantra of the Buddha of Compassion, for purifying negative emotions.
Om Mani Padme Hum literally means “the jewel is in the lotus” or “the Buddha is within.” It is the Dalai Lama’s mantra and the national mantra of Tibet. Though it’s said all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra, the meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum can not really be translated into a simple phrase or sentence.
In most religious traditions one prays to the deities of the tradition in the hopes of receiving their blessing, which will benefit one in some way. In the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, however, the blessing and the power and the superlative qualities of the enlightened beings are not considered as coming from an outside source, but are believed to be innate, to be aspects of our own true nature. — Om Mani Padme Hum: The Meaning of the Mantra in Tibetan Buddhism
OM purifies the veils of body;
MA purifies the veils of speech;
NI purifies the veils of mind;
PAD purifies the veils of conflicting emotions;
ME purifies the veils of latent conditioning;
HUNG purifies the veil that covers knowledge.
OM corresponds to generosity;
MA, to ethics;
NI, to patience,
PAD, to diligence,
ME, to concentration,
HUNG, to wisdom.
To feel compassion is to deeply sense what it is like to experience another’s pain. In Dissolving the Heartbeat of Grief, my dear friend Sandra wrote:
Yet there is a potent countermeasure to grief, a way to heal our troubled spirit, which we can find in the balm of love and compassion.
Please listen and tell me what you think of these two very different versions of the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra.
Beautiful Tibetan song “Om Mani Padme Hung” 4:38
Yungchen Lhamo is a Tibetan singer-songwriter currently living in exile in New York City, whose name means “Goddess of Song”.
Lhamo has toured extensively throughout the world, singing unaccompanied, a combination of songs of her own composition and traditional Buddhist chant and mantras.
Om Mani Padme Hum – Imee Ooi 14.08
“A compassionate act does not have to be grandiose. The very simple action of love, of opening to people, of offering somebody some food, of saying hello, of asking what happened, of really being present — all are very powerful expressions of compassion.” — Developing the Compassionate Heart