Om Mani Padme Hum

om mani padme hum 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 mani padme hum mantra

om mani padme hum 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

Imee Ooi is a Malaysian music producer, composer, arranger and vocalist from Kuala Lumpur, who brings traditional Buddhist chants, mantras and dharanis into sung versions with accompanying musical scores. She also is a classical pianist by training.
In Chinese her name is is Huang Huiyin (黃慧音)which means “Wisdom Sound.” Her multi-track vocals are ethereal and tranquil.

om mani padme hum mantra

“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

20 thoughts on “Om Mani Padme Hum

  1. Pingback: Ani Choying Drolma: A Singing Nun With a Mission | this time - this space

  2. The version by Imee Ooi is divine! and the first one by Yungchen Lhamo was quite unexpected and with the drums’ rhythm it gave me a sense that this chant can “fit in” anywhere in the world. The original Tibetan monk throat chanting I always love so much. Thanks!

    • Hello there,
      I’m so happy to receive your positive feedback. Unlike many Buddhists I do not prefer the traditional overtone/undertone chanting to the sung versions of the mantra. However, I hasten to add that not preferring it does not mean I do not derive value from listening to it and participating in it.

      Sound and particularly vocalization in the form of chant is my path to meditation. Can I get there by sitting in meditation? Sure I can but it’s not my preference.

      I love both versions of the mantra but for different reasons. I agree that Imee Ooi’s version is divine and I play it frequently. As I’m an improvisational vocalist and a very “earthy” person myself I can appreciate Lhamo’s version. In truth I have been immersed in chanting for several months as a means of dealing with my grief.

      • Yes, I too find that chanting has a way of harmonizing my insides…. Disturbing thoughts and emotions sort of get homogenized with my deeper Knowing, which always brings more inner Peace.

        • Hi there,
          I have the same harmonizing experience. The results of chanting combined with breathing are
          a cessation of unwanted thoughts, a focus on the present moment and continued mindfulness throughout the day. No matter where I am or what I’m doing if I’m feeling off center I can pause and chant either silently or verbally to re-balance myself, to bring myself to a place of peace again.

  3. What a beautiful explanation of the Om Mani Padma Hum mantra. Singing mantras can be so powerful and truly transform our mind into a more positive state! I appreciate your explanation of how powerful singing mantra is for you, as the primary path to the meditative state, in your response to one of the comments. Many people don’t realize just how transformative listening to and chanting a mantra can be. It’s nice that you’ve given us this taste with two different versions.

    Both of the versions of the mantra you have shared are beautiful in their own way. I’m used to a traditional Tibetan Buddhist chant of this mantra, which is different than either of the two you’ve shared with us here.

    Thank you for including a piece from my article here. I’ve really been feeling this power of love to dilute our grief over the past weeks!

    • Hi Sandra,
      I’m so glad you appreciated this post. The two very different presentations of the mantra are favorites of mine. I’m so grateful for a voice and the ability to chant. Chanting focuses me from top to toes. Melodic repetition quiets my monkey mind and reverberates through my body. For this path from sound to silence — from suffering to peace — I give thanks.

  4. I really enjoyed your post. I am new to meditation and am just discovering the various mantras. Thank you for stopping by my blog. Through your comment, I discovered your post – Just what I was looking for. Your blogs purpose resonated with me, so I will be following :)

  5. Enjoyed them both but I bought a CD at a Monastery in Tibet called The Buddha of Medicine-Buddhist Chants; Music for Contemplation and the version of Om mani Padre Hum which i bought then is definitely my favouite.

    • Hi Pauline,
      It’s good to know you have those favorites. I have never traveled to Tibet or visited a monastery. The Medicine Buddha Chant is very powerful one that I know well. It’s not only for relief from pain of physical diseases but also the ones between our ears and it’s for purification of negative karma.

    • Hi Pauline,
      It’s good to know you have those favorites and you liked these ones too. I have never traveled to Tibet or visited a monastery. The Medicine Buddha Chant is very powerful one that I know well. It’s not only for relief from pain of physical diseases but also the ones between our ears and it’s for purification of negative karma.

  6. Wonderful article! The song has been added to my YouTube list.

    This quote is really caught my attention because I have held this belief, as the jewel is in the lotus, since I was six years old. I remember it because it was a very conscious and life/mind changing event. (“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.”)

    Can you explain the picture you inserted in your blog? What is its meaning/significance?

    Although I am resistant to “call my self a (religion),” I find that I my governing values and certain habits are more inline with Buddhism than other religions. I am often a confidant amongst my friends. I often say, “It is within you. When it is time, it will happen.”

    • @Artificer
      I caution you to understand that I am not a teacher. I am merely a student, a practitioner.

      The image is a lotus and each of the six syllables of the mantra are depicted on a petal of the opening lotus. The primary lotus flower symbolism is it’s association with spiritual awakening or enlightenment.

      Consider the life history of the lotus. The seed sprouts and roots in the dark muck and mire, the stem grows up through first cloudy and then clearer water, then the heavily scented flower pristine above the water, basks in the sunlight. This pattern of growth is said to symbolize the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

      Without doubt we are all Buddha seed. Compassion is our Buddha seed or true nature, our potential to grow up through the muck and mire to become enlightened, and it is because all living beings possess this seed of self acceptance and capacity for compassion that they will all eventually become Buddhas/enlightened ones.

      This is my understanding.

      Namaste _/\_

  7. I am very impressed by the content of this post. I often turn to Buddhism, meditation, yoga as guidance and inspiration in living a liberated life. I love this song. A beautiful chant indeed. I will subscribe to your blog. I am a digital artist, and I often create work with Spiritual themes. Check out some of my tags on meditation, spirituality, and my silence series when you have a moment. Looking forward to exploring your offerings.
    Walter.

    • Thanks for your kind words. Though I was raised to be a Christian I rejected the doctrine and dogma. I chose to study comparative religions and then I found much wisdom in all of them at the mystical level. I took great delight in visiting your blog and viewing some of your digital art. Thanks for choosing to follow this blog.

  8. The music is just beautiful. Thank you for your lovely explanation about the Om Mani Padme Hung mantra…it’s such a beautiful, nurturing and healing mantra. (the Perfections, referenced in your post, are in our home windows…ongoing inspirations. http://pocketperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/living-with-generosity-ethics-patience-joyful-effort-concentration-and-wisdom/ ) Several years ago, there was some deep healing that came through the Om Mani Padme Hung mantra.

    For the past few weeks, as we’ve been adjusting to the death of my husband’s brother Jon, a mantra/song has been resonating in me…sometimes with me singing it, sometimes it’s just there, within. I think it might be an Indian or Hindu mantra…I find it so soothing and comforting. (Aad Guray http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNPbQdZR9qg )

    You have created a simply beautiful post…the explanations, the use of colored fonts, images, text size, background colors…just right for the Om Mani mantra.

    • Good day to you,
      For me it’s sound ie. vocalizing that is the primary pathway to the meditative state. When I chant every part of my mind and body are involved and it brings me deep healing and peace. I’m so pleased to hear you found healing with this mantra. It’s the one I chant more often than any other mantra. Throughout this sorrowful summer when I grieved the loss of my brother and a dear friend I have visualized it, intoned it and even painted it many times. It’s also good to know the graphic presentation of this post was pleasing to you and complimented the mantra well.

      I visited your blog and I love the way you presented The Six Perfections: Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Joyful or Persistent Effort, Concentration and Wisdom and how to cultivate them in our every day lives.

      I’m so sorry for your loss of your husband’s brother. It seems we are both grieving and remarkably you have focused on another chant, Aad Guray, which is a Kundalini Yoga chant that I know well and that I intended to feature in a post later on in this blog. Maybe I’ll move that time forward and feature that chant next as I find myself chanting it right now.

      Be well and happy,
      TiTi

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