Om Mani Padme Hum | Sa signification surprenante

Remember: Om Mani Padme Hum is a well-known Buddhist mantra, generally translated as "The jewel is in the lotus."

It's not for nothing that the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra is at the heart of many Buddhist traditions.

That's because all the Buddha's teachings are said to reside within this powerful mantra. It's repeated over and over again to invoke the qualities of love and unconditional compassion.

Whether spoken aloud or silently to oneself, this mantra is one you'll want to practice to connect with your innate loving and compassionate nature.

Using a mani with the mantra

In northern India, Nepal, and Tibet, you'll often see this beloved mantra engraved in stone.

People love to purchase rings with the mantra engraved on them, as it's said that simply looking at the mantra will produce the same benevolent effects. Prayer wheels of various sizes, also called mani, are also used for the meditation of Om Mani Padme Hum.


Buddhist practitioners spin these large prayer wheels or small hand-held prayer wheels while meditating or chanting the mantra, simultaneously receiving its many blessings.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that each time a prayer wheel completes a full rotation, it's equivalent to the merit gained in a year-long retreat.


Understanding the meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum

To truly know our intentions and motivations behind any mantra practice, we need to understand exactly what the mantra means.

This gives more depth to our practice and makes it more personal.

Many people simply call this mantra the Mani mantra because it's the most beloved and widely used among the Buddha's disciples. (To learn more, check out the article 5 Powerful Mantras and Their Sacred Meanings).

According to the Dalai Lama, Om Mani Padme Hum has the power to:

"transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a buddha."

Tibetan culture tells us that deeply knowing this phrase - bringing it into the depths of one's being - is to attain enlightenment.

That's quite a claim! If so, we'll all want to practice this mantra with a lot of discipline and devotion.

Deciphering the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra

Translating Sanskrit into English is a real challenge, as the language carries many layers of meaning. Below is a basic understanding of the mantra accepted by the majority of Buddhist practitioners.

Om (or Aum)

Meaning of Aum

The sound Om is considered the primordial sound of all creation.

The universe was created with Om and contains everything that is, was, and will be.

Buddhists believe that the vibrational sound of Om purifies pride. They also believe that the syllable of Om resides in the samsaric realm of the gods.

Om helps us dissolve our ego and cultivate kindness and generosity each time we recite it. (To learn more, check out the 5 Benefits of Chanting Om).

Want to learn more about the Om symbol? Read on:


The syllable ma of mani is associated with dissolving jealousy and attachment to fleeting pleasures.

It resides in the samsaric realm of jealous gods, and chanting ma repeatedly helps us release our jealous attachments while cultivating ethical behavior. (To learn more, see Freedom in Letting Go).

The syllable ni, in particular, is meant to dissolve our attachments to desire and passion while cultivating our ability to be patient with ourselves and others. It resides in the samsaric realm of humans. The entire word, mani, means "jewel."


Pad is a syllable that dissolves our attachment to the many biases and judgments we have while cultivating the quality of perseverance.

It resides in the samsaric realm of animals.

This syllable helps dissolve our attachment to possessiveness while cultivating our power of concentration. (To learn more, check out Practicing Aparigraha (non-attachment).

It resides in the samsaric realm of the hungry ghost.

Together, padme means "lotus" and represents wisdom.


With the syllable hum, we strive to dissolve our attachments to aggression and hatred.

Instead, we cultivate our own innate wisdom.

Hum is said to be found in the samsaric realm of hell. Hum also signifies that which cannot be disturbed by anything.

It is unshakable and immutable.

The Jewel is in the Lotus

As you can see, this is a powerful and meaningful mantra. The phrase that sums it all up is: "The jewel is in the lotus" or "Praise to the jewel in the lotus."


This means that the lotus flower is within each of us, but it is covered with a lot of mud and filth.

Reciting this mantra again and again, with the right intention, is supposed to rid us of the mud and dirt until we are as radiant, pure, compassionate, and wise as the lotus flower itself.

According to a lecture given by the Dalai Lama, while it is good to recite this mantra repeatedly, one should also meditate on the meaning of each syllable at the same time.

In other words, we must practice with the proper intention and understanding of the mantra. (To learn more, see Svadhyaya: Spend a Lifetime Knowing Yourself and Deepening Your Yoga Practice).

Intention is paramount.

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