Trekking in Nepal

Om Mani Padme Hung

The Tibetan Mantra of Chenrezig Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion

Tibetan Buddhism, as practiced by the Sherpa people, holds the enlightened being Chenrezig in great regard and as the Bodhisattva of Compassion and Patron Buddha of Tibet. His mission was to liberate all mankind from suffering, and the mantra in his honor is a reflection on the elements in this the world and human nature that cause pain.

The pronunciation following the Tibetan manner is: “OM MANI PADME HUNG”. There are many levels of meaning, but the basic understanding is that each syllable represents an element that causes suffering in mankind. In many cases each syllable is associated with a color, which also carries significance in the meditation.

Chenrezig mantra written in Tibetan script
Chenrezig mantra written in Tibetan script

Each of the six syllables has a deep meaning representing a certain type of worries a person may have. As one meditates on the symbols those worries in this world will be alleviated. The mantra basically guides one to think "I won't worry about each of these problems." Related to reciting this mantra is the act of spinning the cylindrical “mani” stones, which have the symbols carved into the side, as well as being filled with paper with the symbols written many times. There are many places along the trails among the Sherpa villages with walls of mani stones. Be mindful to always pass them on your right shoulder.

Each of the human afflictions clouds a person’s realization of their true reality, and detaching from them ultimately leads to a state of nirvana. The syllables suggest the following summarized meanings:

Syllable   Color   Affliction
OM   White   Pride
MA   Green   Jealousy
NI   Yellow   Passion
PAD   Blue   Ignorance
ME   Red   Greed
HUNG   Black   Hatred


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