Om Mani Padme Hum

Posted by on Jun 24, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on Om Mani Padme Hum

Om Mani Padme Hum

One way of entering a meditation practice is through the path of mala and mantra.  A mala is a string of 108 beads that comes from the Buddhist tradition (also used by Hindus among others) that is used to count the recitations of the prayer or intention, the mantra.  108 is an auspicious number, and it is believed that using a mala for extensive periods of prayer and meditation can lend the one who meditates a deep feeling of peace and presence.  Many people can also vouch for the manifestation of their intentions after meditating deeply upon them.  After the mala itself has been used for some time, it is also believed to embody the power of the prayer as a talisman of sorts.  (They can be purchased at any Tibetan shop or most shops that carry Indian gifts, and can be found online.)

Buddhists believe that meditating on the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is an experience of becoming one with the compassionate Buddha.  While it is directly translated into English as The Jewel in the Lotus, the full meaning of the mantra is lost there.  Within this 6 sound mantra lies all of the teachings of the Buddha, all truths about the nature of suffering and redemption.  To meditate and recite Om Mani Padme Hum is to open the door of compassionate wisdom that already lives within you, to lead you to understand and embody your own capacity for freedom and love and to believe in the right for all beings to be free from suffering.

As a meditation practice, this pairing of mala and mantra is powerful and simple at the same time.  Many of us find ourselves too distracted or monkey-minded to sit quietly and “empty the mind” to meditate.  But to pass a mala between your fingers creates subtle movement, and to recite mantra lends focus of mind.  Eventually, however, both move beyond awareness and the practitioner can experience a deeper turn inward.  This is when speech loses the mechanical aspects and become sacred sound, moving us closer to the place of enlightened understanding.

To begin, sit upon a meditation pillow or blanket or block either in a supported Virasana or Sukhasana.  You can also choose to sit upon the edge of a chair if floor sitting is difficult for you, but pad the back of the chair or move forward so that you can ensure your tallest posture.  Rest your right hand on your thigh holding the mala between your thumb and resting on the middle finger just past the leader bead.  (Do not use the forefinger to pass the mala).  Once you have found your asana or seated posture, close your eyes and as you touch a mala bead, recite Om Mani Padme Hum.  Use your thumb to pass to the next bead, and so on until you have completed an entire cycle of the mala.  It is especially calming to inhale deeply between beads, and recite the mantra on the exhale. The benefits of pranayama can also be reaped here.

After your meditation, bow forward.  You may also like to recite a translation of the embodied meaning of the mantra at the time of completion: “May I be happy and free from suffering.  May all beings be happy and free from suffering.”

Like any meditation practice, stillness of mind and body takes time.  Be patient and always accept the practice for what it is.  Each time you sit with the intention to meditate and do your best to make room for quiet, you are moving closer to a peace of mind.



All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.