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Avalokiteshvara Mantra

The above is Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Tibetan calligraphy. Click the calligraphy card to view a downloadable pdf courtesy of FPMT.


Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains,

The benefits of reciting the Compassion Buddha mantra are infinite, like the limitless sky…

“It looks very simple, very easy to recite. But if you think of the benefits, it’s not at all simple. Here, I’d to mention just the essence of its infinite benefits.

“Reciting the Compassion Buddha mantra just once completely purifies the four defeats of breaking the four root vows of self-liberation and the five uninterrupted negative karmas.

“It is also mentioned in the tantras that by reciting this mantra you achieve the four qualities of being born in the Amitabha Buddha pure land and other pure lands; at the time of death, seeing Buddha and lights appearing in the sky; the devas making you offerings; and never being reborn in the hell, hungry ghost or animals realms. You will be reborn in the pure land of Buddha or as a happy transmigratory being…

“It is said that up to seven generations of that person’s descendents won’t get reborn in the lower realms…

“Thus, when a person who has recited ten malas of OM MANI PADME HUM a day goes into a river or an ocean, the water that touches the person’s body gets blessed, and this blessed water then purifies all the billions and billions of sentient beings in the water. So it’s unbelievably beneficial; this person saves the animals in that water from the most unbelievable suffering of the lower realms.

“When such a person walks down a road and the wind touches his or her body and then goes on to touch insects, their negative karma gets purified and causes them to have a good rebirth. Similarly, when such a person does massage or otherwise touches others’ bodies, those people’s negative karma also gets purified.

“Such a person becomes meaningful to behold; being seen and touched becomes a means of liberating other sentient beings. This means that even the person’s breath touching the bodies of other sentient beings purifies their negative karma. Anybody who drinks the water in which such a person has swum gets purified…

“It is an easy way of purifying whatever negative karma we have collected, in not only this life but in many previous lives as well.

“Because we have met the Buddhadharma, and especially this method—the practice of Compassion Buddha and recitation of his mantra—it is easy to purify negative karma and collect extensive merit and thus to achieve enlightenment. We are unbelievably fortunate…

“Even if you know the teachings on how to meditate on bodhichitta, you still need to receive the special blessings of the deity, Compassion Buddha. You receive these by doing the meditation and recitation we practice in the mani retreat. Therefore, recitation of OM MANI PADME HUM is one way to actualize bodhichitta – to transform your mind into bodhichitta and make your meditation on bodhichitta effective…

“Without bodhichitta, you cannot cause all the happiness for all sentient beings. You cannot do perfect work for all sentient beings, and you cannot achieve the complete qualities of the realizations and cessation, even for yourself.”

[Excerpted from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s invitation to join the Chenrezig Institute mani retreat]

Mani Kabum also says that all the buddhas have blessed these six syllables again and again.

Praying to Chenrezig is the same as praying to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and

chanting the Chenrezig mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, is the same as chanting the mantras of all the buddhas.

By reciting OM MANI PADME HUM, we get the benefit of having chanted all the rest of the buddhas’ mantras.

It is said that these six syllables are the heart of Arya Compassion Buddha.”

– Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche

[Excerpted from “The Benefits of Reciting Om Mani Padme Hum.”]


His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains,

It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first, Om is composed of three letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

“Can impure body, speech, and mind be transformed into pure body, speech, and mind, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of beings who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure.

“How is that done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables. Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method – the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love. Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfils the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfils the wishes of sentient beings.

“The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolizes wisdom. Just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non-contradiction whereas there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom. There is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing that persons are empty of being self-sufficient or substantially existent, wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality – that is to say, of difference of entity between subject and object – and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence. Though there are many different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.

“Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility. According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In the mantra, or tantric, vehicle, it refers to one consciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one undifferentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the five Conqueror Buddhas, hum is the seed syllable of Akshobhya – the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.

Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within. As Maitreya says in his Sublime Continuum of the Great Vehicle (Uttaratantra), all beings naturally have the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We have within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One Gone Thus (Tathagatagarbha), that is to be transformed and fully developed into Buddhahood.”

[Excerpted from Kindness, Clarity and Insight, Shambhala Publications]

Photo: His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaching, Dharamsala, HP, India, May 16, 2020. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“For the practice to be meaningful it’s important to reflect on bodhichitta and the view of emptiness while conducting your recitations.

“When you’re doing this practice you need to imagine Avalokiteshvara in front of you. Avalokiteshvara is endowed with all qualities. He is the deity embodying compassion, which Chandrakirti praised as essential in the beginning, middle and end of the path.”

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

[Excerpted from “Empowerment of Avalokiteshvara, Lord of the World” 2019 News]




Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains,

“if you are going to recite only one mala of OM MANI PADME HUM, then visualize Chenrezig out of great compassion sending beams to you, like rays of the sun. When the beams are received by you, your mind becomes unbelievably blissful and peaceful. You experience this, then your body becomes totally white, like the nature of light. You are totally purified of all negative karmas and obscurations collected from beginningless rebirths, and all the sickness and spirit harms of this life are purified.

“Chenrezig also sends beams to all the sentient beings —numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless human beings, numberless suras, numberless asuras and numberless intermediate state beings — from whom you receive all your beginningless past happiness, and all the collections of goodness. You receive all the past, present and future life collections of goodness from them, as well as ultimate happiness, liberation from the oceans of samsaric sufferings. Think that they are totally purified.

“Recite OM MANI PADME HUM… one-pointedly looking at Chenrezig. Try not to be distracted or to think of anything else during that time, as much as possible.

If you have received the Chenrezig Great Initiation (this is a two-day initiation) then for the first mala mainly think you are purifying yourself. Then you become Chenrezig, the formation of light, having Chenrezig’s holy body with all the qualities, and with the perfect omniscient mind, with perfect power, infinite compassion for sentient beings and perfect power to guide sentient beings. Send light from your heart—from the syllable HRIH and the mantra garland—to numberless sentient beings. They are purified and they all become Chenrezig. While you are doing that, recite OM MANI PADME HUM. For the second mala of mantras you visualize yourself as Chenrezig and all sentient beings as Chenrezig, enlightened.

If you have not received Chenrezig Great Initiation, then you can’t visualize yourself as Chenrezig. Instead mainly think you are purifying yourself and at the same time all sentient beings are purified. For the next mala, you mainly think you are receiving all the qualities of Chenrezig, and at the end sentient beings receive all the qualities of Chenrezig. You can do like that, but if you want to recite more mantras, for example five malas, then for half think you are purifying yourself and sentient beings and then for the next five malas yourself and sentient beings are being purified. The next ten malas think all the qualities of Chenrezig are received by yourself and all sentient beings. Mainly concentrate on sentient beings being purified and then receiving all the qualities. If you haven’t received the great initiation, then do like this.

If you want to think of people who are sick, who have died or who are dying and want to do a prayer for them, then visualize beams emitted from Chenrezig and purifying that person. That helps those people who are sick, dead or dying so much. Also you can think of your loved ones and especially your enemies, the people who hate you.”

[Excerpted from “Chenrezig Meditation and Mantra“]

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