om mani padme hum.

A lot of people tend to stop me and ask me what the tattoo on my upper left arm is. Some even think it says something in english alphabets, just written in a fancy way. 
I always find it difficult to explain because I'd like to go into detail about it's meaning and where it comes from (to share) but I can't find any easy way of doing so; so, I usually just say "it's a buddhist prayer written in sanskrit" & most respond with "oh...ok, it looks cool".

Anyway, thought i'd give a little background on it for anyone who cares to learn.

It is pronounced: Om mani padme hum though there are various ways of saying it, depending on where you are from, etc. It is a mantra that is particularly associated with Avalokiteshvara (aka: Chenrezig, Kuan Yin, Guanyin.)
The mantra is especially revered by the devotees of the Dalai Lama, as he is said to be an incarnation of Chenrezig. 

I've learned that it is quite difficult to really translate it into English and there are various ways of interpretation as the effect of the mantra lies beyond strict meaning.

SyllableSix PāramitāsPurifies

OmGenerosityPride / Ego

MaEthicsJealousy / Lust for entertainment

NiPatiencePassion / desire

PadDiligenceIgnorance / prejudice

MeRenunciationPoverty / possessiveness

HumWisdomAggression / hatred

Definition by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama:

"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 [...] symbolizes the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha[...]"
"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.[...]"
"The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom[...]"
"Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility[...]"
"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[...]"


mie1971 said...

i can think of "someone" who needs this tattooed on the forehead!!! to remind themself of what it means to be a human being though i dont know if it would help that "someone". now you are thinking, hmmm which is she talking about. sad, we know more than one person who needs to be reminded about simple things.

ZangeLotus said...

You have the best tattoos ever, especially your side one, so neat, were you ever able to fully finish your back and shoulder piece?