A MANTRA is a “spiritual utterance” – a sound or set of words repeated and resonant, most often in the context of a BUDDHIST chant. Tibetan Buddhism’s central mantra is “OM MANI PADME HUM.” Some Buddhist scholars say the six syllables represent the “six perfections” a Buddhist must strive to attain on the path to enlightenment.

There are many translations and interpretations of this mantra. According to the 14th Dalai Lama, “OM…symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind…MANI,, meaning “jewel,” symbolizes … the altruistic intention to become enlightened, PADME meaning lotus” (the lotus flower), “symbolize(s) wisdom…HUM indicates indivisibility….Thus the six syllables 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.”

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