Om Mani Padme Hum. Known as the Compassion Mantra, or the Jewel in the Lotus, this is a powerful Buddhist prayer. This mantra is a tool to train the mind to achieve ultimate peace and enjoyment. The mind dictates our experience of happiness and sadness, so we must learn to control our mind.
OM, the primordial sound vibration, is a symbol of the unity of mind, body, spirit (A-U-M).
MANI is the wish-fulfilling jewel, your mind, which has the power to shape reality.
PADME is a lotus flower, wisdom rising from the murky waters of life.
HUM is the spirit of enlightenment, achievement of union of method and wisdom, which allows you to see the true nature of reality, the perfect view.
Remember, there is nothing outside of the perceiving mind. The mind can perceive this world as mundane or profound. This reality is a blissful nirvana if you train your mind to see it this way. A mind cultivated with compassion, kindness, prayers, meditation and mantras can overcome the three poisons — anger, desire and ignorance. This leads to the realisation of ultimate peace. Whether you are a Buddhist or not, you can benefit by practicing this mantra for relaxation and peace.
This mantra is part of the precious Dharma texts for liberation. A year ago, I attended a training by Chamtrul Rinpoche in the Bodhicitta Dharma Centre in Dharamsala. While meditating upon and reciting this mantra, Chamtrul Rinpoche suggests we visualise the luminous Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, sitting on a thousand-petal lotus, wearing a garland of stars.
We can also visualise ourselves as a bodhisattva of compassion, sitting on a lotus, rather than on a bed of hot coal, as in, we should sit in a state of relaxed composure, not irritation or agitation, being calm and comfortable when meditating.
Meditation is an energetic bath. It cleanses the mind and body. The practice of meditation can bring profound benefits. To achieve pure view, one must also not commit evils such as wallowing in afflictive emotions, exuding negative energy, dwelling in obfuscations and delusions; one must engage in virtuosity, activities that cause conditions of enjoyment for yourself and others, practicing generosity and other virtues; and one must subdue one's mental impulses which cling to patterns known as samskaras. Only then can we achieve freedom.
The natural mind is of primordial wisdom so why do we need to subdue it? The problem is that we acquire veils of ignorance through conditioning and socialisation that prevent us from being in the natural state. If your mind is upset, emotionally negative, this will create obstacles to your happiness, because happiness can only arise from a peaceful mind. If your mind is trapped in the past full of regrets and sorrows or trapped in the future full of fear and worries, this will also obstruct happiness. Happiness can only be enjoyed in the present moment. To detach from the past and future, this is freedom.
No one can progress into happiness alone. All those around you must also progress. Share your kindness with your family, friends, colleagues, and community. Cherish each other. Be tolerant. Avoid negative actions that hurt others. Look after those around you as you look after yourself.
May we all enjoy happiness in the heart of a lotus flower. May we never be separate from supreme bliss.
Shazia Omar is a yogi, an activist and a writer. To learn yoga from her, subscribe to YouTube.com/ShazzyOm