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Om Ma Ni Pe Me Hung

Six Syllable Mantra 

of Avalokitesvara:

Buddha of Compassion


May All Beings Benefit!


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'On Compassion' by The Dalai Lama, from his book Stages of Meditation

What do we mean when we speak of a truly compassionate kindness? Compassion is essentially concern for

others' welfare -- their happiness and their suffering. Others wish to avoid misery as much as we do.

So a compassionate person feels concerned when others are miserable and develops a positive intention to free

them from it. As ordinary beings, our feeling of closeness to our friends and relatives is little more than

 an _expression of clinging desire. It needs to be tempered, not enhanced. It is important not to confuse

attachment and compassion.... A compassionate thought is motivated by a wish to help release beings

from their misery.




Avalokitesvara Buddha

Buddha of Great Compassion

Mantra: Om Ma Ni Pe Me Hung (Om Mani Peme Hung)

"There is not a single aspect of the eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha's teachings which is not contained

 in Avalokiteshvara's six syllable mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum", and as such the qualities of the "mani" are 

praised again and again in the Sutras and Tantras.... Whether happy or sad, if we take the "mani" as our refuge,

 Chenrezig [Avalokiteshvara] will never forsake us, spontaneous devotion will arise in our minds and the 

Great Vehicle will effortlessly be realized."
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche from Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones


Training in compassion has the capacity to be both profound and vast -- both absolute and relative.

Compassion has the quality of being approachable and at the same time ungraspable. It manifests both the quality

of shunyata, emptiness, or egolessness, as well as the qualities of kindness and joyfulness. Therefore,

from the Mahayana point of view, compassion is the most important practice we could ever engage in.

It can lead us to the full realization of enlightenment without any need for other practices.

-- from Trainings in Compassion: Manuals on the Meditation of Avalokiteshvara

translated by Tyler Dewar under the guidance of The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche



Avalokitesvara Buddha (also known as Kwan Yin in Asia)

Kuan Yin01.gif (31534 bytes) 

 Praise To Kuan Yin 

Kuan Yin's compassion for all beings is so vast and inconceivable, our gratitude cannot comprehend 

nor fully express the magnitude of her blessings. Her body and garments of brilliant, translucent White Light. 

Her adornments, a white vase of Compassionate Water in her left hand, The Sacred Willow Branch in her right hand.

Enlightened through infinite acts of compassion countless lifetimes ago. 


Her feet rest upon a fragrant red lotus flower above a vast ocean. Her brows curved and radiant like the crescent 

of an autumn moon. With the sweet dew drops she sprinkles from her vase, She relieves the suffering of beings

 everywhere and always, for countless autumns.


Prayers for help arise from thousands of hearts, and thousands of prayers are answered by her vow 

of eternal  compassion: Beings in Samsara, who sail the ocean of suffering, 

She will guide and deliver safely to the ultimate  shore of enlightenment.


Buddha Avalokitesvara, known as Kuan (Guan) Yin to the Chinese, Chenrezig to the Tibetans, 

and Kannon to the Japanese, is the buddha who embodies compassion. 


The name Avalokitesvara has its root meaning as "he who observes the sounds of the world". The great 

vow of Avalokitesvara is to listen to the supplications, and cries for help from those in difficulty in the world

 and to provide them with aid. He takes many different  forms....male,  female, four-armed, thousand-armed,

 human, non-human, teacher, student...whatever expedient means are needed to help people most effectively.


The popularity of Avalokitesvara is due to the personification of karuna (compassion) and prajna (wisdom).

 While wisdom makes the Buddha close to the human minds, compassion makes him/her close

to the human hearts. 


Buddha Avalokitesvara/Guanyin (Kwan Yin) occupies a unique place in the Mahayana Buddhist practice. 

Buddhist sutras speak of several bodhisattvas but it is Avalokitesvara/Guanyin who is revered and adored 

by followers of both Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism. Despite three major setbacks suffered by 

Buddhism in Chinese history, the symbol of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy however had continued 

to prosper and flourish. 


 Avalokitesvara Six Syllable Mantra of Compassion

Om Ma Ni Pe Me Hung

  Dalai Lama: Meaning of the Six Syllable Mantra


The Meaning of the Mantra


People who learn about the mantra naturally want to know what it means, and often ask for a translation 

into English or some other Western language. However, Om Mani Padme Hum can not really be translated 

into a simple phrase or even a few sentences.

All of the Dharma is based on Buddha's discovery that suffering is unnecessary: Like a disease, once we 

really face the fact that suffering exists, we can look more deeply and discover its cause; and when we 

discover that the cause is dependent on certain conditions, we can explore the possibility of removing 

those conditions.

Buddha taught many very different methods for removing the cause of suffering, methods appropriate for the 

very different types and conditions and aptitudes of suffering beings. For those who had the capacity to 

understand it, he taught the most powerful method of all, a method based on the practice of compassion. 

It is known as the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, because practicing it benefits all beings, without partiality. 

It is likened to a vast boat that carries all the beings in the universe across the sea of suffering.

Within the Mahayana the Buddha revealed the possibility of very quickly benefiting all beings, including oneself,

 by entering directly into the awakened state of mind, or Buddhahood, without delay. Again, there are different

 ways of accomplishing this, but the most powerful, and at the same time the most accessible, is to link one's 

own mind with the mind of a Buddha.


The most direct method of linking one's mind with the mind of Avalokitesvara is through empowerment (wang)

 from an authentic and qualified teacher ; and through one's own efforts in sincerely practicing 

the meditation and mantra of Avalokitesvara.


Avalokitesvara Perceived That All Skandas Are Empty

Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, 

saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence are empty, and so released himself from suffering.

His enlightenment is summarized in the Heart of the Prajna-Paramita Sutra, also called Heart Sutra;

which is the shortest and the most popular sutra in Buddhism.


During his practice of contemplation and illumination the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara attained Truth. 

By means of his minutely subtle Dharma practice he penetrated the five skandhas, perceiving them as empty.

The five skandhas, namely form, feelings, perceptions, volitions and consciousness continually provide 

five occasions for craving and clinging. Two types of craving and clinging characterize the human mind:


 1) Craving and clinging to form and 

2) Craving and clinging to mind. 

Clinging to form is the domain of the form skandha; the remaining four skandhas constitute the domain

 of the mind and the clinging to mind is generated in those four realms. 


All our grasping, manifested in our attachments and aversions, is generated and developed due to the activity of these four skandhas. Craving and clinging emerge at birth, and the Buddhadharma aims to sever them.


The initial clinging is ego bound. Ego is the anchor of our volition to grasp and to possess, the root of our 

attachments and aversions, and via these, the root of our suffering. Clinging to the body as the true self begins 

to manifest in the early childhood: Normally, the six organs produce six types of data, six kinds of consciousness 

and the four skandhas along with them; jointly these constitute the delusory ego. Craving and clinging is 

spontaneous at birth; at that time, ego is formulated simultaneously with the form skandha. The rest of our

 existence is built up by our countless ego-affirming acts involving all the skandhas, but most prominently 

the skandha of feeling; its domain contains pleasant, unpleasant and neutral or indifferent types of feelings.


The body depends on the mind to be provided with pleasant occasions and protected from discomfort. 

There must be thinking, i.e., perceptions, followed by action, and action means volition. They, in turn, 

require established bases of knowledge, and that is the role of the consciousness skandha. Children are sent

to school to learn, to acquire knowledge that prepares them for the future. When there is sufficient knowledge, 

there is action, invariably preceded by thinking as planning, imagining, remembering and so on. The body 

then receives the support it needs. There is ego--grasping, and confusion is generated by the five skandhas as

 the ego-notion imposes itself on the process of experience.


Once it has become clear beyond any doubt that this present body is not the self, that one can only say "mine",

 or "my body", all delusion regarding the five skandhas is broken off, and ignorance along with it. What a pity 

that worldlings get so deeply confused and completely fail to understand this brilliant doctrine; grasping 

the skandhas and the ego-notion, they twist the data to fit their own picture as to how reality should be. Actually, 

the body is not the self; it is like a house that I might call mine all right, but to consider it to be myself would be 

a ridiculous error. In the same way, I can't say "this body is myself' but I can say "this body is mine."


What is the real self? Our Original Nature is our real self. It depends on the body temporarily; the body is not

 different from a house. A house is completed and then gradually deteriorates; similarly, the body has birth and

 death and the part in between. Our True Nature (real self), on the other hand, has neither birth nor death. 

It is enduring and unchanging. The teaching of Real Self and of illusory ego is basic to all Buddhadharma. 

When it is understood, clinging is easily broken off.



The Heart Sutra by Buddha Shakyamuni

Thus did I hear.  At one time the Buddha was abiding at Vulture Peak in Rajgrha with a great assembly of monks 

and a great assembly of bodhisattvas.  At that time, the Buddha entered into a samadhi on the categories

 of phenomena called “perception of the profound.”  Also at that time, the bodhisattva, the mahasattva, 

the noble Avalokiteśvara beheld the practice of the profound perfection of wisdom and saw   

  that those five aggregates also are empty of intrinsic existence.  Then, by the power of the Buddha, 

the venerable Śariputra said this to the bodhisattva, the mahasattva, the noble Avalokiteśvara, 

“How should a son of a good lineage who wishes to practice the profound perfection of wisdom train?”  


He said that and the bodhisattva, the mahasattva, the noble Avalokiteśvara said this to the venerable Śariputra,


 “Śariputra, a son or a daughter of good lineage who wishes to practice the profound perfection of wisdom

 should perceive things in this way:  form is empty; emptiness is form.  

Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness. 


In the same way, feeling, discrimination, conditioning factors, and consciousness are empty.  

Therefore, Śariputra, all phenomena are empty, without characteristic, unproduced, unceased, stainless,

 not stainless, undiminished, unfilled.  Therefore, Śariputra, in emptiness there is no form, no feeling, 

no discrimination, no conditioning factors, no consciousness, no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, 

no mind, no form, no sound, no odor, no taste, no object of touch,  no phenomenon, 

no eye constituent up to and including no mental consciousness constituent, no ignorance, 

no extinction of ignorance, no aging and death up to and including no extinction of aging and death.  


In the same way, no suffering, origin, cessation, path, no wisdom, no attainment, no nonattainment.  

Therefore, Śariputra, because bodhisattvas have no attainment, they rely on and abide in the perfection of wisdom;

 because their minds are without obstruction, they have no fear.  They pass completely beyond error and go 

to the fulfillment of nirvana.  All the buddhas who abide in the three times have fully awakened into unsurpassed,

 complete, perfect enlightenment in dependence on the perfection of wisdom.  Therefore, the mantra of the

 perfection of wisdom is the mantra of great knowledge, the unsurpassed mantra, the mantra equal to the unequaled,

 the mantra that completely pacifies all suffering.  Because it is not false, is should be known to be true.  


The mantra of the perfection of wisdom is stated thus: [om] gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.


Instructions for Spiritual Practice by Shakyamuni Buddha

from the Kalama Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya Vol. 1, 188-193 P.T.S. Ed.)

   Do not believe in anything (simply) because you have heard it.

Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in anything (simply) because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

But after observation and analysis when you find that anything agrees with reason

and it is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all –

then accept it and live up to it.









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