"Om Mani Padma Hum" is the six-syllabled Sanskrit prayer mantra - the most frequently used mantra in Buddhism.
The first word "Om" is a sacred syllable found in Indian Religions. Some scholars interpret the first word of the mantra, with a meaning similar to Hinduism – the totality of sound, existence, and consciousness. The next word "Mani" means "jewel" or "bead." "Padme" is the sacred Lotus Flower and symbolize wisdom. The last syllable "Hum" represents the spirit of enlightenment.
Many people recite the mantra thousands of times in a day as part of their daily prayer practice. We also print it on prayer flags that blow the prayer to the winds, carve it on stones, and insert papers printed with it inside holy statues and in prayer wheels. When an individual spins the wheel, it is said that the effect is the same as reciting the mantra as many times as it is duplicated within the wheel. See our Spinning Rings
"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 … altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassionate and loving…. 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…."
—H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, on the meaning of "Om Mani Padme Hum"
"The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Pä, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.
"So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?"
— Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones