The New International Encyclopædia/Om Mani Padme Hum

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OM MANI PADME HUM, ōm mä'nḗ pȧd'mḗ hōōm. A sacred formula in Buddhism, the so-called formula of six syllables, well known from the part which it plays in the Buddhist religion, and especially in that form of it called Lamaism. The reputed author of this formula is the Dhyana-Bodhisattva, or deified saint, Avalokiteśvara, or, as the Tibetans call him, Padmapani, the lotus-handed, or Amitabha. He is the Buddha of Eternal Light, the heavenly ruler of the Western paradise. Like Buddha, he is represented as sitting or standing within a lotus, and apparently there is an allusion to this in the sacred formula itself, Om mani padme hum, ‘O, the Jewel in the Lotus, Amen!’ The sacredness of this formula is sufficient when recited to secure exemption from the cycle of reincarnation, and final rebirth in the celestial paradise over which Amitabha rules. It would appear not to belong to the earliest stage of Buddhism, or to the oldest Buddhistic works of the north of India, or to those of Ceylon. Consult: Burnouf, Introduction à l'histoire du Buddhisme indien (Paris, 1844); Koeppen, Die Religion des Buddha (Berlin, 1857-59); Schlagintweit, Buddhism in Thibet (Leipzig, 1863); Waddell, The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism (London, 1895).