Class, today we will talk about the Buddha Eyes and the most famous mantra in Buddhism – om mani padme hum. (Hehe 😛 )
The Buddha Eyes can be found everywhere in Nepal – in Buddhist temples, on all the stupas, and most of the shops that sell jewelry or t-shirts to tourists. Just like the I-Love-NY t-shirts in New York, one can find Buddha Eyes t-shirts and Om sign t-shirts in almost every touristy place in Nepal.
The Buddha Eyes (aka Wisdom Eyes), looking out in all four directions on a stupa, symbolizes the omniscience of the Buddha – the quality of complete and unlimited knowledge and awareness. The nose, which looks like a question mark, is Nepali character for number one. It symbolizes the unity of all things. And the circle above is the third eye, symbolizing the all-seeing wisdom of the Buddha.
Om Mani Padme Hum
Okay, now, let’s talk about om mani padme hum. This six-syllable mantra of Avlokitesvara (觀世音), which is a bodhisattva (菩薩, an enlightened being who compassionately refrains from entering nirvana so to save others). Because the Dalai Lama is said to be the incarnation of Avlokitesvara, this mantra is especially popular and widely used among the Tibetan Buddhist and is commonly found carved on rocks, prayer wheels, stupa walls, mountain passes, the entrances and exits of villages.
The literal translation of the mantra is “Hail the jewel in the lotus”. When this mantra is recited, it is actually continually repeating the name of Avlokitesvara. So similar to reciting南無阿彌陀佛, it is merely repeating the name of an enlightened existence.
By repeating this mantra, one accumulates merit and eases negative karma. But when doing so, one should be thinking on its meaning. Hence, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the meaning of this mantra.
Here is the remarks of the mantra’s meaning by the Dalai Lama.