Offering Mantra Mandala


Contemporary Mantra Mandala OM MANI PADME HUM (Compassion) repeated 3x in Lantsa script.

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The mantra is often “translated” as “Hail to the jewel in the lotus” but the Sanskrit simply can’t mean that. The central element, manipadme, seems properly to be a name, Manipadma (“The Jewel Lotus One”) with the -e ending signifying the vocative case, meaning that Manipadma — is being invoked (“O Jewel Lotus One”). If this is the case, assuming that the mantra is in classical Sanskrit, then Manipadma would have to be a feminine figure, but it’s unknown which figure that would be! Some have suggested that it might be an invisible consort of Avalokiteshvara. If the mantra was originally in a non-Sanskrit language with different grammatical rules, however, and the vocative -e ending was applicable in that language to a masculine figure, then Manipadma could be Avalokiteshvara himself. The mantra would them mean “Om, O Jewel Lotus One, Hum” — the “Jewel Lotus One” being Avalokiteshvara.

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