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om mani padme hum: Tibetan Buddhist mantra: union of form and emptiness

excerpted from OM, baby! a pilgrimage to the eternal self, by Jack Haas




            We are the emptiness pervading all form, and the form impregnating all emptiness.

            It is for this reason that the sacred mantra of the Tibetan Buddhists is om mani padme hum. Om is the great emptiness, and hum is the actualization into form. Om mani padme hum is the method by which the spirit and flesh are united.[xi]

Om mani padme hum describes the descent of the cosmic vibration, the om, the alpha, into the worldly realm, the hum, the omega.

In om we live, and breathe, and have our being, and in hum we are that being.

Om is everything, hum is anything. Om is the I, hum is the AM. I the eternal, AM the ephemeral. I the formless, Am the form. I the spirit, Am the flesh. Om mani padme hum.

Inner and outer meet in the stillness of om, and in the activity of hum. Om is the witness, hum is the witnessed. Om the ether, hum the air. Om the theater, hum the play.

When emptiness unites with form the cosmic om attains the earthly hum, and God is born into isness.

            The union of these two seemingly opposed realms is the experience of Avalon[xii], which is cosmic wholeness. In order to bring this mythical event into our own existence- for Avalon is not a physical place, it is a metaphysical union- we must all dive down into the deepest reaches of the flesh, and we must all rise into the furthest expanse of the great space. We are the bridge between the formless and the form, between consciousness and matter, and between emptiness and love. If we don’t reach in both directions Avalon will remain a mythical land. If we attain unity with these divided realms, we achieve the union of emptiness and form, of spirit and flesh, which is Avalon. Om, baby!


[xi] This mantra is often translated in linear fashion into English as ‘Hail the jewel in the Lotus’. This is an unfortunate catastrophe, since the mantra has far deeper and infinitely more profound esoteric implications than this translation would betray. The mantra describes the path from the cosmic to the worldly- from the infinite to the finite- in which the great emptiness is condensed into human dimensions, and therefore can be effective in transforming not only the individual but humanity at large. It would be foolhardy of me to attempt here a more detailed explanation of this mantra, as I am wholly unqualified to do so. Instead, I would highly recommend the book Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, by Lama Anagarika Govinda, for anyone interested in an immensely profound and readable interpretation of this sacred mantra.


excerpted from:


visionary art, acrylic painting, Lilith, Sophia Goddess, author Jack Haas India



OM, baby! a pilgrimage to the eternal self

by Jack Haas

author Jack Haas, Canadian, American writer, artist, photographer

















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