Padmasambhava mantra

Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hūṃ

(Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum)

Padmasambhava was a historical teacher who is said to have finally converted Tibet to Buddhism. He was a renowned scholar, meditator, and magician, and his mantra suggests his rich and diverse nature.

Om Ah Hum have no conceptual meaning.

Om is often regarded as being the primeval sound, and in fact the sound-symbol of reality itself. It represents the universal principle of enlightenment. You can read about Om in more detail on the page about the Om Shanti mantra.

Ah, in traditional explanations, is usually said to be connected with speech (more about that in a moment) but in Sanskrit “ah” is a verb meaning “to express , signify ; to call (by name).” So it suggests evoking, or calling forth, the manifestation of enlightenment.

Hum is often thought of as representing the manifestation of enlightenment in the individual human being. This may be a complete coincidence, but hum is similar to the first person singular “aham,” which means of course “I.”

Often these syllables are associated with body, speech, and mind respectively (i.e. the whole of one’s being). So there’s a suggestion that we are saluting the qualities that Padmasambhava represents with all of our hearts (and minds, and bodies).

Vajra means thunderbolt, and represents the energy of the enlightened mind. It can also mean diamond. The implication is that the diamond/thunderbolt can cut through anything. The diamond is the indestructible object, while the thunderbolt is the unstoppable force. The vajra also stands for compassion. While it may seem odd to have such a “masculine” object representing compassion, this makes sense in esoteric Buddhism because compassion is active, and therefore aligned with this masculine symbol. (The term “masculine” does not of course imply that compassion is limited to males!)

Guru, of course, means a wise teacher. It comes from a root word, garu, which means “weighty.” So you can think of the guru as one who is a weighty teacher. Padmasambhava is so highly regarded in Tibetan Buddhism that he is often referred to as the second Buddha.

PadmasambhavaPadma means lotus, calling to mind the purity of the enlightened mind, because the lotus flower, although growing in muddy water, is completely stainless. In the same way the enlightened mind is surrounded by the greed, hatred, and delusion that is found in the world, and yet remains untouched by it. The lotus therefore represents wisdom. Again, while westerners would tend to assume that the flower represents compassion, the receptive nature of the flower gives it a “feminine” status in esoteric Buddhism, and to the lotus is aligned with the “feminine” quality of wisdom. And once again, there is no implication that wisdom is in any way limited to those who are female. The words masculine and feminine here are used in a technical sense that’s completely unrelated to biology.

And Siddhi means accomplishment or supernatural powers, suggesting the way in which those who are enlightened can act wisely, but in ways that we can’t necessarily understand. Padmasambhava is a magical figure, and in his biography there are many miracles and tussles with supernatural beings.

Click below to hear an MP3 version:

Pronunciation notes:

  • a is pronounced as u in cut
  • aa (ā) is long, as in father
  • m in hum is pronounced ng, as in long
  • j is hard, like j in judge
  • u is short, as in put
  • ū is long, as in school
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105 Comments. Leave new

That’s beautiful, thank you. You mean Sunada from Boston?

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Yes, indeed!

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ps, yes, that’s the Larry

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you mean Sunada?

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Yes.

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How interesting. How do you know her? I never met her, but recently emailed with her. I am planning to go to that region at the end of the year and can’t wait to meet people from the Boston sangha. She said they ‘only’ have 15 order members, but here in Newcastle there are only 4! I am also SO curious how the American buddhists are. I lived in the Boston area for 2.5 years (happiest time of my life so far) but wasn’t into Buddhism then. I did go there, very nice, but one had to attend lectures and had read so many books then that I couldn’t bear more theory. Anyway. Do you know about Kripalu Centre by any chance? As that is where I plan to go.
ps, guess this is not good for public posting this piece of text I just wrote…
Nene

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Hi, Nene.

Sunada writes and teaches on Wildmind, and she’s in my chapter, so I know her quite well.

I think you misunderstood what she wrote to you. There aren’t fifteen Order members in Boston — there are just two or three. I think she was talking about the core group at her center (which is currently homeless). There’s a couple of dozen Order members up her at Aryaloka, in New Hampshire.

I’ve never been to Kripalu. I’ve heard it’s huge…

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Isn’t Om in this mantra equal to Om in Om Mani Pad-Me Hum?
There it stands for A U M, wich is the inpure body, inpure speech and inpure mind of the practisioner and also the Pure enlightened body, Pure enlightened speech and Pure enlightened mind of the Buddha and has a purifying quality.

According to his holiness the Dalai Lama in Kindness, Clarity and Insight from Jeffrey Hopkins

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Yes, the Om in this mantra is the same as the Om in the Avalokiteshvara mantra. I don’t know of any Buddhist text that breaks om down into A-U-M, although that’s done in the post-Buddhist Upanishadic tradition.

I have to say, though, that Tibetans have a mania for making numerical correspondences, so that the six syllables of Om Mani Padme Hum are seen as corresponding to the six realms on the wheel of life, etc. I wouldn’t therefore take the Dalai Lama’s view on Om/Aum too seriously.

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Banjo Nick on tour « Nick Ward Scenarios
July 14, 2011 8:19 am

[…] this yoga site for convincing explanations of why mantra-mediation generates power and endurance:  http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/figures/padmasambhava and, above all, become the peace of mind of an emmanating Buddha… or just win that Gold medal […]

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Jon Lennart Aasenden
August 23, 2011 3:47 pm

When listening to the mantra .. are you sure this is correct?
Americans seem to round off sounds, so vajra sounds like va-jahj-ra – but it should be with and I (as in the word “india”). Va-I-ra.
I have never heard a tibetan or a hindu pronounce vajra with round sounds.

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Hi, Jon.

I’m not very sure what you mean by “round sounds,” or exactly what you’re trying to represent with your phonetic representations. I studied Pali, which is not quite the same as Sanskrit, I know, but close enough, for two years at university, so I’m reasonably confident in my pronunciations. Of course I don’t pronounce everything perfectly, and sometimes I slip up.

The “v” in vajra is pronounced about half-way between a standard English “w” and a standard English “v” (I do not do a good job of getting my V’s right).

Both A’s resemble the vowel in the English word “cut.”

The “j” is hard, as in “judge,” although Americans wrongly tend to make it soft, as in French “je.”

Could you be a bit more specific about which bit you think might be wrong?

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Hello There
I feel at a bit of a loss at the moment.
I’ve been calling myself a Buddhist for several years, meditating, studying, lived in a buddhist community etc. At the moment I am going through a hard period in my life and am continually being swept away by anger and negativity. I’m trying to go deeper and transform those deep energies by studying Padmasambhava and chanting his mantra, but the feelings of anger, resentment, lack of self worth keep over whelming me. I’m not in good conditions at the moment and won’t be for a while- maybe this is an opportunity, but I feel defeated by life. any words of advice, encouragement?
Metta
Steve

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Hi, Steve.

I sympathize.

My best advice would be to develop more self-compassion. You’re suffering during these bouts of anger and negativity, but our usual response to this, when we’re not blaming others, is to feel disappointed in ourselves, to blame ourselves.

Right now, call to mind something you feel resentful about. Be mindful as you let the resentment enter your mind. Now become aware of where the suffering connected with this resentment is located in the body. It may be in the gut, it may be in the heart, it may be elsewhere. Now recognize that suffering is present, and accept it. Allow it to be there. It’s natural to suffer, and it’s not a sign we’ve failed. It’s just a sign we’re alive.

Treat the suffering as if it was a dear friend who was in distress, and who had turned up on your doorstep. What would you ideally do? Cheer him up? Turn him away? Tell him to snap out of it? I suspect the best thing we can do is to mindfully be with the suffering friend until he’s ready to tell us what’s going on. Probably just knowing that he has a friend who is empathetic will reduce his pain by 90%.

Having accepted your suffering, send it lovingkindness. Bear the suffering tenderly in mind as you repeat, “May you be well; may you be happy; may you be free from suffering.” Don’t expect anything to happen. Just empathetically and compassionately accept your pain and wish it well.

Almost every time, doing this allows me to break out of a reactive cycle, and to feel whole again. It often allows me to move on, so that I can turn my compassion outward, toward others.

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Hi Metta Steve, perhaps you know when Guru Rinpoche first came to Tibet there was a big problem with getting a monastery built. He used a mantra to turn it all around in a hurry and it seems like maybe this would help your situational circumstances too. Here it is:

A Ka Sa Ma Ra Tsa
Sa Ta Ra Ra Sa
Ma Ra Ya PHAT!!!

It rolls along fairly plainly until you get to PHAt which should be explosively pronounced.

I’d say try this one a few times a day for at least a week or so. Meanwhile keep up with saying his mantra the rest of the day. It is always best to have your Guru pronounce this for you so that you can get the intonation and say it like he does.

Good luck with your circumstances.

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Can some one plz comment on Termas ( treasures ) and Tertons.

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Tulku Thondup has written a commentary on The Third Dodrupchen’s work on Tertons and Termas. I suggest you get a copy and find the answers there. There are a variety of Termas which are/were hidden treasures of Padmasambhava to be discovered ‘later’ to continue his teachings. A Terton is the one who finds these Treasures which are either mind-transmissions or dakini scripts which he has to translate. It’s a little complicated, so read HIDDEN TEACHINGS OF TIBET: AN EXPLANATION OF THE TERMA TRADITION OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM.

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Thank you for the mantra- I was rereading the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, found Padmasambhava’s picture on P. 70, mantra written on p. 71 – and was strongly moved. Came to google, to see if I could hear the mantra. It is amazing how deeply the picture alone creates energy and hope – will repeat the mantra as I hear it on this site. The author(Sogyal Rinpoche) writes the way Tibetans speak it, but has the sounds given in your mantra on the site. I have enjoyed reading the comments and would like to link up with other people of like mind in Canada.

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Hi
I am a singer songwriter and have used a chant in one of my songs “om padme siddhi hum” is this a correct chant ? Or does it matter
Thanks
Ben

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It’s not a mantra, but it means something. Perhaps you’ve invented a new mantra!

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Singing ‘vajra songs’ is a good thing according to Longchenpa. I suggest you work on incorporating the complete mantra. Why? A new insight for me is this mantra, Om Ah Aum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum is Manjusri’s Crown. ‘Om Ah Aum’ is like a benediction amisdt the Buddha Families.
Vajra/Akshobya,
Guru/Ratnasambhava,
Padma/Amitabha,Siddhi/Amogasiddhi,
Hum/Vairocana.
This being the Crown of The Crown Prince; Manjusri.

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Hi
Do you know if this version is avaible annywhere on mp3?

oṃ āḥ hūṃ vajraguru pema thöthrengtsal vajrasamaya jāḥ siddhiphāla hūṃ āḥ

Steve

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That’s one of my favorite mantras, but I don’t know of it being anywhere online. I might record it myself…

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Would you then put the link at the bottom of this conversation please? I am curious!

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Will do. This particular mantra is for one of the manifestations of Padmasambhava, called Totreng Tsal, who looks like a cross between Padmasambhava and Vajrapani.

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To the person who felt surprised to have her hangover headache removed by reciting Guru Rinpoche´s mantra, at the begining of the messages, it seems quite a message for the rational mind, to have the signs of drunkenness being removed by the great mantra that brings intrinsic awareness to the forefront of our beings… a clear symbolic sign of the workings of this mysterious and otherworldly mantra.
May the light of Guru Rinpoche shines through all and bless us with the nectar of freedom and self liberation
blessings to all

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Hi Bodhipaksa, Nene and Steve. You can download an .mp3 of the Totreng Tsal mantra chanted by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche at: http://www.mp3hamster.net/muz/tulku%20rinpoche. You’ll have to scroll down the page to find it, but it’s 3:24 minutes long. Enjoy!

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Regarding Michelle’s comment on the mantra clearing her hangover, I would just like to tell you the unexpected but amazing healing I have received through connecting with Padmasambhava.
I have had severe food intolerance/allergies for 25 years, and it’s made my life very difficult – I’ve regularly suffered from severe 5 day migraines and exhaustion for most of my life to do with problems with many foods.
For a few months, I occasionally did a bit of guru yoga or the unifying practice(imagining lights emanating from Guru Rinpoche into myself). One day, I looked at a poster of padmasambhava I have on my bedroom wall – I spontaneously felt energy welling up in my abdomen and through my body. I found myself jumping from the energy. It was quite a shock.
My food intolernace is healed 80% in 3 months after connecting with padmasambhava – I ask him to heal me now, and extend the healing to any one in the universe who would like to recieve it.
As for rational explanations – there is magic in the universe, Padmasambhava has always been regarded as the magician, there is much in the world that our brains cannot explain – I think there is beauty is accpeting this and not having to rationalise it.

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The Four Noble Truths – The Noble Eightfold Path | The Hornchurch Buddhist Group, Buddhism, Meditation, Havering, Romford, Upminster, Essex
June 11, 2013 5:49 am

[…] More information here and here  […]

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Dear Bodhipaksha,

Greetings and many thanks for this wonderful website. :-) I was wondering If I could clear a few doubts with you.

1) Okay so, in your pages you have said that the hum seed syllable has to be pronounced as hung (i.e. the last m sound is pronounced as ‘ng’ sound). I want to ask you if the pronunciation of hum with the ‘m’ sound is incorrect. As far as my knowledge goes, in the Sanskrit language, the correct pronunciation would be with the original m sound…e.g. as in dum, kleem, kreem etc. [However, often in the tantra traditions, we do in fact replace the m sound with the ng sound]. So, would it be incorrect to recite the mantra as Om Ma-ni Pad-me Hum (m sound)?

2) The second question is, it seems that in many mantras, we have an amalgamation of the Original Sanskrit pronunciations mixed up with Tibetan dialectic variations. Is this common for the Vajrayana tradition? For example, the Mantra Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum appears in many places as Om ah Hum Vajra [Not Benza] Guru Pema Siddhi Hum.

I have a third question regarding the Bhaisajyaguru Mantra but I will post that in the Bhaisajyaguru Page itself.

Much Love and Metta to you _/|\_,

Ananda :-)

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My mitra ceremony | Dark Purple Moon
September 18, 2013 7:42 am

[…] was extremely nervous all day, really nervous and it was Pamadsamvada day. During the day we chanted the mantra and heard the teaching about six times. This is the first […]

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Dream Journal the second - Fractal Society and the Fetish of the Individual
October 14, 2013 4:11 am

[…] Fifteen minutes after I finished writing the above, i remembered that i woke up saying “Om, Ah, Hum, Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum.” Which isn’t one of the mantras i usually […]

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I don’t know where or when I came across the Padmasambhava Mantra, for the past few years I have been saying the mantra silently over and over during those times I would lie awake in the middle of the night. It sometimes feels like minutes, other times an hour or so though that makes no difference. I keep returning my mind to the mantra, eventually I find I am waking up hours later well rested and calm realizing I must have fallen back into blissful sleep. I find a place in me that feels nurtured and loved as this happens and I keep returning to this cycle that has developed in my life.

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That’s lovely, Travlinjay. Sadhu!

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“More and more it becomes clear to me that Buddhism is in fact a holy science of the way things are.” – how beautifully said!

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“Buddhism said the same thing many centuries ago that there is no objective world “out there” but only phenomena rising and fading on the stages of different levels of consciousness. Hard to grasp but the only way things ultimately can be.”

Holy shit. best description of ONEness, I’ve read in a very long time.

Bless

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“So you can then recite at all times of the day transforming the entire day into ‘Sacred Time’.”

this page is getting so good. HAH!

BLESS

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and to actually contribute something. here’s a fantastic version of the mantra:

http://youtu.be/ynSWoeQYsTE?list=RD_UrLQSxsQfU

Just so freaking ALIGNED with the, dare I say, Spirit of Guru!!?

Get on it.

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ALSO!

I always wanted to ask this. You think that HEARING mantras has any ummm ‘merit’ as they say. Well… apart from the enjoyment of it, that is. hah!

BLESS ya’ll!

Peter

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Anything done with skillful attitudes like mindfulness and reverence has a beneficial effect (or “generates merit” if you prefer that language).

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You can also chant the prajna paramita from the diamond sutra. Oh ma hum vaijra guru padma siddhi hum did you know that the tibetan pronunciation is oh ma hum benza guru pema siddhi

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i have a question: what was the translation of this mantra? i know that there are the words and their meanings but i want to see the translation…

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It’s not a sentence, so it can’t really be translated.

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Hi,

Just wanted to share this experience with you. Guru Rinpoche has helped me on many occasions and whenever I am in deep trouble or I feel like there is no way out, I leave everything on him with my deep faith and he has always helped me. So if anyone has a problem ,if you pray to him with pure heart and belief, he will help you for sure “Om Ah Hung Benzar Guru Pema Sithe Hung”. Thank you for your great inputs all…May Guru Rinpoche bless you all.

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