Yesterday's Myths & Mysteries

Words Have Power: Mani Stones

“Om mani padme hum.”

“Om mani padme hum.”

This is the Buddhist mantra of Avalokitesvara, or Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion.

Roughly translated, it means “Hail to the jewel in the lotus” (or “Behold! The jewel in the lotus!” or “The jewel is in the lotus”), a metaphysical, transcendental mantra said to encompass all of Buddha’s teachings. In truth, these “translations” cannot be accurate, as the mantra holds a much stronger meaning unable to be conveyed by simple words.

Nonetheless, this mantra is usually found inscribed on paper and placed into Mani wheels, or engraved on stones called Mani stones. These are the prayer stones of Tibetan Buddhism, closely related to the Cintamani Stone of legend.

Together with the mantra, Mani stones and Mani wheels are used for prayer and meditation, to unlock your innate loving kindness, compassion, and wisdom, exemplifying the indivisible nature of body and mind.

If you ever find yourself wandering the lonesome roads of Tibetan lands, don’t be surprised if you find one or two Mani stones quietly resting on the ground, or walls with the mantra “Om mani padme hum” occasionally dotting the landscape. But remember:

These walls should be passed or circumvented from the left side, the clockwise direction in which the earth and the universe revolve, according to Buddhist doctrine.


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.