Taking The Teachings To Heart
OM MANI PEME HUM is the mantra for the Lord of Compassion – Chenrezi (Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit). This mantra within the practice enhances our own compassion for all beings in the six realms.
In the practice, there is a sentence; “May I be like Chenrizi in all my existences.” On hearing this, we may get the idea – as I did – “I’ll do it when I can. May I be like Chenrezi in all my future existences. I don’t need to bother too much now”. Actually, we can do this now. Doing it now means actually taking on all responsibility. This where real change happens, and where knowledge turns into wisdom. Information into reality.
The mantra OM MANI PEME HUM represents the six perfections (also called the six paramitas). When we read about these, we will get a vague understanding. It might even sound boring…“Yeah, yeah, heard it all before…be nice, do good.” However, within these six perfections is the complete method to clear the path to enlightenment.
This mantra OM MANI PEME HUM reminds us of the six perfections of generosity, discipline, patience, perseverance, meditation and transcendental knowledge.
From Wikipedia (edited):
“The mantra Om Mani Peme Hum is easy to say yet powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching.
Om it is blessed to help us achieve perfection in the practice of generosity.
Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics.
Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience.
Pe helps to achieve perfection of perseverance.
Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration.
Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.
“So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?”
The essence of this mantra is the inseparability of emptiness and compassion – the Jewel in the Lotus. However, when considered within Dzogchen, our understanding of the six perfections becomes upgraded. Quite often, we hear about the different vehicles/ Yanas/levels and we may wonder what is meant by these. The following is a deeper level of the six perfections.
The six deeper paramitas – this how it works.
The six perfections are generosity, discipline, patience, perseverance, meditation and transcendent knowledge. When transcendent knowledge turns into wisdom (the understanding of emptiness), the six perfections are seen in a different light. In the Tibetan Nyingma tradition, wisdom is the unity of emptiness and awareness, known as Rigpa; this leads to an understanding of the three Kayas of Dharmakaya/emptiness, Sambhogakaya/awareness and Nirmanakaya/unlimited compassion.
Here, generosity has no attachment, and therefore, no clinging. Non-attachment is the practice of generosity. Rigpa generosity is not the generosity of ‘giving’ which is a conceptual generation of merit. When included within Rigpa, it belongs to wisdom; it is transcendent generosity. So, we are practising generosity at a relative level, and an absolute level at the same time, as they are inseparable. The essence of generosity is non-clinging.
In Rigpa, there is no attachment and so there is no holding on to commitment; there is just natural discipline. In ‘keeping’ discipline, we may become conceited and attached; there is a side effect of conceit because we are so pure…and this can give rise to a social I (an outer, righteous manifestation). The essence of discipline in non attachment.
Within rigpa, there is no fear, and that absence of fear denotes the paramita of patience. The essence of patience is fearlessness.
In Rigpa there is no effort, and so there is therefore no perseverance. When we are distracted, we make effort. The essence of perseverance is effortlessness.
This is non distraction. The essence of meditation is effortless continuity.
Rigpa Transcendent Knowledge.
This is Rigpa wisdom itself – pure awareness. This is wisdom resting in the ground in its innateness. The essence of Rigpsa is clear view.
Within Rigpa, conduct is meditation in action; the six paramitas. Our mind does not leave the clear view. Conduct is the six paramitas automatically expressed, without effort; we are naturally generous etc. There are the paramitas that are practised with effort, and there are those that come automatically, without effort – like a healing arising from within. If we are doing something wrong, when Rigpa is remembered, it will have an effect on our outer behaviour.
“May I be like Chenrizi in all my existences.”
This is how we do it – effortlessly.
It is interesting to note that compassion has four aspects – four enlightened activities of pacifying, magnetising, enriching and destroying. Chenrezi is seen as a peaceful deity, but he also has a wrathful aspect called Mahakala; this wrathful aspect is intense love.