Karma Rinpoche’s teachings on the Mani Mantra
If one diligently practices the heart-mantra of Chenrezig (OM MANI PADME HUNG), it will not only help us to purify negative karma from beginningless time but will also truly help to plant the karmic seeds for merging with the mind of Chenrezig, bringing us to the level of Chenrezig and total enlightenment of the Buddha.
The miraculous effects of practicing the Mani mantra – the tooth of a hundred million recitations and foreknowledge of the time of death：
When ordinary beings are about to pass away, for many of them, what they see are only the Raksha minions of the hell realms and other ghostly entities, due to that, they give rise to great terror. If one has taken refuge and practised the Mani mantra, when it comes to the time of dying, one will see the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and spiritual masters. One will not take rebirth in the lower realms and will not feel afraid. By these excellent circumstances, one will even have the opportunity to take rebirth in the pureland of Sukhavati (Amitabha’s pureland).
The six syllables mantra (OM MANI PADME HUNG) is extremely wonderful. Through the practice of its meaning, one carries out the six paramitas:
OM : perfects the paramita of generosity
MA : perfects the paramita of discipline
NI : perfects the paramita of patience
PAD : perfects the paramita of diligence
ME : perfects the paramita of meditation
HUNG : perfects the paramita of wisdom
Normally when we practice the Mani mantra with devotion, we are accomplishing the six paramitas at the same time. In our lineage, we recite “OM MANI PADME HUNG HRIH”, “HRIH” is a seed syllable, it contains the qualities of the body, speech, mind and all activities of Chenrezig. It allows us to receive the great blessings of Chenrezig, and gradually transform our ordinary body, speech and mind into the enlightened body, speech and mind of Chenrezig.
The six syllable mantra can help us to seal the doors to rebirth in the six realms of samsara, preventing us from revolving continuously in the cycle of rebirth
OM : prevents rebirth in the heaven realms, and blesses the heavenly realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara
MA : prevents rebirth in the Asura (demi-gods) realms, and blesses the Asura realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara
NI : prevents rebirth in the human realms, and blesses the human realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara
PAD : prevents rebirth in the preta (hungry-spirits) realms, and blesses the preta realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara
ME : prevents rebirth in the animal realms, and blesses the animal realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara
HUNG : prevents rebirth in the hell realms, and blesses the hell realm beings with a chance to attain liberation from samsara
In the Tibetan regions, many elderly people like to recite the Mani mantras and would often finish many hundreds-of-millions in their life. In Tibet, very few of these old people would have sicknesses like dementia. They would hold the rosary in the left hand and rotate a prayer wheel with their right hand, while their mouths would recite the Mani mantra of Chenrezig or other mantras. If they had time, they would do full prostrations and pray in their minds to receive the blessings of Chenrezig. This is practice with body, speech and mind in tandem. While speech is reciting Buddha’s mantra, body is also paying homage to Buddha and mind is focused on supplicating and recollecting Buddha.
If only speech is on reciting Buddha’s mantra but mind is utterly devoid of any focus on Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, then there is no real connection with Buddha. To recite Buddha’s mantra also means that one constantly recalls and thinks of Buddha. The motions of body, speech and mind should be performed with the awareness that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas constantly regard us (with their compassion). We should hold this in mind and always confess our negativities with regret and accumulate virtues and positive deeds — practising diligently.
In Tibet, there is the saying of the “Hundred-million” tooth. Many elderly people of eighty or ninety years old would grow new teeth. Just as if they were babies who had just grown out their baby teeth. Many people view this as the great blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Generally, this is a sign of blessing when one has finished reciting a hundred million Mani mantras. I had a Taiwanese student who was a very famous dental specialist. I once invited him to look at my maternal grandmother’s new tooth. He said, “This kind of tooth is not documented in the dentistry school, but one finds it alot in the Tibetan regions, it is quite amazing.” Actually, the new tooth is just one facet of the blessings, many people would also foretell when they are going to pass away and make all the preparations for it. That was really incredible.
My maternal grandmother lived to about 89 years old. On the day of her passing, she had already washed all her old clothes and piled them up neatly. The new clothes were placed aside and she tasked my father to assemble all the relatives. When they were gathered, she informed them that the old clothes have already been washed and who they should be given to. She also made known who should receive the new clothes. Below her pillow were some money from her relatives, she instructed that these were to be offered to the ordained monastics when they came the next day. After that, she thanked each and every one of her relatives saying that she had given everyone much trouble during her late years. Then, saying she needed to take a rest, she laid down. Everyone thought she was going to take a nap. After awhile, my aunt said, “Mother, we are going to leave first.” But there was no response. Upon checking, they realized that she had already passed away without any apparent suffering.
A grand-dad of (another) aunt recited the Mani mantra all his life. He had been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer for about one or two years when I visited him. He was sitting at the balcony, basking in the sun and at that point, he was reaching 80 years of age. He looked hale and hearty and was in very good spirits. In front of him were placed some rock sugars, butter and Tsampa (dried barley). I asked him, “Don’t you have Esophageal Cancer? Can you still consume these foodstuff? Other people who have this sickness have to refrain from eating (solid foods like these).” He laughed and said, “So they say it is Esophageal Cancer but I can still eat, rock-sugars, Tsampa and butter and many more… just do some chanting and all would be fine.” He did not seem to feel any discomfort or pain, but continued to eat and drink until his death.”
On the day of his death, I rushed back from Chengdu. In the afternoon, he started to ask everyone, “Is Rinpoche back yet?” When he heard that I was on the way back, he had my cousin Ruogu Lama go to the monastery to invite all the monastics to his home. He mentioned that it would be difficult to get money when he was dying so he arranged for the money to be offered to the monastics later on his behalf. After all had been done, he continued to recite the Mani mantra. That night, when I had just entered the door of my home, before I had even drunk a sip of tea, a phone-call came saying, “He has just passed on, please come to do the (customary) funeral rites for crossing him over.” The grand-dad of my aunt had anticipated the timing of my arrival home. After his death, his corpse had the fresh appearance of a person who was still alive. It was very awe-inspiring.
To be free and at ease at the point of death, this is the most excellent and ultimate proof of a whole life of practice. This experience is the old man’s legacy for later generations, everyone should have faith and devotion in this!
(More teachings on the Mani mantra :