Join us as we explore the Mani mantra, an ancient mantra related to the embodiment of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and the most widely used of all Tibetan Buddhist mantras. We’ll explore the mantra’s use in two distinctive forms – the mandala and the mani stone.
Among the many Buddhist deities, Tibetans believe in a very special connection with Avalokiteshvara , also called Chenrezig, as their protector. The mantra is found all over the sacred landscape of Tibet, printed on paper scrolls, carved on architectural panels, and inscribed on stones. These six syllables – om mani padme hum – have been spoken silently and aloud, spun in prayer wheels, and seen written across stones, walls, and hillsides by Tibetans for centuries. They are said to contain all the teachings of the Buddha and that their repetition invokes Chenrezig’s benevolent attention.
Mandalas are works of sacred art in Tibetan Buddhism. Far more than abstract geometrical figures, they are rich with symbolism and sacred meaning. Mandalas represent worlds of existence and the celestial residences of meditation deities. Their structure models that of ancient palaces. By mentally entering a mandala and proceeding to its center, a person is symbolically guided through the cosmos to the essence of reality.
The Mandala of Avalokiteshvara shows a method of bringing peace and harmony in our world, through practices that develop wisdom and compassion to bring about profound transformation of the mind and positive change in the world. Just glimpsing the mandala is believed create a positive impression on the mind-stream of the observer, who for a moment is in touch with the profound potential for perfect Enlightenment, which exists within the mind of all beings.
Mani stones adorn Tibetan life. They are stone plates, rocks and pebbles, inscribed with the devotional designs such as the auspicious symbols and, especially, the the six-syllabled mantra of Avalokiteshvara. Mani stones are intentionally placed as votive offerings along roadsides and rivers, piled and stacked together to form mounds, cairns, and sometimes long walls. We’ll end the evening by making our own mani stones as personal keepsakes.
* Suitable for anyone with an interest in meditation, Buddhism, or Tibetan art and culture.
All proceeds benefit the Tibetan Artists Development Society in Labrang. Donations support the school’s capital, operating, and scholarship needs.
Food and snacks available at Youngplace Coffee Pub.