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Om mani padme hum (Sanskrit ॐ मणि पद्मे हूँ) is probably one of the most famous mantras in Mahayana Buddhism (especially characteristic of Lamaism), the six-language mantra of the bodhisattva of Avalokiteshvara. It is often literally translated as "Oh! The pearl in the lotus flower!" The mantra is especially associated with Shadakshari (Lord of the Six Syllables), the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, and has a deep sacred meaning.
This mantra is endowed with many meanings. They all boil down to explaining the meaning of the set of sacred sounds of its constituent syllables. The mantra itself is rarely interpreted with a meaning due to its literal translation.
In particular, the Dalai Lama XIV (Tenzin Gyatso) explains that the mantra represents the purity of the Buddha's body, speech and mind. The second word (mani, "pearl") correlates with the altruistic desire for enlightenment, compassion and love. The third word (padme, "lotus flower") correlates with wisdom. The fourth word (hum) represents the indivisibility of practice (method) and wisdom.
Traditionally, this mantra is widely and frequently cited by Tibetan Buddhists because they believe it helps to awaken the Buddha nature, which, according to the Uttaratantra, is contained in all creatures.