Om Ma tri Mu Ye Sa Le Du is the Mantra of Compassion within the Tibetan Bon Tradition.
Om Mani Peme Hung is the Mantra of Compassion within the Tibetan Dorje Thekpa Traditions
Of the 3 kayas, it represents the Sambhogakaya, or subtle form body of the Buddha. There are 8 seed syllables within the mantra.
represents Tonpa Shenrab, the founder of Bön.
There are 5 parts to the Bonpo OM, along with 5 related symbolisms:
- The central white A represents the wisdom of emptiness and the embodiment of the dharmakaya.
- The naro (yellow gull-like figure) represents the mirror-like wisdom and the embodiment of the sambhogakaya.
- The red crescent moon symbol represents the discriminating wisdom and the embodiment of the nirmanakaya.
- The green round symbol at the top represents the wisdom of equanimity and the essential embodiment.
- The little blue AH below the main A represents the all-accomplishing wisdom and the ultimate embodiment.
Each part of the OM is drawn in one of the colors that represent the 5 elements. In its totality, the OM represents the 5 universal qualities. In Buddhism and Hinduism the syllable OM is used, but it is not drawn with all five parts, nor is it understood to have this meaning.
The red MA
represents Sherap Chamma, the loving mother who is the counterpart to Tonpa Shenrab. MA also symbolizes clarity, and OM emptiness. Or OM can represent method and MA wisdom. From the union of these 2 seeds emanate the guide Buddhas of the 6 realms of existence, which follow as the next 6 seed syllables of the mantra:
represents Mucho Demdrug, the guide Buddha of the hell realm that is associated with the color indigo. Anger and causing harm to others leads to rebirth or experience of the hell realms. Mucho Demdrug brings us the antidote of complete and unconditional love.
represents Sangva Nangring, the guide Buddha of the hungry ghost realm. The primary cause of rebirth in the hungry ghost realm is greed, or lack of generosity to those who are in much greater need than oneself, or stinginess towards the dharma. It is said that the body if of a hungry ghost has a mouth the size of a seed, a throat the width of a hair, a stomach the size of the ocean, and legs like blades of grass. These beings have enormous need, but are unable to satiate their endless desires. This image should be understood as a metaphor of the way we relate to our own existence. Sangva Nangring offers the antidote of total generosity.
is related to Tisang Rangzhi, the guide Buddha of the animal realm and the color green. The primary cause to be born in the animal realm is said to be ignorance. The suffering of animals is related to their inability to verbally communicate. Tisang Rangzhi brings the antidote of self-arising wisdom.
represents Dagin Donpung, the guide Buddha of the human realm, and is related to the color yellow. It is said that the primary cause to be born in the human realm is jealousy. Jealousy can be related to wealth, clothing, or relationship, but at its core is the inability to accept what other people enjoy. Dagin Donpung brings the antidote of complete openness.
The blue LE
represents Chegyal Parti, the guide Buddha of the demi-god realm. The primary cause to be born in this realm of strife is pride. This can be pride of what you have, or pride in not having a quality or object. The main suffering of this realm is continual war, but through Chegyal Parti the antidote of peacefulness may relieve that suffering.
The white DU
represents Yeshen Tshugphud, the guide Buddha of the god realm. The god realm can also be said to be associated with pride. Legend has it that there is a great tree that has its roots in the demi-god realm, but the fruits of the tree fall in the god realm. The demi-gods are constantly challenging the gods to war in order to gain the fruits of this wonderful tree. But the demi-gods always lose the battle, for the gods are quite difficult to kill. Yeshen Tshugphud brings the antidote of absolute compassion.
Seen in this light, and understanding these meanings, reciting this mantra is a way of helping all the beings of the 6 realms of existence. Reciting this mantra invokes the guide Buddhas of the 6 realms and their sources, Tonpa Shenrab and Sherap Chamma. Through their enlightened power, our negative emotions are dissolved and all the positive, pure, and virtuous qualities of love, generosity, wisdom, openness, peacefulness, and compassion are invoked in us. Reciting this mantra helps us to connect with and reinforce those qualities within ourselves. It is not necessary to know all the legends of the various realms to gain benefit from this great mantra, but it is important to make a connection within ourselves to the virtuous qualities held by these seed syllables and come to embody those qualities.