What Does Om Mani Padme Hung Mean?
Om Mani Padme Hung In Tibetan Script
Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hung, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. Viewing the written form of the mantra is said to have the same effect -- it is often carved into stones and jewelry and written on scrolls inside prayer wheels that pilgrims turn day and night.
The translation is roughly Hail to the Jewel In the Lotus. The Jewel in the lotus is said to be the jewel of compassion held by Chenrezig. So the mantra is a prayer for compassion.
The Prayers on a Prayer Flag
As you can see there are many prayers on each flag. This is just a sample of the prayers that may be on each flag. Each wooden stamp is hand carved by a Tibetan artisan. Prayers include
Tara 'Om tara Tu Tara Ture Soha'
Chenrezig 'Om Mani Padme Hung' and many others
The eight auspicious symbols
The 8 auspicious symbols in their combined form (Tasi Tagge)
Right-coiled white conch The white conch which coils to the right symbolizes the deep, far-reaching and melodious sound of the Dharma teachings, which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own and others' welfare. Precious umbrella The precious umbrella symbolizes the wholesome activity of preserving beings from illness, harmful forces, obstacles and so forth in this life, and all kinds of temporary and enduring sufferings of the three lower realms, and the realms of men and gods in future lives. It also represents the enjoyment of a feast of benefit under its cool shade. Victory banner The victory banner symbolizes the victory of the activities of one's own and others' body, speech and mind over obstacles and negativities. It also stands for the complete victory of the Buddhist Doctrine over all harmful and pernicious forces. Golden fish The golden fish symbolizes the auspiciousness of all living beings in a state of fearlessness, without danger of drowning in the ocean of sufferings, and migrating from place to place freely and spontaneously, just as fish swim freely without fear through water. Wheel The golden wheel symbolizes the auspiciousness of the turning of the precious wheel of Buddha's doctrine, both in its teachings and realizations, in all realms and at all times, enabling beings to experience the joy of wholesome deeds and liberation. Auspicious drawing The auspicious drawing symbolizes the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs. Similarly, it represents the union of wisdom and method, the inseparability of emptiness and dependent arising at the time of path, and finally, at the time of enlightenment, the complete union of wisdom and great compassion. Lotus flower The lotus flower symbolizes the complete purification of the defilements of the body, speech and mind, and the full blossoming of wholesome deeds in blissful liberation. Vase of treasure The treasure vase symbolizes an endless rain of long life, wealth and prosperity and all the benefits of this world and liberation.