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There is a particular six-syllable Sanskrit mantra or hymn that’s very sacred among Buddhist. It’s recited as om mani padme hum, which loosely translates to "Behold! The jewel in the lotus", an invocation to the four-armed bodhisattva (an enlightened being ) Avalokiteshvara, who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. But its true meaning goes far beyond that. The mantra cannot be translated into a simple phrase or even a few sentences because it contains the essence of the entire teaching of Buddha. Recitation of this mantra along with prayer beads is therefore, and quite reasonably, the most popular religious practice in Tibetan Buddhism as it is believed that doing so can lead to liberation and eventual Buddhahood.

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Stones painted or carved with the sacred Buddhist mantra is littered everywhere in Tibet and Nepal. Photo credit

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