Mani stones (མ་ཎི་རྡོ་འབུམ།)are stone plates or rocks that are carved with the Tibetan Buddhism six-word mantra Om Mani Padme Hum. But nowadays people not only carve the six words, but also carve other texts from Buddhism.
The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum
The first word, Om, symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method: altruistic intention to practice compassion and love.
Padme, meaning lotus, symbolizes wisdom. Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility.
Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.
Different Type of Mani Stone
The Mani stone is the one of the most popular forms of prayer and ritual in Tibetan culture. It’s originally from Bon’s stone worship. When you are traveling to Tibet, you will find a lot of Mani stones. They are intentionally placed along the roadsides and rivers or placed together to form a big stupa, temple and mountain shapes. People also place the Mani stones along walls, as an offering to spirits of a place.
The Largest Mani Stone Mound In The World
Yushu Jiana Mani stone mound is the largest Mani stone mound in the world. It’s located in Xinzhai village of Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture. It’s said that the local Tibetan Buddhist Master Jiana built a small Mani stone mound 300 years ago. This is the reason why the Mani stone mound was given the name of the master. Since then, people kept putting more Mani stones on the mound to pray and collect merit. Now it has around 200 million stones, is 300 meters long, 3 meters high, and 80 meters wide.
Colorful Mani stones
In Tibet, you will also commonly find Mani stones in different colors and shapes, with different images and texts engraved in them. They showcase the artistic charm of Tibetan culture. Mani Stone carvers usually live near monasteries. You can visit them and watch the process of carving text on the stone, and even buy a small Mani stone as a souvenir.