The purpose of the Buddha descending to this world is only to save us sentient beings from the lower realms and from the higher realms (deva and human realms) by revealing the teachings, such as refuge, action and result (from virtue happiness arises and from nonvirtue suffering arises), such as the ten virtues and ten nonvirtues, and bringing us to the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara forever by revealing the three higher trainings (the higher training of morality, of concentration and of inner wisdom). Then, not only that, by revealing, of course, the four noble truths: true suffering, true cause of suffering, true cessation of suffering and true path.
Then, by revealing infinite compassion to all sentient beings, great compassion to every sentient being, with that as the preliminary, revealing bodhicitta. Thus we enter the Mahayana path through that door, by following the six paramitas, and we can achieve full enlightenment (sang-gye: the total elimination of the obscurations and completion of all the realizations) in order to free the numberless sentient beings—numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras and intermediate state beings—not only in this universe, but in the other numberless universes.
The Buddha revealed Kriya Tantra, Charya Tantra and Yoga Tantra so that we can achieve buddhahood, sang-gye, on this body, in order to liberate the numberless sentient beings and bring them to full enlightenment quicker. And the Buddha revealed Highest Yoga Tantra so we can achieve buddhahood, sang-gye, in a brief lifetime of the degenerate time, within a few months or years. This is based on unbelievably strong compassion for all sentient beings, because it is unbearable that they are suffering in samsara and obscured.
The very essence of the Buddha giving all those teachings is to actualize ultimate wisdom, gone beyond wisdom. The Buddha taught the Prajnaparamita teachings, which were collected into twelve volumes; a more condensed version in three volumes; and a more condensed version in one volume called Eight Thousand Stanzas. An even more condensed version is the Essence of Wisdom or Heart Sutra. Now more condensed is the few syllables of Prajnaparamita teachings:
TADYATHA [OM] GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA
After this is the one-syllable Prajnaparamita, AH. In Sanskrit, this is a negative word meaning that no phenomena has true existence. It means that for our hallucinated mind, I, action, object, all the phenomena—hell and enlightenment, samsara and nirvana, everyday happiness and problems—appear to be existing from their own side, appear to be real, and without doubt we trust they are true. The concept believing totally that the I and aggregates are existing from their own side, that they are real ones, is the root of samsara, of the oceans of samsaric suffering. All the delusions—ignorance, anger, attachment—that arise from this wrong concept are totally false, totally wrong. So AH shows that everything is empty of the real one, [empty of true existence.]
Without realizing this emptiness only, there is no way to be free from the oceans of samsaric suffering; there is no way to achieve full enlightenment; there is no way to free others from samsaric suffering and lead them to full enlightenment. That’s the importance of this one syllable AH. So each time when you see the AH if you can meditate like this, enlightenment can come to the mind. It’s great, it’s unbelievable, it’s like an atomic bomb to your samsara and gradually to other beings’ samsara.
This is a very precious mantra taught by the Buddha in the Sutra of Manifesting the Great Water [Tib: chu lung lo pai do.] It is said by the Buddha that each time you see this mantra you purify 100,000 eons of your negative karma. It’s the power of this mantra. It comes from the Buddha’s infinite compassion for us and omniscience, understanding by the omniscience.
OM MANI PADME HUM
The other mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, is the mantra of Chenrezig, the Compassion Buddha. It contains the Hinayana teachings (the four noble truths), the Mahayana sutra teachings (bodhicitta, the six perfections and so forth), and the whole path containing all four levels of tantric teachings. All that is contained in MANI PADME, which means method and wisdom. HUM is persuading Chenrezig’s holy mind, saying “Hi!” and is also to establish devotion, the root of blessings in your heart. Then you achieve the method and wisdom paths signified by MANI PADME.
You purify your ordinary body, speech and mind and achieve Chenrezig’s vajra holy body, holy speech and holy mind, which is signified by the three sounds, or letters, O, U, MA. Also it signifies that your ordinary death, intermediate state and rebirth are purified by reciting this and meditating. It purifies the mind. Reciting this purifies your ordinary death, intermediate state and rebirth, which is signified by O, U, MA. You then generate the path three kayas (dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya) and achieve the result three kayas for sentient beings. This is the most powerful way to purify the negative karmas collected during beginningless rebirths and to collect the most extensive merits, more than the drops of water or sand grains of the Pacific Ocean and so forth. It is a quick way to develop infinite compassion toward sentient beings and a quick way to achieve enlightenment and also a quick way to be born in the pure land.
OM NAMA STRAIYA DHVIKANAM / SARVA TATHAGATA HRI DAYA GARBHE JVALA JVALA / DHARMADHATU GARBHE / SAMBHARA MAMA AYU SAMSHODHAYA MAMA SARVA PAPAM / SARVA TATHAGATA SAMANTOSHNISHA VIMALE VISHUDDHE / HUM HUM HUM HUM / AM VAM SAM JA SVAHA
This mantra taught by the Buddha, the Stainless Pinnacle Lotus mantra, if it goes on the body it purifies 10,000 eons of negative karma. So this is very good to put on the head; this is how it is used. It has many other benefits, such as bringing success and healing. If a fully ordained monk has broken all four root vows and has been born in hell, thinking of that person and reciting this mantra has the power to liberate that person from hell and bring them a higher rebirth.