What The Om Symbol Means In Buddhism

Om is one of the several mantras of Tibetan Buddhism and it signifies perfection, wholeness, and the infinite. ” Om mani Padme hum”, is a well-known Buddhist mantra popularly called the sound of the universe. The Om symbol is mostly used for abstract spiritual concepts like; cosmic sound, mystic syllables, and the affirmation of a divine presence.

In Buddhism, Om is referred to as the syllable which came before the universe – the seed syllable – and a source from which the gods were created. It is usually the first sound in some Buddhist mantras.

All You Need To Know About The Om Symbol

The very first mention of Om was in the year 800 BC, in a sacred Hindu text called the Mandukya Upanishad.

In the 14th century, the Dalai Lama interpreted the sacred syllable, Om, as comprising of the letters ‘A’ ‘U’ ‘M’. Different symbolizations were associated with these 3 letters including the “pure exalted mind, body and speech of the enlightened Buddha

1. Meaning Of The Om Symbol In Buddhism.

Buddhism is a religion in which the Om symbol has played a very important role. The entire Om symbol meaning is timeless and is known as the representation of the holy trinity.

This is very true with Tibetan Buddhism, which was seriously influenced by Hinduism, and also encourages those who practice it to understand the sacred sound mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” and pull it into the very depths of their being.

2. What The Om Symbol Represents

The Om symbol, ॐ, has several parts and each one represents reality in its different states. The broad lower curve signifies the waking state also known as jāgrat, the upper curve signifies the unconscious state also known as sushupti, and the middle curve represents the dream state also called Swapna.

The symbol of enlightenment turiyā can be seen within the dot. The crescent symbolizes Maya, which is the illusion that connects us to the material world, it also separates the upper, lower, and middle curves from the dot of enlightenment. The symbol is also said to represent the Hindu god Ganesha, and the dot in the Aum represents the fourth state of consciousness.

3. What The Om Alphabet Represents

There are various interpretations of Om available. But firstly the Om syllable also called Aum, is a Vedic Sanskrit word from the ancient Indo-European family. The word typically has three syllables that hold sacred meaning.

In Sanskrit, the vowels ‘A’ and ‘U’ become ‘O’,”. um or Om is one of the most powerful mantras of all time. It is a mantra usually given to a student by a spiritual teacher (guru) to support their meditation practice.

  • The A (aahhh) sound
    This sound in Om represents the force of creation. This force is the origin of the universe and the objects within it. As it is the sound at the very beginning it helps us create a connection to our sense of self. ‘Ahh’ can also be said to be the origin of all sounds.
    As you chant Om starting with this sound, you’ll notice the sound is produced first in your throat, and originates from the tongue’s root, in the back of your mouth, before resonating within your lower abdomen.
  • The U (oooh)
    The second part of the pronunciations depicts the endless universal energy. It also signifies the mind and delicate impressions. It also establishes a connection to the inner sense of something greater than what our senses can see and feel.
    The ‘Oooh’ in the Aum brings about clearness, lightness, balance, and goodness. You’ll notice that the sound moves from the tongue and the palate and moves up to the lips and as you chant this letter it vibrates in the solar plexus.
  • The M (mmm)
    This third part of the sound symbolizes the transformational energy within the universe. It also represents the beliefs and thoughts that you hold.
    Therefore, it connects you to the understanding that there is an extraordinary oneness, enabling you to slow down to understand this immense sense of connection.
    The ‘mmm’ sound emerges when the lips are closed. Making this sound helps it vibrate the crown chakra at the top of your head, and also connects us to creative energy.
  • Silence Or Anahata.
    This vibrating sound resonates beyond natural hearing. It is pure consciousness of Self. After chanting Om, the pause that follows represents infinite knowledge or turiya, and this further adds to the significance of Aum.
    The vibration from the syllable slowly subsides into silence, and this subsiding silence signifies the state of consciousness that is transcendent of the material consciousness. This point is also called Brahman or the Absolute state. The silence that follows the sound “Om”, is the peak of the mantra, and it invokes an immortal, unshaken, tranquil, and fearless form of being.

The phases of chanting Aum represent several divine trinities:

  • The deep sleep, dreaming, and waking state.
  • The three stages of time — The past, the present, and the future.
  • Earth and atmosphere, or ether.
  • (Brahma)- (Vishnu)- (Shiva) which represent creation, preservation, and destruction, respectively.

Chanting mantras like the Om chant helps to heal the body and protect the mind, thereby helping you reach the ultimate spiritual state.

How To Absorb The Om Symbol In Your Life

To experience the true power of the Om, you’ll need to give more time to practice. Continuous spiritual practices with the Om symbol will help boost your spiritual wellbeing. There are several methods of incorporating the sacred syllable into your life and they include;

1. During Yoga And Meditation Practices

Om is often used in yoga classes to help you experience the wave of life. Chanting Om as a part of your daily meditation can move you into a genuine level of spiritual wisdom.

2. As Tattoos

Having an Om tattoo is a way for some people to express their gratitude to the universe. Those who support the Hindu belief are aware that it is very impolite for the Om symbol to be placed in a spot lower than the waistband.

Om is one of the most important spiritual symbols, and vocalizing the Om sound can help boost your spiritual development.

Just as the word Om can be incorporated in a yoga class or a tattoo it can also be used on a t-shirt, or piece of jewelry to affect the mind of the everyday unenlightened life of a person.


The Om symbol is a sacred syllable and one of the oldest seed mantras in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Repeating Om constantly helps us to stay in touch with the potential we have to interact with the spiritual/holy, and how words and sounds are sacred.

One of the most powerful ways to tap into spiritual insights and understanding is to spend quality time studying the wisdom that the Om bears. To find the Om symbol you’ll need to visit monasteries, Buddhist temples, and religious retreats.