Om (pron. Auṃ or Oṃ, Sanskrit: ॐ) is a divine icon, a spiritual text, and a sacred sound.
The syllable Om represents an imperishable, singular and immutable energy. Literally the beginning and everlasting.
In Hinduism, Om refers to Atman (soul, self within) and Brahman (ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge). A full-spectrum all inclusive and temporal Hindu version of Amen. Self-contained and transcendent.
In Tibetan Buddhism, the 14th Dalai Lama says Om is ‘composed of three pure letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of an enlightened Buddha.’ Wholeness, perfection and the infinite.
Om in the form of Aum is symbolically represented by Niō statues in Japan and their equivalent in East Asia. Niō statues appear in pairs in front of Buddhist temple gates and stupas, in the form of two fierce looking guardian kings. One repels, the other beckons.
These are the guardians to the land of unity, the peace of mind we all crave. One has an open mouth, regarded by Buddhists as symbolically speaking the ‘A’ syllable, the other has a closed mouth, symbolically speaking the ‘Um’ syllable. The two together are regarded as saying ‘Aum,’ the one breath, the absolute.
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