Om Mani Padme Hum
No mud, no lotus. No dark, no light. Know mud, know lotus. Know dark, know light.
Walk around Kathmandu and you will hear this Tibetan Buddhist mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, seemingly at every turn. It blares from cd shops in Thamel, pilgrims chant it over and over as they circle Boudhanath stupa, it's printed on touristy trinkets which are sold from carts lining the narrow streets and it is inscribed on spinning prayer wheels and flapping prayer flags.
Loosely interpreted it means that the jewel of life is in the lotus. Oh, how I love this. The lotus is one of the world's most beautiful flowers and it grows in filth. It thrives in the most disgusting of sewage dumps. The lotus needs the mud in order to blossom into the magnificent flower it is. Without the mud, there would be no lotus. The same is true for us. It is through life's trials and challenges, that our most beautiful self emerges. We need the darkness in order to see the light. We need the long uphill to appreciate the downhill. We need scarcity to appreciate the abundance. Om Mani Padme Hum. No mud, no lotus.
This mantra has been a guide for me through challenging times. The visual is powerful. The words resonate. It gives me perspective and allows me to offer a bit of gratitude for the challenges I face.