Lotus Song

Om-mani birds
hold back the night
Om mani padme hum

Old nun bee Padme-hum
she waggles to the lotus song
Om mani padme hum

Om Metteyya
Om Maitreya
Om mani padme hum


There is a Buddhist mantra, a kind of meditative and spiritually meaningful chant: This quintessential utterance, Om mani padme hum, is considered to encapsulate all of the wisdom of Buddhism. Om is a sacred sound expressing holiness. Mani means jewel, Padme is the lotus flower, and Hum represents the spirit of enlightenment.

In this poem the first two words, “Om mani,” are used for the name of sacred birds. The last two words of the mantra, “Padme hum,” are taken to name a monastic bee.

And waggle, a curious word to use here, is the actual technical term used in describing the dance of the bee upon returning to the hive to communicate the path to the source of pollen; Spiritually, the road to enlightenment.

Metteyya and Maitreya have the same meaning, essentially “friend” in two languages (Metteyya in Pali, the ancient language spoken by Lord Buddha, and Maitreya in Sanskrit). They refer to the prophesy that an enlightened being will come to complete the work begun by Lord Buddha.

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