The Om Symbol in Tibetan Jewelry

Published: 20th May 2009
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The Om symbol is a very important symbol in Tibetan jewelry and accessories. The word 'Om,' Aum is the primordial symbol, the first sound ever heard, and the sound that the earth was created by. The sound, om, starts with an opening of the lips and ends with a closing. This represents pulling all things into the body while making the sound, 'om.' The Om sound is similar to the Greek Logos, and in Christianity Om could be linked to the Christian Amen. Everything in the world both begins and ends with the Om.



The Om symbol is found in both Hinduism and Buddhism, and began in Hinduism, but I will first discuss the sound om and its cosmology in the context of Tibetan Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, the most used mantra is 'om mani padme hum.' This phrase means 'hail to the jewel in the lotus.' This mantra is the mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara.



When Buddhist practioners recite this mantra they are striving to attain a Buddha-like mind and spirit. This means a mind and spirit free from earthly evils such as attachment, jealousy, and greed. And the Buddhist practitioner wants to find more love, peaceful bliss, and contentment. "Om Mani Padme Hum" is also the Bija mantra in Tibetan Buddhism. This means that it is the seed, or original mantra.



The Tibetan Om symbol is different than the Hindu Om in appearance. The first character of both om symbols, from a western perspective, looks like a backwards three. But the second symbol of the sanskrit om looks like a circle, while the second symbol of the Tibetan om looks like a V. The earrings pictured above represent the Tibetan om symbol. On our website we also offer purses and other items with the sanskrit om symbol. But regardless of whether the symbol is a Tibetan Buddhist or Hindu symbol, the om symbol is always recognizable as om.



In Hinduism the om symbol is the first symbol of all of the mantras, and each of the mantras in the Upanishads begins with om. Yoga classes in the west are traditionally started and ended with the om sound, or with an entire mantra. By starting and ending a yoga class with om, the teacher brings a sense of opening and closing to each class, almost as if she ended each class with a 'the end.' In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which are where much of the philosophy in modern-day yoga classes comes from, in verse 1:27 states, "God's voice is Aum." Meaning that not only is om the beginning and ending of all things, it is also from God, and to go further it is God.



Om jewelry is very popular in Tibet, India, and Nepal, and it is gradually becoming more and more popular in the west as well. To wear om symbol jewelry means that the person wearing it is interested in Buddhism, or Hunduism, or that they understand what the 'om' symbol means. If you are interested in purchasing Tibetan om jewelry, or jewelry with the om symbol, please go to our Tibetan jewelry section. We also have the om symbol on items in our Handmade Bags section, which feature bags from Nepal in the Tibetan style. There are also Tibetan om symbols on other items in sections throughout our site, including Tibetan prayer flags , Tibetan prayer wheels , and our Lokta Paper Journals.



Sylvia Smelcer is the owner of Hinky Imports,

Om Tibetan Jewelry, and The Singing Bowl Shop.

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