Can impure body, speech, and mind be transformed into pure body, speech, and mind, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of beings who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure.
How is this done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method - the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion , and love. Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfills the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfills the wishes of sentient beings.
Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable HUM, which indicates indivisibility. According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In the mantra, or vajrayana vehicle, it refers to one consciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one undifferentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the Five Conqueror Buddhas, HUM is the seed syllable of Akshobhya -- the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.
Extracted from Compassion and Wisdom, Amitabha Buddhist Centre, 1991.
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