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Mani stone mounds in Yushu

(People's Daily Online)

08:19, April 23, 2012

Edited and translated by Huang Beibei, People's Daily Online

Mani stones are stone plates, rocks and/or pebbles, inscribed with the six syllabled mantra of Avalokiteshvara (Om mani padme hum, hence the name "Mani stone"), as a form of prayer in Tibetan Buddhism. Images of deities and great adepts and sutra texts are also common themes.

You may find these stones and stone mounds almost everywhere, in monasteries, beside villages, along paths and on mountains. Sometimes they are decorated with sheep and yak horns.

The term Mani stone may also be used in a loose sense to refer to stones on which any mantra or devotional designs (such as ashtamangala) are inscribed.

Mani stones are intentionally placed along the roadsides and rivers or placed together to form mounds or cairns or sometimes long walls, as an offering to spirits of place or genius loci. Mani stones are a form of devotional cintamani.

The Mani stone mounds in Yushu County in Qinghai province has a history of more than 300 years, with over 2 billion pieces of stones, is said to be the world's largest Mani mound, and has applied for being listed in the World Guinness Book of Records.

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