Manjushri is a Bodhisattva who represents wisdom, and his mantra also symbolizes that quality. He holds a sword in his right hand — symbolizing his ability to cut through delusion. In his left hand, by his heart, he holds the stem of a lotus flower, which bears a book — the Perfection of Wisdom teaching, or Prajnaparamita.
Many of the texts in which A RA PA CA NA (and the rest of the sylllabary) appears are not connected with Manjushri, but according to Dr. Conze (in the introduction to The Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom) “in later literature is is always connected with the Bodhisattva Manjushri.”
A leads to the insight that the essence of all things is unproduced.
RA leads to the insight that all things are pure and free of defilements.
PA leads to the insight that all dharmas have been “expounded in the ultimate sense.”
CA leads to the insight that the arising and ceasing of things cannot be apprehended because in reality there is no arising or ceasing.
NA leads to the insight that although the names for things change the nature of things behind their names cannot be gained or lost.
Dhiih is defined as meaning:
Short Practice in Tibetan
SHON NU’I KU LU CHANG WA PO
YE SHE DRON ME RAB TU BAR
JIG TEN TI MUG MUN SEL WA
JAM PEL YANG LA CHAG TSEL TO
OM WA GHI SHWA RI MUM
TSE DEN KYO KYI KHYEN RAB WO SER GYI
DAK LO’I TI MUG MUN PA RAB SEL NE
KA DANG TEN CHO HUNG LUG TOG PA YI
LO DRO POB PA’I NANG WA TSEL DU SOL