Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Series
© Tertön Sogyal Trust, from the private collection of Sogyal Rinpoche. Painted by Salga.
You imparted all the profound and vast teachings given by the Buddha,
By explaining the paths for beings of the three levels of spiritual capacity,
And caused the Buddha’s teachings to flourish within the Land of Snows—
Kind and precious Lord Atiśa, to you I pray!
Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrijñāna, known as Jowo Je Palden Atisha in Tibetan, was a great Indian master and scholar. He spent the last ten years of his life in Tibet, teaching and translating texts, and was instrumental in reinvigorating Buddhism there after a period of persecution and decline.
This short text—Bodhisattvamaṇyāvalī in Sanskrit—is regarded as a classic work of the Mind Training (blo sbyong) tradition. With its direct and pithy language, it is not so much a poem as a series of maxims on the bodhisattva path.
This aspiration prayer to accompany the offering of butter-lamps is said to have been recited by Atiśa and his disciples in the shrines they visited throughout the central and southern provinces of Tibet.
It is said that Atiśa spoke this prayer to the goddess Tārā during a life-threatening storm on his journey across the ocean to meet the master Serlingpa. Tārā, who is renowned for the swiftness with which she protects living beings from fear and danger, appeared directly and rescued Atiśa and his fellow travellers from peril.