The Seven Branches
Image courtesy of Himalayan Art
The Seven Branches for Practising the Sacred Dharma
In the language of India: saptāṅga-saddharma-caryāvatāra
In the language of Tibet: dam pa'i chos spyod la 'jug pa'i yan lag bdun pa
Homage to the tathāgata Lion of the Śākyas!
The Buddha, Dharma and the noble assembly,
Supreme among refuges, you fully embrace the two truths
And thereby perfectly unite wisdom and compassion,
To you, in devotion, I pay homage.
This is the first branch, that of prostration.
To the precious, unsurpassed threefold refuge,
I present, through the rite of perfect offering,
Vast cloud-like gifts beyond imagining
Outer, inner and of reality itself.
This is the second branch, that of offering.
With the wish to liberate all beings,
And with constant devotion, I take refuge,
In the Buddha, Dharma and Saṅgha,
Until I reach the essence of enlightenment.
This is the third branch, that of taking refuge.
Whatever unbearable wrongs I have committed,
With my body, my speech or my mind,
And those I have requested or rejoiced in,
All of them, I individually confess.
This is the fourth branch, that of confession.
In the acts of the perfect buddhas, bodhisattvas,
Pratyekabuddhas and buddhas' disciples,
And in all worldly forms of merit,
Gladly I rejoice!
This is the fifth branch, that of rejoicing.
With wisdom and compassion,
Diligently, for sentient beings' sake,
I take my place before all the buddhas,
And set my mind on perfect awakening.
This is the sixth branch, that of generating bodhicitta.
May these practices for accumulating merit,
Become a cause of threefold enlightenment.
Relying on the path of the two selflessnesses,
May I attain the higher realms and liberation.
Through whatever merits I have gathered,
May living beings becoming victorious ones.
Respectfully, for the sake of all beings,
May I act genuinely and on a vast scale.
In the course of all my future lives,
May I behold the Buddhas,
May I listen to the Dharma,
And may I serve the Saṅgha.
May I have skilled, authentic teachers,
And offer spiritual and material gifts.
May beings gain ordinary possessions
And master all transcendent perfections.
Through the merits of giving wealth,
Maintaining perfect discipline,
And studying the sacred Dharma,
May I gain supreme awakening.
When I die and pass on from this world,
May I take birth in Tuṣita, and through my merit,
Swiftly approach the protector Maitreya,
To receive a prophecy of enlightenment!
This is the seventh branch, that of making prayers of aspiration.
This complete the Seven Branches for Practising the Sacred Dharma composed by the great Kashmiri paṇḍita, Śākyaśrībhadra.
Translated by the great paṇḍita himself and the Tibetan lotsāwa, the fully ordained monk (dge slong) Jampé Pal (byams pa'i dpal).
Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2015.