Buddha Śākyamuni Prayers & Practices
Image courtesy of Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche
With your great compassion, you chose this world of conflict and degeneration,
And made five hundred vast aspirations.
You are praised like the immaculate white lotus, for whoever hears your name will never fall back into saṃsāra—
Most compassionate teacher, to you I pay homage!
Lotsawa House presents the following texts as part of its Prayers to Buddha Śākyamuni Series:
Popularly known as 'The Teachings Blaze' (bstan 'bar ma), this prayer for the spread of the teachings (bstan rgyas smon lam) is especially popular in the Gelug tradition. The first verse appears to be taken from the Pratimokṣa-sūtra (so sor thar pa'i mdo), while the remainder of the prayer, from the second verse onwards, is to be found in Atiśa Dīpaṃkara's Great Compendium of the Sūtras (Mahāsūtrasamuccaya; mdo kun las btus pa chen po).
- The King of Aspiration Prayers: Samantabhadra's “Aspiration to Good Actions” (Zangchö Mönlam) from the Words of the Buddha
So popular and influential is Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions” (bzang spyod smon lam) from the Gaṇḍavyūha chapter of the vast Avataṃsaka Sūtra, it is known as the king of all aspiration prayers.
- The Sage's Harmonious Song of Truth: A Prayer for the Flourishing of the Non-Sectarian Teachings of the Buddha by Fourteenth Dalai Lama
At the request of Trulshik Rinpoche (1924–2011) and others, His Holiness composed this prayer for the flourishing of the Buddhist teachings in 1999. It is a non-sectarian (ris med) aspiration extending to all the major and minor traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
- The Sage's Powerful Words of Truth—A Prayer for the Spread of the Omniscient Buddha's Teachings by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Written in Bodhgaya at a time when Tibet was facing great turmoil and an uncertain future, this is a non-sectarian prayer for the spread of the Buddhist teachings (bstan rgyas smon lam) in all their authentic forms.
This prayer for the accomplishment of the transcendent perfections was adapted from the summarizing verses that appear at the conclusion of each chapter in Jātakamālāṭīkā, Dharmakīrti's extensive commentary on Āryaśūra's famous Jātakamālā, or Garland of Birth Stories. (This covers the first four transcendent perfections only; additional verses for the remaining perfections and birth stories were composed by the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje).
- Short Praise of the Buddha's Deeds attributed to Ārya Śūra
In a series of poetic verses Jigme Lingpa pays homage to the Buddha Śākyamuni by recalling his most significant deeds, from his initial descent from the heaven of Tuṣita to his final attainment of parinirvāṇa.
Popularly known as "With Skilful Means and Compassion..." (thabs mkhas thugs rje ma), this is the liturgical arrangement of the Dvādaśakārastotra, Nāgārjuna's praise of the twelve great acts performed by Buddha Śākyamuni.
- A Brief Practice of Paying Homage and Making Offerings to the Sixteen Elders by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
- The Heart of Wish-Fulfilling Jewels: A Brief Practice for Paying Homage and Making Offerings to the Buddha together with his retinue of Arhats by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
Ju Mipham composed this sādhana of Śākyamuni Buddha, or '[Śākya]muni-ritual' (thub chog), at the request of Orgyen Tendzin Norbu (1841–1900). Both the sādhana and its vast 'supporting teaching' known as The White Lotus (rgyab chos padma dkar po) are among the most popular of Mipham's works.
- The Sage who Dispels Mind’s Anguish: Advice from the Guru, the Gentle Protector Mañjuśrī on the Means of Accomplishing the Yogas of Śamatha and Vipaśyanā by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche adapted this teaching on śamatha and vipaśyanā from The White Lotus, Mipham Rinpoche's supportive teaching (rgyab chos) for the Treasury of Blessings sādhana of Buddha Śākyamuni. The text explains how to accomplish both śamatha and vipaśyanā in the context of that practice and clarifies the relationship between Buddha Śākyamuni, the yidam deity and the guru.