Nyingma Mönlam Series
Courtesy of Ngawang Sangye
The following texts are recited during the annual Nyingma Mönlam prayer festival in Bodhgaya:
- 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 Rishi's Maledictory Incantation: An Invocation of Wisdom Mind and Sacred Pledges for Reversing the Disturbances and Agitations of Dark Times In the Form of an Aspiration Prayer by Chatral Rinpoche
This is a prayer for the modern age, or kaliyuga, calling upon Buddha Śākyamuni, Guru Padmasambhava and all enlightened deities, gurus and protectors, in order to transform the minds of those in positions of power, so that terrible weapons of war may be eradicated, and the threats they pose to Dharma and living beings removed, allowing peace to reign throughout the world.
This famous prayer to Guru Padmasambhava for the elimination of all obstacles on the spiritual path is the outer practice of The Guru's Heart Practice of the Guru: Dispelling All Obstacles on the Path (bla ma'i thugs sgrub bar chad kun sel), a joint revelation of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.
Popularly known as Dü Sum Sangye (Dus gsum sangs rgyas), this short prayer to Guru Padmasambhava was discovered as a treasure (gter ma) by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa. As indicated in the colophon, it was—and still is—regarded as especially pertinent for the current time.
- The Adamantine Magical Wheel—Invoking the profound pledge of the glorious Victor Padmākara to turn back the final war by Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima
This prayer of invocation, which was written by the Third Dodrupchen Rinpoche during a period of political unrest, calls upon Guru Padmasambhava to protect Tibetans from aggressors and the ravages of war. More recently, it was redistributed at the behest of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who recognized its continued relevance amid the turmoil of the twentieth century.
In this prayer, which he wrote in 1960, shortly after arriving in exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama invokes all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, especially Avalokiteśvara, and the power of truth itself, in order to bring an end to the turmoil in Tibet so that the Dharma and all aspects of Tibetan culture can flourish there once again.
- Accomplishing the Lama through the Seven Line Prayer: A Special Teaching from the Lama Sangdü by Guru Chökyi Wangchuk
The original revelation of the Seven-Line Prayer (tshig bdun gsol 'debs), which is the most famous and widely chanted of all invocations of Guru Padmasambhava, and which, according to later commentators, can be understood and practised on multiple levels.
- 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.
- The Garland of Utpala Flowers: A Prayer to the Masters of the Lineage of Zabtik Drolchok by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
These verses to be be recited before and after prayers to Guru Padmasambhava, especially the famous Prayer in Seven Chapters (le'u bdun ma), include the practices of taking refuge and arousing bodhicitta, a seven-branch offering, the generation and dissolution of a visualisation, and the dedication of merit.
- Wisdom's Bestowal: A Way to Accumulate the Recitation of the Tantra 'Chanting the Names of Mañjuśrī' (Mañjuśrī Nāma Saṃgīti) by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
For this 'means of recitation' (bklag thabs), which provides additional prayers and practices to be said before and after the root text of Chanting the Names of Mañjuśrī (Mañjuśrī-nāma-saṃgīti; 'jam dpal mtshan brjod), Khyentse Wangpo relied upon and adapted the writings of the great Sakya patriarchs Jetsün Drakpa Gyaltsen and Sakya Paṇḍita.
- The Prayer of the Ground, Path & Fruition – From the Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse by Jigme Lingpa
This prayer to Guru Padmasambhava for the swift fulfilment of all wishes begins with a verse from ‘The Infinite Cloud Banks of Profound Meaning’ (zab don rgya mtsho'i sprin phung), which is part of Longchen Rabjam’s Khandro Yangtik (mkha' 'gro yang tig), and concludes with several verses written by Jigme Lingpa. It is said to be particularly beneficial for Tibet, as it has the power to pacify illness, prevent famine and border invasions, and contribute to the welfare of the teachings and beings.
These four lines, which Terdak Lingpa Minling Terchen Gyurme Dorje is said to have pronounced before passing into parinirvāṇa, are commonly recited as a prayer of aspiration. The great Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo reportedly recited them himself before his own passing.
These verses in which the guru's body, speech and mind are related to the three kāyas—nirmāṇakāya, sambhogakāya and dharmakāya—constitute a brief prayer for longevity, or 'stable abiding' (brtan bzhugs), which can be recited to support the long life of any teacher.
One of the most popular prayers in the Nyingma tradition, The Secret Vajra Knot (rdo rje rgya mdud) includes aspects of the dedication of virtue (dge ba bsngo ba), as well as various aspirations related to the path in general and the path of the three yogas, i.e., Mahāyoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga, in particular.
- A Prayer of Aspiration for the Flourishing and Spread of the Ancient Translation Tradition entitled “Words to Delight the Sovereigns of the Dharma” by Mipham Rinpoche
This famous prayer for the spread of the teachings of the Nyingma tradition is among Mipham Rinpoche's most famous compositions. It is recited daily at the annual Monlam Chenmo festival and was the subject of a major commentary by Mipham's student and lineage-holder, Shechen Gyaltsab Pema Namgyal (1871–1926).
A short prayer incorporating the four causes of rebirth in Sukhāvatī, namely: 1) visualizing the pure realm, 2) accumulating merit and purifying obscurations, 3) generating bodhicitta, and 4) making prayers of aspiration and dedicating all sources of virtue towards rebirth in Sukhāvatī.
This general prayer for the long life of the holders of the teachings was composed by Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche in 1888. It is part of the daily liturgy at the Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, or great prayer festival, held every year in Bodhgaya.
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.
This popular prayer, which Mipham wrote in 1896, is addressed to the eight sugatas, eight bodhisattvas, eight goddesses of auspiciousness, and eight guardians of the world. It is recited at the outset of any virtuous project, or indeed any activity of any kind, in order to bring about auspiciousness, success and good fortune.
This prayer of aspiration covers the entire Buddhist path, but places special emphasis on the cultivation of bodhicitta in its various forms. For to have bodhicitta, says Patrul Rinpoche, is to have "all that's needed to attain enlightenment."
- The Ritual of the Bodhisattva Vow according to the tradition of Patrul Rinpoche arranged by Chatral Rinpoche
This elaborate ritual for taking the bodhisattva vow, which includes preliminary recitations and practices as well as the vow itself, was arranged according to the tradition of the great Dza Patrul Rinpoche (1808–1887) by the holder of his lineage, Chatral Rinpoche Sangye Dorje, in 1986.
This famous prayer of aspiration, which was a terma revelation of Pema Lingpa (1450–1521), is said to record the words of Yeshe Tsogyal to Guru Padmasambhava as he was about to leave Tibet for the land of the rakṣasa demons.
Part of the Namchö revelation, this extremely popular prayer of aspiration for rebirth in Sukhāvatī derives from a vision in which Buddha Amitābha appeared to Tulku Mingyur Dorje, when the latter was just thirteen years old, in 1657.
- The Verses that Saved Sakya from Sickness: A Prayer for Pacifying the Fear of Disease by Thangtong Gyalpo
This terma (gter ma), which Tulku Zangpo Drakpa revealed and passed on to Rigdzin Gödem (1337–1408), presents a sūtra-like scenario in which Buddha Śākyamuni reveals a dhāraṇī for subduing enemies and demonic forces.