Twelve Deeds Inscriptions

Deities › Buddha Śākyamuni | Literary Genres › Inscriptions | Tibetan MastersJamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

English | བོད་ཡིག

Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

Twelve Deeds of the Buddha

Inscriptions for a Set of Thangkas Depicting the Twelve Deeds[1]

by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

For the main figure in each of the thangkas depicting the twelve deeds write oṃ between the eyebrows, āḥ at the throat, hūṃ at the heart, mune below that, svā at the navel, and at the secret place.

Below that, write the Essence of Dependent Origination,[2] Supratiṣṭha,[3] Vajra Āyuṣe[4] and so on.

Below these, write one of the following verses of prayer on each corresponding image:

Placing noble Śvetaketu’s crown upon the head
Of the protector Maitreya in the heaven of Tuṣita,
With five considerations, you came to Jambudvīpa—
Siddhārtha, grant auspiciousness throughout the three times!

On the fifteenth day of the month of Vaiśākha, while Māyādevī
Was practising healing and purification, the noble bodhisattva,
Descended in the form of a white elephant and entered her womb—
Let the conqueror Lion of the Śakyas grant auspiciousness!

The Sage took birth within the garden in Lumbinī;
Brahmā and other gods whom people worship paid reverence.
You shone with the splendid marks and signs of a hundred acts of merit—
Son of Śuddhodana, bestow the light of your blessings!

Taming an elephant, writing, swimming and the rest—
You become well-versed in the sixty-four crafts[5]
And enjoyed the sports of youth, O wondrous prodigy,
Foremost among humans, grant abundant virtue and excellence!

In accordance with the ordinary ways of the world,
You cared for the kingdom surrounded by a circle of queens,
With your boundless activity, skilful in the ways of taming others—
Lion among men, let fall a rain of all that is desirable!

Inspired by renunciation you arrived at the place of purity,
Where you used your blue sword to cut your dark black hair,
And Indra offered you a beautiful saffron-coloured robe—
Supreme protector, may you grant us auspiciousness!

On the banks of the river you practised austerities,
Absorbed for six years in a meditation as vast as the sky.
Through Sujātā’s reverential gift of a bowl of milk-rice,
Great Sage, your body gleamed like gold—let it appear so now!

Using a mat of grass from the grass-seller Maṅgala,
You approached the Vajra Seat before the Bodhi tree,
And sat cross-legged with a vow to attain awakening.
Fourth guide of this Fortunate Age, grant us protection!

When Māra, in his agitated state, set out to deter you,
Sthāvarā served as your witness, and unmoved by
The temptress’ wiles, you gained victory over Māra’s forces.
Sage who brandishes the weapon of love, guard us beings!

At the end of your session on the fifteenth day of Vaiśākha,
You attained great awakening as a perfect Buddha,
A master of oceanic wisdom and inexhaustible qualities—
Conqueror, King of the Śakyas, grant virtue and excellence!

At the end of seven weeks—seven sets of seven days,
The doors to auspiciousness flung open,
And, at the urging of Brahmā and Indra, you turned the Dharma Wheel—
Kinsman of the Sun, may your enlightened speech sustain us!

At the age of eighty, on the morning of the fifteenth day
Of a month in Spring, Protector, you passed beyond sorrow
To dwell in the great everlasting stability of definitive meaning.
Guide to all existence and peace, lead us to awakening!

| Translated by Adam Pearcey with the generous support of the Khyentse Foundation and Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2023.


Tibetan Edition

'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros. 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung 'bum. 12 vols. Bir, H.P.: Khyentse Labrang, 2012. (W1KG12986) Vol. 10: 577–579

Version: 1.0-20230616

  1. The original is untitled; this title has been added by the translator.  ↩

  2. oṃ ye dharmā hetu prabhavā hetun teṣāṃ tathāgato hy avadat teṣāṃ ca yo nirodha evaṃ vādī mahāśramaṇaḥ svāhā  ↩

  3. oṃ supratiṣṭha-vajraye svāhā  ↩

  4. oṃ vajra āyuṣe svāhā  ↩

  5. Reading drug cu rtsa gnyis as drug cu rtsa bzhi  ↩

This website uses cookies to collect anonymous usage statistics and enhance the user experience.