Aspiration Prayers

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Bodhisattva Samantabhadra

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Sentient beings are as limitless as the whole of space:

May each effortlessly realize the three kāyas,

And may every single being of all the six realms, who has each been in one life or another my father or mother,

Attain all together the ground of primordial perfection.

A series of prayers of aspiration (Skt. praṇidhāna; Tib. smon lam) and works from related genres, including prayers for the spread of the teachings (bstan rgyas smon lam):


Bodhisattva Aspirations

This aspiration to accomplish the eleven transcendent perfections—generosity, ethical discipline, patience, diligence, meditative concentration, insight, skilful methods, strength, aspiration, primordial wisdom and the dharmakāya—is popular in the Sakya tradition, and is included within the Compendium of Sādhanas.

In the sūtra The Question of Maitreya (Toh. 85, Maitreya­paripṛcchā, byams pas zhus pa), Buddha Śākyamuni recounts this prayer that Maitreya made as a bodhisattva aspiring to accomplish the six perfections and attain the ten bodhisattva levels. The prayer is also included in the Miscellaneous section of the Tengyur (Toh 4378).

This prayer of aspiration for training the mind in bodhicitta by exchanging all the world's suffering for genuine happiness is based on Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye's longer text, The Gateway to the Ocean of Bodhicitta.

A prayer of aspiration that incorporates the central principles and key terminology of the lojong (blo sbyong) or 'mind training' tradition according to the Mahāyāna.

Taken from the author's miscellaneous writings, this inspiring prayer to complete the bodhisattva path was composed at the request of Lama Jamyang Gyaltsen (1870–1940).

This aspiration, written during an unspecified snake year, incorporates the key elements of the Mind Training teachings, such as taking on others' suffering and giving away one's own happiness, and perfecting relative and absolute bodhicitta.

A prayer of aspiration based on the so-called eight thoughts of great beings (skyes bu chen po'i rnam rtog brgyad).

In this short text, the celebrated Dzogchen teacher Nyoshul Lungtok Tenpe Nyima offers a prayer to the root and lineage gurus and all the buddhas and bodhisattvas requesting their blessings and inspiration so that we might perfect the cultivation of bodhicitta in all its aspects.

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."




A four-line prayer of aspiration to devote one's entire life to the practice of Dzogpachenpo and attain the rainbow body of great transference ('ja' lus 'pho ba chen po).

Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche composed this four-line prayer of aspiration spontaneously on the occasion of his first teaching of “Hitting the Essence in Three Words” in the West, to an assembly of thirteen students in Paris, 1976.

This famous aspiration to realize the ground, path and fruition of the Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po) is part of the Longchen Nyingtik revelation of Jigme Lingpa.

Written using the language of the Great Perfection, this prayer, which Mipham wrote in 1886, is an aspiration to realize the nature of mind — indestructible awareness and emptiness — and the true meaning of Mañjuśrī.

This famous prayer of aspiration of Buddha Samantabhadra (kun bzang smon lam), which is taken from the All-Penetrating Wisdom Mind (dgongs pa zang thal) revelation, is among the most popular texts of the Dzogchen tradition. Its recitation is especially recommended during solar and lunar eclipses, at the solstices and new year, as well as during earthquakes and other environmental anomalies.

Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche composed this short prayer for the realisation of the ultimate view, meditation and conduct at the request of a devoted student by the name of Changchub Chökyi Drolma.

A four-line aspiration to realize the nature of Buddha Samantabhadra, which Trulshik Rinpoche composed in La Sonnerie, France, in November, 2001.


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. It is included in the Dhāraṇī section of the Kangyur (Toh 1095) and the Miscellaneous section of the Tengyur (Toh 4377).

This aspiration prayer is said to have been spoken by Guru Padmasambhava when revealing the Vajradhātu maṇḍala in the temple of Samye. The text was revealed by Chokgyur Lingpa and transcribed by Jamgön Kongtrul. Generally, it is known as Mönlam Chokchu Düzhima (Aspiration of the Ten Directions and Four Times), a name which derives from the prayer's first four syllables.

Written in Nepal at the then newly-built Shechen monastery during a great accomplishment (sgrub chen) ritual of Tsokchen Düpa, this is an aspiration to accomplish the entire Longchen Nyingtik path, from the preliminaries through to the generation and completion stages and the practices of the Great Perfection.

Written in Sikkim, this is an aspiration to realize the view of the Middle Way (Madhyamaka), the meditation of the Great Seal (Mahāmudrā), the conduct of single-taste, and the fruition of Dzogpachenpo, the Great Perfection.

This aspiration prayer forms the conclusion of The Exceedingly Secret, Enlightened Heart-Essence (yang gsang mkha' 'gro'i thugs thig) revelation and thus is said to be the words of Pema Tötrengtsel (Mighty Lotus Skull-Garland, i.e., Padmasambhava) himself.

A series of aspirations to devote one's life to the Dharma—which, Dodrupchen Rinpoche says, is the only thing of any real value or meaning—to practice it with sincerity, and to accomplish it successfully.

Jigme Trinlé Özer made this series of altruistic aspirations as he was approaching the moment of death.

A prayer of aspiration to peferect the training, recognize the ultimate state of pristine awareness and benefit beings on a vast scale.

A prayer of aspiration spoken by Vajrapāṇi and recorded by the visionary adept Dudjom Lingpa.

This four-verse prayer of aspiration was composed in London in 1991 at the request of Alak Zenkar Rinpoche.

A four-line prayer of aspiration to accomplish the Dharma for one’s own and others’ benefit.

This simple prayer of aspiration in five verses is included in the final volume of the Compendium of Sādhanas (sgrub thabs kun btus).

A two-verse prayer of aspiration to follow Avalokiteśvara, the Great Compassionate One, and contribute to his enlightened activity.

This aspiration, composed in Lhasa for a Sakya lama named Jamyang Tsultrim, only recently came to light and is not included in any edition of Jamyang Khyentse's collected works.

A prayer of confession and aspiration, calling upon all the gurus, buddhas and bodhisattvas. It was written in 1953, during what Jamyang Khyentse himself describes as a bout of sadness.

Jamyang Khyentse wrote this prayer following the untimely passing of Princess Sangay Deki in Sikkim in 1957. The prayer is for the enlightenment of all with whom he was connected, even those who merely heard his name, but especially his devoted followers and disciples.

Jamyang Khyentse composed this prayer of aspiration after reading the Words of the Buddha during the first month of the Earth Dog year (1958), a period of great turmoil within Tibet.

In this prayer, composed at Bodhgayā, Jamyang Khyentse praises the features of the place Tibetans call the Vajra Seat (rdo je gdan), by comparing it to a celestial realm, and aspires to be reborn there in future.

This thirteen-verse prayer, written in 1934, calls upon the Three Roots to witness a series of aspirations related to the Mahāyāna path, including elements of the Vajrayāna.

Jamyang Khyentse appears to have composed this aspiration following the death of his mother, Tsultrim Tso—referred to here as Tsultrim Chökyi Drolma. In it, he vows to remain in saṃsāra until she and all other beings, his mothers from earlier lives, attain awakening.

This prayer of aspiration, composed in a train carriage in India, is found only in the earliest, two-volume edition of Jamyang Khyentse's writings.

Jamyang Khyentse composed this aspiration, which calls upon the Lamdré lineage gurus and deities of the Hevajra maṇḍala as witnesses, while practising guru yoga as a preliminary to the Hevajra recitation.

This prayer, which Jamyang Khyentse composed while in Darjeeling, most likely in 1958, invokes various deities and masters associated with all Tibetan lineages in a spirit of nonsectarianism before seeking their assistance in fulfiling a series of aspirations.

This series of aspirations for future rebirths is tailored, Jigme Lingpa says, to the sorrow-inducing nature of this final age of degeneration, or kaliyuga.

An aspiration to perfect bodhisattva aspirations, bring all sentient beings to maturity and purify the world and its inhabitants into a buddha realm. The text is included within recent editions of the Rinchen Terdzö, or Treasury of Revelations.

This popular prayer by the vidyādhara Jigme Lingpa includes aspirations related to every stage of the path, from gaining a precious human rebirth and following a qualified teacher through to accomplishing the most advanced practices of Dzogpachenpo and, thereafter, working for others' benefit.

A four-line prayer of aspiration spoken in front of a vast assembly in 1986.

This aspiration to be cared for by the guru throughout all future lifetimes was composed at Wutai Shan at the request of a disciple named Rigdrol.

Composed in Bodhgayā, this is a bodhisattva's aspiration to emulate the buddhas of the past, such as Śākyamuni, serve the remaining buddhas of this fortunate age, and lead all beings to awakening. The prayer was recorded and transcribed by Khenpo Sodargye.

A prayer to take rebirth in the hidden sanctuary of Pemako (pad+mo bkod), where obstacles such as sickness and conflict are scarce or nonexistent and favourable conditions may aid progress on the Dharma path.

This aspirational prayer, composed at the request of Trinlé Losal, calls upon all the ḍākinīs of the three worlds to grant their blessings, so that the practitioner may complete the vajrayāna path and bring benefit to all beings.

This brief prayer, extracted from Longchen Rabjam's Treasury of Pith Instructions (man ngag mdzod), was added to the Longchen Nyingtik preliminaries.

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 four-line prayer of aspiration related to the four activities—pacifying, enriching, magnetizing and subjugating—composed in 1891.

This famous prayer is taken from the author's text in praise of the Vasudhārā (Tib. Norgyünma) maṇḍala, dPal ldan lha mo nor rgyun ma'i dkyil 'khor gyi lha tshogs la bstod pa chos dang dpal 'byor rgyas byed.

This popular liturgy, attributed to Padampa Sangye, consists of thirty short aspirations related to the Mahāyāna path in general and the Vajrayāna in particular.

An untitled five-verse aspiration to perfect view, meditation and action and contribute to the flourishing of the teachings.

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 rākṣasa demons.

This short prayer, which tradition attributes to Sakya Paṇḍita, relates the various elements of prostration to aspirations for successfully following the path to enlightenment.

A five-verse prayer of dedication and aspiration for the swift enlightenment of all beings.

This five-verse prayer of dedication and aspiration was composed for an event at which the maṇi mantra of Avalokiteśvara was recited.

A four-line prayer of aspiration in which every line begins with the word vajra (rdo rje).

Brief verses of prayer invoking Buddha Śākyamuni, Prajñāpāramitā, Avalokiteśvara, Guru Padmasambhava, Vajrasattva, and the protector Bernakchen, together with their mantras, composed for daily recitation or use on special occasions.

A simple four-line prayer to realize the ultimate nature and thereby benefit all beings each according to their needs.





Peace and Welfare

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.

A four-line prayer for peace, prosperity and well-being throughout the world.

An invocation of Guru Padmasambhava and plea to eliminate obstacles and the various forms of adversity faced by beings in general and Tibetans in particular.

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.

Composed at the Vajra Seat, Bodhgayā, in January 2005, this is an aspiration for the welfare of the Buddhist teachings and sentient beings in general and for the flourishing of Dharma in Tibet in particular.

Jamgön Kongtrul wrote this for his own practice during a time of great turmoil and upheaval, after Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo advised him of the importance of regular prayer for peace and stability. It has been popular ever since, especially when Tibet faces challenging times.

Written in 1957, the year that Jamyang Khyentse first arrived, this is a prayer for happiness in Sikkim and the fulfilment of the aspirations and prophecies of great masters of the past concerning the welfare of its people.

Composed on the very first day of the Tibetan year of the Water Dragon (26 February 1952), this short prayer invokes the power and truth of the Three Jewels and Three Roots, especially Dorje Drakpo Tsal, in order to overcome invading armies.

In this prayer of aspiration, composed in 1955, Jamyang Khyentse calls upon all gurus, yidam deities, ḍākinīs, protectors, wealth deities and other guardians of virtue to come to the aid of Tibet and its people.

Mipham Rinpoche composed this four-verse prayer of aspiration for peace and happiness in 1888 at the behest of Tokden Shakya Shri (1853–1919).

An appeal to the guru and Three Roots to grant their blessings, thereby ensuring happiness, peace and prosperity throughout the land.

First spoken in the presence of the sacred Jowo Rinpoche statue in Lhasa, this prayer of aspiration is credited with ending a famine that affected Tibet, especially Kham, in 1437.

This prayer to alleviate the terrors of conflict was spoken by the great siddha Thangtong Gyalpo at a time when war ravaged Minyak in eastern Tibet. Such was the power of his words, it is said, the conflict instantly came to an end, and peace and prosperity reigned.

This prayer is said to have ended a virulent epidemic which had swept through the famous monastery-town of Sakya, proving effective where all other measures, including tantric rituals, had failed.

Prayers for the Spread of the Teachings

This prayer for the spread of the teachings of the great Dzogchen master Longchen Rabjam (1308–1364) is also an extensive panegyric on the qualities of those teachings. It is unusual in that the author was himself a Gelugpa — albeit one who studied with Nyingma teachers and wrote on Dzogchen.

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).

A four-line aspiration for the spread of the teachings of Pegyal Lingpa (1924–1988), emanation of Padmasambhava and Nubchen Sangye Yeshe.

Dudjom Rinpoche composed this four-line prayer for the spread of the treasure tradition of Sera Khandro (1892–1940) shortly after receiving the transmission from her direct disciple Chatral Sangye Dorje (1913–2015).

This short prayer for the spread of the Nyingma tradition employs the word for 'three' (gsum) as the fourth syllable in each of its four lines.

His Holiness composed this prayer of aspiration for the flourishing of the teachings of the Jonang tradition in 2001 at the request of Khenpo Ngawang Dorje (b.1967).

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.

An aspiration for the spread of the teachings of the so-called Eight Great Chariots of the Practice Lineage (sgrub brgyud shing rta chen po brgyad): Nyingma, Kadam, Sakya, Marpa Kagyü, Shangpa Kagyü, Kālacakra, Pacification and Severance, and Approach and Accomplishment of the Three Vajras.

Jamyang Khyentse composed this short prayer for the spread of the Guhyagarbha Tantra teachings in Darjeeling, 1958, after explaining Lochen Dharmaśrī's commentary to a small group of disciples.

A short prayer for the spread of the tradition of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, Jamgön Kongtrul and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and for the flourishing of the teachings at Tenchok Gyurme Ling (rten mchog 'gyur med gling), the seat of Chokgyur Lingpa, better known as Neten Monastery.

A prayer for the flourishing of the teachings composed on the occasion of bestowing the name Orgyen Tekchok Ngesang Tupten Pelgye Ling (o rgyan theg mchog nges gsang thub bstan 'phel rgyas gling) on the new temple at Takmo Monastery (stag mo dgon).

A short prayer for the flourishing of the Katok branch of the Nyingma tradition, composed in Katok monastery's great temple in 1934.

Jamyang Khyentse says that he saw a particularly crucial need for this prayer for the spread of Padmasambhava's tradition, which also incorporates aspirations for the flourishing of the Kadam, Sakya, Kagyü and Gelug schools and the lineages of Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye, and Ju Mipham Namgyal Gyatso.

In these twenty-one verses, composed in 1952, Jamyang Khyentse extols the qualities of the Buddha's Words and prays that the teachings may endure until the very end of existence.

Written in Bodhgayā 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.

One of several aspirations for the flourishing of the Nyingma tradition that Jamyang Khyentse composed, this one focuses especially on the Vajrayāna teachings.

This famous four-line aspiration for the propagation of the nonsectarian lineage of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo was composed by the master himself.

This five-line aspiration for the spread of the teachings is said to be the final testament (zhal chem) of the great Dampa Deshek, founder of Katok Monastery.

An aspiration for the teachings of the Buddha to flourish and spread in Taiwan, composed in 2018.

A prayer for the flourishing and spread of the teachings of all the major and minor traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, including the so-called Eight Great Chariots of the Practice Lineage (sgrub brgyud shing rta chen po brgyad), i.e., the Nyingma, Kadam, Sakya, Marpa Kagyü, Shangpa Kagyü, Kālacakra, Pacification and Severance, and Approach and Accomplishment of the Three Vajras.

A prayer for the spread of the teachings of the successive incarnations of Dzogchen Rinpoche Pema Rigdzin (1625–1697) and other figures closely associated with Dzogchen Monastery.

This aspiration for the flourishing of the Riwo Gendenpa tradition of Je Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa is one of the most commonly recited prayers in the Geluk School.

This 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).

While Rabjam Rinpoche was on pilgrimage in Sumatra—identified with Suvarṇadvīpa, the Golden Isle, home of Atiśa's most important teacher, Dharmakīrti—he composed this brief aspiration for the resurgence of Dharma in general and Mind Training in particular upon the island.

This short prayer for the flourishing of the teachings (bstan rgyas smon lam) was spoken by a ḍākinī in a vision.

A four-line aspiration prayer for the spread of the terma revelations of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–1991), composed at the request of Lama Jigme of Khawalung Monastery.

Composed in Lerab Ling in 2013, this is at once an aspiration to realize the natural state of the Great Perfection, a prayer that the teachings of Clear Light Dzogpachenpo may spread throughout the world and a supplication for the long life of Sogyal Rinpoche.

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