Confession Series

Practices › Confession

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Whatever negative acts I have committed,

While driven by desire, hatred and ignorance,

With my body, my speech and also with my mind,

I confess and purify each and every one.

Lotsawa House presents the following texts related to the practice of confession (bshags pa):

Canonical Works

These verses taken from the Vajrapañjara Tantra, which are often recited as part of longer rituals and practices, include lines for taking refuge and generating bodhicitta.

A popular Nyingma version of the famous Bodhisattvas’ Confession of Downfalls (byang chub sems dpa’i ltung bshags), also known as the Sūtra of the Three Heaps (phung po gsum pa’i mdo), invoking the thirty-five buddhas of confession as a means of purifying transgressions of vows and downfalls of the bodhisattva vow.

Another popular liturgy taken from the Immaculate Confession Tantra (Dri med bshags rgyud). The version here is taken from that tantra's eleventh chapter.

The Ārya caturdharmanirdeśa nāma mahāyāna sūtra (‘Phags pa chos bzhi bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo, Toh 249) is the ultimate source for the doctrine of the four powers (stobs bzhi), a popular feature of Tibetan teachings on confession. In this initial, canonical presentation, however, the four are referred to as 'factors', although two are also called 'powers'. They are: 1) the action of total rejection, 2) the action as remedy, 3) the power of restoration, and 4) the power of support.

This confession liturgy, popularly known as Yeshe Kuchokma (ye shes sku mchog ma), is taken from the fourth chapter of the Immaculate Confession Tantra (Dri med bshags rgyud).

These verses from the final, sixteenth chapter of the Immaculate Confession Tantra (Dri med bshags rgyud) make up one of the most popular confessional liturgies in the Nyingma tradition.

The second chapter of the Bodhicaryāvatāra (Toh 3871) includes verses on making offerings (mchod pa 'bul ba), taking refuge (skyabs su 'gro ba) and the confession of negativity (sdig pa bshags pa).




This version of Aśvaghoṣa’s text outlining the fourteen root downfalls of the Vajrayāna differs from the version in the Tengyur; in addition to some minor variations, it contains additional lines to facilitate the confession of all fourteen forms of transgression.

This treasure text invoking the Thirty-Five Buddhas of Confession was revealed by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa as part of the cycle of The Great Compassionate One, Lotus Uṣṇīṣa (thugs rje chen po pad+ma gtsug gtor). It presents a concise version of the famous Bodhisattva’s Confession of Downfalls (byang chub sems dpa'i ltung ba bshags pa).

This version of the Yeshe Kuchokma (ye shes sku mchog ma) was arranged by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa (1829–1870) for recitation during the Ngakso Drupchen (sngags gso sgrub chen) and the Khorwa Dongdruk (‘khor ba dong sprug) practice. Chokgyur Lingpa has added an additional line as well as the syllables oṃ, āḥ and hūṃ to the root text.

This version of the famous confession, revealed as part of the Tukdrup Barché Kunsel (thugs sgrub bar chad kun sel) cycle, differs slightly from the eleventh chapter of the Immaculate Confession Tantra, with minor variations throughout and an additional two lines at the very end.

This popular confessional liturgy, revealed as a terma (gter ma) by Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, is structured around the short six-syllable mantra of Vajrasattva, oṃ vajra sattva hūṃ.

An easily chantable version of the popular confessional liturgy revealed by Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje that incorporates Vajrasattva's six-syllable mantra.

This practice of confession and fulfilment, popularly known as Narak Kong Shak, was arranged by combining elements of Guru Chökyi Wangchuk’s revelation called Kagye Sangwa Yongdzok together with the Kagye Drakpo Rangjung Rangshar of the Northern Treasures.

A simple practice for confessing all forms of non-virtuous action and all impairments and breakages of vows and commitments.

This brief practice of confession and fulfilment (skong bshags) is associated with the Tsokyé Nyingtik revelation.

A simple rite of confession to amend any impairments and breakages of samaya and to purify actions that upset the dharma protectors.

This short text outlines a simple method for repairing impairments and breakages of the samaya commitments.

A practice of confession and offering as a means to purify vows and restore commitments related to every level of the path, from the śrāvaka vehicle through to Atiyoga or the Great Perfection. The text was first revealed by Jigme Lingpa in 1760 while he was staying at Samye Chimphu.

Karma Chakme is said to have received this confessional liturgy, which includes a number of mantras, from Yama Dharmarāja (gshin rje chos kyi rgyal po) in a vision.

A brief petition to the earth lords, or spirits of the land (sa bdag), requesting purification for various forms of action that disturb the natural environment.

A short practice to confess misdeeds and pledge never to repeat them. It incorporates the four powers (stobs bzhi) first introduced in the Caturdharmanirdeśa sūtra: 1) power of support, 2) antidotal power, 3) power of repentance, and 4) power of restraint.

A simple yet comprehensive practice of confession that incorporates the four powers (stobs bzhi).

Based on an earlier text by Paṇchen Lobzang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570-1662), this is a short practice of confession that incorporates the four powers (stobs bzhi): 1) power of support, 2) antidotal power, 3) power of repentance, and 4) power of restraint.

This practice of invoking and paying homage to various buddhas is said to be a powerful means of purifying obscurations and accumulating merit, tantamount to reciting the Kangyur in its entirety. It belongs to the Profound Secret Teachings of The Natural Liberation Pervading Space (mkha' khyab rang grol) revelation.

Although part of the Space-Pervading Self-Liberation (mkha' khyab rang grol) revelation, this confession is virtually identical to the popular Yeshe Kuchokma liturgy that is taken from the Immaculate Confession Tantra (Dri med bshags rgyud).


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