Nyingma Mönlam Series

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Monk prostrating himself before the Mahābodhi stūpa, Bodhgaya

The following texts are recited during the annual Nyingma Mönlam prayer festival in Bodhgaya:

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.

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 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 to Guru Padmasambhava for the elimination of all obstacles on the spiritual path is the outer practice of The Guru's Heart Practice: 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.

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.

This daily 'hand-clapping' (thal rdeb) practice of the lion-faced ḍākinī Siṃhamukhā/Siṃhavaktrā (seng gdong ma) is particularly associated with the elimination of adversity, threats and dangers.

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.

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.

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.

A brief prayer to the lineage of Zabtik Drolchok, the practice of Green Tārā which was revealed as a mind terma by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Part of the Namchö (gnam chos) 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.

This prayer for the dedication of virtue (dge ba bsngo ba) is said to be the words of Buddha Amitābha, spoken to Tulku Mingyur Dorje in 1657.

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 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.

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.

Le'u Dünma

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