Literary Genres › Praise
Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Saluting them with an endless ocean of praise,
With the sounds of an ocean of different melodies
I sing of the buddhas’ noble qualities,
And praise all those who have gone to perfect bliss.
A selection of praises (Skt. stotra; Tib. bstod pa) to various Buddhist deities and prominent masters (arranged according to subject):
Trulshik Rinpoche compiled these brief verses of praise and mantras so that all those connected with him could recite them daily or on special occasions. The deities included are Buddha Śākyamuni, Vajrasattva, Amitāyus, Amitābha, Ratnaśikhin, Medicine Buddha, Maitreya, Avalokiteśvara, Mañjuśrī, Vajravidāraṇa, Vijayā, Tārā, Guru Padmasambhava, and the union of Hayagrīva, Vajrapāṇi and Garuḍa.
- The Sun that Causes the Lotus of Intelligence to Bloom: In Praise of the Lineage of Gurus for the Noble Abhidharma by Rongtön Sheja Künrig
This is the commonly recited version of Bhikṣuṇī Lakṣmī’s famous praise of Avalokiteśvara, often known as the Po Praise. It includes several differences from the version preserved in the Tengyur, as noted in the text.
In a series of poetic verses Jigme Lingpa pays homage to the Buddha Śākyamuni by recalling his most significant deeds, from his initial descent from the heaven of Tuṣita to his final attainment of parinirvāṇa.
Popularly known as "With Skilful Means and Compassion..." (thabs mkhas thugs rje ma), this is the liturgical arrangement of the Dvādaśakārastotra, Nāgārjuna's praise of the twelve great acts performed by Buddha Śākyamuni.
- The Swift Infusion of Blessings: In Praise of the Mahāpaṇḍita Candragomin by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa
- The Excellent Bilva Tree of Auspiciousness: Praise and Prayer to Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Ga Rabjampa Kunga Yeshe
- Praise of Kunga Yeshe, Great Being and Master of Extensive Scriptural Traditions by Gatön Ngawang Lekpa
In these five verses, Ngawang Lekpa praises the body, speech, mind, qualities and activity of Ga Rabjampa, the great scholar and founder of Tharlam Monastery. The author incorporates the syllables of the master's name, Kunga Yeshe (meaning total joy and wisdom), into every verse.
Gatön Ngawang Lekpa
- Cloud Banks of Blessings: Praise and Prayer to the Vajradhara Ngawang Lekpa by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Gorampa Sonam Senge
This very short work in praise of Guru Padmasambhava—the Great Guru of Uḍḍiyāna—appears at the beginning of the first volume of the Drikung Yangre Gar (ʾbri gung yang re sgar) edition of Jikten Sumgön's collected works.
This praise to the Master Padmasambhava is part of a set of three praises commemorating the lives of the so-called Abbot, Master and Dharma-King (Khen Lob Chö Sum), i.e., Śāntarakṣita, Guru Padmasambhava and Trisong Detsen.
This four-line praise may be the earliest prayer to Padmasambhava preserved in writing. It forms the colophon of the Noose of Methods (IOL Tib J 321, Thabs zhags, or Upāyapāśa), a Mahāyoga commentary attributed to Padmasambhava. A 10th century manuscript of the Noose of Methods including this praise was found at the Dunhuang caves. The prayer shows some similarity to the famous Seven-Line Prayer (tshig bdun gsol ‘debs).
- Fully Blossomed Learning and Contemplation: A Praise of the Great Spiritual Friend Jamyang Gyaltsen by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
Jamyang Loter Wangpo
- The Bestowal of Supreme Blessings: Praise to the Vajradhara Loter Wangpo by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
- Sweet Melody to Delight the Glorious Deity: In Praise of Śrī Kālīdevī by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Written in Kolkata, a city associated with Kālī, these verses of praise identify the goddess as having "a hundred names and thousand attributes" and as being one with Samantabhadrī, Prajñāpāramitā, Ekajaṭī and many other prominent female deities in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon.
A poem of eight verses praising the bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha (Essence of the Earth), playing on the literal meaning of his name and evoking the earth's qualities as a nurturing support and foundation for growth and development.
Taken from his miscellaneous writings, Khenpo Shenpen Nangwa's text compares the great Dzogchen master Longchen Rabjam to the most celebrated Buddhist saints of India and praises him as the unique embodiment of all the qualities exhibited by Tibet's own learned and accomplished figures.
Lords of the Three Families
- Cutting through the Four Demons in Absolute Space: A Praise of Machik Labdrön by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
In this verse panegyric, Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö praises the great Machik Labdrön (ma gcig lab sgron, 1031–1129) and incorporates references to many key terms and concepts from the Chöd ('Cutting') practice for which she is renowned.
This praise of Mañjuśrī for increasing the power of one's intelligence consists of fourteen four-line verses—fourteen, says Mipham, being the number of vital essences (dwangs ma) in beings and the world. The text was written in 1906.
Popularly known as the Gang gi lodröma (based on its first four syllables), this is perhaps the most famous praise of Mañjuśrī recited by Tibetan Buddhists. According to legend it was composed by 500 Indian paṇḍitas simultaneously, in response to a request from their abbot, after whom it takes its formal name—Śrī Jñāna Guṇaphala (dpal ye shes yon tan bzang po), "Glorious Wisdom's Excellent Qualities".
Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö praises the great eleventh-century poet and yogi Milarepa, describing him as a ‘crown-jewel’ among the many siddhas, or accomplished adepts, to have appeared in the Land of Snows.
- The Definitive Ascertainment of Tantra: In Praise of the Great Master Milarepa by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo
- The Purifier of Ethical Discipline: An Aspirational Praise to Vajradhara Kunga Zangpo by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Rogza Sönam Palge
These verses in praise of Rogza Sönam Palge (rog bza' bsod nams dpal dge, 1800–1884) provide a rough sketch of the master's life, including his dates. In fact, this is the only known text that specifies the years of his birth and parinirvāṇa.
This is a poetic guide to the sacred site of Yangleshö (yang le shod) near the village of Pharping to the south of the Kathmandu Valley, where it is said that Guru Padmasambhava attained the level of a Mahāmudrā vidyādhara. Jamyang Khyentse wrote the text following a series of visionary experiences; it has the quality of a revelation and ends with a series of cryptic prophecies.
- A Song of Perfect Joy: In Praise of the Sacred Sites of Rājgṛha, Vulture Peak and Nālandā by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Verses in praise of three sacred sites: Rājgṛha (rgyal po'i khab), the ancient capital of Magadha; Vulture Peak (bya rgod spungs ri), where Buddha taught the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras; and Nālandā (nālendra), site of the famous monastic university.
Although entitled a praise of Vārāṇasī, this short poetic work concerns Sarnath or Ṛṣipatana, located approximately 10 kilometres from that ancient city. It was in the deer park of Sarnath that Buddha Śākyamuni first taught, setting in motion the Wheel of Dharma.
Verses in praise of the sacred site of Yangleshö (yang le shod) near the village of Pharping to the south of the Kathmandu Valley, where it is said that Guru Padmasambhava attained the level of a Mahāmudrā vidyādhara.
In this verse text, probably composed in 1958, Jamyang Khyentse playfully marvels at modernity and expresses a sense of wonder upon encountering the vast Indian city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and all its unfamiliar attractions for the first time. The real highlight of the city as he sees it, however, is the chance to view the Buddha's relics, which were housed at the Indian Museum.
- Offering Clouds to Delight the Victorious Ones, Combining A Praise of Redreng with a Prayer of Aspiration by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Composed in 1955 when Jamyang Khyentse passed through the area, this is a short verse text in praise of Redreng/Reting, the famous monastery founded by Atiśa's foremost disciple, Dromtönpa Gyalwé Jungné, in 1056–1057.
Jamyang Khyentse wrote this text in praise of Lhodrak Kharchu as he passed through the sacred place in 1956. The site is associated with Namkhai Nyingpo, who is said to have attained accomplishment here through the practice of Yangdak Heruka.
A short poetic text in praise of Śrāvastī (mnyan yod), where Buddha Śākyamuni spent many rainy seasons and where, it is said, he defeated rival teachers in a contest of miraculous ability. Jamyang Khyentse composed the work during a visit to the town in 1956.
- The White Lotus Garland of Immortality: In Praise of the Supreme Vajra Place, Tso Pema (Lotus Lake) by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Tso Pema (mtsho padma) or 'Lotus Lake' in Rewalsar, Northern India is identified with a lake in the ancient kingdom of Zahor, which was created, it is said, when the king and his ministers attempted to burn Guru Padmasambhava and his consort Mandāravā alive. The master transformed his funeral pyre into a lake, where he appeared, unharmed and seated upon a lotus.
This praise to the Abbot Śāntarakṣita is part of a set of three praises commemorating the lives of the so-called Abbot, Master and Dharma-King (Khen Lob Chö Sum), i.e., Śāntarakṣita, Guru Padmasambhava and Trisong Detsen.
Jamyang Khyentse wrote this hymn in praise of the goddess Sarasvatī while he was visiting Palpung Monastery in Eastern Tibet. The text includes her mantra, the recitation of which is said to bring increased intelligence.
- Intensely Brilliant Wisdom: In Praise of the Great Elder Smṛtijñāna by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
- The Praise to Tārā with Twenty-One Verses of Homage and The Excellent Benefits of Reciting the Praise from the Words of the Buddha
Perhaps the most popular of all prayers to Tārā, this tantra praises her twenty-one forms, both peaceful and wrathful. The first twenty-one verses are at once a series of homages to Tārā and a poetic description of her physical features, postures, qualities, abilities, mantras, and hand gestures. The remaining six verses describe how and when the Praise should be recited, as well as the benefits of its recitation.
Jamyang Khyentse says that he spontaneously composed these verses in praise of the great Jetsün Tāranātha (1575–1634) some time during the Water Bird year (1933–1934) after reading the master's writings.
- A Blossoming of the Intellect: In Praise of the Great Pioneer Thönmi Sambhoṭa by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
This praise to the Emperor Tri Songdetsen is part of a set of three praises commemorating the lives of the so-called Abbot, Master and Dharma-King (Khen Lob Chö Sum), i.e., Śāntarakṣita, Guru Padmasambhava and Tri Songdetsen.
Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa
One of two texts in praise of Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa (1357–1419) that Jamyang Khyentse composed, this one dates from early 1959 and follows what he describes as a delusory dream of filling a statue of the master.
- The Staircase Ascending to Khecara: A Praise in Accord with the Arrangement of the Realm of Holy Nāro Khecarī by Ngorchen Könchok Lhundrup