Seven Branches Series
Practices › Seven Branches
Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Texts on the theme of the seven-branch (yan lag bdun pa; saptāṅga) service, commonly consisting of 1) prostration/homage, 2) making offerings, 3) confession of negative actions, 4) rejoicing in others' virtue, 5) requesting the turning of the dharma wheel, 6) imploring teachers to remain and not pass into parinirvāṇa, and 7) dedicating merit to the enlightenment of all sentient beings.
Lists of the seven branches (yan lag bdun; saptāṅga) vary. In this short text by the influential Kashmiri scholar Śākyaśrībhadra, the seven are: 1) prostration, 2) offering, 3) taking refuge, 4) confession, 5) rejoicing, 6) generating bodhicitta, and 7) making prayers of aspiration.
This practice of eight branches (prostration, taking refuge, offering real and imagined gifts, confession, rejoicing, generating bodhicitta, offering the body, and dedication of merit) derive from the Tantra System Vajrakīla (rgyud lugs phur pa), which is part of the Nyingma Kama collection, but appear in other texts, especially empowerment rites.