Prayers & Practices

About this section:
Prayers are ways of guiding our thoughts and energy in a certain direction; they are a technique in helping us transform our mind. By repeatedly thinking of the meaning of what we are saying or reading, we train and familiarize ourselves in a way of regarding and relating to ourselves and others. The testing ground that shows us which qualities are firm within us and which ones still need to be developed is our daily life with all its various activities. Thus for a person dedicated to developing his or her Buddha potential, prayers and the activities of daily life complement each other.

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Ven. Chodron making prayers at the stupa in Bodhgaya.


Abbreviated Recitations
(explanation and chanting on audio (in RealAudio format) are taken from a retreat on The Four Immeasurables led by Ven. Chodron in Singapore, Oct 2000 and from teachings in Seattle, USA.)

This prayer expresses our intention of turning to the Buddha, his teachings and the spiritual community for guidance and help.

More Explanation [2 min] Download | Listen
Chanting - Sanskrit version [1 min] Download | Listen

Namo Gurubhya.
Namo Buddhaya.
Namo Dharmaya.
Namo Sanghaya. (3x or 7x)

Refuge and Generating the Altruistic Intention

Explanation [2 min] Download | Listen

I take refuge until I am enlightened in the Buddhas, the Dharma and the Sangha. By the positive potential I create by practicing generosity and the other far-reaching attitudes, may I attain Buddhahood in order to benefit all sentient beings. (3x)

(Replace the italicized section with listening to the Dharma when said before receiving teachings.)

The Four Immeasurables
The four thoughts expressed in this prayer are called "Immeasurables" because they extend to all beings throughout the universe. Each line is a meditation in itself and invites us to develop awareness and concern for others.

Explanation I [2 min] Download | Listen
Explanation II [4 min] Download | Listen
Explanation on Immeas Joy [4 min] Download | Listen
Explanation on Immeas Equanimity - this was preceded by a discussion where people were asked to investigate why they feel attachment to their friend, have aversion for their enemy, and were apathetic towards a stranger. [9 min] Download | Listen

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
(Immeasurable Love)
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.
(Immeasurable Compassion)
May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.
(Immeasurable Joy)
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.
(Immeasurable Equanimity)

Seven-limb Prayer
The seven lines of this prayer help us to purify our negative emotions and actions and to accumulate a wealth of positive potential.

More Explanation [13 min] Download | Listen (RealAudio files)

Click here for more explanation (mp3 files).

Reverently I prostrate with my body, speech and mind,
And present clouds of every type of offering, actual and mentally transformed.
I confess all my negative actions accumulated since beginningless time,
And rejoice in the virtues of all holy and ordinary beings.
Please remain until cyclic existence ends,
And turn the wheel of Dharma for sentient beings.
I dedicate all the virtues of myself and others to the great enlightenment.

Mandala Offering
The mandala offering involves offering the universe and everything in it to the Three Jewels. By doing so, we free ourselves from the attachment and miserliness that selfishly wants things for ourselves, and by developing delight in giving, our mind becomes joyful and is filled with positive potential.

More Explanation [5 min] Download | Listen
Chanting [1 min] Download | Listen

This ground, anointed with perfume, flowers strewn,
Mount Meru, four lands, sun and moon,
Imagined as a Buddha land and offered to you.
May all beings enjoy this pure land.

The objects of attachment, aversion and ignorance -- friends, enemies and strangers, my body, wealth and enjoyments -- I offer these without any sense of loss. Please accept them with pleasure, and inspire me and others to be free from the three poisonous attitudes.

Idam guru ratna mandala kam nirya tayami.

Requesting Inspiration
We request the lineage of teachers from Shakyamuni Buddha to our present teachers to inspire us so that we can integrate the Dharma in our mind and develop all good qualities.

More Explanation [3 min] Download | Listen

Glorious and precious root guru, sit upon the lotus and moon seat on my crown. Guiding me with your great kindness, bestow upon me the attainments of your body, speech and mind.

The eyes through whom the vast scriptures are seen, supreme doors for the fortunate who would cross over to spiritual freedom, illuminators whose wise means vibrate with compassion, to the entire line of spiritual masters I make request.

Shakyamuni Buddha's Mantra

( Chanting (7x): [1 min] Download | Listen)
(Meaning of mantra: [3 min] Download | Listen)
Tayata om muni muni maha muniye soha
. (21x)

Dedication of Merit
a) Explanation: [2 min] Download | Listen
b) Chanting of dedication verses [1 min] Download | Listen
c) The difference between a prayer and a dedication.
[1 min] Download | Listen

Due to this merit may we soon
Attain the enlightened state of Guru Buddha,
That we may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their sufferings.

May the precious bodhi mind
Not yet born arise and grow.
May that born have no decline,
But increase forever more.

Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In the snowy mountain paradise
You're the source of good and happiness.
Powerful Tenzin Gyatso Chenresig,
May you stay until samsara ends.


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