The Seven Branches

· Poems · ,

The Avatamsaka Sutra

To all the buddhas, the lions of the human race,
In all directions of the universe,
through past and present and future: To every single one of you,
I bow in homage; Devotion fills my body, speech and mind.

Through the power of this prayer, aspiring to Good Action,
All the victorious ones appear, vivid here before my mind
And I multiply my body as many times as atoms in the universe,
Each one bowing in prostration to all the buddhas.

In every atom preside as many buddhas as there are atoms,
And around them, all their bodhisattva heirs:
And so I imagine them filling
Completely the entire space of reality.

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.

To every buddha, I make offerings:
Of the loveliest flowers, of beautiful garlands,
Of music and perfumed ointments, the best of parasols,
The brightest lamps and finest incense.

To every buddha, I make offerings:
Exquisite garments and the most fragrant scents,
Powdered incense, heaped as high as Mount Meru,
Arranged in perfect symmetry.

Then, offerings vast and unsurpassable
I imagine I give to all the buddhas, and moved
By the power of my faith in Samantabhadra’s Good Actions—
I prostrate and make offering to all you victorious ones.

Whatever negative acts I have committed,
While driven by desire, hatred and ignorance,
With my body, my speech and also with my mind,
Before you, I acknowledge and purify each and every one.

With a heart full of delight, I rejoice at all the merits
Of buddhas and bodhisattvas, pratyekabuddhas,
Those in training and the arhats beyond training,
And every living being, throughout the entire universe.

You who are like beacons of light shining through the worlds,
Who passed through the stages of enlightenment,
to attain buddhahood, freedom from all attachment, I urge you:
all of you protectors,Turn the unsurpassable wheel of Dharma.

Joining my palms together, I pray
To you who intend to pass into nirvana—
Remain, for aeons as many as the atoms in this world,
And bring well-being and happiness to all living beings.

What little virtue I have gathered through my homage,
Through offering, confession, and rejoicing,
Through exhortation and prayer—all of it
I dedicate to the enlightenment of beings!


The King of Aspiration Prayers: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions.” From The Flower Ornament Scripture. Translation and reprint permission courtesy of Lotsawa House, a virtual library of translations from the Tibetan language.

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