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February 01, 2008

A prayer for the Beginning, Middle and End of Practice

A prayer for the Beginning, Middle and End of Practice

By Lama Tsongkhapa

I bow before the conquering buddhas, budhisattvas, and arhats of all directions and of all times.

I offer this boundless prayer with the purest of minds to free countless beings from cycles of existence.
By the power of the unfailing Three Jewels and of great rishis possessed of the force of truth, may these sincere words bear fruit.

Life after life, may I never be born into realms of great suffering or unfavorable circumstance
but gain always a precious human form blessed with every conducive provision.

From the moment of birth may I never be lured by the pleasure of existence, but, guided by renunciation intent on freedom, be resolute in seeking the pure life.

May there be no hindrance to becoming a monk, from friends, family or possessions, and for every conducive circumstance,by mere thought may it appear.

Once a monk, may I be untainted as long as I live, by breech of vow or natural fault, as promised in the presence of my preceptor.

I pray that on such pure foundation,and for every mother sentient being,I devote myself with hardship for countless eons to every aspect, profound and vast, of the Mahayana.

May I be cared for by true spiritual friends, filled with knowledge and insight, senses stilled, minds controlled, loving, compassionate and with courage untiring in working for others.

As Sada Prarudita devoted himself to Dharma Arya, may I sincerely please my spiritual master with body, life and wealth, never disappointing him for an instant.

I pray that the Perfection of Wisdom, forever profound,a bringer of peace, unbound by identification,be taught to me as taught to Sada Prarudita,unsullied by the muddy waters of false views.

May I never fall under the swayof false teachers and misleading friends,their flawed views of existence and nonexistence well outside the Buddha’s intention.

With sail hoisted of the sincerest of minds, driven by winds of unflagging effort, on this well-built ship of study, thought and meditation, may I bring living beings from samsara’s ocean.

As much as I excel in learning, as much as I give to others, as pure as my morality grows, as much as I become wise, by as much may I be empty of pride.

I pray that I listen insatiably to countless teachings at the feet of a master, single-handedly with logic unflawed, prizing open scriptures’ meanings.

Having examined day and night with fourfold logic all that I have heard,may I banish every doubt
with the discerning understandingthat arises from such contemplation.

With conviction on dharmas profound gained from understanding born of contemplation,I pray that I retreat to solitude with a perseverance severing life’s attachments to devote myself to proper practice.

When the Buddha’s thoughts dawn upon me through study, thought and meditation, I pray that things of this life forever bonded to samsara and thoughts of my happiness alone never arise in my mind.

Unattached to my possessions I pray that I destroy parsimony, gathering disciples around me
by giving first of material wealth to satisfy them with Dharma.

With a mind renounced may I never transgress even the smallest precept, though it may cost my life,flying forever, therefore, the flag of freedom.

When I see, hear or think of those who struck, beat or maligned me, may I be without anger, speak of their virtues, and meditate upon patience.

I pray I will apply myself to enthusiasm,achieving virtues unachieved, improving those attained,
banishing utterly threefold debilitating laziness.

I pray to abandon the meditative absorption that lacks the power of insight to quell samsara,
that is divorced from the moist compassion to quash nirvana’s passivity, and that mostly throws one back to cycles of existence, but develop instead the meditative absorption that unites compassion and insight.

I pray that I banish false views of emptiness, mentally fabricated and partially known, born from fear of the most profound truth, cherished as supreme,and that I realize all phenomena to be forever empty.

May I bring to faultless morality those so-called practitioners with their wayward ethics, shamelessly empty of pure practice, rashly pursuing path shunned by the wise.

May I bring to the path praised by buddhas those lost and fallen onto wrong paths, swayed by deluded teachers and misleading friends.

I pray that my lion-like roar of teaching, argument and composition flattens the pride of fox-like false orators, and, gathering well-trained disciples about me, I fly the banner of the teachings forever.

In whatever life I may drink the nectar of Buddha’s teachings, I pray to be born into good family and be of handsome build, wealthy, powerful and wise, blessed with long life and sound health.

May I develop the unique love of a mother for those who malign me and harbor ill designs upon my life,
my body or my possessions.

By growing within myself the pure and extraordinary bodhi mind whose nature is to cherish others more than self, may I soon give them unsurpassable enlightenment.

Whoever hears, sees or call these verses to mind, may they be undaunted in fulfilling the powerful prayers of the bodhisattvas.

By the power of these vast prayers, made with the purest intention, may I attain the perfection of prayer and fulfill the hopes of every living being.