May 27, 2010

In Praise of the 12 Deeds Of The Buddha—to be recited on Vaishaka Day

Happy Birthday, Buddha!


In Praise of the Twelve Deeds of the Buddha


Through skillful compassion, you took birth in the clan of Shākya
And quelled the forces of Māra unconquerable by others.
To you with body majestic as golden Mount Meru,
To the king of the Shākyas, we prostrate.

Having first given rise to bodhichitta,
You perfected the two accumulations of merit and wisdom
And to this day perform vast activity.
Protector of beings, we will now offer this praise to you.

After benefiting the gods, you saw the time had come to tame humans.
Descending from the celestial realms in an elephant’s form,
You chose your family.
To you who entered the womb of Mayadevī, we prostrate.

When ten months had passed, and the son of the Shākyas
Was born in the auspicious grove of Lumbini,
You were praised by Brahma and Indra.
To you of supreme name, who made certain that enlightenment was your destiny, we prostrate.

As a powerful child, the lion of humans,
You displayed skill in the arts in Aṃgamagadha
And defeated the prideful ones.
Peerless one, we prostrate to you.

In order to act in accordance with the ways of this world,
And to dispel non-virtue,
You took on a retinue of queens
And skillfully ruled your kingdom—to you we prostrate.

Seeing that the dealings of saṃsāra have no essence,
You took flight from home and traveled
To the Stupa of Purity.
To you who ordained yourself there, we prostrate.

Resolving to achieve enlightenment through effort,
You practiced austerities for six years on the banks of the Nairañjana.
To you whose perfection of diligence
Brought forth supreme meditation, we prostrate.

To make meaningful your efforts since beginningless time,
At the foot of the Bodhi tree in Magadha
You sat in the unmoving posture and awakened completely.
To you who gained perfect enlightenment, we prostrate.

Out of compassion, you quickly looked upon beings.
At Vārāṇasī and other supreme sacred places
You turned the wheel of dharma.
To you who established disciples in the three vehicles, we prostrate.

In order to defeat the negative opposition of others,
In Vārāṇasī, you tamed the māras—
The six tirthika teachers, Devadatta, and others.
To the sage, victorious over all strife, we prostrate.

Through your qualities unrivalled in the three worlds,
You displayed great miracles at Shravasti
And were presented vast offerings by gods, humans, and others.
To you who caused the teachings to spread, we prostrate.

For the purpose of swiftly urging on lazy ones,
In Kushinagar, on the pure ground,
You departed in the deathless vajra-like body.
To you who passed into parinirvāṇa, we prostrate.

To show that perfect reality is free of dying,
And for future sentient beings to accrue merit,
At that place you emanated many relics
And divided your remains into eight parts—to you we prostrate.

The first verse of the above is said to have been composed by the lord Drikungpa. Those that follow were composed by Nāgārjuna.

When you, supreme among humans, were born,
You took seven steps on this great earth
And said, “I am supreme in this world.”
Wise one, we prostrate to you.

First, you arrived from the heavenly realm of Tushita.
In Rajagṛiha, you entered the womb of your mother.
In the grove of Lumbini, you took birth.
Blessed One, god of gods, to you we prostrate.

In your palace, you were presented offerings by eight nannies.
As a youth, before the Shākya clan, you displayed your skill in competition.
In Kapilavastu, you took a princess as your wife.
To you whose body is unequalled in the three worlds, we prostrate.

At the four gates of the city, you displayed expressions of sadness.
You cut your hair at the Stupa of Purity
And practiced austerities on the banks of the Nairañjana.
To you, free of the faults of the two obscurations, we prostrate.

In Rajagṛiha, you tamed the crazy elephant.
In Vaishali, a monkey offered you honey.
In Magadha, the sage gained true buddhahood.
To you, ablaze with omniscient wisdom, we prostrate.

In Vārāṇasī, you turned the wheel of dharma.
In the Jeta Grove, you displayed great miracles.
In Kushinagar, your mind passed into parinirvāṇa.
To you whose heart is like space, we prostrate.

Through the virtue of these brief praises
Of the deeds of the Blessed One, lord of the teachings,
May the conduct of all beings
Become equal to that of the Sugata.

Tathāgata, may we come to have a body,
A retinue, longevity, a realm,
And an excellent name
Just like yours.

Through the power of praising and supplicating you,
May wherever we are be free of
Sickness, poverty and disharmony.
Please cause dharma and goodness to flourish.

May the goodness of the Teacher arriving in this world,
The goodness of the teachings illuminating it like the sun,
The goodness of heart disciples who hold the teachings growing in number and flourishing,
And the goodness of the teachings ever remaining, be present!


Translated under the guidance of The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Acharya Sherab Gyaltsen by Tyler Dewar of the Nitartha Translation Network.

© 2002-2005 by The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Tyler Dewar.

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