Mon-lam: Aspiration Prayers

While the Dam-pa Sum, the three excellents, describe the three core principles of Mahayana practice (i.e., the development of Bodhicitta, the practice itself, and the dedication of merit), in Tibetan Buddhism, these three are almost always followed by one or more (sometimes many more) mon-lam or aspiration prayers. Having earned a store of merit, aspiration prayers ear-mark how one wishes that merit the ripen and bear fruit. In other words, aspiration prayers help insure that the merit we have generated gets the results we are hoping for. As a student with my Teachers, we never did a single piece of practice, from lighting a candle or offering a bowl of water to doing a seven-day drub-chod, without following up with several aspiration prayers, and, just shy of 50 years later, this is still my practice to this day.

All Tibetan practitioners know at least a half dozen aspiration prayers by heart which they recite after any dedication. While some aspiration prayers are lineage-specific, many more are said by all Tibetan Buddhists regardless of sect. Below is a selection of Tibetan aspiration prayers (in English) for non-Tibetan practitioners to use as appropriate. If you are not currently in the habit of saying aspiration prayers after each Dharmic act, I strongly urge you to do so. In my experience, it will make your practice much more effective both in the short and long terms.

Aspiration Prayers

Vajra Knot Aspiration Prayer by Terdag Lingpa

Gurus and hosts of Yidam Deities, turn Your attention towards us!

These positive actions we have accomplished through our efforts today,

All the merit we accumulate throughout the three times and all the virtue that exists,

All gathered together, we now dedicate towards great and unsurpassed Awakening!

 

From now until we reach the heart of Bodhi,

May we be born in a good family, be intelligent, and free from pride,

May we have great compassion and devotion to the Teacher,

And confidently follow the glorious Vajrayana!

 

Matured by empowerment and holding vows and samaya,

Completing the two-stage path of approach and accomplishment,

May we reach the levels of the Vidydharas without difficulty

And easily achieve the two types of siddhi.

 

Whatever appears is perfected in the circle of the net of illusion.

All that is heard is the ineffable sound of mantra.

The movements of thought are uncompounded rigpa.

May Great Bliss beyond joining or separation become manifest.

 

Impairments, breaches, concepts, and obscurations are not rejected but purified on the spot.

Realizing outer, inner, and secret to be inseparable creates fulfillment.

Since whatever appears is self-liberated in the immense expanse of Samtantrabhadra,

May the lower realms be emptied and samsara and nirvana become as one.

 

Kayas and [Buddha] Fields are complete in the Great Bindu.

Great Samaya eliminates any contrivance of acceptance or rejection.

Great Interpenetration releases the knots of hope and fear.

May the Great Completion Dharmakaya become manifest.

 

May the blessings of the three lineages enter our hearts.

May the secret path of the net of illusion be perfected in our minds.

Through the spontaneous accomplishment of the four Enlightened activities,

May unlimited wanderers be freed.

 

By the prophetic guidance of a circle of peaceful and wrathful emanations,

Dakinis protecting us like Their own children,

And Dharma Protectors and Guardians removing all obstacles,

May all to which we aspire be accomplished.

 

May the Teachings of the Victors flourish and spread far and wide,

May the aspirations of all the holders of the Teachings be fulfilled,

May each and every being be freed from all adversity,

And may they receive all that is excellent just as they desire.

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By this virtue may I soon reach supreme Awakening

And lead each and every being to that state of Buddhahood.

Day and night, may I pass the time thinking and examining by what means

These Teachings can spread in the minds of myself and others.

 

May the ocean of Victors in the 10 directions and three times

With Their abundance of compassionate activity

Accomplish all these prayers of mine

Just as they are supplicated.

 

May the propagation of the Buddha’s Doctrine be ever increasing.

May all sentient beings be happy and joyous.

May they practice the Dharma day and night, [and]

May the two purposes of self and others be spontaneously accomplished.

 

In all our lives, wherever we are born,

May we never be separate from the Three Jewels.

May we always venerate Them

And receive Their blessings.

 

May the world have peace and delightful years,

May crops be bountiful and wealth increase,

May the source of every peace and goodness be present,

And may all wishes be fulfilled.

 

In this very life as well

May all types of unfavorable conditions subside,

May we have long life, good health, and prosperity,

And may we attain enduring happiness.

 

Sole source of worldly benefit and ultimate happiness,

May the Teachings remain for a long time.

May those who uphold the Teachings

Firmly plant the victory banner of longevity.

 

Beings infinitely numerous as the limitless sky,

May they attain the Three Kayas without any effort,

And all beings of the six realms, my fathers and mothers without exception,

Together may they reach their primordial state.

 

May the glorious Gurus live long and

May happiness arise for all beings covered by the sky.

May I and all others without exception gather the accumulations.

May we clear away the obscurations and quickly achieve Buddhahood.

 

Towards the lifestyle and activities of the glorious Guru,

May wrong views not arise even for an instant.

May I see all His actions as an example for me.

Through such devotion, may the Guru’s blessings unite with my mind.

 

May everything in every form from now on

Please the Guru through immeasurable devotion,

And, by offering infinite pure bodies and enjoyments,

May You ever be close and Your activities flourish.

 

May the glorious Gurus of the Teachings live long.

May the entire world be filled with Dharma-holders.

May the patrons of the Teaching develop wealth and influence.

May the Teachings remain established for an eternity and all be auspicious.

 

May the Doctrine, the source of [all] benefit and bliss increase,

In all lifetimes may the Dharma be practiced,

May it spread and increase in all countries, [and]

May all wanderers achieve Buddhahood in a single group.

 

Through the compassion of all the Sugatas and Their Sons [and Daughters], and

Their realized activities, prayers, omniscience, love, and power,

Whatever illusory display of unsurpassed primordial wisdom is expressed,

May myself and [all] others become just like that.

 

From the Bodhicarya-avatara

May [beings] be free from all states of no leisure

And be endowed with faith, wisdom, and kindness,

With food and excellent conduct.

May they be mindful throughout their lives.

 

May all [beings] be without want for wealth

Just like a sky treasury

And, without dispute or harm,

May they always enjoy it as they wish.

 

May those who have little splendor

Be endowed with majesty,

And may those whose bodies are worn with toil

Find magnificent and noble forms.

 

May all lower life-forms in the universe

Take on higher forms.

May the lowly obtain grandeur

And may the proud become humble.

 

By these merits,

May every sentient being without exception

Abandon all sins

And always engage in virtue.

 

May they never be parted from Bodhicitta

And may they always engage in Awakened conduct.

May they be cared for by the Buddhas

And relinquish the actions of Maras.

 

May all sentient beings

Have inconceivably long lives.

May they always live in happiness,

Unfamiliar with even the word "death."

 

May the precious supreme Bodhicitta

Arise where it has not arisen.

Where it has arisen, may it not decrease,

But may it increase further and further.

 

May the Nagas bring timely rains

So that harvests may be bountiful.

May kings act in accordance with Dharma

And the people of the world always prosper.

 

May no sentient being ever suffer,

Commit sin, or ever fall ill.

May no one be afraid or belittled

Or their minds ever be depressed.

 

May all the temples and monasteries,

All the readings and recitations of the Dharma flourish.

May the Sangha always be in harmony,

And may their aspirations be achieved.

 

For as long as the sky endures

And as long as wanderers remain,

Until then may I too abide

To dispel the sufferings of wanderers.

 

May all the suffering of wanderers

Ripen upon myself,

And through the might of the Bodhisatva Sangha,

May all wanderers experience happiness.

 

May the Teachings which are

The sole medicine for the sufferings of wanderers

And the origin of every happiness

Be materially supported and honored and last for a [very] long time.

 

May the precious view of emptiness

Arise where it has not arisen.

Where it has arisen, may it not decrease,

But may it increase further and further.

 

May the supreme Realization of the two stages

Arise where it has not arisen.

Where it has arisen, may it not decrease,

But may it increase further and further.

 

By H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche

May we obtain the great confidence of the view wherein both samsara and nirvana are one.

May we greatly perfect meditation which is naturally resting in the unaltered state.

May we greatly accomplish the action of non-action which is naturally accomplished.

May we self-find the Dharmakaya which is free from obtaining and abandoning.

 

At this very moment, for the peoples and nations of the earth,

May not even the names disease, famine, war, and suffering be heard,

But rather may their moral conduct, merit, wealth, and prosperity increase

And may supreme good fortune and well-being always arise for them.

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Enjoyment of the splendor of immortal life,

Intelligence and discerning insight,

Whatever splendor and wealth of samsara and nirvana there may be,

May their auspiciousness be spontaneously present.

 

May merit increase and flourish like the lofty King of Mountains,

May great fame spread throughout the sky,

May there be long life, good health, and spontaneous benefit for others,

And may the auspiciousness of an ocean of eminent qualities be present.

 

May I be free of discord and harmonious with all

Throughout all my lives wherever I am born

So that beings who see, hear, recall, or touch me

Perceive beauty and charm that is ever interesting.

 

May anyone who merely sees or hears,

Remembers, touches, or talks to me

Be instantly freed from all suffering

And abide in happiness forever.

 

May I become the protector, hope, and reinforcement

For all sentient beings equaling space,

Their every desire and hope, whatever they are,

Satisfied by me exactly as they wish.

 

May I become a wish-fulfilling gem wherever I am born

And establish all sentient beings in happiness

By raining down an immeasurable abundance

Of all their desires as soon as they think of them.

 

May all lands and countries wherever I am

Be free of disease, evil spirits, strife, and poverty

And all beings possess long life, health, wealth, and Dharma

In an abundance of auspiciousness and well-being.

 

May I, in this life and in all lives,

Gain access to a sky treasury of wealth

And dispense the four kinds of gifts in the 10 directions,

Ripening and liberating all beings through the 10 perfections.

 

May I be indisputably adorned by the correct stainless three trainings

Such that the world and its Gods render offering and praise,

And, by placing all beings in sublime ethical discipline,

Fully perfect all good qualities without exception.

 

May I be content in a remote hermitage with food and cloths,

Perfecting ultimate Realization without a moment of outer or inner obstacle,

Ripening and liberating all beings without exception

Through immeasurable Enlightened activity.

 

May all the haughty, powerful Gods and demons,

Without need of a moment of exhortation or worship,

Offer their life-force and obey like servants

To protect the Doctrine with abundant magical power.

 

May I, by actualizing loving-kindness and compassion,

Totally pacify destructive hostility that sentient beings have toward each other in the three realms

So that they dwell in the love of a mother toward her only child.  

 

Until samsara is ended,

May the beneficial Teachings not be blown away by the winds of superstition.

May the entire world be filled

With people who have understood and found firm faith in the true Teachings.

 

May all sentient beings, who have all been my mother and father, be completely happy

And may the lower realms be forever empty.

May all the prayers of the Bodhisatvas wherever They live

Be immediately fulfilled.

 

In whatever way You appear, O glorious Guru,

Whatever Your retinue, lifespan, and [Buddha] Field,

Whatever Your name, most noble and holy,

May I and all others attain only these.

 

May the blessings of the Root and Lineage Gurus enter my heart.

May the Yidams and Dakinis accompany me like a shadow follows the body.

May the Dharma Protectors and Guardians clear away all obstacles.

May there be the auspiciousness of attaining supreme and ordinary siddhi.

 

By H.H. the Dalai Lama

May I become at all times, both now and forever,

A protector for those without protection,

A guide for those who have lost their way,

A ship for those with oceans to cross,

A bridge for those with rivers to cross,

A sanctuary for those in danger,

A lamp for those without light,

A place of refuge for those who lack shelter,

And a servant for all in need.

 

By Lord Jigten Sumgon

Glorious, holy, venerable, precious, kind Root and Lineage Gurus,

Divine assembly of Yidams and assemblies of Buddhas, Bodisatvas, Yogis, Yoginis, and Dakinis dwelling in the 10 directions,

Please hear my prayer.

 

May the virtues collected in the three times by myself and all sentient beings

In samsara and nirvana and the innate root of virtue

Not result in the eight worldy concerns, the four causes of samsara,

Or rebirth as a Shravaka or Pratekya Buddha.

 

May all mother sentient beings,

Especially those enemies who hate me and mine,

Obstructers who harm, misleading Maras, and the hordes of demons

Experience happiness, be separated from suffering

And swiftly attain unsurpassed, perfect, complete, and precious Buddhahood.

 

By the power of this vast root of virtue,

May I benefit all beings through my body, speech, and mind.

May the afflictions of desire, anger, ignorance, arrogance, and jealousy not arise in my mind.

May thoughts of fame, reputation, wealth, honor, and concern for this life not arise even for an instant.

 

May my mind-stream be moistened by loving kindness, compassion, and Bodhicitta,

And, through that, may I become a spiritual master with good qualities equal to the infinity of space.

 

May I gain the supreme attainment of Mahamudra in this very life.

May the torment of suffering not arise even at the time death.

May I not die with negative thoughts.

May I not die confused with wrong view.

May I die joyfully and happily in the great luminosity

Of mind-as-such and the clarity of Dharmata.

May I, in any case, gain the supreme attainment

Of Mahamudra at the time of death or in the bardo.

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May there be no interruption in manifesting Dharmakaya

When the time of my death is upon me

So that the spontaneously present Kayas help others

And my remains and relics continue to influence beings.

 

May all sentient beings with whom I have a good or bad connection,

As soon as they have left this confused dimension,

Be born in the west in Sukhavati

And, once there, may they complete the bhumis and paths.

By Gyalwa Longchen Rabjampa

In all lifetimes, wherever I am reborn,

May I attain a higher rebirth endowed with seven positive qualities.

Immediately upon my being reborn,

May I meet with the Dharma and have the freedom to practice it properly.

 

At that time too, may I serve the holy Guru

And engage day and night in the Dharma.

Having realized the Dharma, may I accomplish its essential meaning

And cross the ocean of [conditioned] existence in that very lifetime.

 

May I present the highest sacred Dharma throughout the world

And be of unflagging benefit to others.

Through enormous and impartial benefit to others,

May we all awaken to Buddhahood as one. 

 

By Pema Lingpa

May this and other roots of virtue increase

So that I may possess all those qualities that please and fulfill the wishes of the glorious Guru.

May I be filled with the power to spread and increase the Buddha's precious teachings.

May I attain the three of omniscience, love, and power and become a perfect Buddha.

May all sentient beings, the wanderers of the six families, be freed from samsara's great ocean of suffering and quickly actualize complete and perfect Buddhahood!

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May my aspirations, absorptions, and activities

Be as boundlessly deep and vast and impossible to measure

As the realms of beings and the depths and reaches of the oceans,

The limits of the sky, and the immeasurable realm of Dharmata.

 

May I emanate as endless Chakravartins

To fulfill the hopes of beings and guard the Dharma domain,

And, gaining dominion over all realms equaling space,

Establish all sentient beings in happiness.

 

May I become the sovereign of supreme healing

To instantly soothe the pain of sentient beings

When they are worn out by suffering

Brought on by the future age of disease and weapons.

 

May there be a rain of five desirables in the 10 directions

From the thick clouds of abundance equaling the sky,

Replete with a wealth of food, drink, cloth, silver, and gold

For the times of hunger and thirst during the age of famine.

 

May the tremendous force of my Bodhisatva activity

Manifest precisely in the way appropriate to transform

Each and every sentient being throughout the reaches of space

Until the ocean of samsara is emptied.

 

May I totally subdue powerful and haughty beings

Who engaged a perverse path and were not subdued

By the Victors in the three times and 10 directions

And establish them in Buddhahood instantly.

 

May naturally arising effortless Enlightened activity

Ripen and liberate all sentient beings

With spontaneously present uninterrupted benefit

For as long as there are sentient beings in samsara.

 

May all my aspirations that produce

Limitless spontaneously accomplished benefit for others

Fully generate sublime Awakening, interest, and faith

And be completely realized by whoever adopts them.

 

May all abundance of auspiciousness and happiness

In the 10 directions, three times, samsara and nirvana

Flow uninterruptedly like the course of a great river

And pervade myself and others everywhere in all directions.

 

From the skies may all the Devas shower down a rain of flowers,

From below may all the Nagas raise up vast prosperity,

In this world may all the people live in peace and harmony,

[And] may we have auspicious goodness [and] final, true Enlightenment.

 

By the power of this root of virtue of myself and others,

May the Teaching, source of benefit and happiness, increase.

May all suffering be abandoned together with its causes.

May the ocean of samsara quickly dry up.

 

May oceans of merit be thoroughly completed;

May oceans of wisdom be thoroughly purified;

May oceans of prayers be completely fulfilled without exception;

[And] may all embodied beings especially become Aryas.

 

May there be the good fortune [of having] a superior, unequaled Guru

Who has perfected the two accumulations,

Who accomplishes the activities of the Victors of the three times, has qualities indistinguishable [from Theirs,

And] Who ripens fortunate trainees.

 

By the coming of the Teacher into this world,

The illumination of the sun-like Teaching,

And the brotherly harmony of the holders of the Teaching,

May it auspiciously come about that the Teachings endure for a long time.

 

Pervading all of space, the essence of primordial wisdom is great bliss.

Unchanging, the vajra essence is the very ground of innate nature.

May their unobscured and luminous radiance, like the smiling rays of the sun and moon,

Gloriously adorn this realm of phenomenal existence. 

 

By Ju Mipham

Throughout the succession of my lives,

May I not come under the power of unwholesome thought.

May I always gain power over my mind,

And, no matter what, may I accomplish

Fearless, indestructible mind and space-like courage.

 

All days are virtuous.

All constellations are positive.

All the Buddhas are greatly miraculous.

[And] all the Arhats have ended defilement.

By reciting these words of truth,

May there be every happiness and goodness for myself and others.

 

Through the extraordinary mantric and mudric power of the Three Jewels and Three Roots,

May all the auspicious signs of the container [and its] contents, the states of [conditioned] existence and [ultimate] peace, and their essence

Be drawn in here, be gathered here! May they increase and flourish without waning,

And may bliss, happiness, good fortune, prosperity, and glory blaze!

 

[Just as] sentient beings without exception are as limitless

As the boundless expanse of the sky,

So too may my aspiration prayers for them

Last until the end of their karma and kleshas.

 

Beginning with Samantrabhadra and the great Vajradhara

Down to my own kindest Root Gurus,

Whatever aspirations They may have made to benefit beings,

May I too accomplish them all.

 

Unsullied by effort and exertion,

Like wish-fulfilling jewels and trees

Fulfilling the desires of sentient beings,

May there be the auspiciousness of accomplishing all wishes.

 

Appearances, sounds, and thoughts abide perfectly in the state of Deities, mantra, and Dharmakaya.

By totally merging with the play of the Kayas and primordial wisdom

And by remaining inseparable from the profound and secret great yoga,

May the indivisible bindu of the Enlightened mind’s one taste come about.

 

In all my births, may I never be separated from the perfect Guru,

And, having benefited fully from the glory of the Dharma,

May I perfect the qualities of the bhumis and paths.

May I swiftly attain the level of the glorious Guru.

 

By the root of all meritorious action of the three times

[And by] the undefiled primordial wisdom of mindfulness and rigpa

Sealed with the great purity of the three spheres,

[May we rest in] the vaste expanse of the natural state of the Great Completion. A