17th Gyalwa Karmapa"Buddhism is a way of life through which we develop the qualities of our mind.
This way of life is very unusual, as it is a means to attain happiness without harming others.

THE 17th GYALWA KARMAPA

Teachings

A commentary to the [long] Dewachen wishing prayer - 3

 

The Third Cause:   Developing the Mind of Supreme Enlightenment

May all of us, myself and other sentient beings, be liberated from samsara and quickly obtain unsurpassable enlightenment and stir the three realms of samsara from their depth.
May these virtuous deeds quickly ripen for me and pacify the eighteen causes of untimely death in this life such as being killed through fire, water, poison, arms, evil-doers, wild animals and so on.
May I be endowed with the physical strength of a healthy adolescent in full bloom.
May my material wealth be in accordance with the dharma and never decline, but increase as the river Ganges in the monsoon.
May I practise the noble dharma without danger through demons or enemies.
May all my wishes be fulfilled in accordance with the dharma.
May I be of great benefit for the teaching and for beings.
May I accomplish the true meaning of this human existence.
This concludes the (teaching on the) third cause.

The Fourth Cause:    Making Dedications and Wishes to be Reborn in Dewachen

a) Wishes to go to Dewachen
At the very moment when I and all those who have a connection with me pass beyond this life, may the emanation of Buddha Amitabha surrounded by his retinue of a sangha of monks actually come to meet us without any (of the usual) bardo appearances.
On seeing him, may our mind be happy and joyful, and may there be no more suffering of death.
May at the time of our death by the force of their miraculous powers the eight bodhisattva brothers appear in the sky in front, and guide us indicating the path to Dewachen.
To be attached to wealth and relatives at that time would make me fall back into samsara. To avoid this reflect on non-attachment: The suffering in the lower realms is unbearable, and the joy and well-being of gods and humans is impermanent – understanding this, may I develop a fearful mind and right now develop disgust with samsara that had to be endured from beginningless time until now.
Even those who go from one supreme human life to another experience countless times (the sufferings of) birth, old age, illness and death. In these difficult, degenerate times when there are many obstacles and the well-being and happiness of humans and gods are similar to food mixed with poison, may I have not even a hair tip of attachment.
May I be free of even the slightest attachment to the relatives, food, wealth and companions of this life, which are impermanent and illusory like a dream.
May I understand the countries, places and lodgings of this life to have no real existence just like the places and houses in my dreams.
Like a criminal liberated from prison, may I – without ever looking back – at the time of death escape from this ocean of samsara that knows no freedom to the pure realm of Dewachen.
Having cut all links of attachment and desire, may I fly off in space just like a vulture freed from a net and instantly reach Dewachen travelling beyond the countless universes in the Western direction.

b) Wishes for our practice in Dewachen
Having managed to reach Dewachen without obstacles: May I see the face of Buddha Measureless Light who is actually dwelling there and purify all my veils.
May I take the superior of the four kinds of birth which are: birth from an egg, from a womb, from warmth and moisture, and miraculous birth, and be miraculously born from the heart of a lotus flower.
Obtaining in one instant the complete perfect body, may I receive a body endowed with all the marks and the signs (of a Buddha).
If now I doubt and hesitate wondering, if I am to be born there in Dewachen, the blossom of the flower will not open for 500 years, but inside of it I will be happy and content with all enjoyments. Even though I will hear the word of the Buddha, may this fault of delayed meeting with the Buddha's face not happen to me.
Since we might not yet be a (realised) bodhisattva the very moment we are born inside the flower, relying on the teachings of the Buddha (Amitabha), we make the following prayer to obtain the pristine awareness of a Noble One1: May the flower open as soon as I am born so that I may see the face of Amitabha.
By the force of my merit and magical powers, may inconceivable clouds of offerings emanate from the palms of my hands as offerings to the Buddha and his retinue.
May at that moment the tathagata stretch out his right hand, place it on my head, and may I obtain his prophecy of enlightenment: "In the future you will obtain complete enlightenment."
Having listened to the Dharma, which is profound in view and vast in conduct, may my mind ripen and be liberated.
Chenrezi and Vajrapani being the principal bodhisattvas (of Amitabha's retinue), may I be blessed and guided by these two.
Almost every day countless buddhas and bodhisattvas from the realms of the ten directions come to make offerings and see Amitabha in this land. At that time, when they arrive, may I myself pay homage to all of them and obtain the nectar of the dharma.
c) Wishes concerning how our qualities manifest in Dewachen
Through my limitless magical powers, which are present, if one succeeds in being born in Dewachen, may I go in the morning – when the birds start singing and a great rain of flowers is showered down by the wind – towards the realm of True Happiness in the Eastern direction, to the Glorious Land in the South, to [the lands] Supreme Activity in the North, and Dense Array in the Centre. May I request initiations, blessings and vows of the buddhas Akshobya, Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi, Vairocana etc. who dwell in those realms, make many offerings, and in the evening – when the birds stop singing and the flower rain has become old – without any effort return back to Dewachen itself.
There are a billion realms of pure emanations – such as the lands of Potala in the South, Alakavati in the North, Kurava in the Southwest, and the land of Urgyen in the West – with a billion (emanations of) Chenrezi, Tara, Vajrapani, and Padmasambhava who reside in those lands. May I encounter them and make oceans of offerings, request initiations and profound pith instructions, and then again quickly return without any obstacle to my place in Dewachen.
When we have succeeded to take birth in Dewachen: May I clearly see with my divine eye all the close friends, monks and students and so on whom I have just left behind in the human realm, and may I be able to guard and protect all of them, bestow blessings and at the time of their death guide them to this land.
This "Fortunate Aeon" right now that lasts for one great aeon equals only a single day in Dewachen – may I live countless Dewachen aeons without ever dying and continuously remain in this land.
From Maitreya (the next buddha) to Möpa (Thaye), the final one of all the buddhas who will come one after the other one into the fortunate kalpa of this present world, may I see all the buddhas of the Fortunate Aeon when they appear in this world.
With my magical powers, may I go from Dewachen to meet these buddhas, make offerings to them and listen to the noble dharma, and then again, without any obstacles, return to the pure land of Dewachen.
To be born in Dewachen is similar to the capacity to be born in all other pure realms, since Dewachen unites the totality of all qualities of the buddha realms of eighty one billion trillion buddhas. May I be reborn in this land of Dewachen, outstandingly supreme among all pure lands.
This concludes the explanation on how we obtain the qualities after having managed to be born in this pure land.
d) Wishes in relation to the outer qualities of this realm
The ground which is made of various jewels is as smooth as the palm of a hand and vast, spacious and radiant – blazing with light rays. When it is pressed down (on walking), it gives way four finger width each time, and on lifting up (one's foot), it is as if it (the ground) rebounds. May I be reborn in this joyful, pleasant land of happiness.
There are wish fulfilling trees made of many jewels with leaves of fine silk and fruits ornamented with jewels. On them gather flocks of emanation birds, which are very beautiful in their colours of various kinds of jewels and chant in very agreeable and pleasant ways, proclaiming the sounds of the profound and vast dharma – may I be reborn in this land of great wonders.
The many rivers, all water currents, are of perfumed water with the eight qualities2 and the water in the bathing ponds is of nectar turning in circular movement. They are surrounded by stairs and cornices made of the seven kinds of jewels and display inside fragrant lotus flowers bearing fruit and emanating countless rays of lotus light. The tips of the light rays are adorned with emanated buddhas – may I be reborn in this land of greatest marvel.
e) Wishes for our practice of the dharma
May I be born in this Land of Great Joy, where even the words "eight unfitting conditions" for dharma practice, like being reborn in the hell realms and so on, or "hell" are unheard of – even on searching we would not find them – and where never any suffering is known, neither are the five or three emotions that are like poisons – desire, anger and ignorance making three, plus pride and jealousy – nor the 404 kinds of sickness, mental illness, enemies, poverty, quarrels, and so on.
May I be born in this land of limitless qualities where there are no ordinary beings, no men or women, no beings born from a womb, since all are noble beings born from within lotus flowers. Here in this land all bodies of myself and others are without any difference, of golden colour, endowed with the marks and signs (of a buddha), like the topknot on their head and so on, possessing all five special powers – the capacities of clairvoyance, clairaudience, performing miracles, remembering previous existences, and knowing the mind of others – and the five eyes – the physical eye, the divine eye, the eye of the dharma, the wisdom eye, and the eye of pristine awareness.
Whatever I desire and think of, palaces, all houses and dwelling places in this land, made of a variety of jewels and all enjoyments arise by themselves; no effort is necessary, all needs are spontaneously fulfilled. There is no distinction between you and me, no clinging to a self. All my wishes manifest as offering clouds arising from the palm of my hand, and everyone practises the dharma of the unsurpassable Great Vehicle – may I be born in this realm, source of all bliss and happiness.
A fragrant breeze occasionally brings great showers of flowers, and from time to time from the trees, rivers and lotus flowers arise heaps of clouds with all sorts of enjoyments: agreeable shapes, sounds, smells, tastes and touches. There are no women, but an abundance of emanated goddesses. These many offering goddesses continuously present offerings to me and others.
At the time when I wish to rest, jewel palaces appear, and when I wish to sleep, beautiful thrones arise, covered with many pillows and cushions of fine silk to place my head, together with birds, wish fulfilling trees, rivers, music, and so on. When I wish to listen to them, they emanate the pleasant sound of dharma, and when I do not want to hear them, because I wish to sleep or to meditate in samadhi, no sound, not even the slightest, is heard. Also the ponds and rivers are exactly as I wish, cold or warm, just as it is pleasing to me – may I be born in this land where all wishes are fulfilled.

f. Wishes concerning the activity of the buddhas in Dewachen
You might wonder, for how long Amitabha will remain in this land? The perfect buddha Measureless Light will remain in this land for countless aeons, without going into Nirvana – may I act as his servant and helper for all this time.
Until his final passing into peace when his enlightened body enters nirvana, after two times the number of aeons as there are sand particles in the Ganges, his teaching will not decline but remain. At that time may I myself not be separated from his (Amitabha's) regent Chenrezi and uphold the noble dharma.
When at dusk the sun of the dharma is setting, which means that the teaching period of Amitabha reaches its end as if it became evening for beings, the very next morning – as if it was the break of the next day3 – will arise the time of Chenrezi's teaching and Chenrezi will be a perfect buddha and act as such. He will be named the "King whose light rays manifest the accumulated Splendour of all Noble Ones"4. When this happens, may I see his face and worship him, make offerings and listen to the noble dharma.
During the sixty-six trillion million aeons that he, the Buddha "King of accumulated Splendour", will live, may I continuously be his servant, offering my services in every way, worship him and uphold the noble dharma without ever forgetting to remember his words.
After he, the enlightened body of Buddha Accumulated Splendour, has passed into nirvana, his teaching will remain for three times six hundred billion million aeons – may I uphold the noble dharma during all this time and never be separated from his regent the bodhisattva Vajrapani.
When the bodhisattva Vajrapani becomes the buddha called "Completely reliable Tathagata King of abundant jewel-like qualities" with a life span and teaching just as those of Chenrezi, may we (!) continuously be the servants of this buddha as well, present our offerings and uphold all the noble dharma.
When, at the end of this period, my life is over, may I instantly obtain unsurpassable perfect buddhahood in this or one of the other pure realms.
Having obtained perfect buddhahood, may all beings – just as with Amitayus – be ripened and liberated by simply hearing my (!) name, and may there arise, through countless emanations that guide sentient beings and through other means, spontaneously and without effort a limitless benefit for beings.
Again, [an explanation of the benefits of] paying respect to Lama Amitabha and his retinue while remembering their kindness: The buddha's life span is beyond measure, his merit is beyond measure, his qualities are beyond measure, and his pristine awareness as well as his splendour are beyond measure, and it is said that someone whosoever remembers Your name – be it Dharmakaya Limitless Radiance, Measureless Light (Amitabha) or Bhagavan of Immeasurable Life and Primordial Wisdom (Amitayus) – will be protected against all dangers through fire, water, poisons, weapons, evil doers, demons, and so on, with the only exception of the full (unavoidable) ripening of previous karma. By remembering Your name and prostrating, please protect us from all dangers and sufferings and grant your blessing of excellent auspiciousness.
g) Concluding wishes
Proclaiming the words of truth as part of doing wishing prayers: Through the blessing of having mastered the three bodies of the Buddha, through the blessing of the truth of unchanging dharmata, and through the blessing of the undivided aspiration of the sangha, may all my prayers be accomplished just as it is wished. I prostrate to the Three Jewels. Teyatha Pentsan Driya Awa Bhodhanaye Soha.
This concludes the practice of the wishing prayer.

Additional Instructions and Colophon

I prostrate to the three jewels. We recite these words from 'I prostrate' till 'shriye soha'. When reciting Namo Manjushriye we join our hands and clearly imagine that we prostrate with the body so that this body becomes the ground which is the basis of Manjushri. When saying Namo Sushriye we prostrate so that our speech becomes the ground for the splendour of the bliss of Buddha Manjushri. Saying Namo Utama Shriye Soha we prostrate so that our mind become the splendour of the guru's mind.
As we proclaim this meaningful mantra, making three prostrations, it is said that they are multiplied a million times. At best one does hundreds of prostrations, with an average motivation one does as much as one can, but at least one should offer seven prostrations.
The best would be to recite this Dewachen prayer without interruption as a daily practice, a middling version would be to recite it for one year or one month without interruption, and the least would be to recite it occasionally. If one turns towards the West, remembers the pure land of Dewachen and joins one's hands towards Amitabha, reciting the prayer with one-pointed faith, then there is no doubt that obstacles to one's present life will be dispelled and that in the future one will be reborn in Dewachen. This is what is expressed in the Amitabha Sutra, the Pure Land Sutra, the White Lotus Sutra, the [sutra]"Sound of the drum of immortality", and so on.
This was composed by the monk Raga Asye [Karma Chagme].
May it serve as a cause for the rebirth in Dewachen of many sentient beings!
This perfectly concludes the explanation.
At the end (of the prayer) one should dwell without any reference point, and then make dedications, wishing prayers and prayers of auspiciousness as the final ornament of one's practice. It is very important to continuously purify the realm5, to connect with it and in this way train oneself in the pure vision of remembering this pure land.
A supplementary wish: May all beings be liberated into the lotus family by clearly rejoicing in the name of the lotus, the aspiration path to the land of the lotus arrangement, where the regents of the lotus proclaim all kinds of excellent dharma.
Lama Pe-tse and the novice Lobzang Könchog have encouraged and incited me together with Dro-za Tashi Tse-kyi, thus creating a favourable occasion where the conditions came together to compose the second text to accomplish this pure land, the prayer text of the practice itself. Then, although he was already engaged in other activities like explaining and listening to the dharma, Pema Namgyal who is holding the vows brought forth the superior motivation and wrote down this text.
May all virtue increase and multiply!
Notes

 

i     A noble One is here a bodhisattva on the first level of enlightenment (bhumi) which is equivalent to the full entry into Dewachen.
ii     The eight qualities of pure water are: sweet, refreshing, mild, light, clear, pure, agreeable to the throat and to the stomach.
iii    This image of the dusk of Amitabha's teaching immediately followed by the dawn of Chenrezi's teaching means that there will be no night, no extinction of the teaching.
iv     In Tibetan: Öser Kün-nas Pagpayi Paltsek Gyalpo
To continuously purify the realm means to make more and more pure aspirations.             
END

    


Provisional translation
by Lama Sönam Lhündrub,
Karmapa Translation Committee,
Dhagpo Kündröl Ling, May 2001

A commentary to the [long] Dewachen wishing prayer - 3

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