Lama Tzong Khapa: Prayer for Rebirth in Sukhavati

Prayer for Birth in Sukhavati, Realm of Bliss

With deeds exalted, you grant splendour unending;once remembered, you hurl far all fear of the lord of death;

with constant love, you look on others as sons and daughters.

Amitayus, teacher of gods and men, I bow before you.

I will write, swayed by compassion, as best I can

a prayer for birth in Sukhavati, land of bliss,

praised again and again by the mighty Buddha

as the highest of realms.

All knowledge of right and wrong covered by layers of ignorance,

all future life in higher realms murdered by the weapons of anger,

lying trussed by the ropes of desire in the prison of samsara,

I am carried helplessly to the oceans of existence by rivers of karma,

tossed by endless waves of aging, sickness, and other suffering,

thrown to the jaws of that savage monster the lord of death,

to languish under the weight of unwanted suffering.

Without protector and with anguished cries I ask with devotion,

as witnesses to the yearnings of my mind,

Amitabha, guide and sole friend to the deprived,

powerful Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, Vajrapani and entourage,

to not forget the vows of the supreme bodhi mind

made over countless eons for our sakes

and like the mighty garuda hawk swooping through the skies,

to come, with the power of miracles, in great compassion before me.

By the power of the immense twin accumulation of spiritual merit stored by others and

myself in past, present, and future, I pray that when death draws near I see before me my

guide Amitabha, his two main disciples, his entourage, and others. At that time may I have

strong faith in this great conqueror and his entourage and be free from the pains of dying.

By recalling and holding in my mind objects of faith, I pray that as soon as my

consciousness has left this body, the eight bodhisattvas arrive by miraculous power to show

the way to Sukhavati, there to be born within a jewelled lotus, of intelligent mind and of

Mahayana family.

Once born in Sukhavati may I gain immediately the powerful dharani memory, meditative

concentration, the objectless bodhi mind, inexhaustible confidence, and countless other

qualities. By pleasing the highest of teachers, Amitabha and all Buddhas and bodhisattvas

of the ten directions, may I take with propriety the Mahayana teachings.

When I have absorbed and understood the true meanings of these teachings, may I be able

to travel in an instant and without hindrance to limitless Buddha realms by miraculous

power, there to perfect every powerful practice of the bodhisattva.

Though born in pure Sukhavati, I pray that I be able to journey, with unhindering

miraculous power motivated by fierce compassion, to impure realms, there to teach every

living being the Dharma according to disposition and so bring them to that immaculate

path hailed by the Buddha.

By quickly perfecting these exalted practices may I, for the benefit of countless living

beings, easily attain the enlightened state of a Buddha.

When the amalgamations of this life are spent,

may I plainly behold in my path of vision

Amitabha encircled by vast entourage,

and may my mind be filled with faith and compassion.

Once the bardo visions have appeared,

may I be shown the path by the eight bodhisattvas

and, born in Sukhavati, may I by manifestation

become a spiritual guide for impure realms.

Should I not attain such exalted states, may I in every life incarnate solely in a form capable

of engaging in authentic study, contemplation, and meditation upon scripture and practice

of the Buddhadharma.

May that form be endowed always with the seven desirable features of higher realms.

In every such existence may I gain the memory that recalls perfectly all my past lives.

In every life may I see all existence as being without essence, be driven by a mind captivated

by the virtues of nirvana, and be ordained into the monastic discipline so excellently taught

by the Buddha.

Once ordained may I live as the monk Akshobhya who, unsullied by the slightest fault,

perfected morality and gained great enlightenment.

Furthermore, in every life having fully comprehended the ways of deluded states of mind

and the paths of purification and freedom, may I develop the powerful and accomplished

dharani memory to maintain total recall over every word and meaning of every branch and

division of the teachings. And in the same way that I retain these dharmas, may I gain a

pure and unhindered confidence to teach them likewise to others.

Furthermore, in every life may I master and never be apart from the ways of meditative

concentrations such as the warrior-like shurangama samadhi. May I acquire supernatural

sight such as that unhindered by matter, as well as clairvoyance such as that which knows

the ways of miraculous powers.

Furthermore, in every life may I develop that great wisdom that, self-reliantly and unaided,

is able to separate right from wrong.

May I develop the clear wisdom that unerringly separates to the subtlest degree deluded

states of mind from paths of purification and freedom.

May I develop the swift wisdom that holds the power to counter, as soon as they appear, all

doubts, fallacious views, and incomprehension.

May I develop the deep wisdom that penetrates unopposed the meanings of scripture

unfathomable to others.

In short, with wisdom stripped of all deluded insight may I rise to the wisdom skilful in

unlocking the meanings of scripture in order to travel, as the noble Manjushri has done, to

the perfection of every bodhisattva practice.

Having gained without difficulty great, clear, swift, and deep wisdom may I, in order to

gather the fortunate, crush false orators, and to please the wise, perfect the arts of teaching,

debating, and composition that focus upon the entire teachings of the Buddha.

Furthermore, in every life, having put an end to a way of thinking primarily concerned

with self, to all laziness and weakness regarding the powerful practices of the bodhisattva,

may I possess a bodhi mind wise in the accomplishment of supreme courage and the

willingness to dedicate myself to others, and may I travel, as the noble Avalokiteshvara has

done, to the consummation of every bodhisattva practice.

Furthermore, in every life, whenever I apply myself to the welfare of self and others, may I

possess a skilful ability to demolish the hordes of Mara, defeat those of extreme views,

thwart all enemies, and may I travel, as the noble Vajrapani has done, to the

consummation of every bodhisattva practice.

To perfect the bodhisattva practice that dispels all laziness, may I in every life first create

the bodhi mind, and by powerful endeavour undistracted for even an instant, may I reach

great enlightenment as the unparalleled Shakyamuni has done.

To eradicate obstacles to practices of enlightenment such as illness to body or mind, may I

in every life pacify, as the King of Physicians, the Medicine Buddha, has done, all pain of

body, speech, and mind, merely by mentioning his name.

Furthermore, in every life may I have the power to live out my span of life as I would wish

and, merely by mentioning his name, may I destroy all untimely death as the conqueror

Amitayus has done.

Whenever life-threatening obstacles approach, may I behold in all clarity Amitayus in

appropriate manifestation, who curbs the threat by way of the four kinds of Buddha

activity, and with such a vision, may every hindrance to life be at once removed.

Recognizing such an appropriate manifestation to be none other than Amitayus, may I

develop firm, uncontrived faith by whose power I will forever be in the presence of

Amitayus as my spiritual teacher.

Furthermore, in life after life may I, pleasing him in return, be forever fostered by an

accomplished Mahayana spiritual master, the source of every virtue of this world and


In his care, may I acquire in him a firm unshakable faith, pleasing him by every means

possible, doing nothing, even for an instant, to disappoint him.

May my spiritual master impart to me every instruction and every teaching in its entirety.

Having understood them faultlessly, may I practice them and be able to bring them to


May I never, even for a moment, fall under the sway of malevolent teachers and misleading


Having developed, in every life, belief in cause and effect, renunciation, the bodhi mind,

and the pure view, may I embark upon them continually with effortless experience.

In every life may every virtuous act gathered by way of body, speech, and mind be causes

solely for the welfare of others and for the purest and highest enlightenment.


Reprinted with permission from The Splendor of an Autumn Moon: The Devotional Verse of Tsongkhapa, translated and introduced by Gavin Kilty, Wisdom Publications, 2001.

For more poems composed by Tsongkhapa please refer to the above, which can be ordered directly from Wisdom Publications on the web at:

The Blissful Land of Amitabha Buddha

E ma Ho!

In the direction of the setting sun, beyond a multitude of innumerable worlds, slightly raised, is the perfectly pure realm of Sukhavati, a land of the noble beings. Although invisible to our fleshy eyes, Sukhavati can appear clearly within our mind. There resides the Subduer and Victorious One of Measureless Light, Amitabha, ruby red and with blazing radiance.

He is adorned with the ushnisha top knot on his head, the chakra wheels on his feet, and all the 32 signs of perfection and the 80 minor marks. He has a single face, two arms in the mudra of equanimity, holding an alms bowl, and wears the three dharma robes. He sits in vajra posture on a thousand petalled lotus and moon disc, with a bodhi tree to his back. From afar, he looks to us with eyes of compassion.

To his right is the Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara, white in colour, his left hand holding a white lotus. To his left is the Bodhisattva Vajrapani, blue in colour, his left hand holding a lotus marked with a vajra. They both extend their right hands towards us in the mudra of bestowing refuge.

These three main deities appear like Mount Meru, the king of mountains.

Radiant, pouring forth splendour and illuminating, – they dwell accompanied by their retinue of a thousand billion bodhisattva monks, all of whom are of golden colour, adorned with the marks and signs, wearing the three dharma robes, and of great resplendence. With devotion – free of discernment between near and far, – and through the 3 doors we prostrate with utmost respect.

From the right hand of the Dharmakaya Amitabha, of Limitless Radiance, Lord of the Buddha family, emanate light rays becoming Avalokiteshvara, and with a billion more emanations of the mighty Avalokiteshvara. From the left hand, emanate light rays that become Tara with a further billion emanations of Tara. From his heart, light radiates out manifesting as Padmasambhava together with a billion other emanations of Orgyen. We prostrate to you, Dharmakaya Measureless Light.

With the eyes of Buddha and throughout the six periods of the day and night, he constantly regards all sentient beings with love. His enlightened mind is ever aware of whatever thoughts and ideas arise in the minds of all sentient beings. He forever hears clearly and distinctly, whatever words are spoken by all sentient beings. We prostrate to the all-knowing Amitabha.

It is said that, – except for those who have abandoned the dharma, or committed the deeds of immediate retribution, – all who have faith in You and make wishing prayers to be born in Sukhavati; their prayers will be fulfilled: you will come to us in the bardo, and guide us into this land. We prostrate to you – the guide Amitabha.

To you whose life spans countless kalpas, who resides here without passing beyond suffering; to you we pray with one pointed respect, as is said that, apart from specific karmic ripening, and with the averting of all kinds of untimely death, so our life may last one hundred years. We prostrate to protector Amitayus.

It is said to join the palms with faith on hearing the name of Amitabha and about Dewachen is of greater merit than offering countless three thousandfold universes pervaded with jewels as gifts. And so with respect we prostrate to Amitabha, Measureless Light.

All who hear the name of Amitabha and develop true faith from the depths of their heart, just once, will never leave the path to enlightenment. We prostrate to the protector Amitabha of Measureless Light.

From the time of hearing the name of Buddha Amitabha until obtaining Enlightenment, we are freed of lower rebirths, only taking birth in a good family and having pure conduct in all lives to come. We prostrate to Amitabha, Boundless Light of bliss.

Our bodies and all our possessions, together with our roots of virtue, whatever offerings that are actually present or conceived in mind including the auspicious substances, the eight auspicious signs, the seven precious objects, all offerings within all time: billions of the three thousand fold universes with the central mountain, four continents, the sun and moon, the wealth of gods, nagas and humans – all this arising in our mind – and by offering to you, Amitabha, may we benefit through the power of your compassion.

We lay open and confess all the non-virtuous deeds which have been committed from beginningless time up to now, by ourselves – by all sentient beings, headed by our fathers and mothers. Through time without beginning, we and all beings, especially our mothers and fathers, now acknowledge and regret our wrongs:

We regret and confess the three physical non-virtuous actions, those of killing, stealing and impure conduct.

We acknowledge and confess the four verbal non-virtuous actions: lying, slandering, harsh words, and loose talk.

We confess with remorse the three non-virtuous actions of mind: covetousness, malice, and erroneous views.

We confess with regret committing and accumulating the five immeasurably evil deeds of killing our father, our mother, our teacher, an arhat, and intending to harm the body of a Victorious One.

We admit and confess the evil deeds similar to these immeasurably evil deeds: killing a fully ordained monk or a novice, causing a nun to fall, destroying a statue, stupa or temple, and the like.

We openly confess the evil acts of abandoning the dharma, like abandoning the three supports: the Three Jewels, temples, and the Holy Scriptures, blaspheming and such similar deeds.

We confess with deep regret all these extremely negative and meaningless actions like abusing bodhisattvas – an evil greater than killing all sentient beings of the three world spheres.

We confess with remorse, all previous disbelief on hearing of the benefits that virtue produces, and how evil deeds bring one the intense sufferings of hell,– this making liberation so difficult to attain, and so is worse than the five immeasurably evil deeds.

We confess and lay bare all falls and infringements of the discipline of individual liberation including the five kinds of faults: the four root downfalls, the thirteen remainder downfalls, the transgressions, the defeats, the individually confessed damages, and the faults.

We openly declare with sorrow all the transgressions against the developing of bodhicitta: the four negative dharmas and the fifty eight downfalls.

We confess with deep remorse spoiling the samaya of the secret mantra: transgressions of the 14 root downfalls and the 8 branch vows.

We admit and confess the non-virtuous deeds gathered by not requesting vows, impure conduct, taking intoxicants and the like, indeed all harmful actions which I was not aware of and unable to voice.

We regret and confess any and all of the transgressions and downfalls of the vows of refuge, empowerments and so on that we received, – with or without knowing how to keep the respective samaya commitments.

Since confession without regret will not fully purify, we confess our previous harmful deeds with deep remorse and shame, with the fear as if our bodies were filled with poison. By not keeping to our vows from now on, there will be no purification. So, even at the cost of our life, we must now determine to refrain from all further non-virtuous actions. Through the blessings of the Sugata Amitabha and all his heirs, may our mind streams be completely cleansed.

When hearing about others who have accomplished wholesome acts, may we abandon all unwholesome thoughts of jealousy and rejoice in their virtuous deeds with heartfelt joy, so accumulating merit equalling theirs, as it is said.

For this reason, let us rejoice in whatever virtuous deeds are accomplished by both realised and ordinary beings.

We also may rejoice in the vast activity accomplished by developing the mind of supreme and unsurpassed enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Let us rejoice in abandoning the ten unwholesome deeds and performing the ten wholesome acts: protecting others’ lives; making offerings; keeping our vows; speaking the truth, reconciling adversaries; speaking calmly, gently and sincerely; maintaining meaningful conversations; reducing desires; developing loving kindness with compassion; and practising the Dharma with understanding – in all these virtuous acts we rejoice.

Let us exhort all the perfect Buddhas, dwelling in all the myriads of worlds of the ten directions, to quickly and extensively turn the wheel of dharma right away. Please hear our prayers through the power of your perception.

We entreat all the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, holders of the dharma, and spiritual friends who are planning to enter nirvana, to remain here and not pass beyond suffering.

May we appropriately dedicate all virtue of the three times to be of benefit to all sentient beings.

May all of us quickly obtain unsurpassable enlightenment and stir the three realms of samsara from their depth.

May these virtuous actions quickly ripen for us and so pacify the eighteen causes of untimely death in this life.

May our bodies be free from illness and blossoming with the vitality of youth.

May our material wealth ever increase as the Ganges in the monsoon.

May we practise the sacred dharma free from the dangers of demons or enemies.

May all wishes in accordance with the dharma be fulfilled.

May we accomplish great benefits for the Doctrine and for beings.

May we make this human existence meaningful.

At the moment when we, and all who have connections with us, pass beyond this life, may emanations of Buddha Amitabha surrounded by his sangha monks actually appear before us.

On seeing him, may our minds be happy and joyful, – free from the sufferings of death.

Through their miraculous powers, may the eight bodhisattva brothers appear in the sky to guide us and show the path to Dewachen.

The torment in the lower realms is unbearable; the happiness and joy of gods and humans is impermanent – may our minds develop a fear of this. May we be concerned about the enduring nature of beginningless samsara.

If we are born as humans again, still countless are our experiences of birth, old age, sickness and death.

In this difficult and degenerating time when obstacles abound, the happiness of humans and gods is like eating poisonous food, may we abandon even our tiniest desires.

Relatives, food, wealth and friends are but like a dream, impermanent – illusory. May we be free from even the slightest of desire and clinging.

May we recognize countries, places and dwellings as unreal – like a ghost town in a dream.

May we escape from the ocean of samsara – like convicts released from prison without even a backward glance – and attain to the pure realm of Dewachen.

May we cut all ties of attachment and desire, and like a vulture released from a net, may we traverse innumerable universes to the West and at once reach the pure realm of Dewachen.

May we see the face of Amitabha Buddha and, in his presence there, purify all our veils.

May we take miraculous birth within the heart of a lotus blossom, the supreme of the four modes.

So may we instantly attain a perfect form complete with all the marks and signs.

Those, who have doubt of being born there, will remain five hundred years, happy and joyfully contented within the unopened blossom, still hearing the words of the Buddha though not seeing his face. May we be free from this uncertainty. May the lotus flower open so that we see the face of Amitabha as we are born.

Through the force of our virtue and refined powers, may we emanate inconceivable clouds of offerings through the palms of our hands as offerings to the Buddha and those attending.

May the Tathagata at that moment place his right hand on our heads and bestow prophecy of enlightenment.

On listening to the profound and expansive Dharma, may our minds ripen and so be liberated.

May the principal bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani, bless and guide us.

With every day, as myriad buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions come to make offerings and behold Amitabha and his pure realm, so may we at that time offer reverence to them and attain the nectar of the dharma.

Through our infinite miraculous powers, may we in the morning go to the sphere of True Happiness, to the Glorious Land, to the realms of Perfected Activity and Abundant Array. On offering profusely to the Buddhas Akshobya, Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi, Vairocana and more, may we request empowerments, blessings and vows. Then may we return effortlessly to Sukhavati in the evening.

May we travel to the Potala, Alakavati, Kurava, Orgyen and the billion fold pure realms of Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Vajrapani, Padmasambhava and the billions of pure emanations. Once there, may we make oceans of offerings and request empowerments and profound essential instructions. So may we return swiftly and freely to our own places within Sukhavati.

May we guard, protect and impart blessings to our previous friends, monks, students and others, clearly seeing them with our celestial eye. May we thus, at their time of death, lead them to this land.

A single day within Sukhavati continues for the complete Fortunate Aeon in which we reside.  May we remain in Sukhavati constant and free of dying for countless aeons. From Maitreya through to Möpa, may we see all the Buddhas of this Fortunate Aeon, as they appear in our world.

With magical powers, may we proceed there, make offerings to the buddhas and listening to the noble dharma. Finally, may we return unhindered to the pure land of Sukhavati.

May we be reborn in this especially sublime pure land of Sukhavati that manifests all the qualities of the buddha realms of myriads of buddhas.

May we be reborn in this gentle, peaceful land of bliss, where the ground is of jewel, even like the palm of one’s hand, vast, spacious, radiant and sparkling with light rays, cushioning pressure and then returning level.

May we be reborn in this wondrous land where wish fulfilling trees are arrayed with numerous gems, with leaves of finest silk and fruits as jewel ornaments. On them appear flocks of birds, harmoniously intoning and proclaiming the sounds of the profound and expansive dharma.

May we be reborn in this most astonishing of lands where the many rivers are of scented water with the eight pure qualities as is the water of nectar in the bathing pools. The surrounding stairs and ornaments are adorned with the seven kinds of jewels. Fragrant lotus blossoms bearing fruit are radiating innumerable light rays, the tips of which are adorned with emanations of the Buddha.

May we be reborn in this Land of Great Bliss, where talk of the eight adverse conditions or hell is never heard. Where no form of suffering is experienced, be it the three or five emotional poisons, physical or mental disease, enemies, poverty, discord, and the like.

May we be reborn in this land of boundless pure qualities where, not having lower forms or births from a womb, all are born from lotus flowers. All bodies are of golden colour and equally endowed with the excellent marks and signs, like the ushnisha, and so on; all possessing the five precognitions and the five clairvoyances.

May we be reborn in this realm of all arising bliss and joy; where bejewelled celestial palaces appear of themselves; where enjoyments effortlessly arise at their very thought, and all ones needs are spontaneously fulfilled; where cherishing a self and differences of you or I no longer exist. All wishes arise as offering clouds from the palms of one’s hand, and everyone practices in accordance to the dharma of the unsurpassable Mahayana.

Fragrant breezes bring great showers of flowers, and heaps of offering clouds of pleasing forms, sounds, fragrances, tastes and touches – all that one may enjoy  arises  from the trees, rivers and lotus flowers. With concepts free of femininity, hosts of goddesses appear. These offering goddesses of various forms forever present offerings.

Jewel palaces arise through ones mere wish to rest; and on wishing to sleep, there appear magnificent jewel thrones adorned with various cushions and pillows of delicate silk, surrounded with birds and wish fulfilling trees, rivers, music, and more. At ones wish, the sound of Dharma resounds; when one no longer wishes to hear, there is silence. As for the soothing bathing pools and streams, they become hot or cold to ones wishes. May we be reborn in this realm of accomplishing all wishes.

The perfect buddha Amitabha will remain in this pure land for myriads of aeons, before passing into Nirvana. May we serve him until then. On passing into peace his teaching will remain for aeons as numerous as the grains of sand in two Ganges rivers. At that time may we uphold the noble dharma, not being separated from his regent Avalokiteshvara.

As the sun of the dharma sets in the West, so will manifest the dawn of the enlightenment of Avalokiteshvara. Renowned as “the Buddha, the utterly sublime sovereign, glorious and radiant”, may we behold him, make offerings and listen to the noble dharma.

For the sixty-six trillions of myriad aeons that he manifests, may we continue to serve and venerate him; and ever mindful, may we maintain the holy dharma.

After his passing into nirvana, his teaching will remain for thrice six billions of myriad aeons. For all this time, may we maintain the dharma and be inseparable from Vajrapani.  With life span and teaching equalling Avalokiteshvara, so shall Vajrapani become the buddha “The utterly stable Tathagata, Sovereign with arrays of precious good qualities”. May we present our offerings and serve this Buddha continuously by upholding all the noble dharma.

When one’s life is over, at that moment may we obtain unsurpassed perfect Enlightenment in this pure land or in another pure realm.

On the attainment of perfect Buddhahood and in the same way as Amitayus, may all beings be ripened and liberated through the hearing of our name. With limitless skill and countless emanations, may we guide sentient beings, spontaneously accomplishing their welfare.

The life span of the buddha, his virtue and qualities, his pristine awareness, his splendour are infinite. So is it said that whoever recalls the names – Amitabha Dharmakaya of Boundless Brilliance, Immeasurable Radiance, or Amitayus Lord of Immeasurable Life and Primordial Wisdom – will be protected from all dangers of fire, water, poisons, weapons, harmful and demonic forces, and more besides, the only exception being fully ripened previous karma.

We prostrate and beseech you by name, protect us from all fear and suffering and grant your blessing of abundance and auspiciousness.

Through the blessing of attaining to the three bodies of the Buddha, through the blessing of the truth of unchanging dharmata, and through the blessing of the unceasing aspirations of the sangha, may all our prayers be also accomplished.

We prostrate to the Three Jewels. Teyata Pentsan Driya Awa Bhodhanaye Soha.

We prostrate to the three jewels. Namo Manjushriye. Namo Sushriye. Namo Utama Shriye Soha.

This prayer was composed by the renowned buddhist teacher Karma Chagme. Since this original composition was drawn from the sutras of the Buddha Sakyamuni, no transmission for reading this prayer is required.

This rough translation to English of this magnificent prayer is offered as a basis for others to read, take to heart, copy and distribute with their glorious intention to benefit others; and specifically that all – wishing to make connections to buddha Amitabha and aspiring to be reborn in Sukhavati – may make the efforts to gather the 4 causes and so reap the experience and joy of rebirth in this wondrous land of bliss.

With apologies for imperfections!

Karma Zhisil Drayang