Lama Tsongkhapa: The Great Praise to Maitreya Buddha

The Great Praise to Maitreya Buddha

by Je Lama Tsongkhapa at the hermitage of Lho Brag in 1395.

May the fire of great loving kindness
Burn away the fuel of anger and hatred;May the radiance of the transcendental wisdom
Illuminate the darkness of ignorance;
May the holders of the Dharma enact the deeds
Of protecting transmigratory sentient beings.
I prostrate to you who is residing
In the blissful realm heaven of Tushita.

Even though you are moistened forever
With the affection of loving kindness,
However you burn away all black relationships
Even though you have cut through all bondage
Which is so difficult to sever.
However you bind us tight in your compassion
Even though you are endowed forever
With an equanimity of peace, however you cherish
Cherishing others amid renouncing yourself.
I humbly bow at the Holy Feet of Manjugosha and
Offer admiring praise to the Invincible Protector

You are esteemed in the speech of the four faced Brahma
And gazed at by Indra’s thousand eyes of devotion
Lord of Love – Kama, possessor of the beautiful Rati
Bows to you without any pride and I humbly bow
In respect, at the feet of the Conqueror’s Regent.

Like a hundred petal lotus in a clear lake
Opened by the radiance of the rising sun,
Like a garden of kundali – lily flowers blooming
In the clear sky is the Lord of the constellation of stars,
So also is the sight of your Holy Body
Wreathed with signs and exemplifications
Capturing the hearts of all migrators, the moment it is seen.
May I be born at Your Lotus Feet, Oh Protector Maitreya
And in all my lives may you adorn the crown of my head

Destroyer of evil, you are free from the surroundings of all states of fear,
Supreme Teacher, You are an
incomparable Hero of the three realms
Please watch us continuously, for we are migrators
Who have fallen into the dangers.
I prostrate at Your Lotus Feet O Compassionate Leader.

You access without obstruction
All the limitless objects of knowledge.
You conquer with your powerful omniscience the evil army horror
Whose thunder bolt weapons fall before you like fresh flowers and
You defeat them with the radiant glory of your ten powers

You scorch the haughty brains of your opponents
Who have the pride of an elephant.
You spread the great sound of your excellent sayings
Amidst them and in their retinue.
You put an end to the foxes
With the speech of their false philosophy.
Endowed with the four states of fearlessness,
You are a lion amongst men

The supreme wheel of Dharma which cannot be expressed by anyone,
Unturnable even by the proud World-Creator, lord of passions,
And not even by priests, ascetics, those training in virtue and so forth,
But You as a Guardian with loving kindness,
Turn the wheel of Dharma for migrators.

Not even the name of “error” affects Your Holy Body and Speech.
You abide in equipoise forever, with a memory which never declines.
Your equanimity, without conceptual thoughts is free of discrimination.
Because of Your isolation Your activities are completely pure.

Your aspiration, perseverance and Your memory,
Concentration and wisdom are completely liberated.
You have long gone beyond all occasions for failure
Therefore your realizations are unsurpassable.

You know all three times without obstruction and attachment.
Your holy body, speech and mind’s activities are completely pure.
You fulfill benefits for migrators until the end of cyclic existence.
You engage with joy in the responsibilities of your deeds.

You have fully perfected the aggregates of extensive qualities.
You have destroyed any chance of incurring the slightest fault.
Please consider for a moment the lamentable plight of me
Who has become the object of you loving kindness.

Although I have a basis of life complete with freedom and richness,
Like a ship capable of liberating from the great ocean of suffering,
I am saturated with the faults of carelessness and laziness,
The stupor of frivolous gossip and the desire for gain and fame.
In directing this birth of great value in pursuing what is meaningless,
I waste away this good body which can accomplish ultimate happiness.
Thus I inhabit this human flesh with an attitude of a beast.
Please look upon me with Your great compassion.

Although I have found freedom and richness,
Which is difficult to find and great in meaning,
When the powerful Lord of Death sends his messenger,
There is no power to reverse it nor can I ever escape from it.
Although I can see myself caught in sickness and death,
I am still uncertain when I will die, even at the time of death
While knowing that I have to go leaving everything behind,
I still spend meaninglessly all the years, months and days.
Please bestow upon me, who is so deluded, your timely compassion.

What need is there to mention the state of definite liberation
When I do not have the confidence to attain even a high rebirth
Which is praised by the Capable Ones as the basis of the path?
Will You not bestow upon me your equanimity?

Although I have a body endowed in the glory of a higher rebirth
With the wisdom that precisely investigates the entire teachings,
If I am unable to find the unmistaken path of fortune
Once again I fall into the causal ocean of cyclic existence
And in that great killer darkness of ignorance
For a long time I am obscured from the points of practice
and completely confused as to how to do so.
Please bestow upon me your illuminating light of wisdom.

Faces covered with hair and with thirsty mouths
Running to drink wherever seeing a flow of water
But are stopped by beings wielding swords and spears
And before their eyes even the water changes to blood and puss.
Mouth like the eye of a needle and a goiter choking the neck,
Unable to partake or enjoy even when food or drink is found.
Whenever eating or drinking a blazing fire burns within me.
Thus in order to survive I even cut and eat my own flesh.

Enveloped by a great darkness of ignorance
Without the capacity to discriminate right from wrong
Killing each other, controlled by goals and hungry beings
Showered by the sufferings of being beaten and burdened.

All peace of mind is destroyed by a burning fire
Of a consuming jealousy, disturbed by the glory of the gods.
The body is slashed and lost from the fighting
Deceived by trickery, with no fortune to see the truth.

Not to mention the experience, merely hearing about these realms
Produces terror in my heart and shudders of fear
Of the complete fall into these great abysses
Of the hell, hungry ghost, animal and demi-god realms.
Having accumulated since beginningless time and still accumulating
Those unbearable evil actions condemned by the holy beings,
I am trembling in the face of this great abyss.
Please save me in time, from this fate of bad migration.

Even in the human realm, with the riches of power and possession,
There is the fear of losing these very high estates.
When ruined by parting from the excellent fortune of higher rebirth,
I am physically exhausted searching for the happiness of my desire.
When I do fulfill the means to the wishes for happiness,
Much worse than attaining the happiness, is instead
The physical pain and the mental anguish
Which is experienced in all the various aspects.
With beautiful bodies adorned bejeweled ornaments
In celestial palaces, surrounded by gardens of pleasure,
Enjoying for long the pleasures of the desire.

Even as the deva-gods, sporting the glory of higher rebirth,
When I am gripped by the signs of unwanted death,
I lose my mind and my heart just stops.
When I see that very soon I unwillingly will have to separate
From the beautiful goddesses capturing my heart
And the delightful gardens for pleasure
From food of nectar, finest clothing and ornaments of beauty
And from the other youthful sons of the gods
More than the happiness of being born in this realm
Is the extraordinary great suffering of the mind
I am burnt by the fiery tongues of the sorrow generated.

By exhausting the joy of fruits accumulated with much effort
Through my actions of goodness, undertaken over many lifetimes
Overpowered by carelessness, I accomplish causes for lower migration
And thus once again I fall into the hellish realms.

Without notions longing for desire and the thoughts of malice,
Having abandoned all deeds of sleep and mental anguish,
By being free of the sufferings from physical and mental harm,
Abiding for long in bliss, through the power of concentration,
Even though I attain the form and formless realms of the gods,
One to not being free from bondage and the compounded suffering
When I exhaust the benefits of my past concentration
Again I fall low down and continue with the circulation.

Thus, even the Lords of life’s migration, the gods and the humans
Are also caught in birth, death, sickness, aging and so forth
And carried by the waves of suffering in the ocean of existence.
What need is there to mention that it is improper
To be attached to the pleasures of cyclic existence?
But my eye of awareness is still obscured to life
Having the wrong wisdom, grasping at suffering as happiness.
I, who am so obscured by such perverse concepts,
Please free me from the great current of existence.

Sunk in the quagmire of desire,
I have strayed from the path of liberation.
Possesses by the darkness of ignorance,
I am separated from the eye of wisdom.
Caught in the trap of fabrications,
I am chained to the prison of samsara.
Tormented by my karmic actions,
I am the object in need of your compassion.

In order to stop at the fearful cliff of cyclic existence,
I must rely upon stainless forms of extensive listening. Through the power of pure reason of correct analysis
Of definitive and interpretive methods of the boundless teachings,
By discerning rightly and by depending on no other
When I definitely need to find the state of impeccable learning,
What need is there to mention the subtle intentions of the Victorious Ones?
When even the most gross points of involvement and cessation
Are not clear and open to the vision of my intellect
Still, the enemy of gross delusion obscures my heart.

And for a long while I have no chance of liberation
Considering this situation, please clear the darkness from my heart.

In the presence of the sciences taught by the Conquerors and their Sons,
I will extend an ocean of learning over many different lifetimes
And then excellently awaken the imprints of practices again and again.
You are the sole eye revealing the fortunate path for transmigrators.
Abandoned by all the pure beings of the past,
I am at a loss of being separated from a protector
In becoming like a guest arriving from a distant region.
It is time that you cared for me with your great kindness.

You are the refuge I humbly turn to again and again.
You are Love-Maitreya, with Your great love for all transmigrators,
In coming quickly and more quickly, please become mine.
My Mahayana-virtuous friend in lifetime after lifetime.

Before the presence of your look without interruption
At all embodied going, with your great love forever;
Whoever recalls with a mind of faith your excellent qualities
Daily, you will come to them.

In a place far away, in order to experience all
The taste of solitude in the place of a fortunate field,
Even though I wish to engage, I am physically unable to do so;
Thus You are the holiest field of merit.

To please You with extraordinary pure thoughts,
With jewels, gold nuggets and celestial silks,
With the tree robes, monk’s staff and ascetic’s bowl,
Practiced by the Capable One for all those training in virtue,
Also emanated through prayers and concentration,
An excellent array of exquisite offerings pervading space
Thus completely filled in offered to the Chief Lord of Humans,
With a mind detached and free of expectations.