In PILGRIMAGE by Erik Pema Kunsang6 Comments

Every year millions of people visit places of spiritual significance to become inspired, improve their lives, for the general good or for a personal, very specific purpose. Some of these places attract us because of its history, a site that is sacred, for instance, because it was here our hero or heroine attained enlightenment. Another place takes our breath away and stops our mind because of its sheer and abject beauty. In both cases we are upgraded, opened up from inside, to a wider and more free state of being. The visit has inspired us deeply.

Samye Monastery

Pilgrims visiting the Samye temples near Lhasa.

There is a way to seal that inspiration in our minds, to multiply its effect, to deepen the insight we feel and to make sure that its benefit will be manifested in our thoughts, words and actions. That way is called pranidhana. It means a resolution which we consciously form in our minds, using the power of will. While we give voice to sentences in the pranidhana below—grounded in noble intent, moistened with altruism and lit up by the intelligence of a completely open mind—the words can manifest in wonderful ways, that become visible for both ourselves and others in our lives. Such is the power of aspiration.

The Great Stupa of Boudhanath that liberates by seeing.

The Great Stupa of Boudhanath that liberates by seeing.

The Vajradhatu Mandala Aspiration is a very precious chant. We can chant it at the end of visiting a special place of pilgrimage, a natural place of spectacular beauty where we feel the purity of the five elements, or the innermost sacred place we reconnect with in meditation practice. The Indian master Padmasambhava sang it spontaneously during his visit to Central Tibet in the 9th Century. He sang it so that we, the people of the future, will always be able to put words to our innermost feelings of love and open-mindedness.

The Aspiration of the Vajradhatu Mandala.

Namo guru. Salute to all noble masters. On the tenth day of the monkey month in the monkey year, Padmasambhava uttered this aspiration on the occasion of revealing the Vajradhatu Mandala in the turquoise-coated middle chamber of Samye. Thereafter, the king and the disciples made it their daily practice. All future generations should wholeheartedly take it up as their practice as well.

Ten directions and four times, conquerors and offspring,
Gurus, yidams, dakinis, hosts of Dharma guardians,
Come here each and everyone, like atoms in the world,
Sit on lotus-moon thrones in the sky before me.

With my body, speech, and mind, respectfully I bow,
And bring outer offerings; inner, secret, suchness.
Noble objects, all sugatas, in your presence here,
I regret the mass of misdeeds I committed in the past,
And apologize sincerely for the wrongs I now have done.
Henceforth I shall stop myself from committing them again.

I rejoice in each and every act of goodness and of merit.
May you, every conqueror, not forsake the wretched worlds,
But please turn the Dharma wheels, Tripitaka and the unexcelled.
No exceptions, may this goodness all be shared among the beings’ minds.
So all beings then arrive at the freedom unexcelled.

Buddhas with your sons and daughters, please direct your minds to me.
With these deep and noble wishes which I here have now commenced
Like Samantabhadra the victorious and his sons and daughters,
Like Manjushri the exalted through his noble wisdom,
May I fully train myself by walking in their footsteps.

May the splendor of the doctrine, all the gurus the most precious,
Like the sky be all-pervasive, like the sun and moon shine everywhere,
And like mountains always remain firm.

May the basis of the doctrine, precious members of the sangha,
Keep pure vows and live in harmony, with the triple trainings’ wealth.
May the essence of the doctrine, yogis of the Secret Mantra,
Keep pure samayas and master the completion and development.

May the patrons of the doctrine, all the kings who guard the Dharma,
Enjoy prosperity in all their kingdoms and support the Buddha’s words.
May the servants of the doctrine, all the noblemen and chieftains,
Brighten their intelligence and possess resourceful strength.

May the sponsors of the doctrine, householders of wealthy means,
Live in riches and enjoyments, and be free from every harm.
Where the doctrine can be practiced, every land with human rights,
Enjoy happiness and freedom, and be free from hindrances.

And may also I, a yogi, while abiding on the path,
Keep the samayas undamaged and have every aim fulfilled.
May everyone with me connected, by either good or evil deeds,
Be protected by the buddhas, presently and till the end.
May all beings enter through the gateway of the vehicles, the unsurpassed,
And awaken into vastness in the kingdom of the Ever-Excellent.

Lady at Lhasa Jokhang

Pilgrim offering a heart-prayer at the sacred Jokhang temple in Lhasa housing one of the very first statues of Lord Buddha.

Exert yourself in this aspiration during six sessions. Samaya. Seal.
The great tertön Chokgyur Lingpa, emanation of Prince Murub, revealed this treasure among a crowd of people. He brought it out from underneath the upper part of Piled Jewels Rock Mountain situated on the right slope of the most sacred place, Sengchen Namtrak, Mighty Lion Sky Cliff.
Written by Tsogyal in Tibetan shurma letters upon silk paper made from the robe of Vairotsana. After the revelation it was then immediately transcribed correctly by Padma Garwang Lodrö Thaye.
May virtuous goodness increase.
Vajradhatu Mandala Aspiration, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang while sitting below the Great Stupa of Boudhanath.

About the Author
Erik Pema Kunsang

Erik Pema Kunsang

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Translator of ancient Buddhist scriptures, author, bridge-builder to modern life, Buddhist teacher & meditation instructor. Board of director at 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. Founder of Rangjung Yeshe Publications and LEVEKUNST art of life. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author. Erik's website & retreats.

Featured painting of Padmasambhava by Inari Mari. Photo of the Boudhanath Stupa by jonasza. Praying lady and Samye by Wikipedia.
Recommended reading: Zangdok Palri: The Lotus Light Palace of Guru Rinpoche.
The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava.

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  1. Avatar

    sharing this preciousness is immeasurably highly held in my esteem for you Erik. Is a melody known to you?

    1. Erik Pema Kunsang Author

      Dear Anna, thank you very much.

      The melody comes while you tap you finger lightly.

  2. Avatar

    Thanks to Pema kunsang la to share publicly…. but I hav one request you to kindly share this pilgrimage chant in tibetan script if possible… I willing to read in tibetan n It may make easy to understand.

  3. Erik Pema Kunsang Author

    The English version of this chant is a re-translation of an earlier one. Formerly, the main aim was simply to understand the meaning while now the emphasis is on flow, beat and meter.

  4. Avatar

    thank you so much for all your messages!! They are wonderful!!
    Thank you!!

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