Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition there are many aspiration prayers. These kinds of prayers are called mönlam [Tibetan: smon lam]. Monlam literally translates as “path of aspiration” or “path of intention.” In this way, the purpose of aspiration prayers is to plant seeds that will mature and ripen into positive results. Once these seeds of aspiration encounter supportive secondary causes, they naturally ripen into the result. These supportive secondary conditions include cultivating faith and devotion along with the four immeasurable qualities, developing the ten perfections which include patience, generosity, and skillful means among others, offering the prayers without attachment to the result, and offering them for the benefit of all migrating beings that experience suffering and misery, and so on.
When offering the prayers, we imagine that all the countless other sentient beings are offering the prayers in unison with us. This limitless group of beings includes humans, nonhumans, unseen spirits, those we consider “enemies” or “demons,” with no exception whatsoever. All sound is the sound of the prayer being recited. The aspirations are without limit and inconceivable. And the vastness of space is filled with buddhas and bodhisattvas that are delighted and whose compassion is spontaneously activated by the virtuous activity of these countless sentient beings. By offering the prayers in this way, they have great power. By offering the prayers on auspicious days such as the four auspicious lunar days each month: 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 30th, multiplies this power exponentially. Then, by dedicating the virtue of the practice for the welfare and benefit of all sentient beings, the benefit is sealed and can never be destroyed.
This Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer, Mönlam Yenlak Gyepa, was written by the 1st Menri Trizin His Holiness Nyammé Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and is commonly recited. The English language translation of the complete prayer is being made publicly available for personal use and can be downloaded at the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZwQt1udCby_Ifjt9zzxMPSF8dhTtybBM/view?usp=sharing
“The Branch of Aspiration Prayers
Having purified all negative actions and pacified all obstacles, through whatever power I have accumulated through this virtue, may I have harmonious circumstances that support the attainment of leisure and fortune!
Having the quality of skillful means and having relied upon the highest lamas, may I continuously train the mind-stream of knowledge through study, reflection, and meditation together with the practice of completely pure virtue!
Never being separate from the divine places of refuge and having brought together the causes and conditions of faith and compassion, may I generate the mind of enlightenment for the benefit of all migrating beings!
With the establishment of mindfulness as well as a vast and pure renunciation, and through the four kinds of miraculous abilities along the path of accumulation, and because of these roots of virtue in accord with the path of liberation, may my mind-stream become ripened!
Through the force of the sense powers, and having meditated upon the five kinds of contemplation,
may I fully travel the path to meditative heat, the supreme blaze! And instantly having perceived the clearly manifest meaning of the essential nature, which is nondual clarity and emptiness,
may I be free from the activities of this world and obtain the ground beyond a mere taste!
Unwavering from the state of pure space and having accomplished benefit for others through the unsurpassed ten perfections, may I proceed along the path of meditation and fulfill the two accumulations!
Having fully attained the three Bodies upon the final ground, may I have the eye of knowledge towards whatever is perceived and exists! And may I accomplish everything for the benefit of migrating beings through the four kinds of activity!
Having fully held to these aspirations just like the compassionate and praiseworthy ones,
I pray that I might quickly accomplish, without exception, these intentions according to this aspiration prayer!
The Branch of Dedicating
Through this virtue, for however many migrating beings exist, having fully completed purification of the two obscurations and the collection of the two accumulations,
may they all attain a state of goodness, complete perfection, and total knowledge!”
— Excerpt from the Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer
Tibetan translations by Raven Cypress Wood
Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.
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So beautiful! Thank you. 🙏