Lama Tsongkhapa’s A Prayer for Birth in Sukhavati is one of the great devotional verses in Mahayana Buddhism. Alongside The King of Prayers and Maitreya’s Prayer of Love, this prayer is one of the nine great prayers in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It is also an important practice text composed to help us cultivate the aspiration and enthusiasm we need to practice the entire path to enlightenment. As always, Geshe Tashi’s emphasis in these teachings will be on how we can best experience the material for ourselves.
Geshe Tashi begins by explaining how important this prayer is in the Gelug tradition. Along with the King of Prayers, it is often recited for the benefit of those who have passed away. Geshe Tashi has received the oral transmission of this prayer from many great teachers, including His Holiness’s two tutors.
Geshe Tashi encourages us to relate the topics in this prayer to the Buddha’s teachings, particularly the second and third Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. He then gives us a word by word, line by line translation and commentary on the first three verses.
In verse 1 Lama Tsongkhapa pays homage to Amitayus, the buddha of long life.
In verse 2, in line with tradition, he sets out what he will do with a promise.
From verse 3, Geshe la begins his commentary on the main body of the text. What should we adopt in our practice? What should we discard or set aside? Geshe la gives us a sobering overview of the disadvantages of anger.
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