In this Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic section, Geshe Tashi turns to a new source for his teachings, Maitreya’s Prayer of Love. This comes to us from Lord Buddha, who revealed to Ananda this bodhicitta prayer that Maitreya had made while still a bodhisattva. This prayer is included in a collection of prayers called Monlam Namgye, which also includes the King of Prayers.
The preliminary verse is in praise of Maitreya, and is a verse added to Maitreya’s Prayer in the monastery, also used when studying the Ornament of Clear Realisation. It is not included in the English translation we are using, and so Tri has translated it for you below. Ganden is sometimes known as the Joyful Land.
Geshe Tashi explains that the point behind studying and speaking this prayer is to nurture a deeply felt sense of love, the love that intends happiness for all beings. The difference between love and compassion, Geshe la says, is the angle we are coming from. Compassion focusses on the difficulties living beings face, wishing and working for them to be free from suffering and its causes. Love sees that they are lacking happiness and strongly intends and works for them to have happiness, fulfilment and joy.
The first two verses pay homage and make prostrations. In the first verse Maitreya pays homage to the buddhas, bodhisattvas, hearers and solitary realisers.
In the second verse Maitreya makes prostrations to bodhicitta. Bodhicitta removes all those thoughts, emotions and actions that lead us to unfortunate rebirths. And bodhicitta will help us think and act in ways that will lead us to the fortunate rebirths, leading us towards freedom from aging, death and rebirth under the power of the afflictions and karma.
Geshe la finishes with a lovely story about Geshe Jampa Tekchok.
Maitreya’s Prayer of Love
Traditional preliminary verse
I bow down to the Dharma King’s representative,
The protector of all beings, who dwells in Ganden.
The fire of your great compassion burns up hatred’s fuel,
And the light of your wisdom dispels the darkness of ignorance.
Translated by Trisangma Watson
Maitreya’s Prayer of Love
To the awakened ones I prostrate
And to the yogis with the power of god’s eye
As well as to all the bodhisattvas, hearers, and so forth.
Bodhicitta bars the way to unfortunate destinies;
It is the great teaching that leads to the highest realms
And even to the state beyond old age and death.
To the mind of enlightenment, bodhicitta, I prostrate.
FPMT, translator unknown
A message about these classes from the Admin Team
Because India is opening up, and Geshe la’s responsibilities are once again increasing, he has decided he would like to keep offering these classes once a week for the foreseeable future. When he begins travelling again, timing will be more ad hoc, but generally speaking we will be recording every Wednesday and posting these blogs later on Wednesdays or Thursday mornings.
With this new text we’ve started, we now have many bodhicitta filled sessions together in the company of Maitreya and Geshe Tashi to look forward to. We will all enjoy reading your comments.
With much jampa,
Your Admin Team
Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.