Seven-Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche
In these dark times of degeneration, it is far from easy to progress and succeed in spiritual practice, solely by one’s own effort. Therefore, it is very important for one to pray constantly to Guru Padmasambhava, the embodiment of all Buddhas past, present, and to come. Of all the prayers to the great and glorious Padmasambhava, the invocation composed of seven vajra verses is supreme. It is the king of all prayers; the pith of sutras, tantras and upadeshas; the core of all Dharmas of the Ground, Path and Fruit; and the essence of all practices of the Three Roots of Guru, Dakini and Yidam. It arose spontaneously as the natural resonance of indestructible ultimate reality and is an immense treasure-mine of blessings and accomplishments.
When you supplicate by reciting the Seven-Line Prayer, Padmasambhava and all the Three Roots of Guru, Yidams and Dakas will immediately gather like the clouds in front of you to grant you blessings and bestow you common and supreme siddhis without any hindrances.
This Seven-Line Prayer, as the King of all prayers, was not composed by Padmasambhava himself. It is a prayer with which the Buddhas of the ten directions entreat Padmasambhava to come. Emitted naturally from the sky when the blessing and wisdom of the Buddhas of the three times join together, just like the Sole Heir of the Doctrine Tantra, this prayer is the source or the treasury of all blessings, all merits and all siddhis.
Notes for Lecture 1
Whenever you encounter any obstacles in dharma practices, or have any emotional problems, knowing to pray to Guru Rinpoche is very important. Orgyen Tendzin Norbu states in his Shastra of Praising Precepts, “Entreat Padmasambhava intensely, and you will definitely not be swayed by obstacles.” H.H. Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche used to quote this phrase. In fact, in addition to quoting, whenever hindrances occurred to his retinues or to the institute, he and his disciples would always pray with devotion. In the degenerate time, praying to Padmasambhava sincerely brings significant results both in the propagation of Buddhadharma and in the personal spiritual practice.
Padmasambhava had prophesied that in the future when barbarous forces impose a great threat to Buddhadharma, he would assume a wrathful form known as Rudra Chakrin, the king of Shambhala, as recorded in the annals of history. He will be escorted by the army of Kalachakra, in which many spiritual masters will be born as prominent figures in his legion. Mipham Rinpoche will be born as Senkepu, a general of the troop; H.H. Jigme Phuntsok’s previous incarnation, Tertön Sogyal, will take rebirth as commander Karma Dorje; and all followers of their lineage will become the soldiers to participate in this battle.
Under the lead of Rudra Chakrin, the army of Kalachakra will descend from their kingdom to places like India, the Tibetan area, and others in the human world to conquer Mara’s armies, evil forces, tirthikas, and those who hold wrongful views. However, this army is in no way the same as an ordinary one who ruthlessly harms sentient beings. With great compassion and miraculous transformations, this Kalachakra troop will liberate the consciousness of sentient beings by teaching them Dharma according to their capacities. Those who encounter the Kalachakra or the teachings of Padmasambhava in the present time will also be liberated at that time. It would be a great privilege to be reborn in that special period!
If we recite the Seven-Line Prayer with persevering efforts, at some point, we will give rise to intense faith, then naturally tears will erupt and the body will tremble. A genuine conviction will bring about such experience. Then, abide naturally in the primordial state of clarity and observe the nature of our mind. Those who pray in this way will definitely be safeguarded and blessed by Guru Rinpoche.
Whoever prays sincerely will gain the empowerment of awareness in their minds. This doesn’t mean to get an external empowerment. It is the path empowerment, i.e. to take by ourselves when we practice Guru Yoga, without depending on anyone or anything else. After receiving this empowerment, by the blessing of Guru Rinpoche’s great and self-arisen luminosity, one’s mind will be brought to maturation: our concentration will strengthen, and wisdom will grow. Then one has no difficulty in helping and protecting others and will be able to relieve them from any pain.
Guru Rinpoche has pledged that on each tenth lunar day of every month, he will manifest in tens of thousands of emanations across the entire world of Jambudvipa to bless us. This is a certainty: such is his oath. His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche used to emphasize that the tenth lunar day of the monkey month of the monkey year is an extremely important day for holding a grand Buddhist ritual and making a large-scale tsok offering.
On the tenth day of each month, try your best to perform a feast offering and pray to Guru Rinpoche. Whatever we desire, either to dispel obstacles, to fulfill wishes, or to attain liberation, we should visualize him and then supplicate him. If we do so, then Guru Padmasambhava will undoubtedly grant us ordinary and supreme siddhis.
The essential teachings of Guru Rinpoche are contained in termas. In spite of wars, natural disasters, and other factors, which may lead to the destruction of the world, termas will not be easily destroyed. This is because by the power of his ambitions, Guru Rinpoche has entrusted these termas to the local spirits of the places in which they were discovered. He also sealed these treasured texts in the tathagatagarbha or the buddha nature of his enlightened disciples with his irrevocable and indestructible blessings.
For ordinary human beings, as their consciousness reincarnates during the processes of death and rebirth, memories of previous lives will not be retained intact. Guru Rinpoche hid the termas in his disciples’ unalterable wisdom minds, the wisdom of Dharmadhatu or the non-duality of appearance and emptiness. When the time arrives, these treasured texts will manifest through the tertons’ enlightened minds in the form of dakini or symbolic scripts.
I remember that once H.H. Jigme Phuntsok was giving teachings on the Seven-Line Prayer at the Namdroling Monastery in India where he said, “There are many Tibetans in India now. One might think, ‘Padmasambhava often visits Tibet, but would he also visit India?’ Do not have these kinds of doubts. Think about it this way. Let’s say a mother lives far away from her child. Wherever her child may be, be it in India, in the Han region, or in Tibet, if her child cries, she will immediately come regardless of the location. Similarly, although we are in India right now, as soon as we pray to Guru Rinpoche, he will immediately be here.” There are practitioners today in mainland China, the United States, Japan, and elsewhere who learn and practice the teachings of Padmasambhava. Wherever you are, when the causes and conditions are present, the fruit will ripen, just like wherever there is a pail of water, the moon will reflect on it.
If we wish to attain enlightenment, we must obtain the blessings of the teacher. This is not something peculiar to Tibetan Buddhism, as it is also evident in the biographies of the enlightened practitioners of Chinese Buddhism, too. The Chan School has numerous cases where students attained enlightenment through the blessings and pointing-out from their teachers. However, the most important part for that to happen is student’s devotion and pure perception of the teacher. With these causes and conditions, a student is supposed to attain enlightenment.
There are two best means for attaining realization. One is to accumulate merits and purify obscurations; another is to receive blessings of an accomplished master. The innate absolute wisdom, or one’s intrinsic wisdom, can only to be unfolded and realized with these two prerequisites. Seeking methods other than these two is foolish. Therefore, those who wish to attain realization must follow the guru’s teachings, especially giving importance to the guru yoga practice. This will allow us to swiftly accomplish our aims without obstacles.