The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra

Samantabhadra

The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra (Kunzang Mönlam)

This aspiration prayer (also known as The Prayer of Kuntuzangpo or Kuntuzangpo Mönlam) is among the most popular texts of the Dzogchen tradition. Its recitation is especially recommended during solar and lunar eclipses, at the solstices and new year, as well as during earthquakes and other environmental anomalies. It is the nineteenth chapter from The Tantra that Teaches the Great Perfection as Samantabhadra’s Unobstructed Awakened Mind  (Gongpa Zangthal Gyi Gyü), which teaches that by aspiring in the manner of this prayer, all sentient beings cannot help but awaken.

Note: Please see also the teaching on the Kuntuzangpo Mönlam given by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche on June 21, 2020 (Summer solstice).

The translation below is by Karl Brunnhölzl.


THE ASPIRATION PRAYER OF SAMANTABHADRA

HO
Everything in saṃsāra and nirvāṇa that can possibly appear
has a single ground, two paths, and two results—
the miraculous displays of awareness and unawareness.
Through the aspiration prayer of Samantabhadra,
may all awaken in a fully perfect manner
in the palace of the dharmadhātu.

The ground of all is unconditioned—
the self-arising, inexpressible, vast spaciousness
without the names “saṃsāra” or “nirvāṇa.”
The awareness of just this is buddhahood;
unaware, sentient beings wander in saṃsāra.
May all beings of the three realms
be aware of the reality of the inexpressible ground.

I, Samantabhadra,
am aware that this very reality of the ground
without causes and conditions is self-arising within the ground,
unaffected by the flaws of outer and inner, superimposition and denial,
and untainted by the stains of the darkness of mindlessness.
Therefore, self-appearances are not blemished by any flaws.
Within self-awareness resting in its seat,
there is no fear, even if the threefold existence is destroyed,
nor is there attachment to the five sense pleasures.
In nonconceptual self-arising mind,
neither solid forms nor the five poisons exist.

The unceasing dimension of awareness’s lucidity
is of a single essence and yet displays as five wisdoms.
The five original buddha families spring forth
from the maturation of these five wisdoms.
Through wisdom’s fully unfolding from that,
the forty-two buddhas originate.
Through the dawning of the dynamic energy of the five wisdoms,
the sixty blood-drinkers come to life.
Therefore, ground awareness is never deluded.
Since I am the original buddha,
through my aspiration prayer,
may all sentient beings cycling through the three realms
recognize the face of self-arising awareness
and fully unfold great wisdom.

My emanations form an unceasing stream,
unfurling as inconceivable billions
and displaying as a vast array of suitable guidance.
Through my compassionate aspiration prayer,
may all sentient beings cycling through the three realms
leave the six kinds of existence behind.

At first, since deluded sentient beings
do not dawn as awareness in the ground,
they are absolutely mindless and oblivious.
Exactly that is unawareness, the cause of delusion.
From within that vacuous swoon,
a fearful vague cognizance stirs.
From that, self and others as well as enmity arise.
Through the gradual blossoming of latent tendencies,
saṃsāra unfolds, taking its natural course.
Due to that, the five poisons of the afflictions flourish
and their karmas become an incessant flow.
Thus, the ground of sentient beings’ delusion
is mindless unawareness.
Hence, through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha,
may all recognize awareness itself.

Connate unawareness
is mindless oblivious cognizance.
Imaginative unawareness
is the clinging to the duality of self and other.
This twofold connate and imaginative unawareness
is the ground of delusion of all sentient beings.
Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha,
may all sāṃsaric sentient beings’
darkness of dull mindlessness be dispelled,
their mind of dualistic clinging be translucent,
and their awareness recognize its own face.

The mind of dualistic clinging is doubt:
from the arising of subtle fixation,
dense latent tendencies gradually unfold.
Be it food, wealth, clothing, places, companions,
the five sense pleasures, or beloved relatives,
we are tormented by our attachment to what seems attractive.
These are mundane delusions:
the karmas of perceiver and perceived are never exhausted.
When the results of clinging ripen,
we are born as hungry ghosts tortured by craving—
how pitiful is our hunger and thirst!
Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha,
may sentient beings full of attachment and clinging
neither cast out the torment of desire
nor welcome the craving of attachment,
but may awareness take its very seat
through letting mind relax in its own state
and may discriminating wisdom be attained.

A subtle mind of fear stirs
around the appearance of external objects.
Thus, the unfolding of hatred’s latent tendencies
leads to powerful enmity, beating, and killing.
When the results of hatred ripen,
oh, how we suffer through being boiled and burned in hell!
Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha,
when fierce hatred flares up
in all sentient beings of the six realms,
may it relax in its own state without adopting or rejecting,
may awareness take its own seat,
and may lucid wisdom be attained.

Our own mind being haughty,
it vies with others and puts them down.
Through the arising of intense pride,
we experience the suffering of fighting and struggling with others.
When the results of those actions ripen,
we are born as a god experiencing transition and downfall.
Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha,
when sentient beings give rise to such haughtiness,
may they let their mind relax in its own state,
may awareness take its very own seat,
and may the wisdom of equality be realized.

Triggered by the latent tendencies of rampant dualistic clinging,
the competitive mind of fighting and struggling blossoms
from the pain of praising ourselves and disparaging others.
Being thus reborn in the asura realm of killing and slashing,
we take a deep plunge into the realms of hell.
Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha,
when a competitive mind, fighting, and struggling dawn,
may we not entertain enmity but let it relax in its own place,
may mind take its very own seat,
and may the wisdom of unimpeded enlightened activity be.

Mindlessless, indifference, distraction,
obtuseness, dullness, forgetfulness,
unconsciousness, laziness, and bewilderment
result in roaming as animals without any shelter.
Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha,
may the radiance of lucid mindfulness shine
in the darkness of our bewildered dullness
and may nonconceptual wisdom be attained.

All sentient beings of the three realms
are equal to myself, the buddha, the ground of all,
but for them it became the ground of mindless delusion.
Right now, they engage in meaningless activities,
with the six kinds of karma being like delusions in a dream.
I, however, am the primordial buddha.
In order to guide the six kinds of beings through emanations,
through this aspiration prayer of Samantabhadra,
may all sentient beings without exception
become awakened in the dharmadhātu.

A HO
From now on, whenever mighty yogic practitioners
make this powerful aspiration prayer
within self-luminous awareness free of delusion,
all sentient beings who hear it
will fully awaken within three lives.

During solar or lunar eclipses,
when clamor or earthquakes happen,
at the solstices, or at the turn of the year,
if we let ourselves arise as Samantabhadra
and recite this prayer within the hearing of all,
through the aspiration of us yogic practitioners,
all sentient beings of the three realms
will gradually become free from suffering
and then swiftly attain buddhahood.


© 2017 Translation by Karl Brunnhölzl.

Dr. Brunnhölzl is a teacher, interpreter, and translator in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Originally trained as a medical doctor, he studied Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy at the Marpa Institute for Translators in Kathmandu, founded by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. He also studied Tibetology, Sanskrit, and Buddhology at Hamburg University. Since 1989, he has been a translator and interpreter from Tibetan, English, and Sanskrit. He is presently involved with Nalandabodhi and the Nitartha Institute as a teacher and translator. Dr. Brunnhölzl received the 2019 Khyentse Foundation ‘Outstanding Translation Award’.


See also: (alternative translation): Lotsawa House; (additional information): rigpawiki


Artwork: Samantabhadra (artist unknown)

Page last updated June 22, 2020