Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra
Note 1: This transcript is not an official publication of Siddhartha's Intent. Every effort has been made to ensure that this transcript is accurate both in terms of words and meaning, however all errors and misunderstandings are the responsibility of the editors of madhyamaka.com. Please see note.
Note 2: This transcript includes footnotes with clarifications and more information about Tibetan and Sanskrit Buddhist terms used in the teaching. Please click on the superscript number to read the footnote. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche's name is abbreviated to "DJKR" throughout.
- This is a Dzogchen prayer, part of a magical world that is being destroyed by rationalism
- When a beautiful sunrise appears, if the owl doesn't see it because it's blinded by the light, what to do?
- We have something called "life", at the bottom of which is a simple consciousness or cognizance
- This cognizance is symbolized as Kuntuzangpo, a simple naked blue Buddha
- Simply remain in that cognizance
- DJKR recites the Kuntuzangpo Prayer (The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra) in Tibetan [AUDIO]
The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra
So first of all, this is Saga Dawa, the month of Buddha’s parinirvana and enlightenment. It’s a very special month. And I believe that [today] is also the summer solstice. Tibetans usually believe that astrologically, this kind summer solstice will change something. There will be a change in the realm of energy, in the planetary situation. So I hope that this will be a beginning of a gradual end to all kinds of outer, inner and secret conflicts, or at least some sort of beginning of [their] easing.
We are going to do the Kuntuzangpo Prayer (The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra),1The text of the Kuntuzangpo Prayer is available on the Practice page - see The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra as the Kuntuzangpo Prayer itself suggests that [we should recite this prayer] during certain special times like eclipses and solstices. I hope there's no earthquake, but the Kuntuzangpo Prayer [also] says that [we should recite this prayer] during earthquakes, eclipses, solstices and war. I do not necessarily think that we have a traditional war, but we do have some war here and there, so I think this is quite good to do. Actually, I just realized that three major things are happening in one day.
This is a Dzogchen prayer, part of a magical world that is being destroyed by rationalism
This is a Dzogpachenpo prayer, and if you [were to] ask me who composed this, [my answer would be that] no one composed it. There are words and language and prayers or whatever that are not composed, but I guess [that] very small-[minded], narrow-minded [people] who are trained in reason [at] reason-loving, empiricism-loving universities won’t understand this.
You know, there are things that are magical. They're very magical. I don't know whether “magic” is even the right word to express this2Some dictionary definitions of magic:
(1) The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
- Google Dictionary
(2) The use of means (such as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces; an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary.. Nobody’s going to force you to believe in magic. This is a free world. I'm saying this because these days I have to be really careful what I say, otherwise you could get sued.
The world has been working really, really hard to destroy every element of things that are magical. There are factories that create weapons to destroy magic. Do you know where those factories are? I will tell you. I'll give you a list. One of them is in Boston. It’s called Harvard University. [There are other factories like this at] Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford, Cambridge. And the worst is that there are even these kinds of factories in places like Tokyo. This great civilization of Japan used to really have magic. They produced people like Basho3Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉, 1644–1694) was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan, and he is recognized as the greatest master of haiku. See wikipedia on Matsuo Basho. and Issa4Kobayashi Issa (小林 一茶, 1763-1828) was a Japanese poet and lay Buddhist priest of the Jōdo Shinshū sect known for his haiku poems and journals. He is regarded as one of the four great haiku masters in Japan, along with Bashō, Buson and Shiki - "the Great Four" - see wikipedia on Kobayashi Issa.. But they destroyed them. They discarded them like a used toilet paper
Yes, the world is busy destroying the magic. I'm sorry, suddenly I had this mood of being a little bit critical. You know, my mood changes all the time. You know that. So don't take this thing seriously. I’m not against anyone. I actually even help some of these factories to have Buddhist chairs5Ed.: For further information about the Khyentse Foundation's activities in academia, including endowing chairs and visiting professorships in Buddhist studies, see Khyentse Foundation..
When a beautiful sunrise appears, if the owl doesn't see it because it's blinded by the light, what to do?
The non-magical people will never appreciate the magical world, but the magical world will actually know how to use the non-magical [and transform it] into magic. So anyway, I'm sorry I'm going everywhere. This Kuntuzangpo Mönlam, the Samantabhadra Prayer, it’s just there. It's not composed. It's being recited all the time.
When a beautiful sunrise appears, if the owl doesn't see it because owls get blinded [by the light], too bad. What to do? If you can't appreciate the Kuntuzangpo Prayer … and actually it's not only a prayer. The prayer is [also being] answered all the time. All the time. If we can't see these prayers that are being answered all the time, we’re like owls. There’s nothing much we can do. Just pray that we will not be owls. I guess that’s what we are doing today. Pray “May we not become owls” or "May we not be owls”.
[Nevertheless], as a human being, you [probably] want to the [know about] the contents of this prayer a little bit. Well, there’s the whole planet functioning. And there's a whole [universe with] things like time. And there are things like space. And there are things like history. And then there are things like … basically life. We have something called “life”. And [it’s] kind of very paradoxical, because many times we don't even know what that is. It could be as simple as a nice cup of coffee. That's life. Or it could be planning the next stage of our world.
Anyway, at the bottom of all this is something called “mind”. Today, you and I have to at least come to a mutual agreement that you and I have minds. We are not machines. And even if we are machines, we do have a subjective consciousness. I'm not even talking about anything that is extraordinary [or] that has lots of light. It’s nothing [special]. It's just very simple consciousness or cognizance. Just the fact that you are hearing me talking. There is something that knows it, the knower. Yes, that's it. That. That knower, that cognition. Nothing special. It’s not like a sharp mind, a dull mind, a devotional mind, a compassionate mind, a jealous mind, an angry mind etc. None of that. Just simple cognition.
This cognizance is symbolized as Kuntuzangpo, a simple naked blue Buddha [Back to Top ↑]
The great Nyingmapa masters of the past, in order to symbolize that [simple cognizance], there's even a painting of the Buddha naked, [with] no clothes of devotion, compassion, jealousy, anger, nothing. Just a simple naked Buddha. You may want to ask why [is this naked Buddha depicted as] blue? Why not yellow? It’s just that blue is the color of the sky, and the sky is probably the most eligible, so to speak, the most eligible analogy for this Samantabhadra or this cognizance.
And that's it. That cognizance that you have and I have. And as soon as I say “You have and I have”, you may think “Okay, so there are maybe like 500 or 600 of them”6Ed.: DJKR is referring to the "500 or 600" people online following the webinar.. No. Kuntuzangpo doesn't know what numbers are. Numbers are made in Harvard. Yes, all those non-magical people love numbers, weight, size, shape, stuff like this. They love this. But this [also] doesn’t mean that we have just one big Kuntuzangpo. Because what is “one”? “One” is made by some idiots in MIT. No, there's no “one”, there's no “two”, there's no hundreds. Nothing.
Simply remain in that cognizance
So you have this [cognizance]. You have it, I have it. Obviously. You're listening to me and I'm talking to you. But the problem is that instead of making the most out of this simple cognizance, we get busy. And then this busyness becomes a habit. And then, of course, we get entangled with a lot [more] busyness. So [as we recite this prayer] today, this cognizance or this consciousness or this whatever you want to call it - you know, again, these names are made in the university of … I don't know … some other universities, I don't remember right now - this mind, [this] cognizance is basically “doing the prayer”, so to speak. If you really must have a “prayer-maker" then that's it.
So I will try to simply remain in that “just cognizance” or pure mind. You [should] also listen to this without getting too entangled in this and that. I will read it once. And I'm not giving a lung7lung (Tibetan: ལུང་) = scriptural transmission, reading transmission, scriptural authority - see lung. or anything. It's like,”I am you, you are me, my sound is your ear, your ear is my sound”, you understand? Something like that. I don't know how to say this. Okay, so please listen.
[DJKR recites the Kuntuzangpo Prayer (The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra) in Tibetan]8Ed.: DJKR starts reciting the prayer at timestamp t = 30M24S in the video.
Note: to read footnotes please click on superscript numbers.
Transcribed and edited by Alex Li Trisoglio