Praise to Mañjuśrī: A Translation

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO: One of the most popular prayers in Bhutan is the praise to Mañjuśrī called Praise to the Noble Qualities of the Excellent Pristine Wisdom (དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ཡོན་ཏན་བཟང་པོའི་བསྟོད་པ།). The composition is attributed to one Vajrayudha but also claimed to have been composed by 500 paṇḍitas. According to a popular story, 500 paṇḍitas in India were asked to write a praise to Mañjuśrī on their own but when they submitted their writings, they are said to have uniformly produced this praise through the blessings of Mañjuśrī.

Due to such special origin, this is by far the most common prayer to Mañjuśrī used in the Himalayan Buddhist world. Scholars and students recite this prayer every day in order to invoke the blessings of intelligence and wisdom from Mañjuśrī, the Buddha of Wisdom and the epitome of pristine awareness.

༈ བླ་མ་དང་མགོན་པོ་རྗེ་བཙུན་འཇམ་དཔལ་དབྱངས་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལོ།།

Homage to the guru and protector lord Mañjuśrīgosha.

གང་གི་བློ་གྲོས་སྒྲིབ་གཉིས་སྤྲིན་བྲལ་ཉི་ལྟར་རྣམ་དག་རབ་གསལ་བས།།

ཇི་སྙེད་དོན་ཀུན་ཇི་བཞིན་གཟིགས་ཕྱིར་ཉིད་ཀྱི་ཐུགས་ཀར་གླེགས་བམ་འཛིན།།

Your wisdom, free from the cloud of two obscurations, is immaculate and brilliant like the sun. It can see all phenomena correctly. Thus, [to symbolise this] you hold a book at your heart.

གང་དག་སྲིད་པའི་བཙོན་རར་མ་རིག་མུན་འཐུམས་སྡུག་བསྔལ་གྱིས་གཟིར་བའི།།

འགྲོ་ཚོགས་ཀུན་ལ་བུ་གཅིག་ལྟར་བརྩེ་ཡན་ལག་དྲུག་ཅུའི་དབྱངས་ལྡན་གསུང་།།

All those host of sentient beings bewildered in the darkness of ignorance in the prison of existence and tormented by suffering, you love like your only child. Your speech is endowed with sixty forms of melodies.

འབྲུག་ལྟར་ཆེར་སྒྲོག་ཉོན་མོངས་གཉིད་སློང་ལས་ཀྱི་ལྕགས་སྒྲོག་གྲོལ་མཛད་ཅིང་།།

མ་རིག་མུན་སེལ་སྔུག་བསྔལ་མྱུ་གུ་ཇི་སྙེད་གཅོད་མཛད་རལ་གྲི་བསྣམས།།

It resonates like thunder to wake [us] from the slumber of delusion and release [us] from the chains of evil actions. You hold the sword which clears the darkness of ignorance and cuts every sprout of suffering.

གདོད་ནས་དག་ཅིང་ས་བཅུའི་མཐར་སོན་ཡོན་ཏན་ལུས་རྫོགས་རྒྱལ་སྲས་ཐུ་བོའི་སྐུ།།

བཅུ་ཕྲག་བཅུ་དང་བཅུ་གཉིས་རྒྱན་སྤྲས་བདག་བློའི་མུན་སེལ་འཇམ་དཔལ་དབྱངས་ལ་འདུད།།

Primordially pure, you have reached the end of the ten stages and embody all noble qualities. You are the eldest of the Buddha’s heirs, adorned with a hundred and twelve ornaments [marks and tokens]. You are the dispeller of darkness in my mind. To Mañjuśrī, I pay homage.

This prayer is considered throughout the Himalayas as the most powerful supplication and the essence of all prayers to Mañjuśrī. Those who seek intelligence, learning and wisdom are urged to chant this prayer with full awareness of Mañjuśrī, his sublime qualities and his activities to benefit the world and lead the sentient beings to enlightenment. Chanting this prayer is said to help one attain intelligence, clarity, memory, wisdom, eloquence, learning and eventually enlightenment.

Dr Karma Phuntsho is the President of the Loden Foundation, director of Shejun Agency for Bhutan’ Cultural Documentation and author The History of Bhutan.

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