Friday, September 11, 2015

In memory of 9/11: Prayer to Prevent War

Statue of 49 foot tall Maitreya Buddha at Thikse Monastery in Ladakh, India. Photo by ReefRaff.

Prayer to Prevent War

Here are the Words of Truth Pacifying the Dangers of Weapons
Om mani padme hum

Great Loving Victorious One (Maitreya Buddha),
Transcendental Sublime Compassionate Eye Looking One,
Wrathful Victorious Hayagriva,
Fully Accomplished Totally Pure (Jetsun) Tara and so forth,
Merely hearing your holy names eliminates all dangers,
Objects of refuge in the nature of compassion, please pay attention!

When the sentient beings of the time of quarreling and five degenerations
By the explosion of the great ocean of evil karma and jealousy
Are tormented by the intensive suffering of fighting and quarrelling
Please dry this up by the power of transcendental wisdom and compassion.

By letting great rainfalls of the nectar of loving kindness fall
On the migratory beings who are enflaming the conflagration of hatred-fire
Please grant blessing with the recognition of each other like father-mother
Then increase happiness and auspiciousness.

May the multitudes of the vicious evil spirits
Who enter the mental continuum and
Change it instantly to the mind of asura
From now on never run in this area (country/world).

I am requesting for even all the sentient beings who have died in the war
To abandon from that time onwards all the evil karma, cause and effect,
Then having entered and been born in the Blissful Field (Amitabha's Pure Land)
To lead all others to that Pure Land.

Please bless all those who are born and die (samsaric beings)
To have a long life, no sicknesses, to pacify all quarrelling and fighting,
Enjoy the ten virtues, have rainfall at the right times, always have good harvests
And for all the habitat and inhabitants to be auspicious and increase.

By the ultimate reality which is pure by nature,
By phenomena having ultimate reality cause and result are unbetrayable,
And by the compassion of the Guru, Mind-seal Deity and Rare Sublime Ones,
May these pure extensive prayers be completed.

- composed by the Great 15th Century Yogi, Tang Tong Gyalpo

- Translated into English on September 11, 2001 by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at his house in northern California, Kachoe Dechen Ling. The revised and edited version published here was prepared with the help of Ven Sarah Tenzin Yiwong.

Through whatever merits have come from making this translation available, may wherever this text is (whichever country) and also by reading this prayer, cause all the people's hearts be filled with loving kindness, bodhicitta and the thought to only benefit and not harm. May the sun of peace and happiness arise and may any wars that are happening stop immediately. May there be harmony, peace and may there never be war or violence again.

- Dedication by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Prayers in Battery Park, NYC

On the evening of Wednesday, September 3, 2015 Lama Zopa Rinpoche and students gathered at the Labyrinth for Contemplation in Battery Park, NYC to do and dedicate prayers for those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and all beings.

In the email invitation that went out from the Shantideva Meditation Center, Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Tibetan Buddhism study center in NYC it was mentioned that Lama Zopa Ripoche had recently said that he had wanted to recite prayers for those affected by 9/11 for a long time.

A friend who attended on September 3 told me about what happened that night in Battery Park. Lama Zopa Rinpoche sat in the center of the natural garden mandala of the grassy labyrinth, facing the new World Trade Center, surrounded by students.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche and students reading the King of Prayers in Battery Park. Photo by Jennifer Kim.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche spoke from time to time about the thousands of people who died on 9/11. He also spoke about the young reincarnation of his deceased mother. He told the story about how the young reincarnation recognized the (at one time) "precious" plastic buttons on a shirt that Lama Zopa Rinpoche's mother had collected before she died, and called out "they're mine!" 

He talked about how as a nun, his mother was so devout that she would recite the Sanskrit mantra Om Mani Padme Hum 50,000 times per day. Despite never learning to read, Lama Zopa Rinpoche said that in her practice she generated "one hundred times more compassion" than he has. My friend said Lama Zopa Rinpoche bellowed this statement many times. 

Lama Zopa Rinpoche also repeated again and again that his mother could not even read the Buddha's teachings that she recited and yet in bodhicitta she surpassed him one hundred times over.

(You can read more about Lama Zopa Rinpoche's mother in his biography The Lawudo Lama: Stories of Reincarnation from the Mount Everest Region and see photos of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's siblings in Nepal here.)

May as many beings as exist in ten directions
Be always well and happy.
May all samsaric beings live in accord with the Dharma,
And may their every Dharma wish be fulfilled.

- excerpt from King of Prayers

May I develop the unique love of a mother
for those who malign me
and harbor ill designs upon my life,
my body, or my possessions.
- excerpt from Prayer for the Beginning, Middle, and End of Practice

They were going to recite the mantra together 108 times (one mala's worth) but then Lama Zopa Rinpoche segued into chanting Om Muni Muni Maha Munaye Soha.

Lama Zopa Ripoche in Battery Park doing prayers with his crystal mala. Photo by Jennifer Kim.

My friend said as it grew dark the crystal bead mala he was using sparkled in the flickering lights.

It was dark by the time they finished the prayers.  Since the 9/11 anniversary was approaching, the double vertical lights commemorating the Twin Towers were shining high into the night sky.

World Trade Center, September 3, 2013. Photo by B. Costa.

I am thankful to my friend for sharing this with me, to Lama Zopa Rinpoche and his attendants, and to everyone who was there that night doing prayers for those affected by 9/11 and all sentient beings.

The above Prayer to Prevent War and dedication were found on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. Photos were found on the Shantideva Meditation Center's Facebook page.

May all beings abide in the state of equanimity which is freed of the biased attitude of excessive attachment towards some and aversion towards others.

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