Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

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Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby Punya » Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:06 am

I've been puzzling over a particular verse of Samantabhadra’s prayer for a while:

You who are like beacons of light shining through the worlds,
Who passed through the stages of enlightenment, to attain buddhahood, freedom from all attachment,
I exhort you: all of you protectors,
Turn the unsurpassable wheel of Dharma.


I know it relates to asking the Buddhas to turn the wheel of the dharma but what I'm not totally clear on what the words mean. I've heard that the protectors can be seen and unseen. I'm guessing the seen protectors are the dharma teachers (or Buddhas or Bodhisattvas?) currently living in this world but who are the unseen protectors and how do they protect the dharma? (I have some theories and a vague understanding but I'm not going to share my garbled thoughts at this stage).

All contributions gratefully received.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby ratna » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:15 pm

"Protectors" (Skt. nātha, Tib. mgon-po) here mean the Buddhas and no-one else -- as the verse itself says, those who have traversed all the stages of the path to the end.

Your question regarding the unseen protectors of Dharma, is of course a valid one, it just doesn't have anything to do with this particular verse. This verse doesn't refer to what are commonly called Dharma protectors, but Buddhas in general, who are called "protectors" of sentient beings.

All the best,
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby Punya » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:08 pm

Thanks a lot for your reply ratna. Now you explain this and I reread the verse it seems obvious it's just the Buddhas but could they be acting in both seen and unseen ways? My understanding is that this prayer comes from the Avatamsaka Sutra so we're not just talking enlightened Rinpoches here ie those who have returned to this world in human form, but all the Buddhas. I've heard it said, for example, a teaching might come from the falling of a leaf. Could it be referring to these kind of teachings as well?
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby Punya » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:37 am

Sorry, I meant 'rinpoches' ie precious ones, in the broadest sense, not just those recognised as such in the Tibetan traditions.

I suppose if I keep following my argument 'dharma' in this verse means 'the truth' rather than simply the teachings of Shakymuni Buddha.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby Punya » Sat May 04, 2013 8:00 am

I am grateful for ratna's comments but would anyone else be able to offer a perspective?
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby Will » Sat May 04, 2013 4:51 pm

Jang Lung Pandita comments on this verse:

All the bhagavan buddhas, the beacons dispelling the decline of the worlds in the fields of the ten directions, the enlightened buddhas who have found knowledge without attachment and impediment, I urge them to quickly turn the unsurpassable wheel of vast and profound dharma, having manifested replicas of my body equal to their numbers.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby In the bone yard » Sat May 04, 2013 5:29 pm

Punya wrote:I've been puzzling over a particular verse of Samantabhadra’s prayer for a while:

You who are like beacons of light shining through the worlds,
Who passed through the stages of enlightenment, to attain buddhahood, freedom from all attachment,
I exhort you: all of you protectors,
Turn the unsurpassable wheel of Dharma.


I know it relates to asking the Buddhas to turn the wheel of the dharma but what I'm not totally clear on what the words mean. I've heard that the protectors can be seen and unseen. I'm guessing the seen protectors are the dharma teachers (or Buddhas or Bodhisattvas?) currently living in this world but who are the unseen protectors and how do they protect the dharma? (I have some theories and a vague understanding but I'm not going to share my garbled thoughts at this stage).

All contributions gratefully received.


Punya,
The unseen protectors are deities, but the level of involvement depends on the level of practice (lower or higher tantra).
In essence seen and unseen protectors are the same.
Blessings of deities are in connection with one's samaya (vows).
Protection (dharma) is related to one's samaya.

Mahakala is considered to be a chief "unseen" protector.

Because this is a Vajrayana prayer in a sutra it is likely an offering of merit.
I try to concentrate more on practice than too much study so my learning is weak.
Hope this is helpful to you.
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby Punya » Wed May 08, 2013 9:40 pm

Thanks a lot for your input Will & Bone.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby charu » Tue May 14, 2013 7:08 pm

hi...
"You who are like beacons of light shining through the worlds,
Who passed through the stages of enlightenment, to attain buddhahood, freedom from all attachment,
I exhort you: all of you protectors,
Turn the unsurpassable wheel of Dharma."

i understood from the above that we are praying all Buddhas ( Those who are enlightened ) , they are our protectors who always help us in understanding and implementing eight fold paths in our life which are eight spokes of the wheel of dharma.
Right View, Right intention , right speech , right action , right livelihood, right effort , right mindfulness and right concentration ...

have a happy healthy life
charu
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Re: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”

Postby Punya » Tue May 14, 2013 9:53 pm

Thanks charu. All comments are most appreciated.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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