Great Vows of Samantabhadra

Every Wednesday evening at 7 o’clock, the Priory has the group chanting of The Scripture on the Practices and Vows of Samantabhadra. At this time of “Shelter in Place” due to the pandemic, may the great vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (普賢菩薩) inspire you and accompany your spiritual practice at home.

The Scripture on the Practices and Vows of Samantabhadra
(listen/download 19:21 recording of Shasta Abbey choir)

Body, speech, and mind are pure and unsullied
If you would rid yourself forever of your defilements and impurities
Wholeheartedly reverence, respect, and pay homage
To the Buddhas in all the ten directions in past, present, and future.

Because of the strength of Samantabhadra’s vows
Wherever we look we will see Buddhas
In each and every place resides a Tathagata,
So to all their realms as countless as dust motes let us pay homage.

Within a single mote of dust
Are all the Buddhas to be seen,
A host of bodhisattvas encircling Them;
In the dust motes of the whole universe is it also thus.

A wonderous sound arises from the host,
Proclaiming their praise for the Victorious Ones
The immeasurable seas of their merit
Can not be exhausted.

Because of the powers of Samantabhadra’s practices
This unsurpassed host offers up all,
Tendering in the ten directions whatever may be nourishing
To every Buddha in the three worlds of time.

By the wonderous redolence of their flower chaplets
And the diverse forms of their music and dance
All is wonderous and majestic,
Pervading everywhere, offering nourishment to the Buddhas.

You, by your greed, hatreds, and delusions,
Create all your evil actions;
If with your body, speech, and mind you are doing no good,
Repent your errors, completely abandoning them forever.

All sentient beings will be blessed,
For shravakas and pratyekabuddhas,
Bodhisattvas and Buddhas,
By their merit fully rejoice in the success of others.

All Buddhas in the ten directions
Have from the first attained to perfect enlightenment
When we let everything act to invoke the Buddhas,
We turn the unsurpassable Wheel of the Law.

With hands reverently in Gassho, respectfully invite
Those who would make nirvana manifest here and now
They will abide for all eons beyond calculation,
Using their means to make sentient beings joyful.

Whatever merit you accumulate
Pray transfer it, bestowing it upon sentient beings
Master the Bodhisattva practices
And reach supreme enlightenment.

When you offer all for the nourishment of others, your faults vanish
And in their place appear Buddhas in the ten directions
I vow that such future World-Honored Ones
Will quickly realize the path to enlightenment.

Their splendor and majesty throughout the ten directions
Will adorn all the Buddha realms
These Tathagatas will sit in Their Seat of Enlightenment
And Their assembly of Bodhisattvas will be filled.

They will enable sentient beings in the ten directions
To rid themselves forever of evil passions,
To understand profoundly the meaning of Reality,
And to attain a state of peace, dwelling forever therein.

When you cultivate the Bodhisattva practices
You attain the ability to know your former lives
And rid yourself forever of all your fetters
So that they are gone forever and none remains.

Birth and death are altogether left far behind
Along with bedevilments and the karma from your evil passions
Like the sun dwelling in space,
Your lotus blossoms do not cling to water.

To practice everywhere, wandering the ten directions,
To teach and convert the multitude of sentient beings,
To forsake forever the evil paths and the suffering they bring
These comprise the practices of Bodhisattvas.

Although such may conform to the ways of the world,
They do not renounce the Bodhisattva path.
But till the end of time itself
Devote themselves completely to the practices of Samantabhadra.

If any of you carry out these same practices
Your vows will ceaselessly accumulate in the One Abiding Place
The good deeds of your body, speech, and mind
Will all be uniformly equal.

Should you meet a good and virtuous teacher
Who will elucidate the practices of Samantabhadra
Then, due to this act of his, that Bodhisattva
Will be close at hand and never distant.

Thus you will always see every Buddha
Encircled by a host of Bodhisattvas,
So till the end of time itself and in all places,
Reverence, respect, and make offerings to Them.

Defend and uphold the Teachings of the Buddhas,
Sing the praises of the Bodhisattva’s practices,
And till the end of time cultivate
The supreme way of Samantabhadra.

Although in the midst of birth and death
You will be endowed with inexhaustible merit,
Wisdom, skillful means,
And the samadhis will be your liberation.

Within each and every mote of dust
You will see lands beyond description;
In each and every land
You will see Buddhas beyond description.

Likewise you will see in the ten directions
Every ocean of worlds;
In each and every ocean of worlds
You will fully see oceans of Buddhas.

Within the sound of a single word of yours
Will all the wonderous sounds be contained,
Each and every wonderous sound
Endowed with the Supreme Sound.

The profound depth of your wisdom’s power
Will awaken inexhaustible, wonderous sounds
And turn the immaculate Wheel of the true Law
Of all the Buddhas in the three worlds of time.

In every future aeon
You will be most capable of giving rise to concentrated thoughts;
For each aeon in the three worlds of time
You will completely manage the extremities of concentrated thoughts.

Within this concentrated thought you will fully see
The Tathagatas of past, present, and future;
In all the dust motes in the ten directions
The wonderous and majestic realms will also be no different.

You will fully see the Buddhas yet to come,
Bring the path to its perfection and turn the Wheel of the Law;
The activities of Supreme Buddha will be brought to their fulfillment
So that after you manifest them you will enter into nirvana.

By means of your spiritual strength you will travel everywhere,
The strength of the Great Vehicle serving as a universal gateway,
The strength of your compassion will cover all,
The strength of your practices will be filled with merit.

The strength of your merit will be pure and unsullied,
The strength of your wisdom will be unbounded,
Your mind will be concentrated on the strength of your skill in means
And you will attain the strength of the highest wisdom.

By the strength of your pure and unsullied good deeds
You will rid yourself completely of the strength of evil passions,
Destroying and dissipating the strength of bedeviling hindrances,
For you will be endowed with the strength of Samantabhadra’s practices.

In majestic and pure oceans of Buddha lands
You will release from the wheel of Rebirths oceans of sentient beings;
Your will discern the oceans of karmic deeds
And thoroughly explore the oceans of True Wisdom.

In pure and unsullied oceans of all practices
You will fulfill oceans of vows;
You will fully see the oceans of Buddhas
While within oceans of aeons you do your practice.

The practices of all Buddhas in past, present, and future
Include innumerable great vows;
You are all endowed with everything
So that through Samantabhadra’s practices you will become a Buddha.

Thus, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is called
The first-born of all Buddhas;
Whenever you transfer the merit of your good deeds to others,
Your vows are shared with others everywhere.

Your body, speech, and mind are pure and unsullied,
Operating freely in splendorous and majestic realms
For, having realized a fully perfected enlightenment equal to that of all Buddhas,
All of you, without exception, will be the same as Samantabhadra.

Like the practices of me, Manjusri,
Are those of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva,
So, from whatever good roots you may have,
Transfer merit by the same means as He and I do.

All Tathagatas in the three worlds of time
Extol your transferring the merit from your treading of the path,
For whenever you transfer the merit from your good karmic roots,
You fulfill the practices of Samantabhadra.

Vow by your life until the end of time
To rid yourselves forever of your hindrances and fetters,
Then face to face will you see Amida the Boundless One
And be reborn in His Peaceful Realm.

Or, should you be reborn into some other Buddha Realm,
Fulfill your great vows.
Then Amida Tathagata
Will manifest before your eyes and predict your future attainment of Buddhahood.

The majestic and pure practices of Samantabhadra
Fulfill my, Manjusri’s vows,
So until the end of time itself
Strive to master the practices of the Bodhisattvas.

We offer the merit of this practice to ALL:

May they be well, happy, and peaceful.
May no harm come to them.

May they always meet with spiritual success.
May they also have patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life.
May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.

Homage to all the Buddhas in all worlds
Homage to all the Bodhisattvas in all worlds
Homage to the Scriptures of Great Wisdom