The Seven-Line Supplication to Guru Rinpoche
Monlam Pavilion, Bodhgaya
January 6, 2014
In the northwest of Uddiyana
Upon the anthers of a lotus
You achieved the wondrous supreme siddhi
And are renowned as the Lotus Born
Encircled by many ḍākinis
We practice following your example
We ask you come and grant your blessings
GURU PADMA SIDDHI HŪṂ
After receiving the empowerment of Guru Rinpoche, the sangha began an extensive four-day Lama Sangdu practice inside the Monlam Pavilion, restricted to ordained monks and nuns. In order to also include all the laypeople, the Gyalwang Karmapa arranged for a special tent to be erected alongside the Pavilion, where they could sit comfortably on chairs, facing screens displaying an image of Guru Rinpoche. He then requested that they collect as many repetitions of the Seven-Line Supplication as possible.
This short supplication is the most famous prayer to Guru Rinpoche, extremely popular throughout Tibet and the Himalayas, and an especially effective means of dispelling outer and inner obstacles.
“The Lord Dezhin Zhekpa and others have foretold that in general, supplications to Guru Rinpoche are the essential and single means to benefit Tibet, the teachings, and living beings,” the Gyalwang Karmapa had earlier said in the lead up to the event. “These supplications are particularly important during these degenerate times.”
Each lay person was given a card with a breathtaking colour image of Guru Rinpoche painted by the Gyalwang Karmapa on one side, and the Seven-Line Supplication inscribed in four languages (Tibetan, English, Chinese and Hindi) on the other side. “It doesn’t matter how many or how few each of you as an individual recites,” he told them, but nonetheless asked each person to keep a careful record of their count, to be accumulated together at the end.
The Gyalwang Karmapa has a profound connection with Guru Rinpoche, and with the Seven-Line Supplication, clearly evident since his early childhood. As a young child he spontaneously knew the Seven-Line Supplication without needing to study it. When people in the local area would come to him with problems, or would ask him to give protection for traveling, he would recite the Seven-Line Supplication for them as a blessing.
“My family, including my parents are very devoted to Guru Rinpoche and were always reciting the Seven-Line Supplication,” he told those gathered. “As we were nomads we had to move from place to place, so my father would go to the ‘lottery’ to receive his allotment of land. Before going he would say to me, ‘Now you please chant the Seven-Line Supplication as well as you can while I’m gone.’ When he came back, if he had done well in the lottery and received a good bit of land he would say, ‘Oh you chanted it well.’ And if he received a poor allotment, he would say, ‘You must not have chanted the Seven-Line Supplication very well.’”
The Gyalwang Karmapa then briefly explained the meaning of each of the seven lines in the prayer—some literal, others symbolic.
The first line sets the scene as Uddiyana, also called the land of the dakinis, which is one of those exceptionally sacred places in India regarded as the very origin of the secret mantra. In the land of Uddiyana there was a lake called Lake Danakosha and in the centre of that lake there appeared a lotus flower with many petals.
“When it says ‘you have gained wondrous, supreme siddhi’, this is a brief description or summary of Guru Rinpoche’s amazing deeds and attributes of body, speech, mind, qualities and activity, as well as his achievement of supreme siddhi,” the Gyalwang Karmapa explained. “And it is followed by saying ‘you are renowned as the lotus born’. These lines are in a sense a summary of Guru Rinpoche’s deeds or life.”
The next line says ‘encircled by many dakinis’, which means that Guru Rinpoche is surrounded by innumerable heroes and dakinis—as numerous as seeds from an open sesame pod.
Following that, the next two lines describe how to pray to Guru Rinpoche.
“In the next line you say ‘I practise following your example’ and this indicates an attitude of complete entrustment,” the Gyalwang Karmapa explained. “Because you trust in Guru Rinpoche’s infallibility, you entrust yourself to him. And therefore you say, since I have entrusted myself to you and I’m attempting to follow your example, please come to this place so that you can impart the blessings of your body, speech and mind to me and all beings without exception.”
“And then it ends with the mantra, Guru Padma Siddhi Hung. Guru means weighty or heavy with qualities or fine attributes. Padma is the first part of Guru Rinpoche’s name; siddhi or attainment is what we seek; and hung here is an exhortation supplicating him to bestow the siddhi and blessings that we seek.”
The Gyalwang Karmapa then summarised the entire explanation of the Seven-Line Supplication.
“If we summarise the supplication into the distinct meaning of each of its seven lines—first of all the person who is praying is oneself, and the object to whom one is praying is Guru Rinpoche,” he said. “The first line states the land of his origin, the second his manner of dwelling there, the third his extraordinary qualities, the fourth his actual name, and the fifth his entourage, which completes the identification of the object of supplication. The sixth line explains how we are supplicating and how we are approaching him, and the seventh is our actual request, our actual petition that he bless us and all beings, based upon our unchanging entrustment of our welfare to him.”
Gyalwang Karmapa’s melodic voice resonated throughout the hall as he bestowed the lung or reading transmission for the Seven-Line Supplication, completing his instructions on this sacred and powerful prayer.