Praying for All

Written in Chinese and reviewed by Dr. Yutang Lin
Translated by Stanley Lam

In a recent night, the great master Milarepa appeared in my dream as a middle-aged Lama. He showed me a hand mudra and then led me and others to prostrate to Buddha. Instantaneously I understood the meaning: On behalf of all sentient beings, supplicate to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for their blessings. I thought, "Alas, sentient beings are so inferior to Milarepa and yet he does not forsake anyone." Milarepa asked me about my characteristics, and I answered: "Mahamudra." I meant that I emphasize the basic teaching that the entire Dharmadhatu is in Limitless-Oneness, and that Buddhahood would be easier to attain by pervading such a view into all practices and activities.

When I woke up, I reflected on it and deeply felt the superiority of this teaching of Milarepa: the Enlightenment of all sentient beings cannot be successfully caused by any individual alone; instead, progress toward this goal completely depends on the concurrent functioning of the Bodhicittas of all sentient beings in the whole Dharmadhatu. In order to further this grand project of enlightenment of all beings, one will inspire the providence, guidance and protection of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Protectors only by means of a pure and earnest heart that supplicates blessings just for the liberation from sufferings and attainment of Buddhahood of all sentient beings. Practicing in this light can avoid the self attachment of a practitioner that hinges on complacency at one's achievements. In fact, a practitioner is only contributing his or her small share in the grand project of enlightenment of all beings. It all depends on awakening the same pure and innate Bodhicitta that is in all beings, and nothing can achieve this except the great loving kindness, great compassion, great wisdom, great will, and great power of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!

In daily life, if one's motivation can stem from this "praying to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for all sentient beings," then the antagonism between oneself and others will fade away, and thereby contribute to the harmony of the society. It would not become empty talk even though this ideal is very abstract. Practitioners should carefully consider how this ideal may be applied in their spiritual practice as well as in their daily lives.

As for myself, having received this teaching I feel certain confidence about my future— even though the evolvement of worldly events cannot be controlled, what one's motivation should be like in all kinds of situations and events has been clearly recognized and grasped. There is no conflict between "praying to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas" and devotional practice to only one deity as taught by the well-know instruction "concentrating in only one particular practice." The reason is as follows: In terms of Dependent Origination, all are intimately related and hence all deities should be respected and supplicated; however, in actual practice, due to the limitation in one's time and energy, a practitioner should apply the view that "one is all" because all are in oneness, and concentrate one's practice in one particular deity as representing all deities.

Written on November 25, 1996
A Study for the Cultivation of Harmony
El Cerrito, California

Translated on November 29, 1997
Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

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