Peace, War, and Culture
Aryasura's Aspiration

Aryasura's Aspiration embodies the Buddhist ideal of the bodhisattva, combining enlightenment and compassion, detachment and ethical obligation.  The verses were composed in India during the first century b.c.e. and are the record of a Buddhist monk's meditation upon his ethical obligation after he was attacked by a tigress who, due to drought and famine, was unable to feed her two cubs.  The monk overcame his initial fear and attachment to life and allowed himself to be eaten by the tigress.

Colophon: This venerable master "whose voice benefits others, a man of solitude" has realized all scriptures. Once on entering the midst of a forest he was attacked by a tiger and, overwhelmed with compassion, composed the Aspirational Prayer in 70 Stanzas to accomplish the welfare of living beings.

Aryasura's Aspiration in 70 Verses

Homage to the Awakening Warrior:
the entirely good Samantabhadra

1. Homage to the Buddhas Gone to Bliss, endowed with an accumulation of immeasurable precious qualities, who have uprooted every last poisoned tree of moral failings and who abide during the three times throughout the ten directions.
2. Homage to the Truth of Dharma that opens the wisdom-eye of beings in all three realms, that disperses the gloom of unknowing and is the means for extracting the poisonous arrow of latent tendencies.
3. Homage to the Sons of Those Gone to Bliss, the Sangha intent on virtue who never revert (to worldliness) and whose thoughts are motivated by great compassion. Unceasingly I bow my head to all who have opened the eye of their mind.
4. Whatever slight non-virtue I have committed throughout my lifetimes, or have encouraged, or rejoiced in, I lay bare before the Conquerors And pledge never to commit them again.
5. Without an exception, I rejoice in the virtue accumulated by Those Gone to Bliss, Solitary Realizers, Listeners and Conquerors' sons and in other wholesome deeds of worldly beings
6. Whatever non-virtue creatures commit confounded by venomous emotional afflictions, for them may I surely plunge alone with pleasure in the realms of hell.
7. Having satiated the world with the nectar of peaceful delight, may everyone's mind become active in virtue. May I willingly take on myself As much misery as beings may have.
8. May perfect awakening itself be produced soon in the minds of these beings. May those who have generated the pure awakening thought perfectly accomplish the collections for enlightenment.
9. By accomplishing the collections of virtue and attaining the spiritual levels, by remaining the lineage of Protectors of all three worlds and by annihilating the foes (of Dharma), may the abode of he Great Kingdom of Truth over the three worlds be attained.
10. No matter how many days there have been since the Awakened Beings became enlightened under the Bodhi-tree, I beseech those who are alive and abiding, Hereafter to cause the incomparable nectar of Truth to rain upon ongoing beings.
11. I entreat those nobly-minded ones who have completed their sublime activities for the sake of others and who are about to enter the supreme state beyond sorrow to remain for a long time acting to benefit others.
12. How ever many sentient beings there are wandering in the gloomy three worlds I shall invite them as my guests to savor the blissful nectar of extreme peace.
13. Whatever virtue has been accumulated in this way shall be dedicated totally for perfect awakening. Thus, may I never be apart for even an instant from bodhicitta - the mind intent on enlightenment.
14. Until the rank of those gone to Bliss - the basis of complete perfection - is gained, may I never be apart from the leader of the Subduers and the Awakening Warriors.
15. They are the ones who finely elucidate the path of activities for benefiting others. May I also advance, free from despondency, through every spiritual level of the Sons of the Awakened Ones.
16. May my body be complete with the physical attributes of a human and amassed with qualities worthy of praise by all creatures; may I recollect past lives, be born to an honorable family and have an attractive body.
17. Having discarded the vile action of ceasing to aid others but zealously working for my welfare alone, (aroused) by thoughts tormented with compassion may I cherish dearly all creatures without favoring one.
18. May there be not the slightest grasping in the thoughts of others at my possessions that I consider the wealth of others, but may they take and use whatever they wish like someone who never doubts his own wealth.
19. Even if someone should demand my flesh, may I offer it with pleasure in my eyes; may I always donate my limbs and so on for the welfare of all embodied beings.
20. May I, like a wish-fulfilling gem, provide all that beings desire and may I, like the wish-granting tree, completely fulfil their hopes.
21. May I spontaneously banish evil actions far away like filth and may I never breach the dam of precepts proclaimed by the supreme Subduer.
22. By abolishing concern for my body and life, may I always enjoy places of solitude; may my thoughts turn away from all gains and honor as if they were poisoned food.
23. Like a child of lowly status, I will discard arrogance, self-importance and pride toward beings and shall act to establish harmonious relations like in a gathering of kin from a noble family.
24. May I be accustomed to ethical discipline, an ornament utterly pacifying all (obscurations); stainless like the moonlight and the root of a lotus, untorn, unmixed and unsoiled.
25. Although someone against whom I have done no wrong should saw my head, splitting it into hundreds of pieces, I shall unceasingly hold him dear in my mind just as (a mother) cherishes an only son.
26. Should someone become angry with me from his heart and needlessly rob me of my life, may the unbearable and bitter fruits of his actions never arise.
27. Although anger, abuse, provocation and aggression should besiege me, may I never forsake patience but willingly take on all adversity to practice the deeds of the Conquerors' Sons.
28. Thus, may the dangling rope of doubt never sway in my mind for even an instant over the extremely profound and highly logical Dharma of the Subduer, that never before did I find.
29. May I who am born from lifetime to lifetime, by earnestly acting to benefit all beings, never fail to engage in vast virtues for even a mere moment of time.
30. Like a servant, may I accomplish all the tasks of every living being and, having accepted the burden of working for all, may sentient beings abide in happiness.
31. Since my body acts as a servant for others, even when speaking, may I be pleased to teach them Dharma and may even my thoughts constantly be empowered by the mind endeavoring to benefit others.
32. Even if I alone have to undergo misery for innumerable aeons in hell, still may I ripen sentient beings spiritually without ever becoming weary.
33. Surely, in the very process of accomplishing (the welfare of others) I actually will don this very armor of spiritually nurturing the three types of beings so that they may become disciplined.
34. May I joyfully cross without hesitation pits so filled with burning embers of fire that there is no space, so as to hear even one word of the good doctrine.
35. In abandoning being enticed by the results of all concentration and formless absorptions, but by dwelling on the Supreme Limit of Perfection, may I be accustomed purely to the bliss that arises.
36. Having mounted the horse that is calm abiding that is not obsessed, (with the warm experience of meditative absorption), may I tame the elephant of the mind that naturally roams, is most difficult to tame and ventures along the wrong path.
37. Since the supremely fine riches possessed by Rulers of Gods and Universal Emperors, being in the nature of desire are just like filth, may I never hold them in high regard.
38. There is no joy drifting through this existence similar to a burning house of iron, but being led by compassion, may I be reborn wherever it is conducive to assist others.
39. Whatever absorptions all spiritual children of Universal Protectors have mastered such as the Stance (of a Lion), the Inconceivable, the Sport of a Hero, the Various Activities,
40. The Going Bravely, the Treasure of Space and the Stainless, having attained all myself, I will bestow their bliss on the three kinds of beings, thus allowing them to enjoy their sublime accomplishments.
41. May I thoroughly and supremely perfect the ocean of craft, literature and art, and may every sentient being be wise in knowing the entire meaning of their own language.
42. Having gained the stainless, sharp and infinite intelligence distinguishing all words and meanings may I share with sentient beings the extremely profound and logical teachings.
43. To every living being without exception who does not perfectly understand Buddha's word may I finely elucidate many teachings as though inscribing letters on their minds,
44. Having surely ascended to the state of the ten fruitful powers may I actualize those practices that are the means for making the purpose of living beings completely worthwhile.
45. Just as all prayers of the Subduers are a cause for helping sentient beings, so too may I work constantly to attain the perfection of prayer.
46. By immediately suppressing as they arise all overwhelming masses of foe-like emotional afflictions and, not wavering from mental activities, may I remain only to be of benefit on earth.
47. By having perfectly realized these phenomena to be like illusions, mirages and magical emanations and having discarded the mesh of conceptions may I be of benefit throughout the three worlds.
48. Just as fathers especially cherish an only son, so will I continuously remain in meditation on pure love for every ongoing being by removing all stains (of aggression).
49. Just as mothers out of affection for an ailing son, in taking his burden on themselves, (suffer) accordingly, so will I work to enhance my compassion towards each and every ongoing sentient being.
50. When I see success delighting others may I, in especially generating much pleasure, remain meditating on joyfulness as if my only dear son were happy.
51. Having dispensed with anger and attachment towards sentient beings that correspondingly cause me to harm or to favor them, may I accomplish the tasks of all three worlds like completing one's work for one's son.
52. Having realized the powers, heightened awarenesses, analytical knowledges, mystical spells and the doors to liberation may I simultaneously be of benefit to sentient beings throughout the immeasurable expanse of the universe.
53. Whatever countries where the name of "Buddha" has not entered the ear, there may I act according to the deeds of Buddha through imparting his various methods.
54. Until the sun, the teacher of the three worlds, rises here in this universe, may I, like the sun, dispel the darkness (of ignorance) from each and every embodied being.
55. Whatever beings there are whose thoughts are saturated with evil and who have been rejected by many beings Gone to Bliss, may they be tamed by relying upon the sphere of action of my speech.
56. So that I may serve everyone in the universe I will be loving like a relative, kind like a mother and, like a father, shall give beneficial advice.
57. Even by merely recollecting my name may all beings immediately be protected from fear and may all misery of the three worlds be dispelled.
58. May I be a vase of goodness and medicine against illness for people who are destitute in hundreds of ways. May I also provide a cool pool of nectar continuously for the masses of hungry spirits.
59. May I be warmth for the cold hells and cause rain with sweet breezes to shower on the hot. As well, may I placate every harm in the very low realms of bad migration.
60. Even by beings merely remembering me may I be a true friend to those who face destitution, solid armor for those stricken by rain of arrows and cooling water from those afflicted by fire.
61. When beings remember me may I be an opponent for the venom of defilements, a firm bridge over the torrent of the three worlds, and may I bar the door to unfortunate destinies.
62. May even merely recollecting my name, be enough to prevent all beings from falling into the abyss of worldly existence. May I become the foundation of the stairway leading them to the pinnacle of pure peace.
63. Even if someone out of anger should recall my name for just an instant of time, may he never plunge into bad destinies and may he surely accomplish perfect Buddhahood.
64. May my excellences, stainless like moonlight, bring happiness throughout the whole universe; may I work to generate immeasurable delight for others even by merely breathing.
65. Having attained perfect awakening itself where all is fully complete may I also settle all ongoing beings in that ultimate awakening itself.
66. At that time, may not even slightly faulty actions arise in the minds of whoever (may be my disciples). May they always help other creatures and remain on the path of ten virtues.
67. May the realms of bad migration never be seen even in dreams of anyone fitting (to be my disciple) and may the far reaches of places of bad destiny be pleasurable like the realms of celestial beings.
68. As long as anyone remains in the midst of the ocean of the three worlds' non-virtues, may I remain in this world for them.
69. When I have enacted my passing into the state Beyond Sorrow may my teachings not become disordered and may none of my followers be swayed for even a moment by the dangling rope of doubt.
70. Thus by delighting in the performance of the Conquerors' Children, may whatever virtues I have gathered all be shared by each and every living being without exception.