I pray to Buddha Amitayus, teacher of gods and men. Your excellent activities give endless benefit to beings. Remembering you just once pushes away fear of the lord of death. Your mind always generates compassion towards beings like a mother towards her only son.
Alternative translation: [With your] excellent practices without limit benefitting sentient [beings], once [with] mindfulness [of you] forever abandoning fear [of the] king [of] death, constantly sympathetic [of] sentient beings like [an only] beloved child, [I] prostrate [to] heavenly [and] human [beings’] teacher Amitā[bha Buddha].
Many times the good qualities of the supreme paradise, Dewachen, were praised by Lord Buddha. By compassion’s power and prayers to be born there, I will explain whatever I can.
Blocked by thick ignorance of the points to be abandoned and obtained, the chances for beings to reach a higher life are killed by the weapon of anger. We are locked in samsara’s prison, bound by the rope of desire, and carried away by the great river of karma into samsara’s ocean.
Adrift in sufferings’ waves of sickness and old age, swallowed by the sea monster’s mouth of the ruthless lord of death, and buried under a load of unwanted sufferings, I am unprotected and moaning with depression.
My mind aspires to witness a destitute person’s only friend, the Savior Amitabha. You are accompanied by the great bodhisattva, Lord Avalokiteshvara, and surrounded by a supreme entourage.
Please don’t forget your unwavering promise to benefit us, made for immeasurable eons by generating the bodhisattva mind. By the power of that, I supplicate you respectfully to come here through the force of your miraculous powers and compassion, just like the king of birds flies through the deities’ path of the sky.
By depending on the power of amassing the ocean-like two collections of virtue accumulated by myself and others throughout the three times, I pray, Amitabha, that you, together with your two chief sons and your entourage, will stay close to me at the time of my death and protect me. Please, Buddha, may I see you directly along with your entourage. At that time may very strong faith in you arise in me. May there be no extreme pain at the time of death.
Without forgetting, may I remember the object of my faith. At the moment of death, may the eight bodhisattvas come to me with their miraculous power and show me the exact path to travel to Dewachen.
Because of that may I be born from a lotus into the precious pure land of Dewachen with sharp faculties and among the Mahayana race of beings.
As soon as I am born, may I retain everything previously learned about concentration, selfless bodhichitta, endless ability, confidence, and so forth. May I achieve immeasurable collections of good qualities. May Amitabha, his entourage, and the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions have confidence in me, and may I receive the complete Mahayana teachings, understanding them exactly as intended.
Through miraculous power, may I go unobstructed to the many buddhafields, completing all the great bodhisattva activities.
Even though I take birth in the pure realms, may I be drawn by the great power of compassion to go, without obstacles and through miraculous ability, mainly into impure lands. May I teach the Dharma to all beings exactly as fits each one’s ability. Because of that, may I be able to establish them in the perfect, pure path praised by the buddhas.
May I quickly complete all excellent activities and easily achieve buddhahood for the sake of the vast numbers of beings.
One day, when this life’s activities are finished, may my mind become full of faith and compassion from being able to see you clearly, Amitabha, surrounded by your ocean of disciples.
Alternative translation: May I, when leaving my life’s activities, presently see Āmítuófó [i.e. Amitābha Buddha]. May his ocean-wide assembly everywhere surround, with faith and compassion filling my body.
As soon as the appearances of the intermediate state come to me, may the eight bodhisattvas show me the unmistaken path. Because of that, may I be born into Dewachen and then emanate into impure lands in order to save beings.
Alternative translation: If the intermediate state first appears, may the eight sons of the Buddha [i.e. eight great Bodhisattvas] show the road [to Pure Land]. Having manifested birth in the Land Of Ultimate Bliss already, may I deliver defiled lands’ sentient beings.
Even though I may yet to to achieve such a supreme state through all my lives, may I always achieve the basis of a perfect human form. May I strive at hearing, contemplating, and meditating upon the explanations and realizations of Buddha’s teachings.
May I never be separated from the basis of a human form, ornamented by the seven qualities of the higher realms.
In those lifetimes may I always achieve the ability to remember all my previous existences with exact clarity.
Throughout all my future lives may I see samsaric existence as without essence. May I be attracted to nirvana’s qualities. Because of that, through Buddha’s excellent teachings on vinaya, may I renounce the world and enter the monastic life.
When I become a monk or nun, may I not commit any of the natural bad deeds nor break even the slightest of Buddha’s precepts. May I be just like Bhikshu Mitrugpa (Undisturbed), achieving great enlightenment by completely developing the heap of ethics.
Also, throughout all my future lives may I exactly understand the way for purely cleaning away the mental afflictions. Then may I achieve the excellent collections of recollecting everything without exception that I previously learned, including the branches of perfection and holding in mind the words and meanings of the Dharma. May I achieve the pure confidence to teach without obstacle to others I behold.
Also, throughout all my lives may I enter the samadhis called “going courageously” and so forth, may I gain the “flesh eye” and so forth, and may I achieve the five clairvoyances, such as the miraculous ability to know faraway objects and so forth. May I never be separated from these abilities.
Throughout all my future lives may I achieve great wisdom, which makes me able, through my own power, to discriminate between the points of what should be developed and what should be abandoned.
May I achieve clear wisdom, which is able to discriminate even the subtle details of the mental afflictions and of the pure virtues exactly as they are, not mixing them but keeping them separate.
May I achieve quick wisdom, which is able to terminate without exception all lack of understanding, wrong views, and mental doubts as soon as they arise.
May I achieve profound wisdom, which gives me access to the scriptures of Buddha’s excellent speech, so that without becoming stuck, I may understand the unfathomable depths of meaning.
In summary, with the wisdom free from the faults of perverted wisdom, may I become just like venerable Manjushri with a skillful teacher’s wisdom that keeps a clear understanding of the meanings of the Buddha’s teachings and enables me to perfect all the bodhisattvas’ transcendental activities.
Like that, with wisdom that is great, clear, quick, and profound, may I take care of other fortunate ones with kindness, destroy wrong views, and please the knowledgeable through teaching, debating, and composing scriptures on the various branches of Buddha’s teachings, becoming a completely perfected scholar.
Throughout all my future lives may I be free of holding thoughts that mainly cling to my own purposes, and may I stop all laziness and cowardliness toward the great activities of the bodhisattvas. Then may I become skillful in the bodhisattva mind, which willingly takes on the purposes of others with a brave mind perfectly complete. By that, may I perfect all bodhisattvas’ activities and become just like venerable Avalokiteshvara.
Also, throughout all my future lives, when working for the benefit of myself and others, may I subdue all demons, extremists, and opponents with wrong views through the skillful power that enables me to complete all the perfect bodhisattva activities, becoming just like the venerable Vajrapani.
Throughout all my future lives, with effort that abandons all laziness, may I complete the bodhisattvas’ activities by first generating the bodhisattva mind instantly and then not wavering from it. Through that great effort may I find incomparable buddhahood, becoming just like Buddha Shakyamuni.
Throughout all my future lives, may I be able to overcome all sicknesses of body and mind that are obstacles to achieving enlightenment. May I become just like the thus-gone Medicine Buddha, just by mentioning whose name one is able to pacify all sufferings of body, speech, and mind.
Also, throughout all my future lives, may I attain whatever length of life I wish for, becoming just like Buddha Amitayus. Even by saying his name one is able to subdue all untimely death.
When obstacles to life come near, please appear to me, Savior Amitayus, and through your four activities, tame your disciples, appearing to them clearly in whatever form is fitting. As soon as your form is seen, may all obstacles to life be extinguished, without exception.
When you appear in whatever form is fitting for your disciples, Savior Amitayus, may we be able to recognize those forms as you, and may a faith that is not artificial and that is unshakably strong arise. Through the power of that faith, may we meet directly with you in the form of virtuous friends throughout all our lives, Buddha Amitayus, receiving direct teachings and never becoming separate.
Throughout all my future lives may I be held in the kindness of a fully qualified Mahayana virtuous teacher, the root of all ordinary and transcendent good qualities, and may that teacher become very happy with me.
At that time also, through the power of a strong, unshakable faith toward my virtuous guide, may I only perform activities that please my teacher with all three doors of my body, speech, and mind. May I not do anything that would cause my guide to become displeased for even an instant.
Having pleased my virtuous friend, may every holy instruction be bestowed without leaving anything out, and may I diligently practice.
Understanding whatever meanings are taught, may I strive to be able to accomplish them completely.
May I not become influenced for even an instant by misleading friends or non-virtuous teachers.
Throughout all my lives, may I have reasoned faith in cause and effect, renunciation, the altruistic wish for enlightenment, pure view, and all knowledges entered into effortlessly, experienced without break.
Throughout all my future lives, may the roots of all virtues I perform through my body, speech, and mind serve to benefit others, becoming a cause for their pure enlightenment.
lightly edited by Ven. Constance Miller
Guru Rinpoche & Lama Tsongkhapa’s Exhortation To Reach Pure Land