Samantabhadra (Universal Virtue) Bodhisattva’s Repentance Practice 普贤菩萨之忏悔行

Excerpts From ‘Universal Virtue Bodhisattva’s Practices’ [And] Vows’ Chapter:


[Samantabhadra Bodhisattva told the youth Good Wealth (Sudhanakumâra)]: ‘Furthermore, good man, speaking [of] that, [of] repenting [of] karmic obstacles, Bodhisattvas [should] personally recite,


“I, in past beginningless kalpas within, due [to] greed, hatred [and] ignorance, gave rise [to] body, speech [and] mind, [to] create all evil karmas, immeasurable [and] boundless. If these evil karmas have that [of] physical forms, exhausting empty space’s realms, [they are] not able [to] contain [and] receive [them]. I now, all with pure three karmas, everywhere in [the] Dharma Realm’s extremely fine dust [motes of] lands, before all Buddhas [and] Bodhisattvas’ assemblies, [with the] sincere mind repent, [to] later not again create [them, by] constantly abiding [in] pure precepts’ all meritorious virtues.”


Thus [with] empty space’s realms exhausted, sentient beings’ realms exhausted, sentient beings’ karmas exhausted, sentient beings’ afflictions exhausted, my repenting then exhausts. Yet, [as] empty space’s realms and even sentient beings’ afflictions [are] inexhaustible thus, my this repenting [will] not have [a] complete end. [With] thought [to] thought [in] continuous succession, not having interruption. [With] body, speech [and] mind karmas, not having weariness.’…


[Universal Virtue Bodhisattva to the ten directions]:



[Verse (For) Repentance]

[From] my past, those created all evil karmas,
all due [to] beginningless greed, hatred [and] ignorance,
from body, speech [and] mind, of those arisen,
[for] all I now all repent.*

[*Have remorse for misdeeds, with resolution to make amends, and to never repeat the misdeeds.]

Summary: Samantabhadra (Universal Virtue) Bodhisattva taught that those who practise the Bodhisattva path, for guiding one and all to Buddhahood, should practise repentance of karmic obstacles by being mindful, that since countless world cycles ago, they have already created all kinds of negative karma, from physical, verbal and mental deeds, arising from the three poisons of attachment, aversion and delusion, so much so that the whole of the boundless universe’s space cannot bear it all, should this karma take shape all at once. 

Thus, all should immediately, with body, speech and mind as pure as possible, sincerely repent before all immeasurable Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, with them bearing witness, with us resolving to never do evil again, and to always accord with all precepts purely. 

We should see ourselves to have no fixed self, while our negative karma is interconnected to all other beings’ negative karma. [Even them doing wrong (to others and) ourselves is also partly our wrong, due to (others and) us having done wrong, to karmically be wronged, and due to (others and) us not doing enough of what is right, to guide them to realise they are wrong. If we currently lack skilful means to guide them, all the more should we repent.]

As long as empty space, with its realms of immeasurable sentient beings’ negative karma and afflictions are yet to be exhausted, such repentance should be continual and not end. Even if the collective negative karma cannot be exhausted, out of equally immeasurable compassion for all, repentance on the behalf of one and all should likewise not be exhausted.

Of course, for repentance to be practised for full effect, it must be personally done. However, even the greatest Bodhisattvas like Samantabhadra Bodhisattva continue to selflessly and diligently repent for all beings, including you and me. How very moving! If so, how can we not also do the same, by heeding his teaching by example, to lighten everyone’s load of suffering?

Note: Sincere practice of mindfulness of Amitābha Buddha’s name (i.e. 阿弥陀佛: Āmítuófó) can be used to express repentance too.

Namo Amituofo : Translation, summary and note by Shen Shi’an

Related Sūtra

Complete Chapter

Related Article:

How Are Others’ Faults Also My Faults?

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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