A Brief Practice for Paying Homage and Making Offerings to the Buddha together with his retinue of Arhats
by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
Should you wish to pay homage and make offerings and prayers to the Buddha and the sixteen sthaviras, prepare some offerings, and arrange them cleanly and beautifully before an image of Buddha Śākyamuni and his retinue. If this is not possible, the practice may be done as a visualization.
Refuge and Bodhicitta
In the Buddha, the Dharma and the Supreme Assembly,
I take refuge until I attain enlightenment.
Through the merit of practising generosity and so on,
May I attain buddhahood for the benefit of beings!
Repeat this verse three times
Blessing the Environment
By the truth of the Buddha, Dharma and Saṅgha, the objects of refuge,
The blessings of all the victorious ones and their bodhisattva heirs,
The power of the two accumulations and the purity and strength of the dharmadhātu,
May the outer environment and its inhabitants become those of the blissful paradise of Sukhāvatī, with, in its centre,
A great celestial palace of precious gems, stunning to behold,
Inside which is a jewelled lion throne with lotus and moon-disc seats—
Here and now, may I experience this pure realm filled with clouds of actual offerings,
And those created through the power of mantras, awareness and aspiration!
With this, the place and offerings are all blessed.
Then, focusing your aspiration one-pointedly, recite the following:
The ground is smooth like the palm of the hand, and bedecked with jewels.
It is adorned with wish-granting trees, rivers and lakes. In its centre,
In the jewelled palace with its four sides and four doors,
Upon seats of lotus, sun and moon,
Is the compassionate protector of beings, the one who sets
The beings of these troubled times on the path to liberation,
The supreme Śākyamuni together with the great sthaviras—
Come now to this place together with your retinues, we pray!
When doing the practice more elaborately, longer verses of praise and offering to the arhats, either in verse or prose, can be done here. If you are doing the concise version then simply continue with:
Through skilful means and compassion, you were born in the Śākya clan,
And, utterly invincible, you overcame the forces of Māra,
Your form resplendent like a mountain of burnished gold—
King of the Śākyas, at your feet I bow!
You who were instructed by the Buddha to uphold the victory banner of the teachings:
Aṅgaja, Ajita and Vanavāsin,
Kālika, Vajrīputra and Śrībhadra,
Kanakavatsa and sublime Kanakabhāradvāja,
The noble Bakula and Rāhula,
Kṣudrapanthaka and Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja,
Panthaka, Nāgasena, Gopaka and Abhedya,
Upāsaka Dharmatāla and the Four Great Kings,
Together with all your retinues—at your lotus feet,
I prostrate, taking refuge and offering heartfelt prayers!
The ground is purified with scented water and strewn with flowers;
It is adorned with Sumeru, the four continents and the sun and moon:
Thinking of it as the blessed buddha-fields, I offer it.
By virtue of this offering, may all beings enjoy the happiness of those pure realms.
Both actual offerings and those created through the power of mantras, awareness and aspiration,
All these I offer; I confess all my harmful acts and downfalls;
I rejoice in all that is virtuous, and request and beseech you!
All this virtue, I dedicate towards great enlightenment!
With this, perform the seven-branch offering. If you are an ordained monk or nun, and you need to do the practices of Sojong or Düdren, they can be done here.
Great conquerors and throne holders, please think of us!
Lord of sages and gathering of noble sthaviras,
By the power of hearing, thinking of, and repeating your excellent names, and paying homage and making offerings to you,
For us and all other beings, whosoever and wheresoever they may be,
May all temporary and ultimate disharmony be pacified!
And may happiness, virtue, glory and prosperity increase!
Bless us, so that we may follow the spiritual teachers of the supreme vehicle,
And always be sustained by the nectar of their teachings!
Bless us to maintain pure discipline and engage in study, reflection and meditation,
So we may train perfectly in renunciation and twofold bodhicitta,
And without ever neglecting activity for the benefit of others,
Attain the level of perfect omniscience!
May the faultless teaching of the Buddha flourish and spread in all directions!
May the supreme holders of the teachings remain for hundreds of kalpas!
May virtue and excellence pervade throughout the world!
And may our own and others’ benefit be spontaneously accomplished!
Recite this prayer and then further adorn the practice with verses of auspiciousness.
The carefree Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo composed this prayer for the benefit of those with faith. May it be accomplished!