108 Verses Praising Great Compassion By Lama Lobsang Tayang

This translation of 108 Verses Praising is of the renowned Lobsang Tayang’s . He was a highly esteemed interpreter of the Gelugpa tradition, and his writings cover a wide range of literature, , logic and .

About Lama Lobsang Tayang

was born in 1867 in the Gobi desert, was renowned for his vast of . He was compared to the Indian pandit Ashvagosha, author of the “50 Verses of Devotion”, and served as the lineage holder of many practices.

Traditional Buddhist education

Lobsang Tayang began his education at the age of four, during which he learned the alphabet and began translating different texts. 13 years later, at the age of 17, Geshe Lobsang Tayang departed for Ulaanbataar where he joined Kunga Choling . Kunga Choling was a philosophical college belonging to the lineage of , and its curriculum focused on the textbooks used in in .

It was originally founded in 1809 by the Fourth Jetsundampa Khutuktu as part of the Ikh Khuree Monastic City complex. is literally translated as “Holy Precious of Mongolia” and it is a title given to the spiritual heads of the Gelug lineage of Tibetan . The spiritual head also holds the Bogd Gegeen title, which translates as the “Highest Saint”, making him the highest ranking lama in Mongolia. In 1938, a year after Geshe Lobsang Tayang’s death, the monastery was almost completely destroyed and was later rebuilt in 2001 on the original site.

It was at Kunga Choling that Geshe Lobsang Tayang studied both and Tantra under the spiritual guidance of Khewan Jigje and Sangye. Later on, he received full monastic from Palden Chophel, the abbot of Ulaanbataar. In 1907, Geshe Lobsang Tayang received the Kachupa degree which is the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree, obtained after five to six years of . He was 40 years old at the .

In addition to his scholarly prowess, Geshe Lobsang Tayang is also known for performing miracles during his lifetime. One such incident was his revelation of two miraculous inscribed with magical letters on Wu Tai Shan in Northern , one of the four sacred mountains in and a place where , the of , is said to reside. In 1922, Geshe Lobsang Tayang established a college, and in 1926, a Buddhist college based on Gomang Monastery’s curriculum.

A scholar and prolific author

Geshe Lobsang Tayang composed numerous works on classical Buddhist themes, especially . also occupied a very prominent role in his writings. Amongst his other works, he produced an abbreviated translation of ’s travel journals that was later published in 16 volumes.

He also initiated the volume of texts known as the Dorje Shugden Be Bum or collected works, that includes a number of early Dorje Shugden texts written by various Tibetan and Mongolian masters. Geshe Lobsang Tayang composed the introduction and history for the Be Bum and the catalogue of texts that it included. The Namtharof  Drakpa Gyaltsen, the previous incarnation of Dorje Shugden, and his  lineage is also included in the Be Bum.

Geshe Lobsang Tayang’s collection of written works, known as his sungbum , has been used by Mongolian, Tibetan and Western scholars of Tibetan Buddhism such as Lhatsun , one of Rinpoche’s teachers. The late Kyabje Yongdzin was, His Holiness the ‘s senior tutor. In the book “The Life of My Teacher: A Biography of Kyabje Ling Rinpoche”, the gave insight into the practices that were included in Geshe Lobsang Tayang’s collected works.

108 Verses Praising Great Compassion

  1. The door to the path of the Great Beings
    The great seal of the Mahāyāna
    The seed of Great
    I prostrate with devotion to Great .
  1. The mother who gives birth to all Victorious Ones
    The essential of the Conqueror’s Children.
    The anonymous benefactor of all beings
    May I be protected by Great Compassion.
  1. Prostrating to it alone
    Encompasses making prostrations and
    To all the Victorious Ones and their Children.
    I praise Great Compassion.
  1. I praise you, Great Compassion
    The unrivaled ultimate root
    The cause and the condition
    From which Sravakas, , and are born.
  1. I praise you, Great Compassion,
    Who are important at the beginning, like a seed,
    In the interim, like , and at the end like the fruit
    In (obtaining) the excellent harvest of the Victorious Ones.
  1. I praise you, Great Compassion,
    Whose defining characteristic is the to protect
    All aged mother sentient beings
    From the subtle and gross of existence and pacification.
  1. I praise the compassion that focuses on sentient beings,
    That sees them in their aspect
    Overpowered by their
    Like a waterwheel in the well of cyclic existence.
  1. You see all beings to be like ripples on [the surface of] a river
    They do not last even a moment
    I praise the compassion that focuses on phenomena
    That sees them in their impermanent aspect.
  1. I praise compassion that focuses on the objectless,
    That sees all beings, however they appear,
    To be empty of inherent existence
    Like the reflection of the moon in water.
  1. When one has completely perfected the ability
    To meditate on great compassion,
    One must be perfectly awakened.
    Therefore you are the that makes the Buddha a Buddha.
  1. All of the Buddha’s ,
    Which are the nature of nonviolence,
    Are elucidated by means of compassion.
    Thus you are the quality that makes the the Dharma.
  1. The disciples of our Teacher, the Conqueror
    Are defined in terms of whether or not they follow the four duties of a sramana
    And by the rules of the discipline of compassion.
    Hence, you are the quality that makes the the Sangha.
  1. There is a great deal of difference
    Between one who does possess you in one’s -stream,
    And those who do not: Like the Supreme Teacher and ,
    The former of whom restored the life’s breath of the swan while the latter could not
  1. Hence it is you, Great Compassion,
    Who liberates one from all fears,
    Who is the sole and definitive source of refuge
    For the world with its and other beings.
  1. The determination that the Conqueror, the Lord Buddha
    Is a reliable individual
    Comes down to a logical proof
    For which you, Great Compassion, are the reason.
  1. Therefore, even the conviction that only the Buddha’s teachings
    Serve as the holy gateway
    For those desiring liberation- even this
    Depends upon skill in your ways.
  1. Although numerous are the reasons why
    The Jewel of the Buddha is a fitting object of refuge,
    Great impartial compassion
    Is the chief reason
  1. The same reason proves that the Dharma and the Sangha
    Are also fitting objects of refuge.
    Hence you are the chief arbiter
    Distinguishing what is an object of refuge from what is not.
  1. Although Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas
    Can remain in equipoise for many hundreds of eons due to the power of their
    They have not paid you any attention
    And so (are constrained to) sleep for a long time in a gulf of peacefulness.
  1. But the perfect Buddhas and
    Have already offered into your hands
    Whatever authority they have, and so
    They remain, benefiting others, until the end of existence.
  1. As an inferior mind like my own sees it,
    When someone turns their attention to you, Compassion,
    They urgently think: “All the suffering that [beings] must endure
    Lies over there,
    So I had better wave them on down here.”
  1. If a single pleasure arises in another [who lacks compassion],
    Later it turns into a great deal of suffering;
    If a single suffering arises in you [compassionate ones],
    Later it disperses all suffering.
  1. If there is something that, by adopting it,
    Becomes the cause for the eradication of many
    Then whatever brand of suffering one might experience,
    Is it not You who eliminates [that suffering]?
  1. Moreover, in order to prevent the onslaught
    Of the harm that could strike beings,
    You oh protector, bring suffering upon yourself
    As did the Bodhisattva Supuúpachandra.
  1. So as to protect the lives of many beings,
    And so that the sinful will not fall into hell,
    You would even [physically] harm another
    As did the compassionate Merchant Trader.
  1. Individuals expert in the ways of Compassion,
    Though they may, for the sake of others, enter into the Avici hell
    Will have their bodies and minds refreshed by and bliss
    Like a swan in a sea of lotuses.
  1. In liberating sentient beings, you captivate their minds
    With happiness that is like an ocean.
    By comparison [the happiness that comes from] obtaining personal liberation
    Is like the water in a hoof-print. What is it next to you?
  1. Those heroes who devote themselves
    To the lady they admire, Great Compassion
    Are voluntarily born into the of beings
    Due to the power of their and prayers.
  1. Yet, by the power of their merit, their bodies are happy;
    Because of their skill, their minds are happy;
    So even though they abide for the sake of others until the end of existence,
    How could they experience weariness?
  1. Oh mind of Compassion, how astounding
    That you are exclusively devoted to the welfare of others.
    But how much more astounding that you do this
    Without hope of reward and without conceit.
  1. There is no better example [to illustrate] the way
    That you desire to protect all beings from suffering
    Than the pity that a wise mother feels
    For her beloved son.
  1. Though she has many children,
    A mother feels special concern for the one who is sick.
    Likewise, you show the greatest
    To the beings who are tormented.
  1. An ordinary person like me
    Can only cherish and value my own self;
    Hence there can be no comparison to you
    Who cherishes and values all beings.
  1. Even though I greatly fear suffering
    I have no fear of sin; that is how I am.
    But your nature is to fear sin
    Millions of times more than you fear suffering.
  1. As long as the fetters of afflictions
    Bind sentient beings to Saîsåra,
    For that length of time you
    Secure the Buddhas to this Saîsåric .
  1. Therefore, it was the custom of the Bearded Ones in
    To bow first to you, and then to the Buddhas For you are what causes them
    To remain in the three of existence.
  1. Whose power likens yours
    Which can even incite the Lord of Nagas
    To leave the lake waters’ swirling expanse
    And appear in the parched land of disciples
  1. While asleep in the state of
    The Able One knows all phenomena that can be known,
    Subduing the haughty ones through skillful means.
    This is your magic, Compassion.
  1. By rubbing it on the Kashi rock of Great Compassion
    One the gold
    Of the Victor’s noble qualities of might and fearlessness,
    [And] inferentially determines its qualitative nature.
  1. The chief object of others’
    Is limited to the self as the basis (i.e., the ).
    But that is not the object of your attachment.
    Yours instead is more amazing than this mere support of the self.
  1. For according to your predilection
    If they do not consider their own life to be of secondary importance
    Then how could the Stable Ones engage in the hundreds of thousands
    of and alms
    Which they make of their own bodies?
  1. Although others may benefit one,
    Greater is the harm that they inflict.
    How magnanimous is the benefit you bring
    Even to those who inflict harm.
  1. Beings may treat you as everything
    From friend to foe to neutral.
    Yet how wondrous that you constantly manage
    To think of each of them as you would your only child.
  1. If one’s aged mother went insane under the influence of ,
    Who in their right mind would see her as an enemy?
    How amazing that your mind
    Perceives all beings as your kind mother.
  1. The fact that the Buddhas remain in the world
    Teaching the path to liberation as they see fit
    Both day and night during the six timesThat is your kindness, the wide eye of compassion.
  1. And when someone shouts with a lion’s roar:
    “I am the refuge of all beings
    Who lack protectors,”
    That is your magic, the noble tongue of compassion.
  1. Although spirits have spells
    That can harm beings in all sorts of ways,
    It is your blessing, Great Mercy,
    That transform [these spells] into beneficial things.
  1. Even when the hordes of ’s army
    Shower their frightful weapons upon one,
    The power of the mighty armor of compassion
    Makes them crumble into a mist of flowers.
  1. An arm firmly embraces
    The vast numbers of beings,
    Feeling that it cannot part from them;
    That is you, the long arm of compassion
  1. And what is it that appears as the
    Which the Supreme Guide uses to lift all beings
    Out of the intense dangers of the chasm of existence?
    It is only the hook of compassion
  1. Hence you are everywhere, both in the realm of SaÚsåra and Nirvåïa,
    [Carrying] all embodied
    From the troubles out of which they have not yet been led
    To the excellence which they have yet to find.
  1. As for me, I try to transfer or infect others
    With all of my suffering and loss;
    And whatever excellence others may have,
    I covet them for myself.
  1. But you share and give to others
    All of the happiness which belongs to you;
    And whatever suffering others may have,
    You cultivate the attitude: “May they be my own.”
  1. The suffering of the world is the result of self-cherishing
    While its happiness is the reward for cherishing others.
    Only you, Protector, Can provide the confidence that this is so.
  1. Although others revere the Victorious Ones
    They revile sentient beings.
    But you respectfully serve even the unruly
    As if they were Buddhas.
  1. We understand by the magic of your skillful means
    That in obtaining the state of a Victorious One
    The Buddhas and sentient beings
    Are both equally kind to us.
  1. “The Sages do not wash away the sins of beings with water;
    They do not wipe away suffering with their hands.”
    Thus is it stated in the Buddhas’s own words []
    And in the [later] commentaries [].
  1. How is it that the who meditates on compassion
    Can actually take away
    The swelling sickness from the body of a dog
    And the lice infestations from the body of a person?
  1. But this is something that the Omniscient One himself understands:
    That the ability of the mind of the yogi
    Who meditates on accepting the suffering of others and
    Giving them his own happiness is inconceivable.
  1. We ourselves are in that same position
    As the Supreme Teacher who, in a previous life,
    Was the Charioteer in hell in the depths of Saîsåra.
  1. But that strongman is now a Buddha
    While we are still left behind.
    And when we contemplate it is clear that It is due to this fact:
    The mind of compassion arose in his mind stream but not in ours.
  1. What brand of partiality do you engage in, Great Compassion?
    You realize the faults that ensue from securing one’s own welfare,
    And the benefits that ensue from accomplishing only the welfare of others.
  1. By obtaining you for just one moment,
    Even those who must remain in hell for many eons
    Exhaust their karma and they take rebirth as one of the of the Thirty-Three.
  1. In smothering the masses of the of suffering
    You are like a great rain and in burning up the piles of sins
    You are equal to the fire at the end of time.
  1. As soon as he generated the compassion
    That wished to relieve sentient beings of headache pains Priyaputra was liberated
    From the hellish () of the revolving wheel.
  1. How then can one measure the heaps of merit
    Amassed through meditating on supreme compassion,
    The desire to eliminate the one hundred and ten of suffering
    That torment all sentient beings equal [in number] to ?
  1. When other bodhisattvas [and Buddhas] of the Good Eon
    Would look upon sentient beings, those who live to the age of 100,
    During this evil time of the appearance of the five degenerations,
    Seeing them as difficult to subdue, they would give up, discouraged.
  1. But at that time the Brahmin Samudraråja
    With the of his great compassion
    Perfectly made five hundred aspiration prayers
    And accepted the fortunate disciples as supreme.
  1. The Tathågatha Ratnagarbha etc.
    The Buddhas of the ten directions and their children
    Scattered abundantly the flowers of praise
    By calling him “The Precious .”
  1. That the proclamation of the excellence of Great Compassion
    Is the method of extolling the greatness of their biographies
    Proves that you are the first great tutor
    For the Buddhas of the three times.
  1. That is why
    Arrived at the state of much sooner than the Protector
    : Even though he generated (the mind of )
    Forty-two great eons after the latter.
  1. And you, O mind of compassion,
    Are the kindness that assumes the burden of an inner tutor,
    Urgently inciting us: “Strive toward the threefold [goal]
    Of perfecting, ripening, and purifying.”
  1. The activity of the Conqueror’s children
    The pure thought of compassion
    That takes up the burden of others’ welfare,
    Is difficult for the minds of ordinary beings to fathom.
  1. Never mind seeing near a tree
    Someone giving away his [own] head a thousand times over [frightens us],
    Even to hear about such a thing
    Arises awesome fear in our .
  1. And the supreme children who are born into the family
    Of the of Dharma, the
    Like lotuses borne from the water
    Are sustained and nurtured by you, their mother, the mother of compassion.
  1. The sages have said that the only difference between
    That pure thought of renunciation
    And you, Great Compassion
    Is that one is turned inward, the other outward.
  1. All aspects, whether birth, maintenance, or growth
    Of the wish-fulfilling tree of the Awakening Mind (Bodhicitta)
    Depend upon the firm root of compassion
    Which is what integrates the seven “causes and effects.”
  1. When the snake Mandara repeatedly churns
    The mountain of skillful means
    In the great ocean of emptiness,
    You, the nectar of compassion, erupts as its .
  1. There are many authentics and charlatans who claim to have attained
    The five extrasensory powers and the four results.
    But it is that even charlatans arise
    Claiming to have attained Great Compassion.
  1. Those who show signs of having obtained other qualities
    Are as rare as stars in the night sky,
    But those who show signs of having obtained Great Compassion
    Are even rarer than stars seen in broad daylight.
  1. That is why the Prajñåpåramitå sūtras attest
    That the existence in the billion world-systems
    Of a being who has obtained the precious supreme mind of Compassion
    Is just barely possible.
  1. Who, whether sage or fool can fathom
    The one in whose mind stream you reside,
    So that even if he cuts his own flesh and gives it away
    Will rejoice even more than the one who devours it?
  1. The bliss that arises from the sound of the word “Alms!”
    Cannot be rivaled even by the bliss of the peace
    Of Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas.
    Hence, the skill of the being (who practices) You is amazing.
  1. No matter how much of poison of sensual delights
    The hosts of Peacocks, the children of the Conquerors, those heroes, may eat
    It only serves to enhance the beauty of the Peacocks’ feathers, their qualities,
    And that (beauty) is your splendor.
  1. Other precious jewels
    Can only fulfill their own individual purpose,
    But the king (of jewels) that has the power to fulfill one’s wishes
    Can accomplish all of one’s needs and desires effortlessly.
  1. The six perfections, such as generosity,
    Bring about their own individual [results] such as wealth.
    But Great Compassion
    Brings about the two goals and every excellence.
  1. Hence, if one has the supreme jewel of compassion
    In the palm of one’s hand,
    All of the Buddha’s qualities
    Will come into one’s grasp without being sought.
  1. What does it mean to say that someone is “The Fully Perfected Buddha?”
    How can it have any meaning to say that it is
    Someone who demonstrates incongruous works of magic
    From some abode wreathed in rainbow light?
  1. Instead, a Buddha is defined as one
    Who always sees the world
    According to your predilections, Great Compassion,
    And protects it from suffering.
  1. The superior teacher, the Compassionate one,
    Gave up the last fifth of his life
    As the cause for the perdurance of the teachings.
    And his passing into Peace
  1. Is an expression of the extent of the mercy
    He showed to us.
    Hence, your kindness, Great Compassion,
    Is beyond the scope of verbal description.
  1. The protector
    Even his own name
    To eliminate the fear of those who hear it.
    This too is the magic of boundless compassion.
  1. Although the Venerable Āsaðga tried to obtain [vision of] the Protector
    Maitreya In a forest for a period of twelve years,
    Still nothing happened.
    But on one occasion, he encountered a dog in distress.
  1. In that instant, a powerful compassion overwhelmed him
    And he had a vision of [Maitreya]61
    Therefore, those who concentrate on you as their single deity
    Will effortlessly behold the faces of a hundred deities.
  1. The incomparable Lord Atïsha
    Unconcerned that his lifespan
    Would be shortened by nineteen years,
    Journeyed to the Land of Snows.
  1. This is definitely the power of Great Compassion.
    Having sustained the embers of the Doctrine,
    Even to this day they have not gone out.
    That is the enlightened activity of his compassion.
  1. There are many amazing stories [telling] of how cats and even wolves
    Would cease hunting, etc.,
    Near the place where the Great Son of the Conqueror, Shrï
    Was engaged in the practice of compassion.
  1. The Protector Mañjushri, Lama ,
    During the age of the final five hundred years of extreme degeneration,
    Beautified the world
    With his pure discipline and stainless preaching and practice
  1. But this is said to be the later ripening into a good result
    Of a prayer that he made previously in the presence of Indraketu:
    To grasp the holy Dharma,
    His mind moved by great compassion.
  1. In short, whatever vast and narrow rivers of benefit and happiness
    Cascade and fall into the great sea of SaÚsåra and Nirvåna,
    For each, its source can only be found
    In the great snows of compassion.
  1. When the reaches of the vast and noble qualities
    Of the sky-like supreme mind of compassion
    Cannot be fathomed even by the eye of the Omniscient One,
    How can a pauper, a fly, fathom it?
  1. Yet just as a rain sparrow is satisfied
    By a few drops of the nectar of the clouds,
    My spirit is uplifted
    When I pronounce the noble qualities of Great Compassion.
  1. This tongue and palate of mine,
    Accustomed since childhood to the four non-virtues of speech For the first time, today only now are they imbued with purpose.
  1. It is that which, when it arises in the mind
    Differentiates thinking beings from domesticated .
    It is what makes us worthy of being called human.
    I take refuge in Great Compassion.
  1. If you yearn from the heart to obtain Buddhahood,
    Then in the presence of a kind-hearted master
    Abide with humility in your heart
    And meditate on the supreme heart of compassion.
  1. By the accumulated virtue of praising this,
    May the mind of compassion quickly arise in my heart,
    And may it never degenerate
    But always spread and increase.
  1. May I become a great captain
    Of the ship of Great Compassion
    Skilled in navigating the hosts of my aged mothers, innumerable as space
    Along the sea of Great Awakening.
  1. May all beings of this degenerate age who lack compassion,
    And who are themselves objects of compassion,
    Be blessed by the deity of compassion
    That their minds be soaked with the nectar of compassion.

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Namaste! I am a Nepali Art Dealer specialized in Mandala and Thangka paintings. I love to write articles about the monastic culture of the Himalayas.

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