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Praise of the Teacher, the Buddha, Through His 12 Deeds

Praise of the Teacher, the Buddha, Through His 12 Deeds

Large Mahayana Buddha statue.
Photo by Traci Thrasher.

By skillful compassion born in the Shakya clan,
You vanquished Mara’s forces while others could not,
Your body radiant like a mountain of gold,
King of the Shakyas—homage at your feet.

You first produced the thought of bodhi,
Then completed the two collections of merit and wisdom
To become the protector of sentient beings
Through your vast deeds in this age, I praise.

You benefited the gods, then knowing it was time
To tame others too, you descended from the celestial realm
As an elephant, saw the clan of your birth,
And entered the womb of Queen Maya—homage to this deed.

When ten months had passed, you were born
Shakya Prince in fortunate Lumbini Grove;
Brahma and Indra praised you with your supreme marks
And confirmed your bodhi-lineage—homage to this deed.

As a powerful youth, lion amongst humans,
You showed skill in Anga and Magadha,
Vanquished all people inflated with arrogance,
Unrivaled one—homage to this deed.

By skillful means, to conform to the conduct of the world
And to avert any censure,
You governed a kingdom and assumed a retinue
And queen—homage to this deed!

Seeing samsaric activities have no essence,
You left the householder’s life and went forth,
And became fully renounced
At the stupa of great purity—homage to this deed.

You practiced austerities for six years
On the banks of the Nairanjana River,
Diligently intent on awakening and perfect in effort,
Attained the supreme meditative stability—homage to this deed.

To bring to fruition the efforts you made
From beginningless time,
Unmoving, you sat beneath the bodhi tree in Magadha
And fully awakened to perfect bodhi—homage to this deed.

Swiftly observing beings with compassion,
In Varanasi and other holy places
You turned the Wheel of Dharma, setting disciples
On the three vehicles—homage to this deed.

You vanquished the maras in the land of Kormojik
And put an end to the erroneous wrangling
Of Devadatta, the six heretical teachers, and others,
Sage victorious! Homage to this deed.

With qualities unmatched in the three worlds,
At Sravasti you displayed wondrous miracles,
And spread the teachings; devas and humans
Made great offerings to you—homage to this deed.

To exhort the lazy to practice the Dharma,
At the pure site Kushinagar,
You manifested the perishing of the deathless, vajra-like body
And entered nirvana—homage to this deed.

Because in reality there is no destruction
And so future sentient beings could create merits
At that very place you left many relics—
The eight portions of your remains—homage to this deed.

By the Teacher’s coming to the world,
By his doctrine’s brilliance, like sunlight,
By harmony among the doctrine’s holders,
Long may the Dharma abide—may all be auspicious.

Guest Author: Drikung Chhöje Jigten Gönpo