CHAPTER 2 * Confession.



To the Buddhas, those thus gone, and to the sacred Dharma, spotless and supremely rare, and to the Buddha’s offspring, oceans of good qualities, that I might gain this precious attitude, I make a perfect offering.


I offer every fruit and flower, every kind of healing draft, and all the previous gems the world contains, with all pure waters of refreshment;


Every mountain wrought of precious jewels, all sweet and lonely forest groves, the trees of paradise adorned with blossom, trees with branches bowed with perfect fruit;


The perfumed fragrance of divine and other realms, all incense, wishing trees, and trees of gems, all crops that grow without the tiller’s care, and every sumptuous object worthy to be offered;




Lakes and meres adorned with lotuses, delightful with the sweet-voiced cries of waterbirds, and everything unclaimed and free extending to the margins of the boundless sky.


I hold them all before my mind, and to the mighty Sage, the greatest of our kind, and to his heirs, I make a perfect offering, sublime recipients, compassionate lords, O think of me with love; accept these gifts of mind!


For, destitute of merit, I am very poor; I have no other wealth. And so, protectors, you whose wise intentions are for others’ good, in your great power, receive them for my sake.


Enlightened ones and all your Bodhisattva heirs, I offer you my body throughout all my lives. Supreme courageous ones accept me totally. For with devotion I will be your slave.


For if you will accept me, I will be undaunted by samsara and will act for beings’ sake. I’ll leave behind the evils of my past, and ever after turn my face from them.


A bathing chamber excellently fragrant, with even floors of crystal, radiant and clear, and graceful pillars shimmering with gems, all hung about with gleaming canopies of pearls –


There the blissful Buddhas and their heirs I’ll bathe with many a precious vase, abrim with water fragrant and delightful, all to frequent strains of melody and song.





With cloths of unexampled quality, with spotless, perfumed towels I will dry them, and offer splendid scented clothes, well-dyed and of surpassing excellence.


With different garments, light and supple, and a hundred beautiful adornments, I will grace sublime Samantabhadra, Manjughosha, Lokeshvara, and their kind.


And with a sumptuous fragrance which pervades a thousand million worlds, I will anoint the bodies of the mighty Sages, gleaming bright like burnished gold refined and cleansed,


I place before the mighty Sages, perfect objects of my worship, glorious flowers like lotus and mandarava, the utpala, and other fragrant blossoms, worked and twined in lovely scented garlands.


I will offer swelling clouds of frankincense, whose ambient perfume ravishes the mind, and various foods and every kind of drink, all delicacies worthy of the gods.


I will offer precious lamps arranged in rows on lotuses of gold, a carpet of sweet flowers scattering upon the level, incense-sprinkled ground.


To those whose very nature is compassion I will give vast palaces, resounding with fair praise, all decked with precious pearls and beauteous pendant gems, gleaming jewels that deck the amplitude of space.




Fair and precious parasols adorned with golden shafts, all bordered round with hems of precious jewels, upright, well-proportioned, pleasing to the eye, again, all this I give to all the Buddhas.


May a host of other offerings, and clouds of ravishing sweet melody that solaces the pain of living beings arise and constantly abide.


May rains of flowers and every precious gems fall down in an unceasing rain upon the Jewels of Sacred Dharma, images and all supports for offering.


Just as Manjughosha and the like made offering to all the Conquerors, I do likewise to all the Buddhas our protectors, and to all their Bodhisattva children.


To these vast oceans of good qualities I offer praise, a sea of airs and harmonies. May clouds of tuneful eulogy ascend unceasingly before them.


To Buddhas of the past, the present, and all future time, and to the Dharma and Sublime Assembly, with bodies many as the grains of dust upon the earth, I will prostrate and bow.


To shrines and all supports of bodhichitta I bow down; to abbots who transmit the vows, to every learned master, and to all sublime practitioners of Dharma.




Until the essence of enlightenment is reached, I go for refuge to the Buddhas. Also I take refuge in the Dharma and in all the host of Bodhisattvas.


To perfect Buddhas and to Bodhisattvas, in all directions where they may reside, to them who are the sovereigns of great mercy, I press my palms together, praying thus:


“In this and all my other lives, while turning in the round without beginning, blindly I have brought forth evil, and incited others to commit the same.


“Deceived and overmastered by my ignorance, I have taken pleasure in such sin, and seeing now the blame of it, O great protectors, I confess it earnestly!


“Whatever I have done against the Triple Gem, against my parents, teachers, and the rest, through force of my defilements, in my body, speech, and mind.


“All the evil I, a sinner, have committed, all the wicked deeds that cling to me, the frightful things that I contrived I openly declare to you, the teachers of the world.


“It may be that my death will come to me before my evil has been cleansed. How then can I be freed from it? I pray you, quickly grant me your protection!”




We cannot trust the wanton Lord of Death. The task complete or still to do, he will not wait. In health or sickness, therefore, none of us can trust our fleeting, momentary lives.


And we must pass away, forsaking all. But I, devoid of understanding, have, for sake of friend and foe alike, provoked and brought about so many wrongs.


But all my foes will cease to be, and all my friends will cease to be, and I will also cease to be, and likewise everything will cease to be.


All that I possess and use is like the fleeting vision of a dream. I fades into the realms of memory, and fading, will be seen no more.


And even in the brief course of this present life, so many friends and foes have passed away, because of whom, the evils I have done still lie, unbearable, before me.


The thought came never to my mind that I too am a brief and passing thing. And so, through hatred, lust, and ignorance, I have committed many sins.


Never halting night or day, my like drains constantly away, and from no other source does increase come. How can there not be death for such as me?




There I’ll be, prostrate upon my bed, and all around, my family and friends. But I alone shall be the one to feel the cutting of the thread of life.


And when the heralds of the Deadly King have gripped me, what help to me will be my friends and kin? For then life’s virtue is my one defense, and this, alas, is what I shrugged away.


O protectors! I, so little heeding, hardly guessed at horror such as this -- and all for this brief, transient existence, I have done so many evil things.


The day they take him to the scaffold, where they will tear off his limbs, a man is changed, transfigured by his fear: his mouth is dry, his eyes start from his brow.


No need to say how stricken I shall be when overcome and sick with dreadful fear, I’m seized by forms so horrible to see, the frightful servants of the Lord of Death.


Who can give me safe protection from this horror, from this frightful dread? And then I’ll search the four directions, seeking help, with panic-stricken eyes.


But in those four directions no protection shall I find. And I shall sink into despairing woe. No refuse will there be for me; at such a time, what shall I do?




Thus, from this day forward I take refuge in the Buddhas, guardians of beings, who labor to protect all wanderers, those mighty ones who scatter every fear.


And in the Dharma they have realized in their hearts, which drives away the terrors of samsara, and in all the host of Bodhisattvas likewise I will perfectly take refuge.


Gripped by dread, beside myself with anguish, to Samantabhadra I will give myself; my body I myself will give to Manjughosha, gentle and melodious.


To him whose deeds of mercy never fail, my lord Avaolokita, I cry out from depths of misery, “Protect me now an evildoer!”


Now to the noble one, Akashagarbha, and to Kshitigarbha, from my heart I call. To all protectors, great, compassionate, I cry to them in search of refuge.


To Vajrapani I shall fly, for at the sight of him all vengeful things like Yama’s host escape in terror to the four directions.


Formerly your words I have transgressed, but having seen these terrors all around, I come to you for refuge praying: swiftly drive away my fear!




For if, alarmed by common ailments, I must implement the doctor’s words, what need to speak of when I’m constantly brought low by ills like lust and faults a hundredfold?


And if, by one of these alone, the dwellers in the word are all thrown down, and if no other remedy exists, no other healing elsewhere to be found,


Than words of the all-knowing doctor, which uproot our every ill, the thought to turn on hm deaf ears is abject and contemptible stupidity.


Along a small and ordinary cliff if I must pick my way with special care, what need to speak of that long-lasting chasm plunging to the depths a thousand leagues?


“Today, at lest, I shall not die.” So rash to lull myself with words like these! My dissolution and my hour of death will come to me, of this there is no doubt.


Who can give me fearlessness, what sure escape is there from this? It’s certain that I’m going to die, so how can I relax, my mind at ease?


Of life’s experience, all seasons past, what’s left to me, what now remains? By clinging to what now is here no more, my teacher’s precepts I have disobeyed.




And when this life is left behind, and with it all my kith and kin, I must set out on strange paths all alone: why make so much of all my friends and foes?


How instead can I make sure to rid myself of evil, only cause of sorrow? This should be my one concern, my only thought both night and day.


The wrongs that I have done through ignorant stupidity: all actions evil by their nature and transgressions of the precepts,


Fearing all the pains to come I join my palms and ceaselessly prostrate, and everything I will confess directly in the sight of my protectors.


I pray you, guides and guardians of the world, to take me as I am, a sinful man. And all these actions, evil as they are, I promise I will never do again.