Bodhisattvas Way 37 Practices

Bodhisattvas Way 37 Practices

Greetings to fellow beginner Buddhist admirers! I have a brief tale to tell about a compassionate master named Gyelse Tokme Zangpo, who was also recognized as Prince Thogme Sangpo.

The compassion of Prince Thogme Sangpo was so great that even the slightest hint of a stranger's illness or misfortune would bring tears to his eyes. He would often weep alongside his audience when teaching the Dharma. Despite his disciples' urging for him to laugh more to attract sponsors, he could not bring himself to do so when he witnessed the suffering of sentient beings.

This extraordinary and compassionate master authored some of Tibet's most beautiful descriptions of the qualities of Bodhisattvas; here, let us cherish the translations of 37 great qualities.


Translations of 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas

1. Having gained this rare ship of freedom and fortune. Hear, think, and meditate unwaveringly night and day to free yourself and others from the ocean of cyclic existence—This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

2. You’re stirred up like water attached to your loved ones. Hating your enemies, you burn like fire. In the darkness of confusion, you forget what to adopt and discard. Give up your homeland—This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

3. By avoiding harmful objects, disturbing emotions gradually decrease. Without distraction, virtuous activities naturally increase. With the clarity of mind, the conviction in the teaching arises. Cultivate seclusionThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

4. Loved ones who have long kept company will part. Wealth created with difficulty will be left behind. Consciousness, the guest, will leave the guesthouse of the body. Let go of this lifeThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

5. When you keep their company, your three poisons increase—your hearing, thinking, and meditation decline, making you lose love and compassion. Give up bad friendsThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

6. When you rely on them, your faults end, and your good qualities grow like the waxing moon. Cherish spiritual teachers even more than your own bodyThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

7. Bound himself in the jail of cyclic existence, what worldly God can give you protection. Therefore, when you seek refuge, take refuge in the Three Jewels, which will not betray you—This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

8. The Subduer said all the unbearable suffering of bad rebirths is the fruit of wrongdoing. Therefore, even at the cost of your life, never do wrongThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

9. Like dew on the tip of a blade of grass, pleasures of the three worlds last only a while and then vanish. Aspire to the never-changing supreme state of liberationThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

10. When your mothers, who’ve loved you since time without beginning, are suffering, what use is your happiness? Therefore, to free limitless living beings, develop the altruistic intentionThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

11. All suffering comes from the wish for your happiness. Perfect Buddhas are born from the thought of helping others. Therefore, exchange your joy for the suffering of othersThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

12. Even if someone steals all your wealth out of a strong desire or has it stolen, Dedicate to him your body, possessions, and virtue, past, present, and futureThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

13. Even if someone tries to cut off your head when you haven’t done the slightest thing wrong. Out of compassion, take all her misdeeds upon yourselfThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

14. Even if someone broadcasts all kinds of unpleasant remarks about you throughout the three thousand worlds. In return, with a loving mind, speak of his good qualitiesThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

15. Someone may deride and speak badly about you in a public gathering. Looking at her as a spiritual teacher, Bow to her with respectThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

Bodhisattvas Way 37 Practices, Photo: Buddha Vajradhara

Photo: Buddha Vajra Dhara 


16. Even if a person for whom you’ve cared like your own child regards you as an enemy. Cherish him especially, like a mother does her child who is stricken by sickness—This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

17. If an equal or inferior person disparages you out of pride. Place her, as you would your spiritual teacher, with respect on the crown of your headThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

18. Though you lack what you need and are constantly disparaged, afflicted by dangerous sickness and spirits, without discouragement, take on the misdeeds and the pain of all living beingsThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

19. Though you become famous, many bow to you, and you gain riches to equal Vaishravana’s. See that worldly fortune is without essence and be unconceitedThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

20. While the enemy of your anger is unsubdued, though you conquer external foes, they will only increase. Therefore, with the militia of love and compassion, subdue your mindThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

21. Sensual pleasures are like saltwater: The more you indulge, the more thirst increases. Abandon at once those things which breed clinging attachmentThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

22. Whatever appears is your mind. Your mind, from the start, was free from fabricated extremes. Understanding this, do not take to mind [Inherent] signs of subject and objectThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

23. When you encounter attractive objects, though they seem beautiful like a rainbow in summer, don’t regard them as accurate and give up attachmentThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

24. All forms of suffering are like a child’s death in a dream. Holding illusory appearances to be true makes you weary. Therefore, when you encounter disagreeable circumstances, see them as unreal. This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

25. When those who want enlightenment must give even their body, there’s no need to mention external things. Therefore, without hope for a return or any fruition, give generouslyThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

26. Without ethics, you can’t accomplish your well-being, so wanting to achieve others’ is laughable. Therefore, without worldly aspirations, safeguard your ethical disciplineThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

27. To Bodhisattvas who want a wealth of virtue, those who harm are like precious treasures. Therefore, towards all, cultivate fortitude without hostilityThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

28. Seeing even Hearers and solitary Realizers, who accomplish only their good, strive as if to put out a fire in their head. For the sake of all beings, make an enthusiastic effort, the source of all good qualitiesThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

29. Understanding that disturbing emotions are destroyed with unique insight with calm abiding.  Cultivate concentration that surpasses the four formless absorptionsThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

30. Since the five perfections without wisdom cannot bring perfect enlightenment, along with skillful means cultivate the wisdom which does not conceive the three spheres [as accurate]This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

31. If you don’t examine your errors, you may look like a practitioner but not act as one. Therefore, constantly reviewing your mistakes and ridding yourself of them is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

32. If you point out the faults of another Bodhisattva through disturbing emotions, you are diminished, so don’t mention the faults of those who have entered the Great VehicleThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

33. Reward and respect cause us to quarrel and make hearing, thinking, and meditation decline. For this reason, give up attachment to the households of friends, relations, and benefactorsThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

34. Harsh words disturb the minds of others and cause deterioration in a Bodhisattva’s conduct. Therefore, give up harsh words that are unpleasant to othersThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

35. Habitual disturbing emotions are complex to stop through counteractions. Armed with antidotes, the guards of mindfulness and mental alertness destroy alarming emotions like attachment at once as soon as they ariseThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

36. In brief, whatever you are doing, ask yourself, “What’s the state of my mind?” With constant mindfulness and mental alertness, accomplish others’ goodThis is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

37. To remove the suffering of limitless beings, understand the purity of the three spheres, and dedicate the virtue from making such an effort to enlightenment—This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

The author of the text is Gyelsay Togmay Zangpo, a Tibetan monk and Bodhisattva who lived from 1295 to 1369. The text was translated and edited by Ruth Sonam in 1997 with permission from the publisher, Snow Lion Publications.

Sharing this article can help me and other readers, so thank you for taking the time to read it! Additionally, I invite you to read about why meditation is so challenging. If there is anything I can do to improve the article, let me know by leaving a comment. Your feedback is highly appreciated.


Written By :Tenzin

Feb 03, 2023


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