Songs, Poems and Prayers

The Music of Immortality

A Longevity Supplication for the Lord of the World, the Great Seventeenth Holder of the Black Crown


Om Sva Sti Siddham

Wondrous, excellent wisdom body, endowed with the glorious ocean of qualities of freedom and ripening,

Karmapa, embodiment of all the victors of the three times,

May your lotus feet remain firm; may your activity increase.


The energy of your wisdom issues forth from the dharmadhatu.

You display wondrous, intentional rebirth.

Dharma Lord of the three realms, you are unequalled in the three times.

May your lotus feet remain firm; may your activity increase.


You place all who see, hear, touch, or think of you on the path to liberation.

You blaze with majestic wisdom, kindness, and power.

You dispel the darkness in the three levels of existence and radiate a thousand light rays of virtue and excellence.

May your lotus feet remain firm; may your activity increase.


You are adorned by the three trainings and pure morality.

Your being is fully ripened through learning, nobility, benevolence, and hearing, contemplation, and meditation.

You are able to liberate others.

May your lotus feet remain firm; may your activity increase.


You fill the whole world with the nonsectarian doctrine,

And especially the stainless Dharma tradition of the practice lineage.

May your lotus feet remain firm; may your activity increase.


Although you display innumerable oceans of inconceivably wondrous miraculous forms,

You are beyond the elaborations of "leaving" and "remaining."

May your lotus feet remain firm; may your activity increase.


In brief, glorious guru, Gyalwang Karmapa, pervasive lord of the hundred families and all mandalas,

May your lotus feet remain firm; may your activity increase.

May your activity reach everywhere.


If you are supplicated with such respect and longing, then,

Through the intentions of the three roots and the ocean of victors,

And through the power of the truth of the pure dharmata,

May these excellent aspirations be quickly fulfilled.


This pure aspiration was composed by Tai Situpa, transforming a rebirth supplication for the previous Lord into a supplication for the longevity of the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa, in response to the request accompanied by offering, of Tashi Lhadar, the custodian of the Rumtek shedra. Translated by Lama Yeshe Gyamtso. Copyright 2000 by Karma Triyana Dharmachakra.

A Feast for the Fortunate

A Lamp Aspiration


Dharmakaya, unchanging unity of appearance and emptiness,

Vast expanse of youthful, great bliss,

Sky of spontaneously present joy free of defilement,

Bestow a feast of unchanging goodness upon us.


Through the seeds of inherently pure virtue

That arise from even a bit of glorious goodness,

And the bright smile of virtue revealed

By offering the light of these lamps to the three jewels,

May the well-being of a golden age arise

In this realm of the thousand-petalled lotus.


May this time of warfare and disputation be pacified.

May auspicious excellence, prosperity and goodness flourish.

Especially, throughout the land of America,

May the youthful lotus of teaching and practice bloom.

May innumerable oceans of realms be filled

With the melodious roar of the profound secret.


In response to the request of Tenzin Chonyi, whose good intentions are peerless, this was written by Ugyen Trinley, who bears the crown of the name Karmapa, on the 16th of August 1999. May it be auspicious. Copyright 1999 Karma Triyana Dharmachakra.

The Good Tree of Immortal Freedom from Anguish

A Prayer for the Longevity of the Victorious Fathers and Sons of the Glorious Karma Kagyu

OM SVASTI Majestic holder of the ocean of activity

Of the wisdom and bodies of innumerable victors,

Gyalwang Karmapa, omniscient throughout the three times,

May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.


Amitabha, lord of Sukhavati,

Lord of the dance, skilled in upholding the victory banner of the teachings

Through the intentional, wondrous dance of emanation--

I bow to the peerless predecessors.


Although you have possessed from the beginning the vajra body

Unconquered by existence or peace, you appear as one on the pure levels.

Situpa, display of the great victor Maitreya,

May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.


Conqueror of ignorance's gloom, giver of the supreme treasure of wisdom,

Actual appearance of Manjushri, great life-tree of the teachings,

Jamgon Lama, protector in these degenerate times,

May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.


Display of the great, primordial, indestructible drop,

Lord of Secrets, vajra dancer of bliss-emptiness,

Goshri Gyaltsap, appearing in various forms to tame various beings,

May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.

Subduer of all that appears and exists, master of the four elements,

Chakravartin of activity who possesses the vajra body,

Actual appearance of Padmasambhava, great, glorious Pawo,

May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.


Magical display of Amitayus's wisdom,

Spontaneously perfect, glorious, profound, and vast skillful activity,

Root of benefit and happiness, nirmanakaya Treho,

May your lotus feet remain firm and your activity flourish.


Through the power of praying with such unreserved devotion,

May the lamas' blessing enter my mind.

May I be able to fully emulate

The ocean of qualities of their three secrets and their lives.


May the gate of all excellent benefit and happiness, the victors' teachings,

Long remain, and may all the communities

That uphold, study and practice them

Flourish in observance of the ten Dharma practices.


May all those connected to those communities--myself and others--

From now until the youth of great bliss's essence is mature,

Be unsullied by the stain of impediments and harm.

May all Dharmic wishes of the fortunate be spontaneously accomplished.


The pleasure and wealth of existence is like last night's dream.

Realizing it to be unimportant and meaningless,

May we practice sacred Dharma without vacillation,

With great and sincere exertion.


Resolving that one's own mind is the Buddha,

Realizing that mind itself is emptiness-lucidity, spontaneously perfect and self-liberated,

May we be free from all hope and fear regarding samsara and nirvana

And gain the assurance of genuine, free awakening.


This brief prayer for the longevity and flourishing activity of these holy objects of worship by gods and humans was written, in order to remind myself of their kindness and in response to the fervent encouragement of many, by Ogyen Trinley Palden Wangi Dorje, the seventeenth to be blessed by the name of the Buddha Karmapa, at Vajrasana, the site of the full and manifest awakening of the Sugata, on the special occasion of the nineteenth Sangha Prayer Festival of the peerless protectors of beings, the Kagyu. May this cause the lamas' blessing to enter the minds of us all.

Translation copyright 2002 Lama Yeshe Gyamtso.

The Peaceful and Calming Victory Flag

Melodious Song of the Battle Victorious over Maras

A garland of dawn's glowing moonlight this wisdom, profound and clear, sheds luminous joy.

Virtuous signs of radiant clarity, a cluster of lively moons turns in the gracious dance of emptiness, free of fabrication, and luminosity, cool and fresh;

A broad and calming shade of benefit and happiness permeates the whole universe.

The sweet melody of auspicious virtue and excellence for all beings resonates as the glorious ornament of the three realms.

The two rising curves of pure gold are great joy's loving, radiant smile;

The vibrant blue reflects the ultimate, dharmakaya lit by a vigorous and youthful sun; sphere of light, this hand draws

And plays, gathering into the glide of an image the unity of the profound and vast, the peaceful and soothing.

Throughout existence, may the victory banner of the Buddha's teachings resound its famous and melodious song.


In order to liberate [beings] from the four maras, this aspiration prayer was made by the seventeenth one to hold the Karmapa's lineage, [Ogyen Trinley Dorje]. With advice from Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, translated by Michele Martin copyright © 2000.

The Pleasant Melody of the Right Turning Conch

Om Swasti.

From the state of peace, in nature an expanse of profundity and clarity,

The vast space of dharmakaya, all-pervading absolute truth,

Resounds graceful music, connate magic,

The pleasant melody of myriads of excellent virtues.

At the sunset of Shakyamuni's doctrine,

The approach of the waning of the youthful rays,

Appears a torch smiling like the moon's face,

Three secrets that gracefully ornament the sky of the victor's doctrine.(1)

In the vast park of endless existence,

Bloom poisonous leaves, the appearances of bewilderment.

The suffering of these appearances, their taste and potency,

Is this really worthy of praise as a true medicine? (2)

On the vast face of the luminous sky

Clouds of merit play, delighting all.

Through the cooling, honeyed rain of camphor, bodhicitta,

May all enjoy the nutriment of the definitively secret result. (3)

On the calyx, a thousand varieties of discernment,

Rests sweet dew, the full potency of virtues long established.

Upon its being drunk by the bee, the clear intellect,

Songs are sung, accompanied by the dance of great bliss. (4)

In evil times of the full five-fold degeneration, the obscuration of youth,

The behavior of beings is the dance of madness,

Uncertain and without trust.

May it be bound by the light of altruistic morality. (5)

Dedicate the sun of virtues, that goddess resplendent

With the ornaments of complete joy,

Arising from the slopes of the eastern mountain, genuine altruism,

To all beings including myself. (6)

The youth of mundane joy and well-being is impermanent.

One cannot know when it will be destroyed.

I aspire, through unending, peaceful conduct without aggression,

To the achievement of splendid happiness for all beings. (7)

Finally, in the garden of dharmadhatu, akanishta,

In unity beyond elaboration, the nature of liberation,

May you and I enjoy the taste of dharma, profound and lucid,

In the state of vast purity and equality. (8)


While I was escaping to India, this was said to me in Mustang by the great Tsongkhapa, the victor of the east.

This was dictated by His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa to Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Translated by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Gyamtso. Translation copyright © 2000 by the translators.

A Joyful Aspiration

Sweet Melody for Fortunate Ones

Om Swasti. The right-turning conch of pure compassion in body, speech, and mind

Pours forth a stream of good intentions that never change.

Thereby, may a sweet, resonant melody beyond compare, such music for the ears,

Open the lotus petals of virtue, excellence, and goodness.

It has the supreme name of the Wish Fulfilling Tree, the ambrosial one.

Musical tones of this stainless tree, granting every wish, are dulcet and pleasing.

Throughout its branches the gems of lasting happiness nestle among their leaves.

Sovereign in our realm, may the world be resplendent with the beauty of this tree.


Aspiration for Tibet

A chain of fragrant flowers, these snow mountains are tranquil and fresh.

In a healing land where white incense rises sweet,

May the gracious beauty of luminous moonbeams, light of the spiritual and temporal world,

Conquer all strife, the darkness of the shadow side.


Aspiration for the Dalai Lama

Inspiring festivals of merit in the Land of Snow,

You are the Supreme One holding a pure white lotus.

With the beauty of all good qualities, a treasure for eyes to behold,

May your life be long, steadfast as a diamond vajra.


Aspiration for Culture and Knowledge

The most excellent virtue is the brilliant and calm flow of culture:

Those with fine minds play in a clear lotus lake;

Through this excellent path, a song line sweet like the pollen's honey,

May they sip the fragrant dew of glorious knowledge.


Aspiration for the World

Over the expanse of the treasured earth in this wide world,

May benefit for beings appear like infinite moons' reflections,

Whose refreshing presence brings lasting welfare and happiness

To open a lovely array of night-blooming lilies, signs of peace and joy.



Descending from a canopy of white clouds, the gathering of two accumulations,

May these true words, like pearled drops of light or pouring rain,

Falling in a lovely park where fortunate disciples are free of bias,

Open the flowers of friendship so that well-being and joy blossom forth.


These words of aspiration, sprung from a sincere intention, were written down by Urgyen Trinley, the one who bears the noble name of the Karmapa, while he was escaping from Tibet. One night in the illusory appearance of a dream, on a lake bathed in clear moonlight and rippled with blooming lotus flowers serving as a seat for three Brahmins who appeared wearing pure white silk and playing a drum, guitar, flute and other instruments. Created in pleasing and lyric tones, their melodious song came to my ears, and so I composed this aspiration prayer with a one-pointed mind, filled with an intense and sincere intention to benefit all the people of Tibet. Within a beautiful and auspicious chain of mountains, this land of Tibet, may the sun rays of the supreme aspiration for awakening swiftly appear.

This song and the yig chung that follow it were written by the Seventeenth Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Translated under the guidance of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche by Michele Martin, copyright © 2000; headings inserted based on the commentary of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.