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Samantabhadra's Prayer
Volume II: The original sutra with prayer
Tibetan Commentary by Ontrul Tenpa'i Wangchuk

Samantabhadra Prayer


 
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Translator: Tony Duff
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9789937572835
Publication Date: 2015

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Description About the author Contents
 
The Prayer of Samantabhadra, also known as "a prayer of excellent conduct" and also as "a king of prayers" is one of the five great prayers of the Great Vehicle tradition and one of the most popular prayers in that tradition. For example, it is recited every day without fail by many Tibetans. While using the prayer in Tibetan and English, the author discovered that existing English translations from Tibetan sources have many mistakes, all of which give readers a wrong understanding of what the prayer actually says. Worse, translations into other languages such as German and Russian from the mistaken English translations have carried all the mistakes along with them. Therefore, the author undertook a major study of the sutra in order to provide practitioners with a reliable translation and a complete set of explanations that would explain correctly and in depth every facet of meaning contained of the sutra.

Firstly, the prayer was not composed as a prayer. It is actually a set of verses that were spoken by the bodhisatva Samantabhadra to summarize an amazing teaching he had just given to a young bodhisatva. The teaching was on the subject of the excellent conduct of a bodhisatva. The teaching and the verses were later recorded in one of the Great Vehicle sutras. Later still, the verses were extracted from the sutra and written out alone for ease of recitation. An unfortunate consequence of that has been that many people have mistakenly thought that the verses actually were composed as a discrete prayer, and so have lost the all-important connection to the actual teaching given in the sutra. To rectify this problem and make the fullness of the prayer available to English-speaking practitioners, the author went on to make a translation of the entire sutra and its concluding verses.

However, still more was needed because there is an enormous amount of meaning hidden in the words of the verses, meaning that cannot be seen let alone understood without assistance. Therefore, the author assembled everything needed to explain every facet of meaning of every word in the verses and published all of the work in two full volumes detailing the prayer. The two volumes share a very extensive introduction that clarifies the nature of the prayer. Following that, they share a translation of the entire sutra, including the verses. After that, each volume presents its own commentaries in order to show the meaning of the verses.

Volume II is taken up with a single, very large Tibetan commentary. There are a number of commentaries by Tibetan masters. Unfortunately, for several centuries these masters have explained the verses in ways that do not agree with the explanations of the Indian commentaries. In fact, the Tibetan system of explanation of the prayer has been corrupt for several centuries, an issue which is explained in detail in the introduction to each volume. Nevertheless, the Tibetan commentaries have much to offer, so one was chosen for this second volume. The author of the chosen commentary was Ontrul Tenpa'i Wangchuk, who was regarded as one of the greatest living scholars and Dzogchen masters in Tibet until his recent passage. His commentary is regarded as very useful because it goes through the verses word by word, in a level of detail not seen in any of the other Tibetan commentaries. More than that, it is unique amongst all of the Indian and Tibetan commentaries in that it was not given as a scholarly exploration of the meaning of the verses but was given as practical advice to his lay disciples on how to follow the excellent conduct of a bodhisatva. Therefore, his commentary is particularly useful for anyone wanting to use the prayer not only for recitation but as a basis for developing himself as a bodhisatva.
Samantabhadra's Prayer: Volume II: The original sutra with prayer and the Tibetan Commentary by Ontrul Tenpa’i Wangchuk, PKTC, Paperback, 298 Pages, 2015, $25.00

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Samantabhadra's Prayer
Volume I: The original sutra with prayer
Indian commentary by Nagarjuna, and Western commentary Tony Duff
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