The Short Seven Branch Prayer
Last week Geshe Jinpa Sonam offered instruction on creation stage practice, giving special attention to the visualization of the field of merit. He explained that there are three broad categories of ways to visualize the field of merit to whom we make offerings and prayers, etc.:
1. Visualized stacked vertically one above the other. e.g., jeweled lion throne, atop that a seat of lotus, sun, and moon; atop that the principal figure or root guru, etc. (as in the Guru Puja practice) 2. Visualizing one principle figure as the single jewel embodiment of all enlightened beings, masters, and gurus of the merit field. 3. Visualized before one in the fashion of a great gathering in all directions.
In this particular context Geshela was explaining from the perspective of practicing Arya Tara- a practice, he said, that His Holiness the Dalai Lama especially recommends for this time of the pandemic. Visualizing oneself as Arya Tara, and your surroundings as a Buddhafield (replete with all the Buddhas) one visualizes the field of merit ( in whichever of the 3 forms above one feels most inclined and offers the Seven Branches. Geshela stated that "By beginning one's practice with the Seven Branches, one's practice becomes extremely meritorious, and the descending nectar purification stage brings great blessings."
Below is the condensed version of the Seven Branch offering prayer. Geshela explained that it is the quintessential version- a composition of fewer words that contains the full meaning of the extensive form of the prayer.
Geshela's full teaching on the 7 Limb Tara Practice, given earlier this year at the onset of the pandemic, can be found on Indiana Buddhist Center's YouTube channel at :
Seven Branch Prayer
Whatever merit I have accumulated through prostrating, offering, confessing,
Rejoicing in the merits of others, exhorting and beseeching,
I dedicate all towards the highest perfect enlightenment,
For the benefit of all sentient beings.
CHAK TSEL WA DANG CHÖ CHING SHA PA DANG
JAY SU YEE RANG KÜL SHING SÖL WA DEB
GAY WA CHUNG ZAY DAK GEE CHEE SAK PA
TAM CHAY DZOK PAY JANG CHUB CHIR NGO'O