Aspiration prayers

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Aspiration prayers (Skt. praṇidhāna; Tib. སྨོན་ལམ་, mönlam, Wyl. smon lam) — the path of aspiration, personal, private or public setting where various aspiration prayers are recited. A famous aspiration prayer is Samantabhadra's Aspiration to Good Actions.

In teachings about motivation and aspiration, this quote from The Array of Virtues of Manjushri’s Buddha Realm is ubiquitous:

All phenomena are conditional
And depend on the quality of one’s intention.
Whosoever makes an aspiration
Will achieve the corresponding result.[1]

Shantideva said:

Aspiration, so the Sage asserted,
Is the root of every kind of virtue.
Aspiration’s root in turn
Is constant meditation on the fruits of action (karma).[2]

In Drops of Nectar the crucial importance of aspiration prayers is succinctly put:

We must strive to widen our perspective and make prayers of aspiration on a grand scale. For it is the greater or lesser breadth of our mind in the present moment and our prayers of aspiration that dictate the extent to which our Buddha and Bodhisattva activities will unfold.[3]


  2. Bodhicharyavatara, Verse 7.40
  3. Kunzang Palden, The Nectar of Manjushri's Speech: A Detailed Commentary on Shantideva's Way of the Bodhisattva, (Shambhala, 2007), Ch. 3, verse 22

Further Reading

  • Karl Brunnhölzl, A Lullaby to Awaken the Heart: The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra and Its Tibetan Commentaries (Sommerville: Wisdom Publications, 2018), Ch. 7 'The Nature of The Aspiration Prayer'

External Links