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Refuge Prayer and Bodhicitta Prayer - Translation and Explanation

Thanks to John Tasevski for this material. Sources are noted.

Tibetan Prayers

Translation and Explanation

 

Refuge Prayer

Lama la kyab su chi wo

‘I go for refuge in the Guru.’

Sangye la kyab su chi wo

‘I go for refuge in the Buddha.’

Chö la kyab su chi wo

‘I go for refuge in the Dharma.’

Gendün la kyab su chi wo

‘I go for refuge in the Sangha.’


Explanation of Refuge Prayer

Lama = Guru

Sangye = Buddha

Chö = Dharma (in other cases: thing, reality)

Gendün = Sangha (also spelled gedün)

La = in, at, on, to, for

Kyab su ‘for refuge’

Kyab = refuge, protection

Su = in, at, on, to, for

Chi = to go [honorific form of dro]

(W)o = (marks the end of a statement, like a period!) 


Bodhictta Prayer (Kyab dro sem kye)*

Sangye chö dang tsog kyi chog nam la

‘In the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha’

Jang chub bar du dag ni kyab su chi

‘Until enlightened I take refuge.’

Dag gi jin sog gyi pai sönam kyi

‘Through merit from giving and the rest’

Dro la phen chir sangye drub par shog

‘To aid all may I become Buddha.’

 

*Translations come directly from the Kurukulla Center’s online prayer book


Explanation of Bodhicitta Prayer

Line 1
Sangye chö dang tsog kyi chog nam la ‘In the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,’
Sangye = Buddha
Chö = Dharma
Dang = and
Tsog kyi chog nam ‘Assembly of Supreme Beings’, i.e. Sangha
Tsog = collection, assembly
Kyi = of
Chog = supreme, holy
Nam = (a plural marker)
La = in, at, on, to, for 

Line 2
Jang chub bar du dag ni kyab su chi ‘until enlightenment I go for refuge.’
Jang chub = enlightenment
Bar du = until
Dag = I
Ni = (topic marker also used for metrical length)
Kyab su chi ‘go for refuge’
Kyab = refuge, protection
Su = in, at, on, to, for
Chi = to go [honorific form of dro]

Line 3
Dag gi jin sok gyi pai sönam kyi ‘By/through the merit of my practice of giving and so forth’
Dag = I
Gi = by
Jin sok literally ‘giving and so forth’, understood to mean giving and the rest of the Six Perfections
Jin = from jinpa ‘giving, generosity’ (the first of the Six Perfections)
Sok = and so forth
Gyi pai = from gyipa ‘to do, to practice’
Sönam = merit
Kyi = by, through

Line 4
Dro la phen chir sangye drug par shog ‘May I accomplish [the state of a] Buddha in order to help sentient beings’
Dro la phen chir ‘in order to help [to] sentient beings’
Dro la ‘to/for sentient beings’
Dro = from drowa ‘sentient being’, literally ‘goer’. This refers to sentient beings trapped in wandering or ‘going’ around in samsara
La = in, at, to, on, for
Phen = aid, help, benefit
Chir = in order to (in other cases: because)
Sangye drug par shog ‘May I accomplish/complete [the state of a] Buddha’
Sangye = Buddha
Drug par shog ‘May I accomplish/complete’
Drugpar = from drugpa ‘to accomplish/complete’
Shog = may (in the sense of “let it be so!”)

*Many of these words have multiple meanings and definitions. The definitions given here apply specifically to these prayers.
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