Offering Of The Seven-Limb Prayer

Wisdom and Method

In order to obtain enlightenment you need two things. One is you have to practice wisdom. Then you have to have perfect method; for that you need to build merit, because without merit there is nothing. Chandrakirti has given the example of the bird that needs two wings.

     With his great white wings of the conventional and ultimate
     The goose king glides at the forefront of a multitude of geese
     Towards that supreme, far shore of the
     Victorious Ones’ ocean of good qualities,
     Carried along by the swift currents of virtuous activities.

With one wing it cannot fly. Similarly, if we want to obtain enlightenment we must complete the wisdom part and the method part. For the method part we need relative merit and there is no better way to build it than through the seven-limbed prayer. There are many ways. In the Bodhisattvacharyavatara it says that the enlightened beings thought for eons and found that this activity is most effective. The Seven-Limbed practice is one of the most essential ones and easy to practice. The essence of what you need is included. No matter what you practice, sutra or tantra, or whichever school you follow, Sakya, Nyingma, Kagyü or Gelug it is there. Even the bodhisattvas who can produce so many manifestations, have been practicing the Seven-Limbed Prayer all the time in order to reduce their mental blocks and in order to build their merit. These are the two purposes of the Seven-Limbed Prayer. 

~Gelek Rimpoche, Ganden Lha Gyema (The Open Teachings) 2010

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