The Seven Limbs or Seven Practices 

I bow down in body, speech and mind.

I offer the best I have to give both real and imagined to fill the space between us.

I regret and purify all transgressions.

I rejoice in all virtues.

I request you to remain until total enlightenment.

I request wise and compassionate guidance.

I dedicate my merit for the sake of all beings.

Let me tell you a little bit about this. This practice was part of the Buddhist system even before Buddhism came from India to Tibet around 1200 years ago. The Indians taught the Tibetans how to pray. This kind of prayer is not just simply wishing. Normally, we may ask the enlightened beings to help us achieve certain things. But here it is different, there are a few things we can do as well.

We can make offerings to them. Offerings are not limited to physical giving. It includes mentally created offerings, which are even more important than the physical giving. If you have given $10, think you have given $100 000 and that you are happy to give this and that you are willing to share. You mentally fabricate greater offerings and that makes your generosity a little more powerful.

We can also purify all our wrong doings, all our negativities and non-virtuous actions. We can purify whatever mistakes we make. We can make ourselves pure and perfect. Having made a mistake is not the end of everything. You can correct it and make things pure. It is not hopeless. You can do it. There are many ways to do this. In our prayer we just have one line: I regret and purify all transgressions. If I talk about purification in detail we can go on for weeks. On the other hand you can summarize all in one sentence.

Another part of the Seven Limbs is to rejoice. We rejoice in the good works we ourselves and others did. That helps tremendously. Our problem is jealousy. If somebody is doing something good, we really get jealous. If, instead of being jealous, rejoice and we ourselves will receive more benefit.

At the end of the prayers we dedicate our prayers and efforts for the sake of all beings reaching the goal of the joy that has never known suffering.

Briefly, that is the basic framework for our prayers. The most important thing for spiritual practice is the state of our mind. So, in the beginning, we should try to have a good motivation in the sense of thinking, ‘I would like to help myself and others, my family, my fellow country men, the people in the world, particularly this year, this week and especially today. With such a mind, if you say prayers, the result will be different.

~ Gelek Rimpoche, A Little Buddhist Wisdom, p. 41


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