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Sevenfold Puja - Unchecked

DISCLAIMER - This transcript has not been checked by Sangharakshita, and may contain mistakes and mishearings. Checked and reprinted copies of all seminars will be available as part of the Complete Works Project.

by Sangharakshita


Transcribed by Helen Johnson
Typed by Sue lawson
All right, this morning then we come on to the Sevenfold Puja. We are going to go
through the verses of the sevenfold puja one by one. I take it everyone knows where these
verses come from, the actual verses themselves? Where do they come from, this particular
A Voice: The Bodhicaryavatara.
Yes, they come from the Bodhicaryavatara and how did we come to have them in this
particular form, this particular selection? Does anyone know?
You and Mrs. Bennett wasn't it .. translated it .. or composed it.
That's right, yes ... well ... no, not quite. At present there is in print only one complete
English translation of the Bodhicaryavatara and this is of course the one by Marian L. Matics
which is of course the one we studied on the B.A. seminar, but there was another English
translation made sometime before this but never printed in full. That was made by a friend of
mine in London, called Mrs. A. A. T. Bennett, Adrian Bennett, with whom I was in
correspond~ce while I was in India. She made the translation at that time, so this was quite a
few years ago, this was before the F.W.B.O. was started, I wanted to make a version of the
sevenfold puja which I had described in 'The Survey' and knowing that the B.A. was used for
this purpose in Tibet and wanting to have just a very short, simple sevenfold puja which I was
trying to introduce at the Hampstead Budhist Vihara, I made this salection ... that is to say
taking the framework of the sevenfold puja, then taking from Chapter 2 of the
Bodhicaryavatara, and from Chapter 3, two or three verses under each of these headings, that
is to say the puja, the vandana and so on, and in this way we arrive at our present sevenfold
puja, do you get the idea? The sevenfold puja itself being a sequence of seven different, one
could say, moods .... devotional moods, very broadly speaking, each of which is illustrated by
a few verses from those two chapters of the
You could make up your sevenfold puja by selecting, of course, verses
from other texts.
In fact I have done this but I haven't yet given it a final shape and
published it. I've made a selection of verses from the 'Sutra of Golden light' arranged under
these same headings so that we have a slightly different version for perhaps use on other,
alternative, perhaps special occasions. Or perhaps it can be interwoven with the
Bodhicaryavatara sevenfold puja, we shall have to see about that. Needless to say, in the case
of the verses selected from the 'Sutra of Golden light', the section to do with confession is a
rather ample one ...
(cont.) so perhaps it could be used more in connection with that particular
observance, or that particular item. So, since most of you I expect do posses a copy of
'Entering the Path of Enlightenment' as Matics translation of the B.A. is called, I've correlated
the verses of Mrs. Bennetts translation with the corresponding verses of Matics translation
and as it is sometimes not very easy to tell, because the langage of the two translations is
rather different ... I can give you the numbers of the verses in Matics translation so that you
can compare for yourselves, and in that way, perhaps, arrive at an understanding of the
meaning of each verse. Her translation I must say; these last few days L' ve been going
through both of them; is very much better ... in the sense that it certainly, certainly conveys
the spirit of Shantideva much better. It may be in some cases Matics translation makes the
meaning a little clearer in certain respects but on the whole, her translation is definitely
preferable.~ I think we find it quite difficult to use Matic's translation in the course of the
Puja and recite it together ... it just doesn't flow very well ... her~a is not much better, not only
as regards the spirit of the text, but the English language itself, its quite a bit more poetic and
rythmical, so I'm quite glad we stick to her translation. A Voice: Where do the seven
headings come from?
This I 've explained in 'The Survey' in Chapter Four - 'The Bodhisattva Ideal', it is
essentially a sort of lead up to the arising of the Bodhicitta and incorporating all the main
Buddhist observances, in a sort of progressive sequence, and in that Chapter of 'The Survey' I
've described how the whole thing is gradually built up. So you should conanlt that whole
chapter as sort of background material. There of course I've spoken of a six-fold puja because
puja and vandana are sometimes joined together as one, but later I thought it better to separate
them, that there was a difference between them that merited that separation.
So, what I suggest you do, as I shall be refering to the verses of the B.A~, what I suggest you
do - as in Matic' 5 translation - what I suggest you do is to mark against each verse before we
begin the number of the verse in Matic' 5 translation so that later on at your leisure you can
look up and compare. If we do that in the course of the study that might be a bit distracting.
So let us start off by doing that. Most of the verses come from Chapter Two of the B0A.;
Chapter Two being the confession of evil or papa desana. So for our first verse, the first
verse of the seven-fold puja that is to say, "With Mandarava, blue lotus and jasmine" down to
"so worthy of veneration" this is verse 15 of Chapter Two - against that - 2:15 you get the
itea? So instead of 1'With Mandarava, blue lotus and jasmine" Matics has "With the blossoms
of the coral tree, the blue lotus, jasmine and the like" which you can see is slightly different.
(Laughter) .. wouldn't be very easy to
(cont.) recite "with the blossoms of the coral tree, the blue lotus, jasmine and the like"
- (Laughter) - doesn't so'td quite so good as "With mandarava, blue lotus and jasminet' so that
then, the next verse "I envelop# them in clouds of incense" down to "and pleasing kind5of
liquids to drink" this is the next verse, verse 16. And then, ~~I offer them lamps encrusted
with jewels" the last verse of the puja, that is verse 17. So here's a block of verses 15, 16 and
17, taken from Chapter Two of the ~.A. Then we come onto the vandana. The first verse
here is "As many atoms as there are" down to " and the excellan~t community". This is verse
24 of that same chapter. And then the next verse, "I pay homage to all the shr~n~~~~ down
to "arid those to whom respectful salutation is due". The typist has divided those lines, you
notice? but that is incorrect, there should not be any gap there, it is all one verse, yes? That is
verse 25 of that Chapter Two. And then we come on to the sarana-gamana, the Going for
Refuge, which begins "This very day" that' S verse 48 of that same Chapter Two and the next
one beginning "wholeheartedly also I take my r~f~~~~ thats verse 49. Then for the
Confession of Faults (pause) the first two verses are verses 64 and 65. Sixtyfour beginning
"The evil which I have heaped up" and 65 beginning "standing before them" (pause) and then
the next one is 66, these are the last verses of that Chapter Two. Then the remaining verses,
the punyanum.dan~ come from Chapter Three. These are the first three verses of Chapter
Three - Grasping the Thought of Enlightenment. So Chapter Three, verse one, verse two,
verse three. Verse I beginning "I rejoice with delight" verse 2 beginning ~~I rejoice in the
release of beings" and verse 3 beginning "I rejoice in the arising of the will to enlightenment"
is that clear? and then the Entreaty and Supplication, the first verse there is verse 4 of that
same Chapter Three and the next ~erse is verse 5. (pause)
The next verses come from Chapter Three. Seven is the parinamana, the Transference of
Merit and Self Surrender. The typist here has not divided or separated the verses for some
reason or other. There are one, two, three, four verses, so please just separate those. So the
first verse "May the merit gained in my acting thus go to the alieviation of the suffering of all
beings," this is Chapter Three verse 6 of the B.A. Then the next verse beginning "My
personality throughout my existances" is verse 10. The next verse beginning "just as the earth
and other elements" is verse 20, and then lastly, the verse beginning "So may I become," that
is verse 21. So ... 6, 10, 20 21 ... divide those verses up as the typist should have done. A
Voice: It changes the sense of the way we recite it doesn't it? If 21 begins "so may I
become'1 we usually treat that as following on from ......
A Voice:
Well it does in consecutive verses.
S: Yes, the sense continues from one verse to the next ... but they are separate
verses nonetheless.
Airight, so anyone who wants to study the verses of the seven-fold puja more
carefully, with the help of these numbers, can not only go through the text of
Mrs. Bennett's translation but also consult the corresponding verses of Matic's,
you might otherwise find it a little difficult to find. (pause)
If anyone wants to make especially close study ...

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