The Seven Line Prayer: An Introduction

Guru Rinpoche

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Experiencing the Hook of Compassion”

The Seven Line Prayer is so important. It is a magnificent prayer. It was not made up or composed by an ordinary person. It was miraculously manifested when primordial wisdom dakinis appeared literally from the sky to devout practitioners and told them, “This is how one calls the Guru. This is how one practices.”One will actually move toward enlightenment and can achieve enlightenment merely by reciting this prayer. Whenever a student asks me formally to be their teacher, I ask them to repeat this prayer many, many times. In fact I hope that each student will repeat it a hundred thousand times. Now that sounds like a piece of work, doesn’t it?  In fact, it is. But eventually you will learn to say the prayer so well that you can say it really quickly. You don’t have to say it slowly; you can say it very quickly and you can do a whole mala, that’s a whole prayer beads’ worth, in maybe ten, fifteen minutes. That’s pretty easy to do. That’s pretty easy to do. And then you can get to eight minutes. I don’t know what the world record is, but you can do it. You can, but you’re a blur. Your lips go “bluhbluhbluh..”.

Actually you can feel the wind on your nose.

This prayer actually occurs on three different levels. It has three different levels of meaning. The most profound level of meaning is so profound that the teachers do not give that level of meaning until you have accumulated three hundred thousand repetitions of that prayer. Isn’t that amazing?  This prayer has in it everything. It has refuge; it has bodhicitta. There is every kind, every element of practice within this prayer; but it’s in such a succinct form, that it’s just a prayer. It isn’t really a practice. You know, pujas in the Tibetan tradition take hours and hours and hours. There are all kinds of mudras that you do, and instruments that you play, and all kinds of amazing technologies that you apply. But this prayer, in a very succinct form, really has the seed of everything.

On the most external level, it is, according to the translation, an invocation to Guru Rinpoche, who is the actual emanation and display of Lord Buddha who brought Vajrayana to Tibet; and he is supremely realized. On a deeper level, there are so many different levels of meaning, layer upon layer of meaning. The syllables that are in this prayer are power syllables. They have some particular power due to the way in which they were given through miraculous means, and due to the vibrational quality that is associated with these syllables. As you sound the syllables, they actually purify the inner, psychic channels, winds and fluids, that in sentient beings are polluted and kinked and distorted and actually blocked. The sounding of these syllables begins the process of purifying them and unkinking them, and actually changing you in some profound way, some psychic way, that is really extraordinary, actually extraordinary. Plus in a hidden and symbolic secret way, all the elements of practice are in this prayer, including extraordinary devotion to one’s guru . As you begin to sound it with faith that this miracle will take place, the change begins to occur, even though you are not doing the full practice. So if you want to begin, learn how to say this practice. Learn how to say this prayer.

See the prayer and listen to Jetsunma recite it by clicking here

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