About the text

The story goes that this beautiful prayer to Mañjuśrī was the result of a competition at the great Indian Buddhist University of Nālanda. The monks were given the task of composing a prayer to the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, with the best entry to be recited communally. However, when the submissions were received, they were all found to be identical!

This text has been preserved in Tibetan, and has a special place in my heart as I recited it with my classmates every day when I attended the Summer Language Institute Tibetan Program at the University of Virginia in 2011. We recited it in Tibetan, of course, but I wanted to make an English version available here in the hope that others will be inspired by it too.


Prayer to Mañjuśrī

A translation from Tibetan of the གང་བློ་མ། (gang blo ma)


Homage to the Guru and Protector, the Exalted Mañjuśrī.

Your wisdom is free from the two obscurations of thoughts and negative emotions,
perfectly pure and clear like the sun free from clouds.

You hold the sacred text to your heart, so that all living beings may see its meaning,
living beings who are lost in the darkness of saṃsāra and confused by suffering.

You love all living beings as if each one were your only child,
and your speech has sixty different good qualities.

With the roar of a dragon you awaken living beings from the sleep of the defilements
and free them from the iron chains of their karma.

Bearing the sword of wisdom, you cut away the roots of suffering and dispel the darkness of ignorance.

Primordially pure, you have completed the ten stages of the path
and fully developed all of the good qualities of a Child of the Victorious Ones.

Your perfect body is adorned with the 112 physical characteristics of a buddha,
and you dispel the darkness of ignorance in my mind.

I pay homage to Mañjuśrī.

oṃ a ra pa ca na dhīḥ

Out of empathy, banish the darkness of ignorance from my mind with the rays of light of your perfect wisdom
so that I may understand the words of the Buddha and the teachings of the great masters.

Grant me the radiance of confident intelligence.