The primary prayer of Tibet’s Ancient Ones (Nyingma) addressed toward Guru Padmasambhava (8th c.), a realized being who helped establish Buddhism in the Land of Snows. He is best known in the west as the author of the Bardo Thodrol, published as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Amongst Tibetans, Padmasambhava is widely regarded as a second Buddha, specifically appearing to transform beings of this degenerate age. According to the late 19th c. Tibetan scholar Mipham Rinpoche, “The Vajra Seven-Line Prayer is the most sacred and important prayer in the Nyingma tradition. This short prayer contains the outer, inner, and innermost teachings of the esoteric trainings of Buddhism. By practicing The Vajra Seven-Line Prayer according to any one of these trainings, the result of that particular training will be attained.”

Soon after meeting the Khenpos on the autumn equinox of 1989, we quickly memorized the Tibetan form of this prayer. Since that time, the image, name and teachings of Padmasambhava have become central to our practice. All Nyingma liturgies begin with a triple recitation of the Seven Line Prayer, and volumes of commentary could be written about the levels of meaning layered into these 57 syllables. Lineage lore relates that a black dakini in eastern India, (perhaps Mother Kali herself) composed these lines to summon the Vajra Guru, whom she referred to as her ‘brother’. Invariably sung in the original Tibetan, here is an English translation;


On the northwest border of Oddiyana
On the Pistil Stem of a lotus
Endowed with THE most marvelous supreme siddhis
You are renowned as the Lotus Born
Surrounded by a retinue of many Dakinis

I follow in your footsteps
Please approach and grant your blessings