The Aspiration of Samantabhadra or Samantabhadra’s Aspiration to Noble Deeds is often called the “King of Prayers.” It extensively and thoroughly expresses the entirety of the Buddhist path and the actions of a bodhisattva in 63 succinct verses, extracted from the Avatamsaka Flower Garland Sutra. Monlam assemblies of all traditions recite this prayer because of its inconceivable blessings.

Samantabhadra, sometimes translated as “Universally Good,” is one of the eight great bodhisattvas along with Manjushri, the embodiment of the Buddha’s wisdom, and Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of the Buddha’s compassion. Samantabhadra is renowned for making vast and unequaled offerings to innumerable buddhas. This King of Prayers is a summary of Samantabhadra’s advice to the student Sudhana, who became equal to Samantabhadra through the blessing of this prayer.

Recitation of this prayer generates tremendous merit, turns our minds to the Dharma, and inspires us to dedicate our lives to the benefit of all sentient beings. Its recitation is the quintessence of aspirational bodhicitta and, as explained in the prayer itself, its recitation leads us to perfect enlightenment.

Although some of the noble deeds described in the prayer may seem beyond our capacity, all things are possible through the power of limitless aspiration. Therefore, to expand our capacity to serve all sentient beings, we recite this prayer.

Click here for the prayer text.

Image – Himalayan Art Resources Inc. / Rubin Museum of Art

The eldest son of the victorious Buddhas
Is called Samantabhadra.
I dedicate all these virtuous actions
That my deeds may be like his.

~Samantabhadra’s Aspiration to Noble Deeds, Verse 42