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THE SEVENFOLD PUJA SEMINAR
Transcribed by Helen Johnson Typed by Sue lawson
S: All right, this morning then we come on to the Sevenfold Puja. We are going to gothrough the verses of the sevenfold puja one by one. I take it everyone knows where theseverses come from, the actual verses themselves? Where do they come from, this particularversion?
A Voice: The Bodhicaryavatara.
S: Yes, they come from the Bodhicaryavatara and how did we come to have them in thisparticular form, this particular selection? Does anyone know?
Lokamitra: You and Mrs. Bennett wasn't it .. translated it .. or composed it.
S: That's right, yes ... well ... no, not quite. At present there is in print only one completeEnglish translation of the Bodhicaryavatara and this is of course the one by Marian L. Maticswhich is of course the one we studied on the B.A. seminar, but there was another Englishtranslation made sometime before this but never printed in full. That was made by a friend ofmine in London, called Mrs. A. A. T. Bennett, Adrian Bennett, with whom I was incorrespond~ce while I was in India. She made the translation at that time, so this was quite afew years ago, this was before the F.W.B.O. was started, I wanted to make a version of thesevenfold puja which I had described in 'The Survey' and knowing that the B.A. was used forthis purpose in Tibet and wanting to have just a very short, simple sevenfold puja which I wastrying to introduce at the Hampstead Budhist Vihara, I made this salection ... that is to saytaking the framework of the sevenfold puja, then taking from Chapter 2 of theBodhicaryavatara, and from Chapter 3, two or three verses under each of these headings, thatis to say the puja, the vandana and so on, and in this way we arrive at our present sevenfoldpuja, do you get the idea? The sevenfold puja itself being a sequence of seven different, onecould say, moods .... devotional moods, very broadly speaking, each of which is illustrated bya few verses from those two chapters of the
Bodhicaryavatara. 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 andpublished it. I've made a selection of verses from the 'Sutra of Golden light' arranged underthese 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 theBodhicaryavatara sevenfold puja, we shall have to see about that. Needless to say, in the caseof the verses selected from the 'Sutra of Golden light', the section to do with confession is arather ample one ...
S: (cont.) so perhaps it could be used more in connection with that particularobservance, 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 correlatedthe verses of Mrs. Bennetts translation with the corresponding verses of Matics translationand as it is sometimes not very easy to tell, because the langage of the two translations israther different ... I can give you the numbers of the verses in Matics translation so that youcan compare for yourselves, and in that way, perhaps, arrive at an understanding of themeaning of each verse. Her translation I must say; these last few days L' ve been goingthrough both of them; is very much better ... in the sense that it certainly, certainly conveysthe spirit of Shantideva much better. It may be in some cases Matics translation makes themeaning a little clearer in certain respects but on the whole, her translation is definitelypreferable.~ I think we find it quite difficult to use Matic's translation in the course of thePuja and recite it together ... it just doesn't flow very well ... her~a is not much better, not onlyas regards the spirit of the text, but the English language itself, its quite a bit more poetic andrythmical, so I'm quite glad we stick to her translation. A Voice: Where do the sevenheadings come from?
S: This I 've explained in 'The Survey' in Chapter Four - 'The Bodhisattva Ideal', it isessentially a sort of lead up to the arising of the Bodhicitta and incorporating all the mainBuddhist 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 wholechapter as sort of background material. There of course I've spoken of a six-fold puja becausepuja and vandana are sometimes joined together as one, but later I thought it better to separatethem, 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 youdo - as in Matic' 5 translation - what I suggest you do is to mark against each verse before webegin the number of the verse in Matic' 5 translation so that later on at your leisure you canlook 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 firstverse 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 theitea? So instead of 1'With Mandarava, blue lotus and jasmine" Matics has "With the blossomsof the coral tree, the blue lotus, jasmine and the like" which you can see is slightly different. (Laughter) .. wouldn't be very easy to
S: (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 kind5ofliquids to drink" this is the next verse, verse 16. And then, ~~I offer them lamps encrustedwith jewels" the last verse of the puja, that is verse 17. So here's a block of verses 15, 16 and17, taken from Chapter Two of the ~.A. Then we come onto the vandana. The first versehere is "As many atoms as there are" down to " and the excellan~t community". This is verse24 of that same chapter. And then the next verse, "I pay homage to all the shr~n~~~~ downto "arid those to whom respectful salutation is due". The typist has divided those lines, younotice? but that is incorrect, there should not be any gap there, it is all one verse, yes? That isverse 25 of that Chapter Two. And then we come on to the sarana-gamana, the Going forRefuge, which begins "This very day" that' S verse 48 of that same Chapter Two and the nextone beginning "wholeheartedly also I take my r~f~~~~ thats verse 49. Then for theConfession 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 thenthe 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 ChapterThree - 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 therelease 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 thatsame Chapter Three and the next ~erse is verse 5. (pause)
The next verses come from Chapter Three. Seven is the parinamana, the Transference ofMerit and Self Surrender. The typist here has not divided or separated the verses for somereason or other. There are one, two, three, four verses, so please just separate those. So thefirst verse "May the merit gained in my acting thus go to the alieviation of the suffering of allbeings," this is Chapter Three verse 6 of the B.A. Then the next verse beginning "Mypersonality throughout my existances" is verse 10. The next verse beginning "just as the earthand other elements" is verse 20, and then lastly, the verse beginning "So may I become," thatis verse 21. So ... 6, 10, 20 21 ... divide those verses up as the typist should have done. AVoice: It changes the sense of the way we recite it doesn't it? If 21 begins "so may Ibecome'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
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 you will find another ve~ionstill
in Barnets "The Path of light' which is an incomplete translation of the B.A., in
the "Wisdom of the East" series, but that will be a scholarly amusement for those
so inclined to that.
So what we'll do is read the verses of the seven-fold puja, one by one, around the
circle, one person reading one verse, then discuss in the light of all of the verses
puja in general and then examine each verse in particular, so could we start please.
A Voice: "With manadarava, blue lotus and jasmine, with all flowers pleasing and
fragront, and with garlands skillfuly woven, I pay honour to the Princes of the
Sages, so worthy of veneration.