May all places throughout the world
Become homes of happiness,
Gardens of wish-fulfilling trees;
May the whole ground
Become completely pure:
As level as the palm of a hand,
And as smooth as lapis lazuli.
May we hear the sweetest of sounds
Issuing forth from birds and trees.
And, O God, bless the business of creatures on and in the ground;
And that beautiful light coming from space above:
Bathe us in its glow,
Coming through those clouds of offerings
With their timely rains,
And every day a plentiful harvest.

–  adapted from a prayer by Shantideva, 8th century Buddhist scholar, as published in Guide to the Bodhisattva’s way of life : how to enjoy a life of great meaning and altruism, trans. Neil Elliot


Bowing its feathered head
Before the roaring flames
The phoenix utters
Its ancient prayer:

Homage to the great fire!
The time has come,
The moment has arrived.

I shall leave behind
This old beak
That pecks constantly
At what no longer nourishes,
This old voice
That croaks the same stale song,
These old wings
That have forgotten
How to soar,
Flapping feebly
Back and forth
Over familiar territory.

I approach this fire
With a mind of faith.
I embrace this fire
With a fearless heart.
I endure this fire
With a patient spirit.

Through this death
I shall find new life.
Through this heat
I shall cool my mind.
Through this suffering
I shall find great bliss.
In this fire
I shall forge my freedom.

– a poem by Vessantara, a practicing Buddhist, 2006