The Great Praise of Śambhala
By Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen
Translated by Cyrus Stearns
I prostrate to the masters
whose deeds are wonderful,
and who, seeing the quintessence
of all the glorious great tantras,
teach it to others,
and I prostrate at the feet
of the Primordial Buddha.
I prostrate to those who,
with special love for living beings,
do not stray from the basic space of phenomena,
but constantly work to benefit others
by means of numerous emanations
pervading the entire world.
In particular, I prostrate
to the Kalkī Dharma kings
born in glorious Kalāpa,
who, in the form of great
illuminate Kālacakra on earth.
Śambhala, which they rule,
was emanated by an ocean
of prayers as numerous as atoms.
To create it from the basic space
of pristine primordial awareness,
the gods carefully placed
a most sublime, stainless, pure land
12,000 leagues in circumference
in the northern half of lesser
Jambudvīpa in this land of karma,
totally surrounded by a rosary
of brilliant white glacial mountains.
Inside that is a beautiful lotus
with eight petals, the central third
of which is the heart of its pericarp,
famous as Mt. Kailāsa, with all sublime,
wondrous aspects totally complete,
many fragrant flowers and fruits,
finely adorned with lattices
of numerous trees, filled with the tastes
of precious sublime herbs,
and with many rivers of eight qualities.
Upon its beautiful, round,
and lofty peak, the sublime sage’s
residence known as Śambhala
contains more than ten million towns,
the chief of which is glorious Kalāpa,
with a vast breadth of twelve leagues,
decorated with gold and various
precious substances, and possessing
the joy and happiness of the Dharma
of the sublime vehicle.
I prostrate to that sublime palace
of the noble ones.
To its south, and equal to it,
is the grove of Malaya, in the center
of which is the creator of conquerors,
the complete Kālacakra maṇḍala
of five precious substances,
six hundred feet in all directions,
with the width of the outer circle
of vajras being two thousand feet,
and radiating stainless light.
To that I prostrate.
To its east is the lake of Mānasa,
and to the west the lake of white lotuses,
filled with such stainless pure water,
and densely covered with many
types of fragrant flowers.
I prostrate to Mt. Kailāsa,
possessing more wealth than the gods,
with flocks of beautiful birds
making sweet calls, and with incense,
flowers, fruit trees, and so forth.
Equally situated on each of the outer
petals of the lotus are 120,000,000 villages.
Thus, for ninety-six districts of ten million
there are ninety-six rulers of men,
wearing turbans of precious substances.
The masses of light rays from their crown jewels
touch the feet of the past Dharma king
Sūryaprapha, who was Vighnaśatru,
to whom I prostrate.
I prostrate at the feet of his son,
glorious Sucandra, who was Vajrapāṇi,
keeper of the secret treasury of all
the conquerors, who offered
supplications for the great root tantra.
The rosary of emanated beings
in his lineage, from the monarch
Sureśvara, who was Kṣitigarbha,
and Tejī, who was Yamāntaka,
the lord of men Somadatta,
who was Sarvanivaraṇaviṣkambhī,
and Sureśvara, who was Prajñāntaka,
Viśvamūrti, who was Padmāntaka,
down to Sureśāna, who was Khagarbha,
all equally taught the great, glorious
root tantra from the lion throne
of great jewels at eight years of age.
I prostrate to those lords
of the tenth spiritual level,
endowed with an infinite treasury
of most sublime good qualities.
From their lineage, Mañjuvajra
made all castes into the vajra caste.
Thus I prostrate to glorious Yaśas,
the Kalkī who abridged the king of tantras.
His son, the compassion of all the conquerors,
Puṇḍarīka, was Lokeśvara.
I prostrate at the immaculate lotus
beneath the feet of that sublime protector,
who composed the vast commentary.
From the lineage of Kalkīs
appear teachers of the king of tantras,
Kalkīs who are the ten wrathful
kings such as Yamāntaka,
and between them, the thirteen calm sons
of the conqueror such as Kṣitigarbha.
These are Bhadra, Vijaya, and Sumitra,
the lord of men Raktapāṇi,
and Viṣṇugupta, Arkakīrti, and Subhadra,
Samudravijaya, Aja, and Sūrya,
Viśvarūpa, Śaśiprabha, Ananta, and Mahīpāla,
Śrīpāla, Hari, Vikrama, and Mahābala,
Aniruddha, Narasiṃha, Maheśvara, and Anantavijaya,
and the divine lord Raudra, who will terrify
the races of antigods and barbarians.
I prostrate to those excellent beings,
peaceful in nature, finely adorned
with the good marks and signs,
completely possessing all the qualities
of an excellent lord, such as the five eyes
and paranormal abilities,
great spiritual heroes who illuminate
the world with a hundred lights of Dharma.
I prostrate to the inconceivable emanations
of Raudra’s sons, Brahmā and Sureśa,
who will be glorious Mañjuśrī and Lokanātha,
and will teach the Dharma
in the sections behind and in front.
Then the eight such as Kāśyapa
will be the common lords of men,
teaching the path of Dharma to living beings.
I prostrate and take refuge in them all.
In that way, may the lords of men,
who bear the cakra, half the cakra,
or a section of the cakra,
protect us from this terrifying saṃsāra,
where we have entered the darkness of ignorance!
Mindful of the unbearable sufferings
of saṃsāra, I, who have fallen under
the power of the māra of total affliction
and am bound by the noose of karma,
especially take refuge in you!
I prostrate to the learned and realized
masters of India and Tibet, whose activities
were similar to all of theirs,
such as Kālacakrapāda, Nāropa, and Śavaripa,
who clarified the essence of the meaning
of the tantra in all directions.
Moreover, wherever they dwell
in the ten directions,
I prostrate to the conquerors,
their spiritual children, and their disciples,
to practitioners of yoga diligent in their vows,
and to all who are worthy
of homage and worthy of offerings.
With threefold purity I constantly
present whatever available
and attractive types of offerings
exist in infinite realms,
as well as devotedly arranged
clouds of offerings.
Through beginningless time until now,
whatever sins I have committed
under the influence of sinful companions,
the afflictions, and karma,
I confess each of them,
regretting how I have harmed myself.
Rejoicing in all virtue,
urging you to turn the Dharma wheel,
and praying that you remain
without passing into nirvāṇa,
I am your servant from today.
If you fully accept me,
I too will carefully uphold
the precious thought of enlightenment
in order to remove the sufferings
of living beings, and follow in your footsteps.
Whatever virtue may thus arise
from faithfully making offerings,
praises, and taking refuge
in excellent beings,
I dedicate for the benefit of others,
that the three assemblies
may not decline, but increase!
When my body and mind separate,
may I be free from regret,
harmful distraction, and confusion,
and, without straying from mahāmudrā,
definitely go to glorious Kalāpa
with firm faith, joy, and delight,
be blessed by the Kalkī emperor
in the palace of the sandalwood grove,
and be liberated that very instant!
By the kindness of Kālacakra,
I will thus realize immutable mahāmudrā,
and, with numerous instantaneous
emanations in the ten directions,
be solely energetic for the sake of others.
Furthermore, from today,
and in all lifetimes,
may I be endowed all the qualities,
such as being faithful, energetic,
wise, and compassionate,
having pristine, altruistic motivation,
and being extremely honest,
possessing sublime courage
and pure livelihood,
dwelling in moral discipline
that delights noble beings,
being graced by excellent spiritual friends,
possessing great immaculate learning,
achieving sublime meditative concentration,
gaining control of my mind,
having recollection, bravery,
and the five paranormal abilities,
and, by means of the three pure trainings,
may I absolutely always practice
the ten perfections and the Vajrayoga
in order to fully complete all the aspects
of taintless, self-arisen omniscience.
By the great truth of the Three Jewels,
may these prayers will be fulfilled as intended.
The precise situation of Śambhala
and glorious Kailāsa, previously
undiscovered by the experts of India and Tibet,
I have fortunately discovered,
my mind was long filled with joy,
and I gained faith in the place, teacher,
retinue, and Dharma.
The words of my wish escaped:
“When this body is discarded,
may I become a son of the Kalkī
in that pure land!” and, at the urging
of an excellent being, I composed
this for the benefit of myself and others.
If this is not agreeable to the minds
of some people, because it has not
been thus understood before,
please totally cast aside your previous evil
propensities, and look at the great commentary
to the tantra with an impartial attitude.
In reliance on the meaning itself, the beggar Dolpopa composed this to be easily
Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan. Sham bha la’i bstod pa chen po, 553-560. In Collected
Works of Kun mkhyen Dol po pa from the Rgyal rtse prints. Paro: Lama Ngodrup
and Sherab Drimay, 1984.