Praise to the Four Great Heavenly Kings

Yutang Lin

Protector of the Land constantly secures peace and harmony.
Increasing Growth cultivates prosperity to be shared and enjoyed.
Broad Eyes open wide to observe all things in the Dharmadhatu.
Well Known provides universal alms to benefit the great cosmos.


The Four Great Heavenly Kings are well-known for their protective services to the Dharma. The most illustrative incidents are: Each King held one leg of the horse to help Prince Siddhartha flew over palace walls so as to achieve his renunciation of worldly life for the quest of enlightenment; similarly they helped Padmasambhava to flew farewell from Tibet to preside in Urgyen. Usually when Buddhist practitioners enter retreat, the images of the Four Great Heavenly Kings are installed above the retreat door and offerings are made daily to them. Thus, peace and harmony may be secured, evil hindrances warded off, and success of the retreat ensured. Buddhist Meditation, the monumental book as dictated by Guru Chen was once seen in an inspirational experience of Guru Chen to be read by these Heavenly Kings. Thereby they demonstrated their willingness to grant protection to this book. Therefore, their images are printed at the back of this book. Usually the four Heavenly Kings are mentioned in the directional order of East, South, West and North. The Chinese translations of their names, when mentioned in the usual order have the meaning of "based on stability to grow, and then expand and spread wide." Now I respectfully composed this praise in accordance with the above discovery. May this gatha express to some extent my sincere gratitude to their protection and help. I earnestly beseech the Heavenly Kings to grant protection to the Dharma and its practitioners forever so that all sentient beings will eventually be benefited.

Written in Chinese: September 3, 1999
Translated: October 13, 1999
El Cerrito, California

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