A Praising to All the Gods
Yogi C. M. Chen’s version &
Dr. Yutang Lin’s version
A gift from Dharma friends of
Dr. Yutang Lin
Thanks to Stanley Lam for formatting the current version of this book and preparing the camera-ready copy for printing. Thanks to Buddhist friends who helped produce the original version.
A Praising to All the Gods
The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
Namo Guru Gautama Buddha
Namo all Gods who protect the Buddha.
Our Guru Gautama told us that
He descended here from the Tushita,
Became Bhikshu and subdued demons,
‘Till turned the wheel of Tathagata.
All great events are helped by Gods,
Who within his altar, work so hard.
Rare is to meet Buddha Perfect.
Invited by Gods who him admire,
To these benefactors of mankind
We should all give deep thanks without tire.
Heavenly music with many sounds,
Each says “WELCOME, WELCOME AND WELCOME!”
“Please do not forget all of mankind”,
The pleas of four Gods are very kind!
God of Purity came to this world
Before the Buddha’s birth some twelve years,
Appeared as a Brahmin and foretold
“Buddha will be born”, heard by all ears.
Buddha Gautama does hear the sound,
His permission is to be found,
The great benefactors are Gods,
We should give them thanks so profound!
A race selected with thirty-two merits
Which was asked by the God named Wise Pennant,
Descended down as a white elephant,
Suggested by the God named Achieved Light.
When Buddha descends, all Gods assemble,
Four Gods and Indra all leave their temple.
Yama, Tusita and Virmananti
Saha world master, the Brahmakaya,
From Parsadya and Purohita,
Parittabha and Apramanabha,
From Abhavara and Parittasubha (names of Heavens).
With Akinistha and Mahisvara
All leave their deep samadhi happiness.
From Buddha’s birth day to his Nirvana,
They follow him and help all his goodness.
In this dark Kali age,
There are no more good sages.
May all Gods do the same,
Ask them to come to this stage.
Even though there are some who came,
They could not live very long.
They had many defilements,
May Gods keep their commendments.
When Buddha came to his mother’s womb,
God of Purity told his father:
There will be a great event and so good,
Buddha’s pure Dharma will flourish soon.
Yama makes a mystic palace,
Acts as the Buddha’s holy grace.
When Buddha is born all Gods and Goddesses
Come help his mother to take a bath.
Gods offer Buddha heavenly clothes
And crystal, jewels, diamonds and gems.
Gods Brahma and Indra both transform into handsome Mahavaka form. They sing auspicious songs.
They praise Buddha with best poems.
Mahisvara and the Gods of Purity,
Make a pretty offering to celebrate.
When Buddha comes from his birthplace to the palace
Some Goddesses lift up beautiful umbrellas.
Some Goddesses sprinkle best perfume on the way,
Some Goddesses offer many gems and corals.
Gods of Rupadhatu lift some pennants,
Gods of Karmadhatu lift some nice tents,
They are like white clouds in the sky
With so many different presents.
When Buddha marries and lives in rich chamber,
All Gods, Goddesses ask him to remember,
A Tushita God named Renouncement
Flies to palace to make announcement.
He praises Buddha’s merits of past lives,
And inspires the vessels to give advice.
All music vessels make voice themselves,
All say to renounce is very wise!
Buddha comes to the four gates to search,
God of Purity appears at each.
On the East he’s an old man,
On the South he’s a sick man,
On the West he’s a dead man,
On the North he’s a holy man.
Buddha asks father allow him renounce,
But his father rejects what he announces.
The King then trains some bold guards,
To keep him in days and nights.
Many tiers of gates, who can run out?
He does need God’s help, there is no doubt!
There are twenty eight of Yasha’s marshals
Who wait for Vaisaravana to tell.
God named Wonderful Skill gives his power,
Paves the precious road in the great space.
God named Dharma Actor gives his power,
To make his wife have an ugly face.
God named Develop gives his force,
To make great Buddha rise alone.
God Indra shows the very road
Where the Buddha should go along.
When the moon and Tisya meet,
Lord Gautama awakes and sits,
Folds both of his palms and thinks,
All Buddhism is very sweet!
The four Gods lead all angels,
Indra stands in the middle,
All hail with a loud voice,
“It’s a great time, not little.”
Chandaka drives the horse,
Buddha leaves the palace.
Flies in the sky and earth quakes,
Nobody knows this case.
In night they run six yojanas (30 miles)
And arrive at Datu’s Forest.
Apart from Chandaka and horse
Buddha the Prince alone does rest.
In that time, none is he close to,
In that time no one knows him too.
He lives alone, he sits alone,
Only those great Gods often come.
At that time who knows how to serve,
In place of men, Gods spend their love.
God knows that Buddha does hate silk,
A cotton yellow robe he offers.
In this Kali Age, men rarely renounce,
They crave desires with pay and allowance!
Or they treat themselves as Bodhisattva,
They say they do good, have best influence!
Even if they become Bhikshu or monk,
They lead all the students without practice.
There is nobody really leaves his home,
Or leaves crowd center to truly release.
May all the Gods and all Angels,
Protect those who have no desire,
As you protect our Dear Buddha,
Who is so pure and without tire.
Six years Buddha practices Dhuta,
Takes only little rice and herbs a day,
Is often protected by all Gods,
Mara can’t trouble him in this way.
Sujata wants to make offering to Brahmin,
God of Purity purposely hides him.
Sujata sees only Buddha,
She offers the milk with a tin.
Buddha goes to Bodhi Gaya,
There sixteen Gods do protect him,
Their names are mentioned:
God of Win, God of Advance,
God of Loving, God of Goodness, God of Lighting.
God of Freedom, God of Pennant, God of Conduct,
God of Sila, God of Lotus, God of Ornament,
God of No-Obstacle, and God of Great-Adornment.
God of Boldness, God of Giving,
And God of Holding-the-Great-Earth.
They all have realization,
Protect Buddha with devotion.
Indra transforms himself into cowherd,
He offers Buddha some auspicious grass
Which is very soft to make a good seat,
Hence Buddha’s downward energy can pass.
The Brahma God offers a lot,
Jewels pervade throughout whole sky,
Buddha sits in meditation,
Vows to attain Samadhi high.
The Gods of six heavens of desire
Protect him, hence Mara can’t be found,
In the four directions up and down,
There are many Gods who stand around.
Mara still comes with many demons,
Troubles Buddha with love and weapons.
God of Purity gives him advice,
Many bold Goddesses also come.
They offer to Buddha many flowers,
Praise him, no fear of Mara’s followers.
When Buddha gets the Full Enlightenment,
All Gods enjoy it and offer jewels.
All Goddesses sing many hymns,
Many Gods praise him in their turn,
After the God of Purity,
God of Pervading Light praises him.
After God of Great Brahmin,
Paranirmita praises him,
After Nirmanarati praises,
Gods of Tushita praise him.
After Indra’s deep praising,
The Four Gods also praise him.
They offer many gems too,
With many different things.
In the Kali Age there’re many demons,
Most students do have a lot of desires.
False views, and cruel kings both trouble so long,
Doubt and disease and worldly love without tire.
One’s inner sorrows are too much,
Realization is hard to get,
Many practices but no one reaches,
No one even sees God yet.
May all the Gods protect them,
As protect Buddha, the same,
Let them all leave their demons,
Let them achieve before long.
Let them get realization,
Let them get special power,
Let them have deep devotion,
Worthy of Buddha’s followers!
After Buddha’s attainment,
He then keeps in deep silence.
Mara does dare him to die,
If so, there’s no influence.
But the master of this world,
Then requests Buddha three times
Turn the Dharma Wheel, he’s told,
Praises Buddha with many hymns.
At that time who is the man,
Able to ask as those Gods can,
Now we still have the Dharma,
God’s merit is not in vain.
Buddha accepts Gods request,
Four Gods ask him where to preach,
Four Gods are in the forest,
Whose names are told by the teacher.
The Light, The Dharma, and The Pleasure,
The Actor, all are Gods in nature,
They protect him in Bodhi Gaya,
Now they prepare Sarnath to preach.
Gods of all heavens of form and desire,
Hold heavenly umbrellas, men admire,
Arrange altar there where Park of Deer is,
Sarnath is very holy and dear.
Eighty-four thousand gems made seats,
Buddha makes them into one great chair.
Each treats it as his own,
Buddha’s teachings fill the air.
Buddha teaches five Bhikshus at first;
Teaches Kasya who is so earnest,
He shows eighteen transformations,
Indra hears this education.
When Buddha wants to dry his robe again,
Indra arranges a big stone in hexagon,
Hitherto everything Buddha wants,
From Indra and other Gods he gains.
After Buddha accepts their offerings,
Buddha wants to bathe, Indra gives new spring,
When Buddha wants to wash his robe again,
Indra arranges a square stone to retain.
When our Buddha goes to heaven and to sea,
Until Parinirvana all Gods see,
No time, no space, without Gods to protect him,
Gods serve the Buddha so much more than me.
In the Kali Age, Mara is strong,
Dharma’s obstacles trouble us so long!
Those cruel officials do have false views,
Scholars too have no right ideas but wrong.
Few persons practicing the Dharma,
Rare is the one who knows of Karma,
The accomplished one has no power,
There’s none can compare with Gautama!
There’re some who may have Bodhicitta,
And desire to follow Tathagata,
He has not enough helpers and money,
May you, the Gods, help with all data!
Please do remember what you have done,
With much strength you helped Buddha so long!
Now Right Dharma remains so little,
Kindly let it flourish and prolong.
Use your strength more than you used for Buddha,
Protect the one who has the real Dharma;
Let him have much longevity,
Let him achieve the Karma!
Let him have revelation!
Let him have realization!
Let him keep the old tradition!
Let him be able to do salvation!
Namo Sakyamuni Buddha
Namo all the Protector Gods
Free Verses on Praising All the Devas
Written in Chinese by
The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
Under the guidance of the author
Translated by Dr. Yutang Lin
Yogi Chen composed the first version of this hymn in Chinese for Buddhist practitioners in 1953 during his 25 year retreat in India. In 1983 he gave the second version in Chinese for monasteries. The second version differs from the first one in only six lines. Hence, we shall present our translation of the first version with each one of the six lines followed by that of the second version enclosed in brackets.
Yogi Chen himself translated the first version into English years ago and presented it to his readers as booklet 59 “A Praising to All the Gods.” His translation was rhymed. The present translation tries to be literal, and hence not rhymed. We hope that with two translations the readers would appreciate more our gratitude to the Dharma Protector Gods.
Free Verses on Praising All the Devas
The original teacher Sakyamuni Buddha
The venerable devas who protect the Dharma
The original teacher Sakyamuni personally announced
That he had come from the Tusita Heaven to Jambu,
And that his pravraj, subjugation of demons and turning the Dharma Wheel
Had been tirelessly helped by the Devas;
The precious World honored One is, rarest to meet.
The first ones to plead for his birth in this world
Are the Devas whose great benevolence is unsurpassable;
The Devas played Eighty four thousand musical tones,
Tone after tone they pleaded the incarnation of Buddha:
Please forget not us, the pitiful ones.
Holding a bowl the Four Caturmaharajas pleaded for His incarnation,
Only upon hearing this did Buddha accept the plea;
Thanks to the Devas for their unsurpassable great benevolence!
A decade and two years before Buddha’s birth,
Venerable Suddhavasadeva came in advance.
He appeared as a Brahman and spread the prophecy:
Buddha’s incarnation will soon be here!
The Holy family chosen had had thirty two virtues,
This was revealed upon the Deva Jnanadhvaja’s request;
To descend into Jambu in the form of a white elephant,
It was suggested by the Deva Superior Light;
The following Devas gathered upon Buddha’s descent:
The four Caturmaharajas and Sakrodevanamindra,
Sunirmitas, Paranirmita vasavartins,
The Lord of Saha world Brahma,
Brahmaparisadyas and Brahmapurohitas,
Abhasvaras and Parittabhas,
Apramanabhas and Suddhavasadeva,
Together with Akanistha,
Mahesvara and the other Devas,
Forsaking the pleasure of Dhyana samadhi,
From Buddha’s birth till his Nirvana,
They constantly served Buddha with pure intentions.
The Kali Age with little merits has only few Saints,
The incarnations of Bodhisattvas with Great Vows,
Just as the Devas pleaded for Buddha’s incarnation,
I pray that you Devas plead more of them to come soon.
Even though Saints may be born in the Kali Age,
It is difficult for them to remain free from pollutions,
Just as the Devas served the Buddha,
I pray that you Devas protect them well and tight.
After Buddha had entered the womb, Suddhavasadeva
Showed half of his body to Buddha’s King-father,
Reporting this rare event in stanzas.
The Yamadevas presented a wonderful palace,
For the Holy Queen to dwell in.
After Buddha’s birth the devakanyas
Held wonderful oil to bath the Holy Mother,
They offered Buddha Heavenly clothings and jewelry.
Brahma Sakra then transformed himself into a very fine Monapokaya,
Praising with wonderful and auspicious phrases.
Mahesvara and Suddhavasadeva
Presented huge offerings to celebrate.
Buddha was brought to the Palace from where he was born,
The Devakanyas held fans made of peacock feathers,
Sprinkled perfume along the way,
Or held jeweled flowers or jeweled necklaces,
Each kind has five hundred thousand Devakanyas,
The Devas of Rupadhatu held jeweled banners,
The Devas of Kamadhatu held jeweled canopies,
Like clouds they filled the whole sky.
After Buddha had married his wife they lived in the secluded palace.
With stanzas the Devas persuaded him to leave home and become a monk.
The Tusita Deva named Should Leave Home
Flew to the palace hall and recited wonderful stanzas,
Praising the superior merits of pravraj.
He also affected the musical instruments in the palace
To sound without being played the pleadings for pravraj.
Buddha toured the four gates of the city to observe.
The Venerable Suddhavasadeva appeared
At the east gate as an old man to affect the Buddha.
At the south gate a man with various diseases,
At the west gate a dead man,
At the north gate a Mahabhiksu
Preaching to Buddha the Dharma of Pravraj.
Buddha then requested his father to let him leave home.
The King father picked brave and fierce soldiers,
Night and day they guarded the palace in and out,
The double gates would sound and disturb ten Lis,
Without help from the Devas, how could one escape?
The Yaksas generals, twenty eight in number,
All waited for orders at the palace of Vaisravana.
Venerable Pure Wisdom Deva granted his spiritual power
To make all the brave soldiers sound asleep;
Venerable Adornment Play Deva
Made all elephants and horses sleep in silence;
Venerable Glorious Wisdom Deva granted his spiritual power
To pave a jeweled path in the sky;
Venerable Dharma Activities Deva granted his spiritual power
To make those palace maids look ugly;
Venerable Development Deva granted his spiritual power
To make Buddha alone suddenly awake at midnight;
Sakro devanamindra showed the path
When the Pusya star met the moon,
At midnight Buddha indeed awoke and got up,
Calmly he came out and stood with folded palms,
Rightfully thinking of all the Buddhas in the ten directions;
The four Caturmaharajas came with their Deva followers,
Sakro devanamindra stood in the sky.
All the Devas simultaneously made loud pleas:
This is just the right time! Please leave home soon!
After Chandaka had brought Chantze to Buddha,
They walked through the sky and the earth quaked in six manners.
All the people inside or outside the palace did not know this.
During the night they walked for six yojanas;
Having arrived the Uruvilva kasyapa forest,
And bad farewell to Chandaka and Chantze,
Alone and far away from the majestic place,
In the forest only the Devas were so dear!
Who would know to serve Buddha then?
Thanks to the Devas for having served Buddha for men.
Knowing that Buddha disliked his luxurious clothings,
Venerable Suddhavasadeva offered him kasaya;
Only then did Buddha proclaim that his pravraj was complete.
During the Kali Age it is difficult to cultivate Nice Roots,
Being greedily attached to the five desires it is difficult for people to renounce the worldly things,
Some people are of shallow root yet aspire to the profound path,
Pretending to be Bodhisattvas they don’t drop out from the society,
Or although they have left home and entered the monastic life,
They have led the multitude too early to practice on their own.
Those who have left home and monastery both,
[Those who have entered the monastery and kept silas as Buddha taught,]
Are the superior wonderful Dharma instruments,
May the venerable Devas secretly protect them,
As you protected Buddha’s genuine pravraj.
For six years Buddha diligently practiced dhyana,
Daily he ate only one grain of rice and same of sesame,
He was constantly protected by the Devas,
Papiyan watched for his mistakes but could not find any.
A sujata girl wanted to make offerings to a Brahmacarin,
Suddhavasadeva hid the body of the Brahmacarin,
The sujata girl saw only the Buddha’s presence,
She offered him the milk porridge of auspicious sign.
Buddha went to the Vajra Seat of Bodhimandala,
Sixteen venerable Devas protected this place,
Their names are, respectively, Turn to-progress Deva,
Venerable Ajita Deva, Dana Deva,
Venerable Respectful Love Deva, Brave-Power Deva,
Venerable Sugata Deva, Dharanimdhara Deva,
Venerable Light emitting Deva, Vimala Deva,
Dharmasvara Deva, Dharmadhvaja Deva,
Auspicious Activities Deva, Apratihata Deva,
Maha alamkaraka Deva, Vimala Sila Deva,
Pundarika Prabha Deva, all sixteen of them
Had attained the stage of avaivartika,
Constantly and devotedly they protected the Bodhimandala.
Sakra then transformed into a grass cutter
Who offered the auspicious Kusa grass as Buddha’s cushion.
Mahabrahma presented huge offerings
Of countless jewels that filled the sky.
After Buddha had sat on the Vajra Seat he made the Great Vow.
The Devas of the six devalokas stayed in the south east,
Respectfully and Carefully they were guarding against hindrances.
The Devas surrounded Buddha in four directions, above and below,
They respectfully protected the Buddha.
Papiyan led the male and female devils,
Did their best to threaten with force or entice with charms.
Venerable Suddhavasadeva gave them warnings and admonitions.
Countless Devas threw heavenly flowers,
Praising the fact that Buddha was unaffected by the devils.
Upon Buddha’s Full Enlightenment he showed auspicious signs. The Devas were happy and offered many treasures,
The Devakanyas sang hymns in praise of Buddha:
After Suddhavasadeva had praised, so did Apramanabha,
After Brahmadeva had praised, so did Paranirmita vasavartin,
After Sunirmita had praised, so did Tusitadevas,
After Sakra had praised, so did the four Caturmaharajas.
They also presented countless huge offerings.
During the Kali Age a practitioner may encounter many obstacles,
The practitioners have many desires and thus become accessible to the devils,
The perverted views and governmental harassments attack him from outside,
The hardships, sicknesses and doubts attack him from within,
The five skandhas are vehemently active and difficult to get rid of,
The essence of realization is profound, subtle and difficult to achieve,
So many are the practitioners yet so few are the accomplished ones,
Don’t you Devas feel pitiful seeing this?
Just as you protected Sakyamuni Buddha’s perfect accomplishment,
May you venerable Devas diligently guard the practitioners
So that they are free from the hindrances of devils,
[So that they may peacefully stay in the monastery,]
They soon accomplish the Evolution and the Perfect Yogas,
[They, adhering to the teachings of Buddha, soon become accomplished,]
They fully possess the six supernatural abilities and the ten powers,
And they exemplify the fruitful merits of Vajrayana.
[And they exemplify the fruitful merits of Bodhi path.]
After Buddha had achieved Enlightenment he remained in silence.
Papiyan did dare to plead for Buddha’s Nirvana.
The conch tuft Brahma, Lord of the Saha-world,
Pleaded to Buddha on behalf of us, the suffering multitude.
Time and again he pleaded Buddha thrice to turn the Wheel of Dharma.
How could the then muddle headed mankind
Know to plead as Brahma did?
Now that Buddha Dharma is spreading among human beings,
Thanks to the Brahma who originated the spreading of Dharmas!
After Buddha had granted his permission to turn the Dharma Wheel,
The four Devas who guarded the Bodhi tree:
Dharma receiver, Rasmiprobhasa, Dharma—enjoyment
And Dharma activities again asked:
Where should Buddha turn the Dharma Wheel for the very first time?
The Devas of devalokas or rupalokas
Held jeweled banners or jeweled canopies
To adorn and sanctify Mrgadava.
Eighty four thousand jeweled Lion Seats
Were merged into one by Buddha to sit while preaching.
After Buddha had converted the five venerable Bhiksus,
He manifested eighteen transformations to convert Kasyapa.
Sakra exhibited his brightness while listening to the Dharma.
After Buddha had received offerings he wanted to take a bath,
Sakra pointed to the ground and there a pond became.
Sakra knew that Buddha wanted to wash his robe,
So he brought a huge fine square rock.
Sakra knew that Buddha wanted to dry his robe in the Sun,
Again he brought a hexagonal rock to be used.
Afterwards Buddha turned the Dharma Wheel at various locations,
Up to the heavens or down into the ocean,
Until his Nirvana under the Sala trees,
No time and no where were the Devas not
The guardian protectors of Sakyamuni Buddha.
In the Kali Age the devil’s army has strong power,
The Bodhi place everywhere has many obstacles,
Kings and government officials mostly are of perverted views,
Well learned scholars occasionally obtain the faith,
Yet they seldom practice according to the Dharma.
Sometimes there are virtuous men with noble aspirations who
[All the monasteries that are well established]
Would like to establish the unsurpassable great Dharma banner, But the financial as well as man power are often insufficient.
May the Devas remember the activities of Sakyamuni Buddha.
How strenuous did you guard Buddha?
Now Dharma is like a delicate thread,
Such a Dharma vein is most precious!
You Devas should exert more protection power than you did for Buddha.
Multiply your efforts and all come to support
So that the virtuous men with great aspirations,
[So that the Dharma propagators with great aspirations,]
Possess longevity, good luck and superb authority,
Become capable of continuing the Holy Karma of Sakyamuni Buddha,
And revive the great banner of Buddha Dharma.
I pray that you Devas do protect us well and tight!
I pray that you Devas do protect us well and tight!
In the autumn of 1953, Chen Chien Ming composed this hymn in his hermitage in India.
The first version was written for the practitioners; now it is amended to be used by the monasteries in the summer of 1983.
My Bodhicitta Vows
(Used for Dedication of Merits)
Dr. Yutang Lin
1. May virtuous gurus remain with us and those departed return soon!
2. May perverse views and violence soon become extinct and Dharma spread without hindrance!
3. May all beings proceed diligently on the path and achieve Buddhahood before death!
4. May all beings develop Great Compassion and never regress until they reach perfect Buddhahood!
5. May all beings develop Great Wisdom and never regress until they reach perfect Buddhahood!
[Home][Back to list][Back to Chinese versions]