Words of truth, A Prayer

The Dalai Lama


First Translation


Words of Truth was composed by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, during the autumn of 1960, a year and a half after he was forced into exile in India. It is one of the most important prayers for Tibetans today. It is recited each morning with their daily prayers and sung to a medley of four lovely melodies on occasions such as the March 10 Uprising Day observance.

For Tibetans there is no separation between the sacred and the secular. Accordingly, this prayer finds a place in both arenas. //Words of Truth// is dedicated to restoring peace, the Buddhist teachings, and the culture and self-determination of the Tibetan people in their homeland. It is also an invocation of compassion towards all suffering sentient beings: oppressor and oppressed alike.

Prayer serves most immediately to focus the thoughts toward a specific end, in this case the preservation of Tibetan civilization and the goal of universal compassion. Prayer is also a refined expression of a state of mind, of an inner vision. Prayer is a crown jewel of speech. Speech is intimately tied to the breath, the coarse form of energy that empowers the mind's awareness. While all speech has such subtle power its basis, prayer (recited or sung) is a carefully crafted mode of speech -- a vital channel into the depths of the mind.

Thus, one truly can appreciate the significance and beauty of His Holiness's //Words of Truth//. May its multifold repetition in the Tibetan, and now English, language contribute to the goal of compassionate liberation for all sentient beings.

Peter Gold
Dharamsala, India

English Translation (Prose)

O Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and disciples of the past, present, and future: Having remarkable qualities immeasurably vast as the ocean, Who regard all helpless sentient beings as your only child; Please consider the truth of my anguished pleas.

Buddha's full teachings dispel the pain of worldly existence and self-oriented peace; May they flourish, spreading prosperity and happiness through- out this spacious world. O holders of the Dharma: scholars and realized practitioners; May your ten fold virtuous practice prevail.

Humble sentient beings, tormented by sufferings without cease, Completely suppressed by seemingly endless and terribly intense, negative deeds, May all their fears from unbearable war, famine, and disease be pacified, To freely breathe an ocean of happiness and well-being. And particularly the pious people of the Land of Snows who, through various means, Are mercilessly destroyed by barbaric hordes on the side of darkness, Kindly let the power of your compassion arise, To quickly stem the flow of blood and tears.

Those unrelentingly cruel ones, objects of compassion, Maddened by delusion's evils, wantonly destroy themselves and others; May they achieve the eye of wisdom, knowing what must be done and undone, And abide in the glory of friendship and love.

May this heartfelt wish of total freedom for all Tibet, Which has been awaited for a long time, be spontaneously fulfilled; Please grant soon the good fortune to enjoy The happy celebration of spiritual with temporal rule.

O protector Chenrezig, compassionately care for Those who have undergone myriad hardships, Completely sacrificing their most cherished lives, bodies, and wealth, For the sake of the teachings, practitioners, people, and nation.

Thus, the protector Chenrezig made vast prayers Before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas To fully embrace the Land of Snows; May the good results of these prayers now quickly appear. By the profound interdependence of emptiness and relative forms, Together with the force of great compassion in the Three Jewels and their Words of Truth, And through the power of the infallible law of actions and their fruits, May this truthful prayer be unhindered and quickly fulfilled.

Second Translation


This prayer, Words of Truth, was composed by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, on 29 September 1960 at his temporary headquarters in the Swarg Ashram at Dharamsala, Kangra District, Himachal State, India. This prayer for restoring peace, the Buddhist teachings, and the culture and self-determination of the Tibetan people in their homeland was written after repeated requests by Tibetan government officials along with the unanimous consensus of the monastic and lay communities. Particular acknowledgment was given to the requests by Barzhi Phuntsog Wangyal; Lobsang Tendzin, treasurer of Lhatsun Labrang, and his wife, Tashi Dolma; and Lobsang Dorje, treasurer of Shelkhar Monastery.

This translation was made in Dharamsala, India, during April 1992 by Rabjampa Dupchok Gyaltsen and Peter Gold, under the editorial guidance of the Ven. Lotsawa Lhakdor and Ven. Lotsawa Tendzin Dorje, with certain clarifications by the Ven. Lobsang Gyatso, Principal of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. It was made with the sincere intention of stimulating a broad understanding of the current condition of Tibet and its people, as well as of humanity as a whole, whose sufferings cry out for a compassionate solution. In today's interconnected world, no person or society stands alone. As such, the fate of Tibet is indeed the fate of the world. His Holiness's Words of Truth bears an essential message to us all in this regard. May this translation aid in establishing peace and altruism among all members of the global family.

Tashi Shok
May Auspiciousness Prevail

English Translation (Lyrical)

This versification into English lyrics was made expressly for singing the prayer, Words of Truth, to its customary tunes. It was written by Peter Gold in Dharamsala, India during April 1992 and is intended to convey the basic meaning of the prayer in a manner appropriate to the medium of song.

Part I

Buddhas and saints...and disciples throughout time, Having qualities, infinite as the ocean is wide, Seeing each being as your only child, Please heed my truthful and anguished cries.

Buddha's teachings:...selfish peace, suffering's cease, Spreading joy and prosperity through the world; O scholars and great practitioners, May the Dharma's ten virtuous ways prevail.

Humble beings...suffering torments without cease, Pressed completely by bad thoughts and deeds, Pacify their fears: war, famine, disease, To breathe an ocean of joy and peace.

Part II

Pious people in the Land of Snows, Destroyed...mercilessly...through various means, By barbarian hordes out of darkness; Through compassion...may the blood and tears...quickly cease. Cruel people needing compassion, made mad by delusions, Destroying...themselves...and others too; Give them the eye of wisdom to know what to do; In a glorious...state of friendship...and of selfless love.

Part III

So this wish for freedom in Tibet, It's been awaited for a long time; May the good fortune arise soon, Of spiritual with temporal rule.

O protector, please look after them, Those who've undergone great suffering; Sacrificing lives and all their wealth For the nation, people, and religion.

The Protector Avalokita Prayed before Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, To fully embrace the Land of Snows; May good things appear not through your prayers.

Part IV

By the profound interdependence... of emptiness and relative forms, With compassion in the Three Jewels and Words of Truth, And through the infallible... law of one's actions and their fruits, Be this prayer unhindered and quickly fulfilled.


This rendering of the Tibetan text into phonetics is designed to aid in its proper pronunciation when sung or spoken by a native English speaker.

[Note added for this DharmaNet edition: The umlaut is represented here by a colon preceding the vowel it affects.]

Part I

Tse mei y:on ten...gya ts:o pel nga zhing Nyam chung dro la bu chik tar gong pe D:u sum de sheg se dang lo mar che Dag gi den pe mei ngag di gong shig

Si shi dung sel...yong dzog toob pe ten Dzam ling yang pe pen de pel du gye De dzin ke dang drup pe kye bu nam Ch:o j:o nam chu ja wa pel war dz:o

Mi se le ngen...drak p:o yong n:on pe Bar me du ke nar wei nyam tak dro S:o ka ne ts:on mu ge jig pa k:un Shi ne de ga gya ts:o uk yung dz:o

Part II

Kye par gang jong ch:o den kye dro nam Nak chok... la l:o pung gi...tse me du Ngen g:u jom pe trag dang chi mei gy:un Nyur du...ch:o pe tug je...tu pung kye

Nyon mong d:on gyi ny:o pe lang ch:o kyi Rang zhen...nyi pung gyi pe...nying je y:ul Mi s:un kye w:o tsog nam lang dor mig Yong tob...jam tse dza wei...pel la jor

Part III

Ring ne nying du nag pe d:o pe d:on Yong dzog p:o jong rang wang tsang mei pel Lh:un drub ch:o si sung drel ga t:on la Ch:o pe kel sang nyur wa nyi du ts:ol

Ten dang de dzin chab si rang rig le Che pe l:u sog long j:o yong tang te Ka wa gya trag drub pe kye we nam Dur dzin g:on de tug je kyong war dz:o

Dor na gon po Chen re sig wang gi Se che gyel wei chen ngar gang chen zhing Yong sung gya chen m:on lam gang dze pe Dre sang deng dir nyur du char war sol

Part IV

Nang tong ch:o nyid sab m:o...ten drel dang Chog sum tug je tu dang den tsig tob Le de lu mei den t:u...dag chag gi Den pe m:on lam geg mei nyur drup shok

Suggestions for Further Reading

Source: WORDS OF TRUTH A Prayer Composed by HIS HOLINESS TENZIN GYATSO, THE FOURTEENTH DALAI LAMA OF TIBET, Honoring and Invoking the Great Compassion of the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Teachings, and the Spiritual Community. This text has been reformatted at Hinduwebsite.com by Jayaram V.

DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT TITLE OF WORK: Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness (Sneak Preview - Intro, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2)
ADDRESS: Shambhala Publications, Inc. P.O. Box 308 Boston, MA 02117-0308 617-424-0228
DATE OF PUBLICATION: Copyright, 1993
Permission has been given for electronic distribution of the introduction, first and second chapter. ORIGIN: Tiger Team Buddhist Information Network (510) 268-0102 data (510) 540-6565 voice

ORDERING INFORMATION: This book may be purchased by calling | | Shambhala Publications at: 617-424-0228 | | Cost: $9.00 + 3.00 S&H | | You may also send a check directly to the publisher

The publisher retains all rights to this work and hereby grants electronic distribution rights to the Tiger Team Buddhist Information Network. This work may be freely copied and redistributed after September 28, 1995, provided that it is accompanied by this Agreement.

Translate the Page