Friday, February 03, 2006


First line of the ninth chapter in Master Shantideva's Bodhisattva Way of Life starts with the words yan lag. yan lag means branches, components, supplements, attributes. It's a way to group things together. Here the debate will be if the commentary that talks about refers to the earlier chapters in the text, or about the five perfections.

Another example where yan lag is used:

yan lag bdun pa - seven branches. bdun pa is the seven, bdun is seven, but you make it to a full word with the ending pa. So what are the seven branches: prostrating to the three jewels, confessing negative actions, making offerings, rejoicing in the virtue of others, requesting teachers to turn the wheel of dharma (teaching), requests teachers not to pass into pari-nirvana (i.e. creating the karma to see one's teachers around oneself), and dedicating one's merit to all sentient beings' welfare. This is also sometimes called the Seven-branch practice or the Seven-branch prayer.

It's good to learn this word, you will see it used in commentaries and explanations where there's a notion of parts, components, sections, and so on.

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