In Praise of Dependent Origination

By Lama Tsongkhapa

This praise to the Buddha was composed by Lama Tsongkhapa after he attained the realization of emptiness. Translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa. The text is freely available as a PDF produced by Piero Sirianni, for viewing on your mobile device or computer.

Painting of Lama Tsongkhapa from Big Love: The Life and Teachings of Lama Yeshe. Photo courtesy of National Museum, Copenhagen.

In Praise of Dependent Origination (also known as Dependent Arising: A Praise to the Buddha) was composed by Lama Tsongkhapa, the great scholar and yogi who founded the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and revitalized many sutra and tantra lineages and the monastic tradition in Tibet. 

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave teachings and an oral transmission of this text in Sydney, Australia, in 1993. You can listen the audio and read along with the unedited transcripts published on our website. 

Rinpoche also refers to the praise in a teaching on emptiness given at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in 1991, and now available from LYWA as an ebook, Cherishing Others: The Heart of Dharma. In this teaching Rinpoche says:

"... everything is the unification of emptiness and dependent arising. This subtle dependent arising is what Guru Shakyamuni Buddha realized. With his own unmistaken realizations, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha realized how things are, the way things exist, which is subtle dependent arising. Then he revealed the teachings of dependent arising to us sentient beings. And from that, numberless sentient beings have been able to realize emptiness, the correct ultimate nature. Through the teachings of dependent arising, they have realized the unmistaken ultimate nature, emptiness, the right view, the reality of things, how things exist in reality. So numberless sentient beings have been able to eliminate ignorance, the root of the samsara, and have been able to achieve liberation and full enlightenment.

"This is what Lama Tsongkhapa praised. He composed a text, a praise to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha for having taught dependent arising [In Praise of Dependent Arising.] With his own experience, having realized dependent arising, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha then revealed this to sentient beings. What he himself experienced, he also taught sentient beings. That is the very essential guidance by the Buddha. Only this way, by the Buddha explaining dependent arising and then sentient beings listening, reflecting and meditating on it, only in this way can they realize the unmistaken, the reality, the ultimate nature of things, of the I, the self and so forth. Only this way are sentient beings able to escape, to be liberated from the whole, entire suffering and its causes."