His Holiness The Dalai Lama recites this prayer daily because, he says, “It gives me inner strength and enthusiasm to serve sentient being and humanity.”

It is a passage from Bodhicaryavatara, the epic poem renowned as “The Way of the Bodhisattva” composed by Shantideva. 

“May I be a guard for those who are protectorless, 
A guide for those who journey on the road. 
For those who wish to cross the water, 
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.

May I be an isle for those who yearn for land, 
A lamp for those who long for light; 
For all who need a resting place, a bed; 
For those who need a servant, may I be their slave.

May I be a wishing jewel, the vase of wealth, 
A word of power and the supreme healing, 
May I be the tree of miracles, 
For every being the abundant cow.

Just like the earth and space itself
And all the other mighty elements, 
For boundless multitudes of beings
May I always be the ground of life, the source of varied substance.

Thus for everything that lives, 
As far as the limits of the sky, 
May I be constantly their source of livelihood 
Until they pass beyond all sorrow.”

~Shantideva, “The Way of the Bodhisattva”

‘Shantideva’ by Robert Beer

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