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.”