A timeless Buddhist prayer for 9/11

“We pray that the people who die will find a good rebirth and we pray that the world leaders gain wisdom. For those who are suffering, we pray that they are swiftly released from their suffering and receive blessings from the Three Jewels. It is very clear that without compassion and wisdom there is no possibility of being released from this kind of tragedy. We should learn how Dharma is the truth.”

~ Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, 9/11/01

This prayer works for any tragedy, including all those in the 20 years since, and counting.


Author: Luna Kadampa

Based on 40 years' experience, I write about applying meditation and modern Buddhism to improve and transform our everyday lives and societies. I try to make it accessible to everyone anywhere who wants more inner peace and profound tools to help our world, not just Buddhists. Do make comments any time and I'll write you back!

22 thoughts on “A timeless Buddhist prayer for 9/11”

  1. Samsara… We die & die & each time we come back we come back alone for more suffering & death…
    We need to meditate day & night on the cycle of rebirth…
    With the wish to have compassion & courage for the suffering to end…
    We need to keep this promise…

  2. I’ve learned how awful and enormous revenge can be. Iraq has been destroyed for no good reason and is now being destroyed again, all because of Western insanity and interference.

  3. in this time i’ve learned that now, more perhaps than ever before, we need to pray that the world leaders gain wisdom – and that so do we.

    my heart aches for the world; may we all gain wisdom and compassion like Geshe Kelsang’s.

  4. at the hands of so much tragedy there is such an unspeakably desperate need for generating bodhichitta

  5. I have never read this wonderful prayer before.. “without compassion and wisdom there is no possibility of being released from this kind of tragedy” – beautiful..

    I remember my state of mind when this happened…This is the response I wanted to hear from our esteemed leaders…not the quest for revenge and loss of human rights and loss of our natural humanity to care for each other in times of crisis like this. So much generosity has been shown in the recent tragedies like Haiti and now the Horn of Africa.. one after another, and people still want to demonstrate their willingess to give and help. Wisdom and compassion, and forgiveness, is what we need to be released from this tragedy.

    Thank you for posting this prayer…

    1. It was interesting at the time how our natural humanity, our kindness, did manifest in the first response to 9/11, but then the delusions crept back in and started running the show again.

  6. Karma is stronger than blessings…..Luna …i mean that when the results of our actions ripens ….not even the Buddhas can make them disappear … : (

    1. True.

      If we pray for others, we can affect the outcome because not all the karma has ripened yet. So it is always worth praying. It is also always worth avoiding negative actions!

  7. Destruction in the world
    Caused by actors, who are they?
    Afflicted with worldly anger, pride, attachment
    Whoever, Dharma is the response.

    Whether a political demonstration,
    Or a carefully crafted catastrophe,
    Of whatever origin,
    Dharma is the response.

    Military and political action
    Will not stop this tragedy
    Neither will endless speculation
    Dharma is the response

    Narrative, evidence, conclusion,
    And confusion dividing the populace,
    Will not prevent this arising again.
    Dharma is the response.

    Pray for World Peace
    For equanimity, for compassion,
    For love, for liberation.
    Dharma is the response.

  8. In this grand theater of life I have witnessed birth and death, joy and sorrow, and countless variations between. My empathy carries me to the crest and troth of these emotional waves. Yet I find peace in remembering that I AM the WATCHER of this great drama. Yet I find peace in knowing that the inevitable next acts will carry me to new heights and new depths, and I will remember. Yet I find peace.

  9. In the 10 years since 9-11 I have seen first hand how these truly are degenerate times. The world’s suffering has continued to increase (it seems to me exponentially). All I need do is look at the world economy, political deviseivness, environmental disasters and our willingness to try and solve our perceived financial problems (I can only speak for the US) by taking resources from those who need it the most.

    What has this taught me? Renunciation for samsara, compassion for those trapped in this nightmare and how this is an appearance to my mind. I need to meditate and practice this precious Dharma while I have the opportunity.

  10. Can we say the world leaders have gained wisdom ten years on from today ? who knows what intention they carry in their hearts. Like Geshela says we can only pray and hope that in this world we can all find some common ground in our beliefs. Faith and compassion is the key. Karen Armstrong gives a beautiful account of how religions in this world need to reconnect to compassion, her book on compassion is worth a look. Without compassion and wisdom these acts of destruction will continue to happen unless we all stand together to make a change.

  11. In the 10 years since 9/ll, so much killing has happened, and so many horrors have been visited upon troops who went to fight against enemies…the complete pointlessness makes me sick to my stomach. First 3000 people were killed, then 300, 000, at least. This is not dignified or honorable. It is heartbreaking and disgusting. There is no such thing as sweet revenge.

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