A MIRROR TO REMIND YOU

In STORYTELLING by Lama Tsering Gyaltsen4 Comments

Advice to Myself, An Impervious Practitioner.
Homage to the Guru!

Embodiment of the Three Jewels, sovereign of the mandala,
Sole protector, dakini queen of space,
Sole mother, manifest yourself in the vital core of my heart
And bestow the two kinds of knowledge and spiritual attainments.

To quell the feverish torment of cyclic existence,
For which even the sun fails to serve as a metaphor,
The calm, cool amrita of the holy Dharma,
Grants immortal accomplishment to fortunate ones.

Beneath the magnificent celestial pathway of the sky, a pure lapis and turquoise canopy wreathed in light and ringed by an orange wind-chariot of clouds, there is a vast garden, beautifully landscaped and sublimely perfect. It is situated on a stretch of earth to the north, near a placid ocean. The garden is surrounded by a ring of snowy mountains strung together like a garland of conch shells. A rocky mountain like a multi-storey mansion, crafted by masterful architects, towers massively overhead, its slopes adorned with myriad caves, rocky overhangs, and temples of immortal attainment.

The countryside is a beautiful procession of hills and hillocks, densely forested with blooming trees. A gently burbling stream of pure, cool, fragrant water flows from its interior, as if poured from a vase. Waterfalls form serene pools and lakes, where swans, ducks, and various waterfowl frolic with joyous delight. In a vast, level meadow blanketed with flowers in full bloom, various beautiful, hoofed animals graze contentedly, co-existing in perfect harmony.

Here and there, groves of medicinal trees, their slender branches elegantly entwined and rich with foliage, flowers, and fruits, dance gracefully at the wind’s caress and waft sweet fragrances in every direction. Bees, drunk with nectar, resound their buzzing songs and fly about in the atmosphere. Vultures, white eagles, and other birds soar in the sky, singing sweetly. Wherever one goes, the atmosphere is calm and pleasant, endowed with all the excellent qualities of a secluded wilderness.

There resides in this place a maiden by the name of Queen of Mindful Wisdom, Sherab Trendzin Wangmo. She is in the flush of youth, her body clearly marked with the signs and marks of enlightenment, her voice melodious, her memory, eloquence, and intelligence unparalleled, and the lotus of her spiritual wisdom in full bloom. One day, she is walking alone in the meadow.

Suddenly, a man known as Oblivious King, Trenmay Gyalpo, happens upon this place. He encounters the maiden, Mindful Queen, while strolling about in the meadow. Wearing the garb of a spiritual practitioner, he is puffed up with pride over his powerful physical appearance and maddened by immoral ideas that contradict the true path.

She is in the flush of youth, her body clearly marked with the signs and marks of enlightenment, her voice melodious, her memory, eloquence, and intelligence unparalleled, and the lotus of her spiritual wisdom in full bloom.

They walk up to each other, and Oblivious King says, “Hey, beautiful girl, where are you from? To what clan do you belong? Who are your parents, relatives and friends? What’s your name? What are doing roaming about all alone?”

In reply, Mindful Queen says,
“To my mother, beautiful unborn emptiness,
And my father, unchanging adamantine awareness,
I, Queen of Mindful Knowledge, was born.
My clan is indefinable: I emanate from the dance of appearance and emptiness.
I am not roaming here alone,
For all of samsara and nirvana is my domain.
Through my path of yogic discipline, in which good and bad are of equal taste,
Whatever experiences arise are the continuous display of bliss-emptiness.
I have resided here since the origin of time.
How wonderful that you have come here!
Those with unfortunate karma are unable to come.
Excellent, excellent! Welcome!
This place is delightful, peaceful, filled with clear awareness,
Free of large monasteries, commotion, and noise,
And endowed with every fine quality of a secluded wilderness.
Practice the holy Dharma here, and be at ease.”

Then she asks him his name and inquires about his parents, relatives, friends, home, and so forth. Oblivious King thinks to himself, “What do this girl’s parents and clan matter? She’s gorgeous and young and has peerless intelligence, so why not take her to be my wife?” Irresistibly enchanted, he says,

“Excellent, beautiful girl,
It is wonderful that I have met you!
Here is my story:
My father’s name is King of Fixating Thoughts;
My mother is Queen of Grasping;
To them, I, King of Oblivion, was born.
My close relatives, the five poisons, are extremely tough.
I have a retinue of eighty-four thousand attendants;
I possess a stronghold of the aggregates, constituents, and sense-bases,
And the three realms, six classes of beings and their abodes.
I pursue myriad sensory enjoyments,
And strive for comfort, happiness, and fame.
My coming here today
Has fulfilled my desired goal:
Through good karma and aspirations,
I have met you, girl!
Agile-waisted seductress
Of lotus-like grace and beauty,
Your face like a lotus-mandala,
Your eyes darting like bees in flight
Not a human but a goddess!
You have stolen my heart.
Oh my, what excellent fortune!
This auspicious connection has come about so naturally.
Please, be my wife!”

The maiden Mindful Queen replies:

I have all kinds of soft, cozy garments and silk brocades! I have vast retinues of servants! I live in a fabulous palatial mansion! I have gorgeous gardens and landscaping! I can give you everything you’ve ever wanted! Don’t upset me—come with me right away!”

“I am a goddess emanated from naturally-occurring supreme knowledge;
Outwardly, my excellent marks of buddhahood attract everyone.
Inwardly, my melodious voice proclaims the Dharma.
Secretly, within the wisdom uncontaminated by dualistic fixation,
Not even the word “wife” can be heard.
Seek her and you will not find her, for she has never existed.
For beings wandering in the darkness of ignorance,
I raise the lamp of naturally-occurring wisdom.
In the unobstructed rupakaya, emanated form,
Which is illusory like the moon’s reflection in a pool,
There is no place for desire and craving.
You and I share the same basis, yet our paths are different:
I am here in my home, the realm of great bliss;
You have fainted onto the ground of mindless delusion.
Now, turn away from that mistaken path,
And make a heartfelt vow never to return!
Restore yourself through confession, turn your mind to the Dharma,
And enter the authentic path to liberation!”

Oblivious King, tormented by even stronger desire, says:

“Beautiful girl, do not say such things!
Nothing is dearer to my heart than you.
Karma and aspirations have brought us together,
And we have met because I need a wife!
The fact that a lowly girl is professing the Dharma
Is a sign that these degenerate times are worsening.
If you keep wandering around out here alone,
You’ll end up in bed with a beggar!
You won’t have enough food or clothing—how wretched!
You may even cause contention and disputes.
Later, disastrous woman, many will banish you!
Don’t have too many ideas; aim your ambitions at me!
I have limitless wealth and possessions—everything one could need!
I have all the food and delicacies one could want!
I have all kinds of soft, cozy garments and silk brocades!
I have vast retinues of servants!
I live in a fabulous palatial mansion!
I have gorgeous gardens and landscaping!
I can give you everything you’ve ever wanted!
Don’t upset me—come with me right away!”

Your worldly food might be nice, but I do not want it. I wear the garments of naturally-arisen bliss; Your worldly silk brocades might be nice, but I do not want them.

Then, the maiden Mindful Queen thinks to herself, “This man is using his Dharma-practitioner guise to justify his own desire and craving—how very sad. I need some way to turn his mind to the Dharma.”

She replies:
“That we have met through karma is indeed true.
And your need for a good wife is also no doubt true.
The meaning of truth is the holy divine Dharma;
Other than the divine Dharma, nothing whatsoever is of benefit.
I consort with the skilful means of great-bliss appearance;
I have no need for a mundane husband filled with craving and desire.
I am rich with untainted sublime wealth;
Your worldly possessions might be nice, but I do not want them.
My retinue is the naturally-arisen dynamic display of awareness;
I do not want your servants, ever immersed in attachment and aversion.
I have a celestial mansion of whatever appears;
Your compounded home might be nice, but I do not want it.
I live on the food of untainted meditative absorption;
Your worldly food might be nice, but I do not want it.
I wear the garments of naturally-arisen bliss;
Your worldly silk brocades might be nice, but I do not want them.
Since I lack the marks of birth and death,
Not even the words “affliction” and “suffering” can be heard.
You are bound by the noose of craving and delusion.
Though your body is lithe and handsome, it is like a corpse.
Though your speech is lilting and melodious, it is merely an echo.
Though your mind is clever and witty, it is the cause of confusion.
In the end, they are meaningless.
The essential meaning is the holy divine Dharma.
You should dedicate yourself to understanding the Dharma!”

At that point, Oblivious King thinks to himself, “This girl is a practitioner, so I’ll take her home with me and let her practice Dharma alongside her worldly life. If I tell her that, maybe she’ll come with me.”

He replies:
“Beautiful girl, Mindful Queen,
You do not err in your Dharma practice.
The heart of the holy Dharma is compassion;
Without compassion, how could it be the holy Dharma?
Those who dispel others’ sufferings
Are called bodhisattvas, are they not?
A fire of desire is raging in my heart.
Will you not quell it with the water of compassion?
Come to my home—you can still practice the Dharma!
With the intention of altruistic bodhicitta,
Stay with me as my spiritual guide.
I will offer you unsurpassed honor and respect!
We can have children and make them into tulkus!
And if their enlightened activity is vast,
The two of us, their father and mother,
Will have every happiness and joy in the palms of our hands!
If they become famous and rich,
Everyone will have reason to respect us!
That way it will be easy to benefit others.
Otherwise, preaching the Dharma is meaningless prattle!
Now please, girl, come with me!”

Come to my home—you can still practice the Dharma! With the intention of altruistic bodhicitta, Stay with me as my spiritual guide. I will offer you unsurpassed honor and respect!

Mindful Queen then entered into meditative absorption, looked straight at Oblivious King, and said:
“Protector of the World, treasury of compassion,
Look upon me with compassion and love.
Please lead sentient beings who have gone astray
On to the authentic path.
Listen carefully, Oblivious King.
There is not one sentient being
Excluded from the sphere of compassion.
Everyone has buddha nature.
In order to realize this nature, one must practice the holy Dharma.
The profound method for achieving immortality
Is simply the amrita of the holy Dharma.
If you exert yourself in worldly activities of attachment and aversion,
You will have no time to practice the holy Dharma.
If you use the holy Dharma for worldly purposes,
It will become poison that severs your life-force.
Therefore, the paths of Dharma and worldly life
Are separate—please understand this.
Failing to remember impermanence and death,
And striving to amass vast worldly wealth,
Then having children through the process of ignorance, craving, perpetuation, karmic patterning,
And making them into tulkus—
This is to cast all modesty and conscience to the wind!
To falsely proclaim oneself as a spiritual master
Is nothing but a scheme to deceive others; it is not the Dharma!
Never do such things, Sir Oblivious King!
Utilizing the Dharma to achieve
Worldly happiness, well-being and renown
Is a mere presumption of happiness;
It will ripen into the cause of suffering, have no doubt!
I am eternally happy.
If you, too, would like eternal happiness,
Remember impermanence and death,
And strive at the holy Dharma—that would be good!
From my heart to yours, I extend these words of compassion,
Hold them in your heart, and it will be meaningful for you.
That which has meaning is the divine Dharma.
That which lacks meaning is the way of the world.”

Oblivious King said nothing. He stood for a moment thinking to himself, “This girl has amazing discernment and intelligence, but I need to examine her carefully to see if she is an authentic practitioner or not.”

He then said:
“Well done, beautiful girl!
You haven’t said a single thing that I wanted to hear.
Only lousy meaningless prattle, like an echo,
That hurts my ears.
‘Words are like bubbles.
Practice is like a droplet of gold,’
It says in the lore of yore.
Isn’t your Dharma talk mere presumption?
Dharma and worldly life are not separate.
The divine Dharma and the ways of the world are connected like head and body.
Without the body, the head is useless.
I have never seen the sort of Dharma of which you speak.
O Dharma practitioner, utterly unknown to others,
What is this divine Dharma you preach?
Practitioners who need not rely upon food and drink
Are rare in this world.
You have no good way to explain
Why Dharma and worldly life are incompatible.
Without that, what you say is just meaningless prattle.
If you proclaim such nonsense, no one will listen!
Create temples and monasteries,
Offering supports, ritual accoutrements and so forth,
In immeasurable numbers to meet everyone’s needs.
Spread the Buddha’s Teachings throughout the ten directions!
Householders, have faith in the Dharma!
Invite numerous objects of veneration,
And make continuous offerings and praises!
Make aspirations that your wishes be fulfilled.
Don’t you know about such things?
If you call anything else “the Buddha’s Teachings”,
Not a soul will accept it!
If you think otherwise, it would be good to say so now!”
At that, the maiden Mindful Queen straightens herself up and says, “Of course I can explain the true meaning of the Buddha’s Teachings. Listen carefully; this will definitely help you.”

Then she sings:
“Because Dharma and worldly life are incompatible,
Prince Siddhartha Gautama
Cast aside his kingdom,
Renounced his home, and entered the monasticism.
And when he reached perfect manifest buddhahood,
The first holy Dharma amrita he revealed
Was the method for eliminating samsara
And entering nirvana.
By understanding suffering and renouncing the all-pervasive origin of suffering,
One enters the truth of the path.
“Bring about the cessation of all suffering,”
The Victorious One said.
The Second Buddha of Oddiyan, as well,
Renounced his kingdom and entered the monasticism.
He attained scholarly accomplishments and meditative mastery,
And raised the victory banner of the Buddha’s Teachings.
The great bodhisattva Shantideva
Renounced his kingdom, practiced the holy Dharma,
And became a mighty scholar and adept.
He served as a lamp of the Buddha’s Teachings.
The wondrous life stories of
These and other such noble beings
In India, China, Nepal, Tibet, and elsewhere,
Have spread all around the world.
These noble ones, clearly perceiving the truth,
Revealed the true meaning of what is to be adopted and discarded.
If such engagement and disengagement were unnecessary,
How would the followers of Buddha practice?
‘The path of cyclic existence encompasses all suffering;
Emerge definitively from cyclic existence!’
So spoke the buddhas and their heirs unanimously.
Never refute this!

If both the scriptures and realization of the Buddha’s Teachings,
The study and contemplation of the Three Baskets
And the practice of the Three Higher Trainings—
Are complete, the Buddha’s Teachings abide.
Without them, even if one has monasteries and temples,
And amasses all kinds of beautiful and grand
Gold and silver Dharma accoutrements and such,
How is one to represent genuine Dharma?
The prickly path of vain intellectual speculation
Irritates others’ minds and is the cause of cyclic existence.
Excessive mental scrutiny arises as the enemy of faith.
This too is empty of genuine Dharma.
Excluding those monastic centers
That are endowed with learning and realization,
There have been numerous monasteries built
As a means to amass wealth,
And fools believe that the Buddha’s Teachings thrive therein.
How could a monastery lacking learning, reflection, and meditation
Possibly contain the Buddha’s Teachings?
‘When monasteries are used like ordinary homes,
It is a sign of the corruption of the Teachings.’
So spoke Guru Padmasambhava of Oddiyan.
Do not forsake his words!”

Oblivious King thinks for a moment and says, “Nowadays, there are many practitioners like myself who are practicing the Dharma in conjunction with worldly life. Many masters of the past also conducted themselves in this manner, as Tibetan narratives make abundantly clear. So I don’t see why this should be seen as something negative. Girl, what you say is true, but nowadays there’s no one who abides by such things. Nevertheless, please sing me a song which delineates good and bad and helps me break free of my own faults.”

The maiden Mindful Queen invokes her discerning wisdom of Dharma and lovingly sings a song delineating actions to the infatuated man Oblivious King and others like him:

Through seeing that the meaningless activities of this life, are as illusory as a dream. And lack any essential meaning, he renounces worldly existence.

“Listen, Oblivious King!
Nowadays, the five impurities are on the rise,
And people like you, who lack understanding of the Dharma,
Yet claim to be Dharma Holders,
Fail to venerate upon the crowns of your heads
The feet of the holy master;
You fail to study, contemplate, and experience
The profound amrita of the holy Dharma.
Dressed up in monastic colors,
You pretend to benefit others,
Just like a deaf person playing music!
Some, like mushrooms popping out of the ground,
Suddenly make themselves into tulkus!
Others, as in a dream,
Make themselves into Rinpochés!
You pretentious charlatans
Keep company with ordinary worldly appearances
Like fish accompany water,
And fools venerate you.
Using the Buddha’s Teachings as the pretext,
You amass wealth in search of happiness.
You party hearty with women, meat, and beer,
All day and night.
Obsessed with bickering and saving face,
You amass vast wealth and possessions
To nurture your kin and cohorts.
Hey, and you claim to uphold the Buddha’s Teachings!
Deceived by the demon of sensory enjoyments,
Your minds are puffed up with pride.
You lack respect for your spiritual siblings and teachers.
You fail to esteem learned scholars.
With your mind attuned to worldly life,
Your activities entail taming enemies and defending friends;
The hustle and bustle of distracting activities
Fills your lives with chaos.
Before your time, you attempt to benefit others.
Like a wooden millstone,
How could you possibly tame others’ minds,
When your own precious qualities have been eroded?
Your own mind not yet mature, you confer empowerments,
Yet maturing others’ minds is hopeless.
If a king has no kingdom,
There is nothing for which his heirs can hope.
Your own mind not yet liberated, you give instruction on the nature of mind,
Yet liberating others’ minds is hopeless.
Those whose limbs are bound
Cannot release others from bondage.
Don’t use your measly power, wealth, and fame
To arrogantly presume to uphold the Teachings!
The Lord of the Teachings, the Great Sage Buddha,
Will be deeply displeased.
Such superficial claims
Are the mere semblance of a practitioner, I say.
The wondrous precious qualities
Of an authentic holy Dharma Holder are thus:
Through seeing that the meaningless activities of this life
Are as illusory as a dream
And lack any essential meaning,
He renounces worldly existence.
First, he attends a qualified lama
Using the Three Methods of Pleasing.

Then, insatiably, he studies and contemplates the
Profound amrita of the holy Dharma.
Next, in a remote place,
He renounces worldly life and enters meditative absorption.
With the supreme knowledge of samadhi blazing,
The precious qualities of renunciation and realization well forth.
Finally, his enlightened activity for the Three Gatherings
Boundlessly expand.
He turns the wheel of effortless activity
Without obstruction.
When his worldly wealth and enjoyments grow bountiful,
He sees them as illusory
And has no attachment or craving.
Of course he has no trace of pride or arrogance,
And the tree of his pure moral discipline
Flourishes with the fruits of bodhicitta.
Once the excellent fruits of the Secret Mantra have ripened,
He spontaneously accomplishes others’ benefit.
He crosses the vast ocean of the Sutras and Tantras
In the boat of perfect discernment
And retrieves the jewel of perfect retention and eloquence.
Such a master is the foundation of the Teachings!
In the innate nature of union,
The spiritual master unites with the genuine nature.
A great protector of beings, including the gods,
The master is the life-tree of the Buddha’s Teachings,
The epitome of wisdom, love, and power,
The embodiment of all the buddhas.
The spiritual master, like the cool moon,
Dispels the feverish torment of beings.
In whichever pure realm the master abides,
He or she is the object of our offerings, praises, and veneration.
Forever attend his or her feet,
And your deepest wishes will be fulfilled.”

Then, Oblivious King examines his own behavior and becomes a bit more aware. He thinks to himself, “Everything this girl says is true. After all, if I use Dharma solely to obtain happiness and well-being in this life, I am even worse than an ordinary worldly person. There are worldly people, too, who lack an understanding of adopting virtue and abandoning negativity, yet who have happiness, well-being, and fame. Looking closely, I can see that my whole attitude and behavior are even more depraved than someone living an ordinary worldly life. If I have truly gone astray, then why not do what the girl says? Why not strive to gain a proper understanding of the holy Dharma?” With heartfelt resolve, he replies:

“Naturally-arisen sublime knowledge, Mindful Queen,
I wander in the dungeon of unaware ignorance;
Kindly pay me heed.
Disrespecting and misinterpreting
Such a wisdom dakini as yourself,
Motivated by lust and desire,
I have misused the holy Dharma.
I am caught up in the eight worldly concerns.
For everything I have done to contradict you,
I apologize from my heart and beg your forgiveness.
Please accept my apology, purify my flaws, and grant the accomplishments.
Henceforth, I vow never again to commit such faults.
My motivation and behavior
Are the cause of afflictive emotions and cyclic existence.
I realize your words to be purely truth.
I humbly bow before you; please hold me with compassion.
Pray, light the lamp of the holy Dharma
In the pitch-darkness of my heart.”
At that, Mindful Queen smiles with the radiance of a blooming lotus.

“Excellent, excellent, Oblivious King!
That you feel regret for past misdeeds
And vow never to repeat them,
And that you have gained awareness is so wonderful!
Now, train on the authentic path;
Constantly reflect on your own faults;
Give up the tiresome task of searching for faults in others;
Never be apart from the eyes of supreme knowledge
Which discern positive and negative actions.
Give up the nonsense of lofty talk
Which leads one to disregard cause and effect.
Cast gossip and fame far away;
Be content with whatever food and wealth you have;
Give up competing with worldly persons
Who long for ordinary happiness and excel at acquiring luxuries.
And why need I mention those persons
Who abuse the holy Dharma?
Now that you have obtained a rare and well-favored precious human birth,
Diligently exert yourself in the Dharma!
Reflecting on the nature of death, the end of life,
Limit your plans and ambitions.
Reflecting on the sufferings of the six classes of beings in cyclic existence,
Turn your focus to the Dharma.
Since the cause and effect of positive and negative actions are infallible,
Stop underestimating the teachings on karma.
In order to release all of us from the ocean of cyclic existence,
Concentrate on taking refuge in the Three Jewels.
Meditate on loving-kindness towards beings,
Without partiality.
Diligently exert yourself in confessing past misdeeds and downfalls
By means of the Four Powers.
To perfect the two accumulations,
Exert yourself in offering pure realms, your body, wealth, and enjoyments.
The root of blessings is the lama.
Pray to the lama, embodiment of the buddhas of the three times,
With fervent devotion and yearning;
Take the four empowerments,
Merge your mind with his or her enlightened mind, and rest in equipoise.
Dedicate all virtuous deeds, free of craving and the three conceptual spheres,
To unsurpassable enlightenment.
Renounce the negative frame of mind that wishes peace and happiness for oneself;
Always think only of others’ welfare.
To attain ultimate buddhahood
Working for others’ benefit is indispensable.
When you enjoy the happiness and well-being of fame and riches,
Don’t puff yourself up with pride.
When you are tormented by illness, suffering, and misfortune,
Don’t be discouraged.
Whatever happens, take it impartially onto the path.
Venerate the lama and the Three Jewels upon your crown.
Their nature is uncompounded.
Know this, and engender faith.
Without such understanding,
You will fall into the trap of materialism and ideology
Like an eternalist.
Spread and uphold others’ fine qualities,
And do the same with your own faults.
What need is there to proclaim one’s own fine qualities?
The light of subterranean gold illumines the sky.
If you wish for happiness in this and all your future lives,
Then practice according to your lama’s words!
Besides such spiritual masters, in this era of degeneration,
Those who speak the truth are rare.
I have no heart-advice beyond this.”

At this, Oblivious King is filled with immense faith, and he offers his body and all his possessions without hesitation in an appeal for the holy Dharma. He says:

“Victorious Wisdom Dakini,
Now and throughout all my lifetimes,
Remain inseparable from me and hold me with compassion.
Grant your blessings that I may never be apart from you.
With respectful body, speech, and mind, I prostrate.
I make offerings, both material and imagined.
From my heart, I confess all misdeeds and downfalls without exception.
I rejoice in actions for the benefit of beings.
I exhort you to turn the wheel of vast and profound Dharma.
I request you to remain here without passing into nirvana.
I dedicate all merits to great enlightenment.
Briefly and in a way that is easy to understand,
Please tell me how the holy Dharma
Came into being in India and Tibet.
Pray, confer upon me this profound amrita.”

In response, Mindful Queen gives a brief history in verse of how the holy Dharma came to be:
“Homage to the Guru.
The sky of true reality, free of conceptual limitations,
Is dense with clouds of kayas and wisdoms,
And the rain of compassion moistens the field of beings’ minds.
The victorious Omniscient One is the ocean, the source of jewels.
In order to tame those of us in the degenerate Age of Strife
Who are difficult for other buddhas to tame,
The excellent, fearless
Bodhisattva Khyeu Nangwa
Aspired to supreme enlightenment,
And for three immeasurable aeons,
Gathered the two oceanic accumulations.
Perfecting the paths of joining, seeing, meditation, and no-more-learning,
He attained perfect manifest buddhahood,
And was known as the Buddha, Lion of the Shakyas.
He beaome the protector of the three worlds.
With love for beings who lack a protector,
He first taught the Four Noble Truths,
Second, the absence of attributes,
And finally, excellent discernment.
With a selfless lion’s roar,
He turned the Wheel of Dharma in three successive promulgations.
The first is classed as provisional meaning,
The second and final as definitive meaning.
The subjects he taught were the Three Trainings,
Which were systemized into the Three Baskets.
These are the Words of Buddha.
Buddha entrusted his teachings
To Kashyapa and displayed his final deed.
Then, there was a succession of seven arhats:
Kashyapa, Ananda, and so forth.
Moreover, a noble assembly
Of innumerable arhats and bodhisattvas
Held the teachings of the lesser and greater vehicles.
They held three councils to compile the Buddha’s teachings,
And the seven arhats composed what are known as
The Seven Sections of the Abhidharma,
Which are renowned as the very first Buddhist commentaries.
The Great Treasury of Detailed Exposition
Is also said to have been composed by the shravakas.
Later, the masters of the Mahayana,
Such as the Six Ornaments and the Two Supreme Ones,
Progressively appeared, elucidated
The wisdom-intent of the Buddha’s teachings,
And began the vast and profound major scriptural traditions.
Endowed with both remedy and protection,
Their works are renowned as commentaries which cure and protect.
The excellent speech of the Victorious One, his words and the treatises,
Have spread throughout the entire world.
Gatherings of ordinary and extraordinary trainees
Have been established in the Dharma of path and fruition.
Our debt of gratitude is unfathomable.
The Fourth Basket, as it is known,
Is the resultant path of the Vajrayana.
Some include this in the Three Baskets.
He taught the three outer tantras, kriyayoga and so forth,
In the manner of the five perfections:
Those of teacher, location, time, disciples, and teaching.
These principally focus on cleanliness, cleanliness and meditative absorption equally,
And meditative absorption,
Each more profound than the last.
Just as Lord Buddha Shakyamuni
Prophesied in the sutras and tantras,
What are known as the three inner tantras,
The tantra, statement, and pith-instruction scriptures of Maha, Anu, and Ati,
The ultimate definitive meaning, the core of wisdom-realization,
The oceanic treasury of blessings and accomplishments,
The swift path to liberation in one lifetime,
Spread in the human world in the following way:
Samantabhadra, Vajrasattva, Vajrapani,
The Lords of the Three Families, the Five Excellent Beings,
King Ja, who was prophesied by the Buddha,
Garab Dorje, Manjushrimitra, Shri Simha,
Padmasambhava, Humchenkara, Vimalamitra,
The Eight Accomplished Vidyadharas and so forth,
Taught it in the land of Oddiyana and on Mount Malaya,
And in various sacred sites and charnel grounds,
In the timelessness beyond the three times, gradually and instantaneously,
Through the mind, symbol and whispered lineages,
Depending on whether the minds of the teacher and disciples were perceived as separate
Or undifferentiated.
Even though Buddha did not step upon
The borderland region of Tibet, a realm of darkness,
In accordance with Buddha’s prophecies,
And through the power of interdependent origination and prayer,
The three bodhisattvas of the three families emanated
As three human kings to tame beings.
Like a string of pearls,
They appeared in succession,
Establishing, spreading, and expanding the traditions
Of scripture and realization of the Buddha’s precious teachings.
In particular, our Protector, embodiment of the Three Roots,
His form, the spontaneously-accomplished three kayas,
Unsullied by the stains of the womb,
The Second Buddha, Padmasambhava,
Beheld the people of the dark land of Tibet
And brought the King, his ministers, and subjects to spiritual maturation.
All of them attained the supreme and common accomplishments.
He established the unprecedented tradition
Of the path of integrated theory and practice,
The union of the Buddhist sutras and tantras,
And lit the lamp of the Buddha’s teachings.
He prophesied the traditions that would come later,
Their locations, times, teachings, teachers, and students,
And he revealed the effortless path that is easy to practice.
If the kindness of the Abbot, Master, and King
Were to take material form,
Even the billion-fold universe could not contain it.
Recalling their kindness, I am at a loss for words.
Whatever I have done to displease you,
Under the influence of ignorance and wrong ideas,
I confess with regret and beg your forgiveness;
I vow never to do such things again.

Then, there are the New Schools of the Later Translations:
Numerous bilingual translators
Such as Lochen Rinchen Zangpo and
The translator Marpa Lotsawa,
Translated myriad sutras, tantras, and treatises.
From the peerless Atisha’s tradition,
Emerged the teachings of the Kadampas.
The quintessence of Virupa’s heart
Spread as the lineal tradition of Path and Result.
The heirs of panditas Naropa and Maitripa,
Marpa, Milarepa, and Gampopa, spread the Kagyü tradition.
The tradition known as Shangpa Kagyü
Was founded by Khedrub Khyungpo.
Moreover, innumerable practice and scholarly lineage-traditions,
Such as the glorious Six Unions,
Padampa Sangye’s Pacifier tradition,
And the incomparable Gelug School,
Spread throughout Tibet.
All of these are the Buddha’s teachings,
Passed down from Buddha Vajradhara.
The Early Translations and the Later Translations are distinguished as the Ancient and New Schools;
The translations completed before the Lochen Rinchen Zangpo’s arrival
Constitute the Ancient School,
And the translations done after that belong to the New Schools.
As long as the inseparable two truths are not realized,
Hopes and fears about good and bad will be incessant.
While you may claim to be impartial,
In truth, your impartiality is like the horns of a rabbit.
Superficial “impartiality”,
Which is a means to co-exist with worldly life,
Is like a house built of sand;
It will fall apart, have no doubt.
If you study, contemplate and meditate on your particular Dharma tradition
With consistent diligence,
No aspect of Dharma will be excluded.
Train in pure vision of others’ Dharma practices.
Do not burden yourself with the transgression of renouncing the Dharma.
Here I have given a brief explanation,
But it could easily be much more elaborate.
By understanding this, your faith will increase
And through faith, you will delight in virtue.”

Oblivious King prostrates himself before her with immense faith and devotion and makes this request: “Please, if I may remain here in this beautiful secluded paradise and partake of the ambrosia of the profound Dharma at your lotus feet, O emanated goddess, I shall practice as hard as I can! By all means, please accept me as your disciple! Having accepted me, please lovingly bestow the stages of the path of maturation and liberation upon this ignorant fool, in accordance with my mental capacity.”

Mindful Queen replies, “Why certainly, fortunate noble child, I shall systematically grant you all the instructions without exception. Practice them properly and before long you will yield results!”

She then generously bestows all the pith instructions, withholding nothing. She makes him put them into practice, until Oblivious King gives rise to authentic awareness and merges inseparably with Mindful Queen. His relatives and friends, as well, become inseparable from the dakini, like water dissolving into water.

Sarva Mangalam!
May all beings be happy!

Whatever water droplets of pure virtue I have produced, beginning with this composition, I merge into one taste with the great mother ocean of merits, and dedicate them to the attainment of omniscience. Now and throughout all my future lifetimes, may I perfect the two oceanic accumulations, and having done so, may precious qualities and wisdom of the two kinds of knowledge flourish, and may I attain the two kayas for the benefit of beings. I wrote this down as advice to myself on February 21st, 2008, the 16th of the first month of spring in the lunar year of the Earth Bird, in the northwest of the United States, where the humble beggar Tsering Gyaltsen resides.

About the Author
Lama Tsering Gyaltsen

Lama Tsering Gyaltsen

A lifelong Buddhist practitioner of the Dudjom Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and a learned Buddhist scholar, Lama Tsering Gyaltsen received a Master of Arts degree in Buddhist Studies from the Tibetan Institute of Higher Studies in Varanasi, India. Arrived in the USA in 1996, assisted or directed the creation of the Padma Charitable Foundation, Corvallis, Oregon, where he serves as the founding and head Dharma teacher. Founding Director and Vice-President of Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute.

Translated by Heidi Nevin, March 21st, 2008, Corvallis, Oregon.
Featured image by Lailailaiki. Photos by Tú Anh, Vietnam & Hahanriji. Photo of Buddha and his feet by Aline Dassel, Nederland.

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  1. What a beautiful poem ! I’m delighted with this text 🙏🏻 Thank you so much 🌹

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