Response to a Logician

by Milarepa

English version by Thupten Jinpa & Jas Elsner
Original Language Tibetan

I bow at the feet of my teacher Marpa.
And sing this song in response to you.
Listen, pay heed to what I say,
forget your critique for a while.

The best seeing is the way of "nonseeing" --
the radiance of the mind itself.
The best prize is what cannot be looked for --
the priceless treasure of the mind itself.

The most nourishing food is "noneating" --
the transcendent food of samadhi.
The most thirst-quenching drink is "nondrinking" --
the nectar of heartfelt compassion.

Oh, this self-realizing awareness
is beyond words and description!
The mind is not the world of children,
nor is it that of logicians.

Attaining the truth of "nonattainment,"
you receive the highest initiation.
Perceiving the void of high and low,
you reach the sublime stage.

Approaching the truth of "nonmovement,"
you follow the supreme path.
Knowing the end of birth and death,
the ultimate purpose is fulfilled.

Seeing the emptiness of reason,
supreme logic is perfected.
When you know that great and small are groundless,
you have entered the highest gateway.

Comprehending beyond good and evil
opens the way to perfect skill.
Experiencing the dissolution of duality,
you embrace the highest view.

Observing the truth of "nonobservation"
opens the way to meditating.
Comprehending beyond "ought" and "oughtn't"
opens the way to perfect action.

When you realize the truth of "noneffort,"
you are approaching the highest fruition.
Ignorant are those who lack this truth:
arrogant teachers inflated by learning,
scholars bewitched by mere words,
and yogis seduced by prejudice.
For though they yearn for freedom,
they find only enslavement.

-- from Songs of Spiritual Experience: Tibetan Buddhist Poems of Insight & Awakening, Translated by Thupten Jinpa / Translated by Jas Elsner

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