Snow Fell Twice, The Sun Always Shone

by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche


Original Language English

Incorrigible state of bewilderment,
You make retreat life possible.
Desolate green grass, rolling far beyond;
Spring can see the clarity of dew-dropping morning cherries.
Achiness that comes from the fourth session
Leaves me humbled and inspired.
Opening the front door,
A gust of wind, round and billowing
Cold at the edges, warm and forceful at the center
Comes gushing in—
Happiness pervades my entire body.
My joints feel achy—
Slouch and sit straight up.
The shrine is messy, haphazard
Ordered and neat beyond my understanding
Simplified to a level of doubt.
Lighting the first candle,
I smell the sulfur of apprehension.
The delight of spark and flame—
My end of the world becomes illuminated:
So simple, so mine, so obvious.
Basking in a moment of loneliness,
I watch the bright light of sun
Slide and mesmerize.
Early morning view:
A spider has crawled into the sink.
Plastic flaps, cold air seeps in—
Karma is caused by a moment of agitation.
In the distance I hear the labored activity
Of a small bird making its home in a tree.
Gentle breezes sway the green grass
And common song is sung.
Meditating on a rock has made me soft;
Smelling wildflowers has hardened my understanding.
Delight in a small crease where rice has fallen
Delight in a space—
Time has become smooth and sweet.
Rise, drink bitter tea
Light a piece of broken incense—
Life is full of retreat.

-- from Smile of the Tiger, by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

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Snow Fell Twice