A Song by a Yogi in Solitude

by Shabkar (Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol)

English version by Thupten Jinpa and Jas Elsner
Original Language Tibetan

Free indeed is the yogi
who lives everywhere with abandon:
in cave houses atop mountains,
in the shade of blossoming trees,
in a hut amid the open fields,
in a small white cotton tent.

I will sing from afar
a song of joy and peace:

Because of you, O guru, most sublime and wise,
whose kindness surpasses even the Buddha's,
I understand the truth:
that all events and happenings --
the union of form and emptiness --
are nothing but the play of the mind.

Mysterious, incomprehensible,
I realize, is my mind --
the root of prison and freedom,
ungraspable, without substance.

Living in solitude I place my mind
with natural ease upon suchness --
this mind, as light as a wisp of cotton fluff.
The darkness of unknowing
recedes at its own pace,
and the vast sky of the infinite real
wakes with the light of dawn.

"Whether it is or it is not" --
doubts engendered by skepticism --
are qualms with no significance,
questions the Buddhas wouldn't answer.

Oh, the great congregation:
yogis of the mahamudra, famed and wise,
who see the naked face of the real,
while residing atop Tsari Mountain,
a heavenly realm, true abode of dakinis,
where all mystic events flow spontaneous.

Oh, enter the four features
of dharmakaya -- the Reality Essence:
empty as space, brilliant as sun,
transparent as mirror, sharp as eyes.

Let us then travel together
to the realm of the real itself.
As the discourse of philosophers,
conducted by all-knowing scholars
in the debating courtyards,
is a melodious tune to the ear,
so too are songs of experience
sung in solitude by yogis
who have entered the Great Oneness --
mahamudra and Zokpa Chenpo.

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

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Songs of Spiritual Experience: Tibetan Buddhist Poems of Insight & Awakening Rainbows Appear: Tibetan Poems of Shabkar The Life of Shabkar: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from Meat





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