Gendun Chopel poetry

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Gendun Chopel poetry

Post by Spelare » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:28 am

I thought it would be good to have a thread for poems by Gendun Chopel (1903-1951). I was looking into his work on Madhyamaka when I came across his poetry. I'm sure it's even better in the original Tibetan, but the English already does it for me.

If there's a particular poem of his that speaks to you, feel free to share it. For a start, here's the third poem from In the Forest of Faded Wisdom, translated by Donald S. Lopez Jr.
Compassionate power of the three jewels,
Reliable refuge that never deceives,
Calming all illusions of meaningless samsara
Bless our minds to turn to the dharma.

Whatever we ponder, the affairs of the world
Have no more essence than a sesame seed;
Transform our minds in this short life;
Starting now, reveal the essential sacred dharma.

The time of youth is but a summer flower
The luster of beauty but a winter rainbow.
Since human life does not last long
Practice the essential sacred dharma now.

In times of sorrow, we hope for joy.
In times of joy, we fear the coming sorrow.
There is no time free from the straits of hope and fear; Practice the essential sacred dharma now.

Cherished and protected; base of sickness and disease,
Made elegant with ornaments; its nature is impurity.
The impermanent body has no essence.
Practice the essential sacred dharma now.

The rich complain from the place of the rich.
The poor weep from the place of the poor.
Each human mind has its own burden of suffering;
There is no happy time in samsara.

In general, all joys and sorrows that seem outside
Are magical creations of one’s mind alone;
Reflections from inside that appear outside,
Not things outside that have come near.

Knowing this well, when analysis
Severs the root of the basic mind,
You will abide in the true sky of reality
Beyond this fog of appearance.

This so-called existence is a fiction.
This so-called nonexistence is a fiction.
Untainted by all such fictions,
The nature of the mind is perfect buddhahood.

Thoughts of “is” and “is not” are like ripples in water;
They follow one after the other.
Dissolving easily into the aimless state,
They arrive at the ocean of the primordial sphere of reality.

Appearances are the magical display of the mind.
The mind is empty, without base, without foundation.
By holding baseless phenomena to be the self
You and I wander in the realm of samsara.

Without pursuing perceptions,
When you look directly at the perceiver itself,
You will see your own inexpressible face;
The path to achieve buddhahood is not far.

Through the blessings of the divine three foundations,
May you quickly find the emptiness of your own mind,
And from the kingdom of the ever-pure great perfection,
Bring about the great aims of boundless beings.
Neither person nor skandha
but wisdom untainted is buddha.
In recognition, ever serene—
Refuge I take therein.

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