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A Vajra Poem
By Jigdral Yeshe Dorje
I pay homage to the guru.
Shakyamuni, Victorious One.
Supreme guide of the realm for this fortunate aeon,
Sons of the Victorious one,
Assembly of noble Bodhisattvas who tame sentient beings,
Lord guru, matchless savior of beings in the dark age,
The three Roots and oath-bound Dharma guardians—
Again and again, I ask from my heart,
Recalling you with longing and one-pointed mind—
Please turn your attention toward me.
Take hold of me with your lovingkindness
And with the power of your unhindered compassion
Grant your blessings that my thoughts and aims
be carried out in accord with Dharma.
Through past acts, not without merit,
I have obtained this precious human birth.
Through past merit, not slight,
I have met the sublime Dharma.
Accepted by the guru, I was able to obtain empowerments,
Blessings, and the essential instructions—
All this wealth I now hold in my hands.
But my mind, like a babbling monkey, falls under the sway
Of the enticing, deceptive demon of distraction
And I cannot take advantage of the wealth that is my own.
Thus, this free, well-favored human birth
And the lama's teaching are both wasted.
Now I am at a turning point:
All the teachings that I've asked for,
All I've received, are like a myth.
My body has the appearance of a practitioner,
And I have a practitioner's conceit;
My mind cannot fathom the true teachings.
Lacking even a trace of common Dharma, much less holy Dharma,
The sixteen rules for ordinary social behavior
Are just something that I've heard of.
Seeing myself behave badly, I'm without shame;
Seen by others, I'm unembarassed;
My bond to the teachings is short as a marmot's tail.
Unable to practice properly true Dharma's ten virtuous deeds,
Harboring sectarian bias toward the one Buddha's teachings,
I slander the teachings and great beings
A gather up bad karma.
Based on Dharma
I carry a great weight of evil deeds.
The more teaching I've received,
The more my vision of myself inflates,
Though intellectual analyses cannot penetrate
The deep meaning of the teachings.
With conceit, I think, "I keep the Pratimoksha disciplines!"
But the four dharma practices have been lost without a trace.
With conceit, I think, "I posses the precious Bodhisattva training!"
But the Four Boundless Ones are just like pictures of a lamp.
With conceit, I think, "I keep the Secret Mantrayana samayas!"
But, not respecting the first root transgression,
I become careless about all the rest.
I can glibly explain the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind to Dharma,
But my attachment to phenomena
Shows that my own mind has not truly changed.
Though I rely on a teacher, respect and devotion slowly ebb away;
Instead of having pure perception, I have wrong views,
And see the guru as my equal.
Love and respect toward my vajra friends weakens;
Unable to endure a few harsh words, I complain constantly.
Lacking thorough training in bodhicitta,
The love and compassion that comes about
From seeing all beings of the six realms as my parents
Disappears like mist.
Although I act as if I practice the paths of kyerim and dzogrim,
I cannot even cope with ordinary endless delusion.
I recognize that the ultimate teaching of sutra and tantra
Is emptiness, but can't make use of that recognition;
My mindstream stays hard as horn.
When I practice remaining in mind's true condition
I am without stability, yet I mouth off about the profound view
And toss cause and effect to the winds.
On the outside—I can give a show of good behavior;
On the inside— desire, attachment, greed rage like fire.
Though my body remains in isolated mountain retreat,
My mind wanders into town constantly, night and day.
Without enjoying a real measure of certainty in myself,
Thinking to act for other's benefit is just a fairytale.
Although it is impossible that the Three Jewels betray me,
Due to my weak devotion, I fear I will betray myself.
Thus, although I am without the wrong view
Of not believing in the teacher and the holy Dharma,
In these bad times we sentient beings
Are busily perfecting our bad karma,
Knowing, heedlessly, falling under the sway of unawareness;
Failing to maintain mindfulness, we suffer a great loss.
When I examine myself, I see
That everything I've done has only added on to my confusion,
That all my thinking has been stained
By the obscuring emotions and by grasping.
Not seeing that even my virtuous acts
Are polluted with negativities
Where else is there to end up but in the lower realms?
As for the way I behave and what I've done,
Bringing these to mind, I am sickened.
Looking to others, I am only more discouraged;
There are no friends to benefit and ease my mind.
If I cannot take care of myself now,
Others cannot give me refuge when hope is exhausted
And I'm in the hands of the messengers of the Lord of Death.
To wait for a rescue that can never come,
Isn't that self-deception?
Thus, with shame and remorse recognizing my own errors,
Whatever offenses against Dharma have occurred,
Whatever samaya transgressions and violations,
I won't try to conceal from those with wisdom vision.
From the bottom of my heart, I confess;
With your compassion, please endure me.
Be my refuge from the danger of the precipitous, errant path;
Grant the deliverance of finding the perfect, liberating path.
My whole life has been spent practicing this and practicing that
With nothing in my hands to show for it,
From now on, avoiding the miserable path of knowing much,
And missing the one thing I need
Why not go on the path of knowing the one thing that frees all?
Certain, unfailing hope, sole, supreme Lord upon whom I rely,
Root guru who combines all refuges in one,
I supplicate you with devotion and one pointed mind;
Supreme refuge, lord of greatest kindness,
Take hold of me with your compassion.
Grant your blessing that I be able to see my own faults.
Grant your blessing that I have no wish to see the faults of others.
Grant your blessing that evil, cruel, and vicious thoughts be pacified.
Grant your blessing that wholesome thoughts arise deep from within.
Grant your blessing that desire may lessen and contentment increase.
Grant your blessing that I remember the uncertainty of the time of death.
Grant your blessing that I be unconcerned at the time of death.
Grant your blessing that I develop trust in Dharma.
Grant your blessing that I practice impartial pure perception.
Grant your blessing that I develop unfabricated devotion and respect.
Grant your blessing that I persevere, seeing that I have so little time left.
Grant your blessing that I be able to establish Dharma as my ultimate innermost goal.
Grant your blessing that I free my mindstream the innermost practice.
Grant your blessing that I have no obstacles to practice
Grant your blessing that the fruit of my practice may ripen quickly.
Grant your blessing that all conduct with those with whom I have a karmic link may be meaningful.
Grant your blessing that the duality of hope and fear be extinguished.
Grant your blessing that I see nondual wakefulness.
Grant your blessing that I recognize my own innate wakefulness.
Grant your blessing that I hold the dharmakaya citadel.
Grant your blessing that I gain the great effortless certainty.
By means of the great weapon,
Indestructible primordial wakeful awareness,
May the void life-force of samsara and nirvana
Both be severed, at once.
Then, in the unending great bliss of Nyema's feast
May we always enjoy the activity
That is beyond joining and parting.
In the pervasive space of evenness,
Even the word "suffering" does not exist—
So who ought to be striving for happiness?
In the Kingdom of Samantabhadra
Happiness and suffering are of one taste;
Without grasping, they liberate of themselves.
May I attain Samantabhadra's kingdom in this very life!
Written by H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904-1988)
This is a supplication, confession of faults, and an aspiration-prayer combined in one.
One night early in Water-Pig year (1983), my wisdom consort Rigdzin Wangmo had a dream in which appeared a female companion who had often appeared in her dreams. The girl said, "Now you should ask Rinpoche to write a supplication prayer. Alright?" and left. Later, on the tenth of the waxing moon, she appeared again, saying, "Why haven't you asked about the writing of that prayer?"
That next morning, when we were discussing the dreams and the prayer, I said, "There are already plenty of supplication prayers, but not enough people who do them." Rigdzin Wangmo insisted, saying, "No matter whether it's short or long, you must write this supplication."
Then I thought, "These days there is danger from disease, war, and famine. In order to protect people from these dangers, I should write a prayer reminding the Compassionate Ones of their vows to help beings." But although I was thinking of writing one, due to the distraction of many events, I didn't have the chance.
Once again, on the evening of the 10th, the girl appeared, as before. She said in the dream, "Don't neglect the prayer that I asked for before. There is a great need for it!"
So, I thought to write it on the 15th of the same month. On the night of the 14th, I prayed with one-pointed mind to Guru Rinpoche, asking for his blessing in order to compose the prayer, making this aspiration, I went to sleep.
The next morning at dawn, in my own dream, I was at the head of a large hall like temple. Out of nowhere a young white man appeared in white clothes, with long hair spread out over his shoulders, holding a pair of cymbals. he rolled the cymbals, making a lovely sound, and danced toward me, spiraling closer and closer, in circles toward the right, dancing as do the Ging. He said:
"If you want to establish the teachings,
Make them firm in your mind.
In the depths of mind, you will find Buddhahood.
If you wish to visit Buddhafields,
Purify ordinary deluded attachment.
The perfect, excellent Buddhafield is near at hand.
Develop diligence to practice
The essence of the teachings.
Without, who can gain the siddhi?
It is hard to see one's own faults.
So, pointing them out to oneself
Is a crucial instruction.
In the end, when faults are, one by one, removed
Enlightened qualities increase and shine forth."
At the end of this poem, he rolled the cymbals and then crashed them together, and I awoke. After I woke up, I did not forget what he had said, and I understood it to have been advice on practicing what to accept and what to reject. I was regretful that, although I had actually seen the face of my only father guru, I had not recognized him.
I, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje, old father of the Nyingma, wrote this from my own experience. May it be of benefit. Sarvatha Mangalam.
The four dharma practices:
not returning verbal abuse; not returning physical abuse; not returning anger for anger; not returning provocation even though one has been provoked.
The four boundless ones:
boundless love; boundless compassion; boundless joy; boundless equanimity.
The first root samaya transgression:
disparaging one's master.
The four thoughts that turn the mind to Dharma:
keeping in mind 1) the rarity of the free-well-favored human birth; 2) the inevitability of death; 3) the inescapability of karma, cause and effect; 4) the vast inherent suffering of samsara.
developing stage meditation.
completion stage meditation.
Translated by Bhakha Tulku and Constance Wilkinson,
Boudhnath, Nepal, 1989
Originally published at Sahayogi Press,
Cover art: Jamyong Gyatso
"THE CRISTAL AND THE WAY OF LIGHT".