We take great pleasure in here presenting the Jeffrey Hopkins translation of the Seventh Dalai Lama, Kaysang Gyatso's (1708 - 1757) The Song of the Four Mindfulnesses, as taken from the Fourteenth Dalai Lama's Instructions for Meditation of the View of Emptiness, The Song of the Four Mindfulnesses, Causing the Rain of Achievements to Fall.
We were fortunate enough to receive the transmission of this from the Fourteenth Dalai Lama personally, during which he conveyed his wish that people would memorize the following five stanzas, and bring them to mind during idle time, such as waiting for transportation, waiting for a friend, and so forth.
The Seventh Dalai Lama seems somehow special to me because of his great affection for rabbits, and his omniscient belief that he was previously born as a rabbit. In the upper right corner of the above painting, from the Rubin, right at the level of Buddha, we see this rabbit clearly depicted. By noting this, you might feel we are trivially focusing on the least of the matter; actually, this is the best of the matter in disguise.
On the seat of the immutable union of method and wisdom
Sits the kind of guru who is the entity of all the refuges:
A Buddha who has perfect abandonment and wisdom is there.
Forsaking thoughts of defects, make a petition with pure perception,
Not letting your mind stray, place it within admiration and respect,
Making your attention unforgetful, maintain it within admiration and respect.
In the prison of suffering of limitless cyclic existence
Wander the six types of sentient beings bereft of happiness.
Fathers and mothers who protected you with kindness are there.
Forsaking desire and hatred, cultivate endearment and compassion,
Not letting your mind stray, place it within compassion,
Making your attention unforgetful, maintain it within compassion.
In the divine mansion of great bliss, pleasant to feel,
Abides the divine body which is your own body of pure aggregates and constituents.
A deity with the Three Bodies inseparable is there.
Not conceiving yourself to be ordinary, practice divine pride and vivid appearance,
Not letting your mind stray, place it within the profound and the manifest,
Making your attention unforgetful, maintain it within the profound and the manifest.
Throughout the circle of appearing and occurring objects of knowledge,
Pervades the space of clear light, the nature of phenomena, the ultimate.
An inexpressible mode of being of objects is there.
Forsaking mental fabrications, look to the entity of immaculate emptiness,
Not letting your mind stray, place it within the nature of phenomena,
Making your attention unforgetful, maintain it within the nature of phenomena.
At the cross-roads of the varieties of appearances and the six consciousnesses,
Is seen the confusion of the baseless phenomena of duality.
The illusory spectacles of a deceiving magician are there.
Not thinking they are true, look to the entity of emptiness,
Not letting your mind stray, place it within appearance and emptiness,
Making your attention unforgetful, maintain it with appearance and emptiness.
This is such a simple practice, but it is a powerful practice. We need only memorize a few lines. Then, when we are waiting for a bus, or a plane, a court proceeding, a doctor's appointment, or simply sitting idly about, we can bring these stanzas to mind as an instant meditation on emptiness.
This seems such an appropriate practice for our readers, several of whom made it possible for me to receive this transmission, and it is for our readers, among all sentient beings, that I sought this transmission in the first place. I am therefore particularly directing this post to readers who are unable to get around, who are confined, or are of sorely limited circumstances. Let us be your eyes and (long) ears.
I do not think the publication of these stanzas breaches the prohibition against teaching voidness to those whose minds are untrained, nor do I believe it represents the downfall of revealing confidential teachings to those who are unripe. Rather, I think it demonstrates an appropriate manner to relate to a spiritual guide, and helps and treats respectfully all of our many Dharma friends, throughout the world.
May it be auspicious!