Monday, January 11, 2016

The Red Bird

The Song of the Red Bird

On the 21st day of the first autumn month, a glowing red bird sang to me:

Ah Ho! Listen my child:
Many holy sublime individuals
Have advanced into unmanifest basic space,
Leaving behind their orphan disciples of this degenerate era:
Nothing lasts forever.

The medicinal ha-lo flowers have withered,
Leaving behind the green grassy plains,
In the bitter cold of the winter months,
Nothing lasts forever.

The king, a mighty human sovereign,
Has passed beyond this life,
Leaving behind his orphaned royal children.
Nothing lasts forever. 

Flocks of garudas have flown away,
Leaving behind their helpless little chicks,
Nothing lasts forever.

Many majestic wild animals have departed,
Leaving behind the [lowly] weasel.
Nothing lasts forever.

All supreme practitioners have departed,
Leaving behind false lamas mired in the eight worldly concerns.
Nothing lasts forever. 

The king’s treasury is spent,
Leaving behind his subjects who have some wealth.
Nothing lasts forever.

The sumptuous fruits have all vanished,
Leaving behind the stockpiles of field mice.
Nothing lasts forever.

The green grasses of summer have dried up,
Leaving behind gray grass corpses.
Nothing lasts forever.

Most lamas and tulkus, attached to cyclic existence,
Conduct funeral ceremonies [to receive payments],
And although they’re adept at pointless hoarding,
Nothing lasts forever.

Prominent leaders, violent and greedy,
Create stringent laws,
Yet when they meet the burden of their ripened karma,
Nothing lasts forever.

Wealthy people with riches and possessions
Who pass their time in the delight of gain and profit
Live as in a dream or magical illusions.
Nothing lasts forever.

When you’ve gained a pure human body,
Don’t put your hopes in the activities of your mouth and hands—
Rely upon the profound instructions of liberation
Directly within your own mind.

Don’t anticipate the liberation you desire
When your mouth and eyes are wandering.
Don’t expect wordy education with no basis in realization 
To be useful to you in your next life.

Don’t expect the liberation you want
To stem from knowledge without meditation.

Having come, having come from the basic space of the nature of reality,
Going there, going there, to there I fly!

Then it flew off.

◊ This is an excerpt from: A Clear Mirror by Traktung Dudjom Lingpa, translated by Chonyi Drolma, Rangjung Yeshe Publications 2011

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1 reader comments:

Zendette said...

A poem for all times. Haven't seen much of you lately. Hope you are well!