Flowers Ravaged by the Frost
Literary Genres › Songs and Poems | Buddhist Philosophy › Impermanence | Tibetan Masters › Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
When Flowers Were Ravaged by the Frost
by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Noble guru, unique embodiment of the Three Jewels,
The unfailing sources of refuge,
Let your lotus feet adorn my crown.
Turn my mind turn towards the Dharma!
During the bountiful period of the harvest moon,
Flowers, originating from the kingdom of Nepal,
Appeared in a rich array of colours,
Each as beautiful as an attractive girl,
Inspiring a hundred joys and offering solace and delight
To the eyes and minds of all, wise and foolish alike—
Such a vast profusion of perfect splendour!
Then, in the dark night of the twenty-eighth
Of that month of autumn there arose
The radiant daughter of a clear silver sky,
The bright-faced goddess of the constellations,
Who brought the fresh scent of morning dew
And at dawn placed hats of white
Upon the heads of all the flowers,
So that, in the rising sun, they withered.
Their leaves and petals all drooped,
Their necks no longer supported their crowns,
And they resembled the corpses of the dead.
This example illustrates impermanence:
How the glamour of youth is overcome
By the armies of passing months and years,
And how in the Lord of Death’s expansive dark
Countless yamas of deluded perception appear
As a frost that ravages the flowers of cherished bodies,
Makes their heads droop, their lower lips sag,
And their limbs turn rigid and hard as wood.
There is no doubt that such severe horrors
Will swiftly come to pass.
And as this is more than my heart could bear,
I must apply myself to the Dharma right away,
Or else be left without recourse.
Now, therefore, while I have the freedom,
Let me not succumb to laziness or indolence.
And, as I set the great fires of diligence ablaze,
Inspire me with your blessings,
So that I may burn the thicket of the afflictions
And swiftly escape the fiery pit
Of saṃsāra, so difficult to traverse.
You, my noble father-guru, care for me!
When an array of flowers was ravaged by the frost, I wrote this sorrowful song by reflecting upon impermanence.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey with the generous support of the Khyentse Foundation and Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2021.
Source: 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros. "me tog gi tshogs sad kyis khyer dus blangs ba'i mi rtag dran pa'i skyo glu/" in ’Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung ’bum. 12 vols. Bir: Khyentse Labrang, 2012. W1KG12986 Vol. 8: 488–490