A Song of Sadness

Literary Genres › Songs and Poems | Tibetan MastersJamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

English | བོད་ཡིག

Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

Great Stake to the Heart

A Song of Sadness

by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö

Lord, whose mere recollection is sufficient, Vajradhara in essence,
Incomparable source of refuge, Loter Wangpo,[1]
Sovereign who is all-seeing and all-knowing, Situpa,[2]
Glorious one of unequalled kindness by the name of Pema,[3]
Protector and tamer of beings, Drodul Pawo Dorje,[4]
Drupchen, great adept who sees all knowable phenomena,[5]
And the gentle lord and protector Ngawang Lekpa—[6]
You six teachers who grace my crown,
Remain, I pray, as ornaments atop my head.
No matter what befalls me—good or bad, happy or sad—
I pray to you, my supreme gurus:
In your compassion, bless me, your very own son.

This one who was born at the end of the degenerate age
Is beset by mental afflictions, mind’s five poisons.
He has received profound and vast Dharma instruction,
But left everything on paper or as dry and empty words.

The real meaning has not seeped into his heart.
His stubborn temperament’s impossible to tame,
Mind’s nature cloaked in the darkness of thought,
Besieged by the brigands of dullness and agitation.

Inattention has supplanted the sentinel of mindfulness.
Perception and mind have dispersed into ordinariness,
And cannot be freed in aware yet empty ultimate space.
As I consider this more and more my sadness only grows.

The passing of the seasons in the outer world,
The changes that human beings undergo within it,
And especially the exhaustion of my own life—
As I consider these more and more my sadness only grows.

Friends do not stay forever, all meetings end in separation;
Most have now passed on to the spectacle of the hereafter.
Material wealth and riches are like illusory hoards;
They are of no benefit at all and devoid of essence.
To be deceived and strive to gather such resources—
As I consider such a predicament my sadness only grows.

Not keeping a single vow or commitment
But putting on an act to deceive oneself and others[7]
While teaching and studying is a betrayal of the sacred Dharma.
Overcoming worldly opponents and helping associates,
Constructing supports for similar attachment and aversion—
Persisting in a great whirring frenzy of the meaningless
While what remains of this life sets beyond the western peaks—
As I consider this situation my sadness only grows.

Words spoken with the intention to benefit
Are interpreted as harsh, insulting language
By students who then harbour resentment
And attendants who prove difficult to care for—
As I consider this more and more my sadness only grows.

While disregarding the effects of my own actions,
I lecture other people about adopting virtue and avoiding vice.
As I consider my own circumstances and how I possess
Such a great mask of deception, my sadness only grows.

Now, for as long as I live, bless me so that
I shall not deceive myself with so many pointless acts,
But end my days striving in the practice of profound Dharma.
O sovereign sources of refuge, whose mere recollection is all I need, care for me!

Thus, Lodrö Gyatso wrote this lamenting, sorrowful song on the fourth day of the tenth month of the Water Horse year.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey 2021, with the generous support of the Khyentse Foundation and Terton Sogyal Trust.


Source: ’Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros. "skyo glu snying gi gzer chen/" in ’Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung 'bum. 12 vols. Bir: Khyentse Labrang, 2012. W1KG12986. Vol. 8: 418–420


Version: 1.1-20211102


  1. Jamyang Loter Wangpo (1847–1914).  ↩

  2. i.e., Katok Situ Chökyi Gyatso (1880–1925).  ↩

  3. i.e., Shechen Gyaltsab Gyurme Pema Namgyal (1871–1926).  ↩

  4. Adzom Drukpa (1842–1924).  ↩

  5. i.e., Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpai Nyima (1865–1926).  ↩

  6. i.e., Gatön Ngawang Lekpa (1867–1941).  ↩

  7. Reading o zog as g.yo zog  ↩