A Song of Perfect Joy
A Song of Perfect Joy: In Praise of the Sacred Sites of Rājgṛha, Vulture Peak and Nālandā
by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Homage to Lord Mañjughoṣa!
Having entirely overcome the darkness of dualistic perception,
You became a great beacon of luminous omniscient wisdom,
Unrivalled throughout the three worlds,
Teacher to all, including the gods — to you I pay homage!
You travelled to the place beneath the bodhi tree,
Defeated Māra, awakened, and turned the Dharma wheel.
Finally, after displaying the four ways of taming in boundless measure,
You passed into nirvāṇa in Kuśinagara — to you I pay homage!
Among your many hundreds of deeds, I praise especially
Those that you enacted on the perfectly formed vajra hill,
Which has a peak that resembles a white, twice-born vulture
And which is adorned with fruit-bearing trees and plants.
Homage to this place of lapis lazuli and white, yellow, blue and green,
Its cliffs all darkened by smoke and delightful to behold,
Plastered as if with molten lunar crystal,
All beautifully arranged like a series of balconies.
On a precious throne held aloft by a lion and elephant, adorned with a lotus,
And entirely surrounded by an elegant ring of iron mountains —
You, the transcendent conqueror, gods of gods, took your seat,
And a retinue gathered from all realms of the ten directions — to you I pay homage!
To the essence derived from the churning of the dharmic ocean,
Sūtras of the great mother of the victorious ones of past, present and future,
The single Dharma, with which you taught each individually, I pay homage!
To this place, where the arhat and elder, the great Kṣudrapanthaka
Dwells on an expansive hillside, at the peak of auspiciousness,
And where Nāgasena and retinue continuously reside, I pay homage!
With streams and ponds that possess the eight qualities,
Where Sarasvatī sports in bathing pools and lakes,
With plains, grassy meadows and bamboo groves —
To this pleasure park of Śuddhodana's son, I pay homage!
As a result of many millionfold acts of merit,
The dharma-king by the name of Bimbisāra
Came to offer reverence to you, the tathāgata —
Lord of men, god of gods, to you I pay homage!
Hostile at first, he acted unvirtuously,
But Māra cannot deceive those of great intelligence,
And prostrating himself at the feet of the leonine lord,
He realized the truth — master of the world, to you I pay homage!
Arhats, retaining Buddha's teachings in their minds,
And led by the regent Mahākāśyapa,
Convened the first council here to gather the Word,
Its fame reaching the peak of existence — to this I pay homage!
From the pleasure grove that delighted the king
To the north, in the direction of Yakṣa,
Is the great emanated dharma establishment
Known as Śrī Nālandā, to which I pay homage!
So vast that its circumference is measured in leagues;
It has temples that housed buddhas and bodhisattvas,
And courtyards, gardens, dharma thrones and more —
To this place that is beyond imagining, I pay homage!
The six ornaments who enhance this world of ours,
Two marvellous ācāryas and other mahāpaṇḍitas,
As well as great adepts such as Saraha himself,
All spent time here — to this place, I pay homage!
Centre of the teachings, unrivalled in this world,
Where the supreme duo of emanated śrāvakas,
Like the sun and moon, were born,
And the great dharma-wheel was turned — to this, I pay homage!
Now, to my ordinary perception, all appears
In its ephemeral condition, yet on the definitive level,
In the great indestructible realm of Abhirati
Dharma teaching continues — to this I pay homage!
Thus, through the power of the virtue of offering this token of praise
To places in the region of Magadha in the land of the noble ones, Where the sugata resided,
Travelled and carried out his activity,
May the precious peak of merit that I have amassed
Cause the teachings to flourish and beings' happiness to increase,
And throughout the garland of my future lives
May I never be separated from the guru and Lord of Sages!
Thus, inspired by the force of faith, Jamyang Lodrö Gyatso composed this garland of verses, a deluded composition, in the fine station building at Gayā. Maṅgalam. Virtue!
| Translated by Adam Pearcey (with the generous support of the Khyentse Foundation and the kind assistance of Alak Zenkar Rinpoche and Ringu Tulku Rinpoche), 2018.
kri sing gi khang bzang. I.e., the railway station. I am grateful to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche for clarifying this reference. ↩