The Heaven of Solitude
Practices › Retreat & Solitude | Literary Genres › Advice | Tibetan Masters › Nyala Pema Dündul
Image courtesy Matteo Pistono
The Heaven of Solitude
by Nyala Pema Dündul
All-knowing lords, buddhas of past, present and future,
Bless this practitioner with thoughts of roaming abroad,
So that I may be free from the enemy of a homeland!
All you students connected by karma, listen well!
In towns, the way to freedom is obstructed by the five poisons,
In monastic assemblies, misuse of offerings blocks the path to liberation,
While this mountain retreat is just like a celestial realm—
Do not leave this heaven of the rainbow body, O fortunate ones!
In towns, the leaves of accursed violence sprout and spread,
In monastic assemblies, the bitter poison of intoxicants flows,
While in mountain retreats, the wisdom born of meditation grows—
Never be without this meditative insight, O fortunate ones!
In towns, the patterns of delusion are distinct,
In monastic assemblies, the blossoming kleśas are apparent,
While in mountain retreats, the flowers of stainless purity are clear—
Never part from the flora of clear light, O fortunate ones!
Ordinary townsfolk commit the five boundless crimes,
In monastic assemblies, samaya degenerates and vows are lost,
While in mountain retreats, commitments remain as pure as crystal—
Never part from this crystalline samaya, O fortunate ones!
Ordinary townsfolk eat only bad food and impure waste,
Monastic assemblies swallow the bitter pills of misused offerings,
While in mountain retreats, we savour samādhi’s bliss and emptiness—
Never neglect the nourishment of meditation, O fortunate ones!
Ordinary townsfolk delight in the company of friends and relatives,
Monastic assemblies flatter and fawn over patrons,
While in mountain retreats, we practise looking into our own minds—
Never let your minds waver from the practice, O fortunate ones!
Ordinary townsfolk sponsor religious rituals when the need arises,
Monastic assemblies practise only for their own peace and happiness,
While in mountain retreats, we follow the path of liberation for all beings—
Never part from the practice directed towards awakening, O fortunate ones!
Ordinary townsfolk guard their wealth and possessions,
Monastic assemblies watch over offerings and donations,
While in mountain retreats, we safeguard emptiness—
Never part from the practice of śūnyatā, O fortunate ones!
Ordinary townsfolk are deceived by the demons of the three poisons,
Monastic assemblies are misled by the māras of seduction,
While in mountain retreats, the heruka subdues all demons entirely—
Be sure never to part from the great and glorious heruka!
That is how it is, and what is more:
With their clamorous crowds, and noisy livestock,
The life of a nomad is like a vast sea of evil deeds.
Market towns, where savage robbers filled with greed
Gather for the sake of produce, women and supplies,
And in order to trade in flesh and alcohol,
Could never be what Buddha intended as a “monastery.”
Most of those wearing robes in these degenerate times,
Keep the company of women who, they claim, are relatives—
But it’s tough to remain chaste under such conditions!
Determine clearly that all this is bound together with suffering—
This is my heart advice.
This song of regarding even two yak-hair tents as an enemy,
And seeing solitude as a celestial paradise,
Was sung upon the slopes of the heavenly Sky-Fortress (Namkha Dzong)
By the old beggar with the name of Dündul, “Demon Tamer.”
May we see the qualities of solitude as just like those of a pure realm,
And may those in their great hermitages, far from the bustle of saṃsāra,
Attain the level of ultimate enlightenment!
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2013.