In Praise of Vulture Peak
In Praise of Vulture Peak Mountain
by Rongtön Sheja Kunrig
To the Lord of Speech, I pay homage!
“Merely to praise those supreme places in which
The Bhagavān resided yields boundless merit.”
So it is said, and, in accordance with this,
I praise this site of his sacred Dharma teaching.
It was here that Buddha's excellent speech was compiled
A place as even as a palm, and abundantly auspicious.
In the centre, surrounded by lesser hills,
Is this lofty peak, located to the east
Of the great town called Rājagṛha.
As radiant and resplendent as the sun,
Its earth-embracing slopes are thick with forests,
And its pleasant trees display fresh foliage
All swathed with flowers of varied colours,
While flights of birds call out in sweetest song,
As they swoop and flit from branch to branch.
Of the five major sites, Jambudvīpa's wonders,
This mountain of Vulture Peak is the foremost.
Praised by the Victorious Ones and their heirs,
It is the site of Bhagavān's turning of the Dharma Wheel,
Ablaze with splendour and blessings beyond measure.
Here it is that the elder Cūḍapanthaka resides,
Surrounded by his retinue of sixteen hundred arhats.
Whoever so much as sees this sacred place
Will feel a spontaneous surge of vivid faith.
Here is where groups of countless devas throng,
And Buddhas proclaim their dragon's roar of Perfect Wisdom.
A sublime space in which disciples see the truth,
A scene of wonders, and a scene of marvels,
A blessed site to which the bodhisattvas flock,
So that they might hear the perfect teachings.
Through the virtue of praising this outstanding place,
May we travel without obstruction to the Buddha's realm!
This praise of Vulture Peak Mountain was composed by the great Rongtön in Pal Nālendra Monastery.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2016.
Shes bya kun rig. "Bya rgod phung po'i ri bo la bstod pa snyan pa'i sgra dbyangs" In gSung 'bum/_Shes bya kun rig. 10 vols. (TBRC W28942). Vol. 1: 354–356. skye dgu mdo: gangs ljongs rig rgyan gsung rab par khang, 2004
Vulture Peak lies approximately 5km to the south-east of Rajgir (the modern name for Rājagṛha). ↩
The standard list of the five major sites of Jambudvīpa ('dzam bu gling gi gnas chen lnga) does not include Vulture Peak: 1) the Vajrāsana (the "vajra seat", i.e., Bodhgaya) in the centre; 2) Mount Wǔtái Shān to the east; 3) Mount Potalaka to the south; 4) Oḍḍiyāna to the west; and 5) Shambhala to the north. See Nor brang o rgyan, Chos rnams kun btus, Beijing: Krung go'i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, 2008. Vol. 1, p. 1235 ↩
Lam phran bstan. One of the sixteen sthaviras (gnas brtan bcu drug), sometimes known as the "sixteen arhats". ↩