When Remembering My Mother
Literary Genres › Songs and Poems | Tibetan Masters › Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol
Painting by Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche
When Remembering My Mother
by Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol
Listen now, Tsokdruk Rangdrol!
You say that your mother, who bore you
In her womb in this life, was kind.
But why, then, do you not consider even once
The kindness of other beings who helped you,
Your parents from countless lives in the past?
Now all these past mothers of yours are suffering
From intense heat and cold, hunger and thirst, and servitude,
They are crippled, destitute, and sick—
So how could you forget them all?
All living beings have been your kind mothers,
And if it is true, as the Buddha himself said,
That there’s no difference between your present mother
And those of your previous lives,
Why do you persist in making distinctions
Between mothers of earlier and later lives?
What could be the point of such discrimination?
Consider it well!
To neglect all your mothers from the past,
And remember only one is a form of attachment.
So don’t think that you’ve truly aroused compassion!
For as long as you have partiality and attachment,
There will be no liberation from saṃsāra.
For as long as you have attachment,
Don’t claim to have renounced the affairs of this life!
To forget all those who have been your mother in the past,
While shedding tears at the thought of your old mother now,
Would, if seen by your teacher, or the buddhas and their heirs,
Prove nothing but a source of embarrassment!
Consider the kindness of your mothers from the past!
If you should weep while contemplating their plight,
The teacher, the buddhas and their heirs will all rejoice.
Just as you think of your mother in this life, therefore,
Contemplate the suffering and hardship
Of all those poor beings who were your mothers before,
And shed tears for them all, again and again.
Just as you feel love for your mother in this life,
Generate love for all beings, your mothers from the past,
And arouse compassion and bodhicitta too—
With this, you will enter the ranks of the Mahāyāna.
Again and again, bring to mind all the kindness
Of beings of the six classes, your own kind parents.
If you care for them like your mother of this life,
They will love you too, as their very own child.
Tsokdruk Rangdrol spoke these words to himself on one occasion when remembering his mother.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2012. With many thanks to Alak Zenkar Rinpoche.
Zhabs dkar ba tshogs drug rang grol. “skyabs mgon zhabs dkar baʼi a ma dran paʼi gsung mgur.” In gsang chen snga ʼgyur baʼi bkaʼ gter zhal ʼdon phyogs bsgrigs. Zi ling: mtsho sngon zhing chen mtsho lho dge ʼos slob grwaʼi par khang, 1998. pp. 459–461