Songs and Poems Series

Literary Genres › Songs and Poems

English (52) | Deutsch (2) | Español (1) | Français (7) | Italiano (1) | Português (2) | 中文 (9) | བོད་ཡིག (52)

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol

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A selection of spiritual songs (mgur; glu) or poems:



Written for a disciple who was about to travel from Sikkim to Tibet, this brief song encapsulates the message of the intermediate and final turnings of the Wheel of Dharma and explains how to practise the indivisibility of emptiness and compassion.

Jamyang Khyentse says he composed this candid song of self-counsel during the first month of a Snake year as he felt by turns joyous and sorrowful.

In response to a question from his spiritual consort, Khandro Tsering Chödrön, Jamyang Khyentse explains the essence of the path in just a few lines. (Khandro's question is in the form of an acrostic poem, the opening syllables of its four lines being the first four syllables of the Tibetan alphabet).

A short song of advice on the theme of the 'Three Greats', i.e., Great Middle Way (Madhyamaka), Great Seal (Mahāmudrā) and Great Perfection (Dzogpachenpo).

Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok sang this doha spontaneously in 1996 at a time when various outer, inner and secret obstacles had been overcome. It stresses the importance of meditating on Dzogchen, cultivating bodhicitta, maintaining ethical discipline, and having a positive basic character.

A poem warning monk-scholars of the risk of pursuing the path of intellectual study alone at the expense of the kind of deeper practice that brings genuine attainment.

Said to have been composed some time around 1909 or 1910, this poem expresses the author's appreciation for the Sakya teachings and is intended as an encouragement to fellow disciples (of Loter Wangpo) to pursue their study and practice.

This song of amazement originates in a vision that Sera Khandro had while staying in retreat at Nyimalung in Amdo at the age of twenty-nine. The text is her response to the spirits and demons who appeared to her, asking what she was doing.

This famous song summarizes four forms of mindfulness, which Mañjuśrī taught to Tsongkhapa: 1) mindfulness of the guru; 2) mindfulness of bodhicitta; 3) mindfulness of the body as a divine body; and 4) mindfulness of the view of emptiness.




A spontaneous song in which Jamyang Khyentse mourns the passing of Tertön Sogyal Lerab Lingpa (1856–1926) and calls upon him to continue his work through a further incarnation.

Composed in 1934, this brief devotional song recalls the kindness of Katok Situ Chökyi Gyatso (kaḥ thog si tu chos kyi rgya mtsho, 1880–1925), Jamyang Khyentse's root guru.

A brief song to invoke Jamyang Khyentse's inspiration and blessings as a means to accomplish view, meditation and conduct.

Composed in 1949, this song of lament is addressed to Jamyang Khyentse's principal guru, Jamyang Loter Wangpo (1847–1914). The song expresses the author's grief and sadness at his own misfortune for having failed to encounter his master in visions or dreams.

Jamyang Khyentse wrote this lamenting prayer in early 1944 as soon as he heard that his teacher, Khenpo Kunzang Palden, had died just a few days earlier in late December 1943.

A devotional invocation of the great Sakya patriarch Kunga Nyingpo (1092–1158) with a request for his blessings and assistance on the path.

Jamyang Khyentse composed these verses in November 1925 upon learning of the passing of his teacher Katok Situ Chökyi Gyatso (1880–1925). The text makes it clear that Katok Situ's death occurred in the ninth month of the Wood Ox year.

A spontaneous song of lamentation composed at Tso Pema, India, in 1990 and later transcribed from an audio recording.


This famous vajra song (rdo rje’i glu), named after its initial syllables "ema kiri", appears in the Tantra of the Union of the Sun and Moon (nyi zla kha sbyor). It consists of a series of arranged syllables which a practitioner should intone melodiously. The individual syllables and their arrangement as a mantra are considered particularly sacred since they are said to have been revealed by the primordial buddha Samantabhadra.

A brief song of aspiration to perfect the practice of the Great Perfection and realize the three kāyas that are naturally present within the mind.

A spontaneous song or doha expressing confidence in Dzogchen realization, which Jamyang Khyentse tells us he offered to the guru of his own awareness.

Verses on Dzogchen, which occurred to Jamyang Khyentse spontaneously while he was at Taktse Podrang (stag rtse pho brang) in Sikkim in 1956.

Spontaneously composed verses on the uniqueness and profundity of the Dzogchen approach, which centres on the recognition of mind's intrinsic awareness.

A simple Dzogchen instruction written in verse.

In this short yet powerful song, Khenpo Gangshar Wangpo points out the unmistaken view of the Great Perfection through a series of pithy instructions, which are rich in imagery and direct in tone.

Gangshar Wangpo tells us that he based these verses—which explain how to eliminate obstacles to practice and sustain realization of mind's essential nature—on scripture, the oral instructions of his guru, and his own experience.

A song of realization expressing the futility of ordinary, contrived practice from the perspective of naturally perfect, pure awareness.

A poem expressing Dzogchen insights that arose to the author spontaneously when inebriated one evening in 1968.

Mipham composed this doha of five four-line verses expressing realization of the supreme yoga towards the end of his life, in 1909.

With a characteristic blend of bluntness and humility, Nyoshul Khenpo explains the importance of mindfulness (smṛti; dran pa) and exhorts his followers to rely upon it at all times.

In this short poem of just five lines, the great Dzogchen master Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche evocatively conveys the healing power of meditation.

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