Songs of the Sixth Dalai Lama

’Over the eastern hills rises
The smiling face of the moon;
In my mind forms
The smiling face of my beloved’

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’Yesterday’s young sprouting shoots
Are withered straws today,
Like the ageing body of a youth
Stiff bent as a southern bow’

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’If only I could wed
The one whom I love,
Joys of gaining the choicest gem
From the ocean’s deepest bed would be mine’

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’She smells sweet of body
My sweetheart, the highway queen;
Like the worthless white turquoise
She was found, to be thrown away’

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’Longing for the landlord’s daughter
Blossoming in youthful beauty
Is like pining for peaches
Ripening on the high peach trees’

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’Sleepless I am
Because I am in love;
Fatigue and frustration overwhelm
When day brings not my beloved to me’

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’Spring flowers fade in the fall;
It is not for the turquoise bees to mourn.
I and my sweetheart are fated to part;
It is not for us to cry’

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’Frost gathers on the glistering flowers
And then the cold north wind blows.
The frost and the wind must have come
To drive the bees away from the flowers’

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’I have hoisted prayer-flags
For the good luck of my beloved.
Forest keeper, Ajo Shelngo,

Do not trample her good luck flags’

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’I incline myself
To the teachings of my lama
But my heart secretly escapes

To the thoughts of my sweetheart’

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’Even if meditated upon,
The face of my lama comes not to me,
But again and again comes to me
The smiling face of my beloved’

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’If I could meditate upon the dharma
As intensely as I muse on my beloved
I would certainly attain enlightenment
Surely, in this one lifetime’

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’When my luck was good
I hoisted auspicious prayer-flags
And the young lady of noble birth
Hosted me at her home’

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’Your sweet smile is
To steal away my young heart.
If your love for me is true,
Promise me so
From the depths of your heart’

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’When the gem was mine
I cared not, and ignored its value.
Now that the gem is lost to others,
Melancholy overwhelms me
As its pure worth dawns on me’

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’My sweetheart who truly loved me
Has been stolen to wed another.
I am sick with longing sorrow
And frustration emaciates my frail body’

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’In my dreams often
I see my lost beloved;
A soothsayer I must seek
To search for her soon for me’

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’If the maiden will live forever
The wine will flow evermore.
The tavern is my haven;
With wine I am content’

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’My beloved from childhood
Seems to be of the wolf’s race;
Even after many nights together
She tries to escape,
Like the wolves, to the hills’

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’To the wings of this eagle
The wind and the rocks have been cruel.
The sly and scheming ones
Have harassed me, always without ceasing’

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’Pink clouds
Hide frosts and hailstorms;
He who is a half-monk

Is a hidden enemy of the dharma’

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’The moon tonight seems
To be the full moon,
But the hare [*] inside the moon
Does not seem to be alive’

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“Like the rising moon of the third day
My beloved is dressed is pure and white,
But on the full moon of the fifteenth day
Take an oath of meeting as pure and bright’

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’Even the stars in the sky
Can be measured by astrology.
Her body can be caressed,
But not so fathomed
Her deep inner longing’

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’Sweetheart awaiting me in my bed
Yielding tenderly her sweet soft body,
Has she come to cheat me
And disrobe me of my virtues?’

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’Peacocks from eastern India,
Parrot from the depths of Kongpo,
Though born in separate countries
Finally come together
In the holy land of Lhasa’

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’People gossip about me.
I am sorry for what I have done;
I have taken three thin steps
And landed myself in the tavern of my mistress’

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’In the short walk of this life
We have had our share of joy.
Let us hope to meet again
In the youth of our next life’

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’The garrulous parrot
Please stay with your mouth shut.
The thrush in the willow grove
Has promised to sing a song for me’

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’Yama, the mirror of my karma
Residing in the realm of death,
You must judge and grant justice.
Here, while alive, I had no justice”

Footnotes

  • [*] Refers to a Tibetan belief that a giant hare resides in the moon

Translation of the ’Songs of the Sixth Dalai Lama’ by K Dhondup, Dharamshala.

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