Recognizing my Mother

Cangkya Rölpai Dorjé

⇦ verse by verse - all texts

Please enjoy this verse by verse comparison of various English translations of Cangkya Rölpai Dorjé's Recognizing My Mother, An Experiential Song on the View.

List of translations (arbitrary order). Please use the checkboxes to show/hide translations:

༄༅། །ལྟ་མགུར་ཨ་མ་ངོས་འཛིན་བཞུགས་སོ། །   (Text in Tibetan)
"Recognizing My Mother: An Experiential Song on the View" translated by Thupten Jinpa
"The Song on the View, Called Recognizing My Mother" translated by Karl Brunnholzl
 source: Straight from the Heart: Buddhist Pith Instructions
"Recognizing My Mother: Song of the Middle Way" translated by Stephen Dominick
"Getting to Know my Old Mother" translated by Gavin Kity


E ma ho ! (Thupten Jinpa)

E MA HO (Karl Brunnholzl)

Verse 1

༄༅། །ཟབ་མོ་རྟེན་འབྱུང་གི་དེ་ཉིད་ངོ་མཚར། །
ཇི་བཞིན་རྗེན་པ་རུ་སྟོན་པའི་བླ་མ། །
བཀའ་དྲིན་འཁོར་མེད་དེ་སྙིང་དབུས་བཞུགས་ཤིག །
གང་དྲན་ཐོལ་བྱུང་གི་ཚིག་གསུམ་སྨྲའོ། །

He who reveals bare the wonder
of profound dependent arising nature,
O my guru, your kindness is boundless indeed.
Kindly reside in my heart
as I utter these extemporaneous words
from the thoughts flashing in my mind. (Thupten Jinpa)

The amazing true reality of profound dependent origination
Is demonstrated by the guru in a naked way, just as it is—
With your kindness unrepayable, please remain in my heart.
I will utter three spontaneous words on whatever comes to my mind. (Karl Brunnholzl)

My master, kindness without compare
Imparts with total clarity
The wonderful truth of profound interdependence
May he forever remain within my heart
I will say a few words extemporaneously
From whatever understanding is within my mind (Stephen Dominick)

My master, kindness without equal,
reveals with total clarity
the wonderful truth of profound dependent arising.
May he remain forever within my heart.
I will say a few spontaneous words
of whatever arises within my mind. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 2

ཨ་མ་རྒན་མོ་དེ་ཡུན་རིང་སྟོར་བའི། །
བུ་ཆུང་སྨྱོན་པ་ང་ཇི་ཞིག་ལྟར་ཏེ། །
ཨ་མ་དྲིན་ཅན་དེ་ལྷན་ཅིག་འདུག་པ། །
ངོ་མ་ཤེས་པ་དེ་ཤེས་ལ་ཁད་སྣང་ངོ་། །

This lunatic child,
who lost his old mother long ago,
is about to realize coincidently
what he has not recognized:
That she has been with him all along! (Thupten Jinpa)

It seems that I, this crazy small child,
Who have lost my old mother for a long time,
Am about to realize, by sheer coincidence, my failure to recognize
That my kind mother has been with [me all along]. (Karl Brunnholzl)

I, a mad son
Was for so long without recognition
Of the presence of my mother
Now, by good fortune it dawns upon me –
She has been with me all along (Stephen Dominick)

I, a mad and stupid son,
was for so long without my mother;
now by good fortune it dawns upon me,
she was with me all along,
and I did not recognise her. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 3

ཇོ་ཇོ་རྟེན་འབྱུང་དེས་ལྐོག་ཏུ་བསྙད་པས། །
ཡིན་ཡིན་མིན་མིན་དེ་ཨེ་ཡིན་སྙམ་མོ། །
གཟུང་འཛིན་སྣ་ཚོགས་འདི་ཨ་མའི་འཛུམ་བག །
སྐྱེ་འཆི་འཕོ་འགྱུར་འདི་ཨ་མའི་བརྫུན་ཚིག །

She is perhaps that “is” and “is not,”
as told quietly by my brother, dependent arising.
The diverse subject-object duality is my mother’s benign smile;
this cycle of birth and death her deceptive words. (Thupten Jinpa)

My elder brother—dependent origination—explains her in a hidden way,
So I think, “Isn’t it that being is nonbeing?”
These various kinds of perceiver and perceived are mother’s smiles,
While birth, death, and change are mother’s lies. (Karl Brunnholzl)

My brother, dependent arising
Unprovoked, taught me still
And now a doubt has arisen within me
About the semblance of reality
Sometimes seeming true and other times not
The internal and external world in its diversity
Is merely the exhibition of my mother’s face
Likewise, the changes of birth and death merely her lies; (Stephen Dominick)

My brother dependent arising
has taught this secret to me
so now it raises a doubt in me
if that really exists which sometimes seems there
and seems not there at other times
The inner and outer world in its variety
is but the smile of mother;
the changes of birth and death her lies; (Gavin Kity)

Verse 4

བསླུ་མེད་ཨ་མ་ཡིས་ཁོ་བོ་བསླུས་སོ། །
ཇོ་ཇོ་རྟེན་འབྱུང་དེས་སྐྱོབ་པར་རེའོ། །
རྣམ་པ་གཅིག་ཏུ་ན་ཨ་མ་རྒན་མོ། །
ཁོ་ནའི་དྲིན་གྱིས་ནི་གྲོལ་བར་རེ་སྟེ། །

My undeceiving mother, you have betrayed me!
So, I hope to be saved by my brother, dependent arising.
Yet it is ultimately through your kindness alone, O mother,
that I can hope to be freed. (Thupten Jinpa)

I have been tricked by my undeceiving mother,
So I hope to be saved by my elder brother, dependent origination.
But from a certain perspective, it is through the kindness
Of my old mother alone that I can hope for liberation. (Karl Brunnholzl)

I have since come to know – Mother, you have continually deceived me
May my brother, dependent arising, protect me!
In my past, I have expected old mother to provide complete liberation (Stephen Dominick)

undeceiving mother you deceive me,
my brother dependent arising will protect me, I hope
Ultimately, it is solely by the kindness of old mother
that freedom can be expected to be won, (Gavin Kity)

Verse 5

གཟུང་འཛིན་འདི་ཉིད་ཀོ་འདི་ལྟར་ཡིན་ན། །
དུས་གསུམ་རྒྱལ་བས་ཀྱང་སྐྱོབ་ཐབས་མི་འདུག །
འགྱུར་བ་སྣ་ཚོགས་འདི་འགྱུར་མེད་ཨ་མའི། །
རྣམ་འགྱུར་ཡིན་པས་ན་གྲོལ་རྒྱུ་འདུག་གོ །

If subject-object duality is as they seem to be,
then not even the buddhas of the three times can save us.
But this diversity of changes is in reality
my unchanging mother’s expressions.
Hence there is indeed a way out. (Thupten Jinpa)

If those perceivers and what they perceive were just as they are,
There is no way I could be saved even by the Victors of the three times!
But since these various changes are the expressive moods
Of my changeless mother, there is the chance for liberation. (Karl Brunnholzl)

But, if I myself remain under the deception of these appearances –
These convincing internal and external worlds created by her
Even the buddhas of the three times
Will have no way of protecting me
These changes are mere false expressions of Mother
Freedom, therefore, is possible (Stephen Dominick)

for if the inner and outer were as inherently existent as they seem,
even buddhas of the past, present and future
would have no way to protect.
These changes are expressions
of forever unchanging mother;
freedom, therefore, exists. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 6

ཅིར་ཡང་མ་གྲུབ་པའི་བརྗོད་མེད་ཨ་མའི། །
ཅིར་ཡང་བརྫུ་བ་ཡི་ཕར་བརྟེན་ཚུར་བརྟེན། །
འདི་ག་ཙམ་ཞིག་ལ་གོ་རྒྱུ་འདུག་གོ །

This inexpressible mother of mine,
not existing in any form appears in all forms.
In this mutual dependence alone [of emptiness and form],
there is an important lesson indeed. (Thupten Jinpa)

My inexpressible mother, not established as anything whatsoever,
Deceptively manifesting as anything whatsoever, you lean back and forth—
Just this is to be understood. (Karl Brunnholzl)

Considering these manifestations of my mother
Nothing exists as true and therefore expressible
Manifestations of any sort is in every aspect a mutual dependence
Comprehension of even this fragment carries us towards full realization (Stephen Dominick)

Not existing as anything,
my mother has to be understood as the mere inexpressible,
manifesting is in every aspect a mutual dependence;
just this is something to realize. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 7

ཕ་རྒན་བཙལ་བས་ནི་མ་རྙེད་པ་དེ། །
མ་རྒན་རྙེད་པ་ཁོ་ཡིན་པར་འདུག་པས། །
ཨ་མའི་པང་ནས་ནི་ཕ་རྒན་རྙེད་པས། །
ཕ་མ་དྲིན་ཅན་གྱིས་བུ་ང་སྐྱོབ་སྐད། །

Not finding my father when sought
is, in fact, the finding of my mother;
and my father is found on my mother’s lap!
That’s how the kind parents save their child, I am told! (Thupten Jinpa)

Not finding my old father by searching for him
Means nothing but finding my old mother.
Through spotting my old father on the lap of my mother,
I hear that I, their child, am protected by these kind parents. (Karl Brunnholzl)

To search for my old father
And not to find him
Is to find my old mother
And in her lap I discover my old father
My kind-hearted parents, protect your son! (Stephen Dominick)

Searching for my old father
and not to find him
is to find my old mother
and in her lap I find my old father.
My kind-hearted parents protect their son! (Gavin Kity)

Verse 8

གཅིག་མིན་གཞན་མིན་གྱི་ཨ་མའི་བཞིན་རས། །
ཇོ་ཇོ་རྟེན་འབྱུང་གི་མེ་ལོང་ནང་ན། །
ཟིན་པ་མེད་ཚུལ་གྱིས་ཡོད་ཡོད་འདྲ་སྟེ། །
སྨྱོན་པ་ང་འདྲས་ནི་རྟོག་དཔྱོད་མ་ཞུགས། །

It seems that my mother’s face,
which is neither one nor multiple,
appears ungraspably on my brother’s mirror.
Yet a lunatic like me had no clue at all! (Thupten Jinpa)

Being neither one nor other, the face of my mother
In the mirror of my elder brother, dependent origination,
In a way that cannot be grasped, seems to be so very present.
But lunatics like me lack the engagement to explore it. (Karl Brunnholzl)

My mother’s face seems existent
Yet within the mirror of brother dependent arising it is evanescent
Traceable with neither the attribute of oneness or otherness
And I, as dull as I am
Had never discerned this (Stephen Dominick)

Not one, not other,
my mother’s face – traceable with neither the attribute of oneness & otherness
and which seems existent is yet unfindable
when looked for in the mirror of brother dependent arising;
and I, as stupid as I am,
had never considered this. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 9

ཀླུ་སྒྲུབ་ཟླ་གྲགས་ཀྱིས་ཞལ་ཆེམས་རླུང་བསྐུར། །
འཇམ་དཔལ་སྙིང་པོ་ཡིས་བྱ་ཅིག་བཏང་བས། །
ཐག་རིང་འཚོལ་བ་ཡི་དཀའ་ལས་བཤོལ་ནས། །
ལྷན་ཅིག་གནས་པ་ཡི་མ་རྒན་མཐོང་རེ། །

Nāgārjuna and Chandrakīrti sent
their instructions through the wind;
and Mañjuśrīgarbha sent these to us by a bird.
So, avoiding hardships of a long search,
I hope to see my ever-present old mother. (Thupten Jinpa)

The legacy of Nagarjuna and Candrakırti has been entrusted to the wind
And a bird has been dispatched from Mañjushrı’s very heart —
Through that, I left behind the hardships of searching for my old mother far away
And hope to see her being right here with me. (Karl Brunnholzl)

Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti
Bequeathed their legacies to the wind
Tsongkapa sent an expeditious bird to bare the message
And it is thus that I have hope in discovering
Without great toil, the faults of my old mother (Stephen Dominick)

Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti
left their legacies on the wind,
Manjugarbha has sent a bird
And stopped my effort of searching far and wide,
And expect to see my mother here with me. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 10

ད་ལྟ་རང་རེ་ཡི་བློ་གསལ་འགའ་ཞིག །
ཚུགས་ཐུབ་བདེན་གྲུབ་སོགས་བརྡ་ལ་ཞེན་པས། །
སྣང་བ་ལིངས་ལིངས་འདི་རང་སོར་བཞག་ནས། །
དགག་རྒྱུ་རྭ་ཅན་ཞིག་འཚོལ་བར་སྣང་སྟེ། །

There seem to be among today’s scholars
those who, being caught in the web of words—
“thoroughly withstanding,” “true existence,” etc.—
seek only something with horns to be negated,
while leaving intact this everyday solid appearance. (Thupten Jinpa)

Nowadays, it seems that some of our very own great luminaries,
Through their obsession with terms such as “self-sufficiency” and “real existence,”
Leave quivering appearances intact in their own place
And then look for something with horns to be negated. (Karl Brunnholzl)

In these times, some of our bright minds
So attached to nomenclature
Intone ‘self-sustaining’, ‘truly existent’, and more
And neglect this solidly existent appearance
Searching for another horned creature to refute (Stephen Dominick)

These days some of our bright minds,
so attached to terminology,
‘self-sustaining’, ‘truly existent’ and so on,
ignore this solid appearance
and search for another horned creature to refute. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 11

སྒྲིབ་བྲལ་ཨ་མ་ཡི་བཞིན་རས་དེ་ན། །
ལང་ལང་ལིང་ལིང་འདི་ཡོད་སྐད་མི་འདུག །
གནད་འགགས་མ་ཕིགས་པའི་བཤད་བཤད་མང་ཀྱང་། །
ཨ་མ་རྒན་མོ་དེ་བྲོས་དོགས་འདུག་གོ །

But on my mother’s unveiled face
such vivid dualism is not found, I believe!
Through excessive discussions off the mark,
my old mother is likely to run away! (Thupten Jinpa)

In the unveiled face of my mother,
There is not a word about these fluctuating, quivering [appearances] being existent.
So they may well ramble on with their many explanations that fail to hit the essential point,
But I am afraid this old mother will just run away from them. (Karl Brunnholzl)

Upon the unveiled face of mother
No trace of this solid appearance is evident
If too many words are invoked in explanation
Without penetrating this subtle point
I suspect old mother may abscond (Stephen Dominick)

On the unveiled face of mother,
no trace of this solid appearance seems to exist
Without penetrating this subtle point,
you may explain and explain,
but old mother might flee elsewhere. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 12

ཡོད་ཞིག་ཡོད་མོད་ཀྱང་ད་ལྟའི་དེ་འདྲའི། །
རོང་རོང་འགལ་འདུ་ཅན་ཡིན་ཚོད་མི་སྣང་། །
ཕ་མ་མཛའ་གཅུགས་ཀྱི་འབྲལ་མེད་བག་ཕེབས། །
འཇམ་འཇམ་སྐྱིད་སྐྱིད་ཅིག་ཡིན་པར་སྣང་ངོ་། །

Things exist, though not in this mode
of brute facts of discordant dichotomies.
For the inseparable bond of our loving parents
seems that of tenderness and joy. (Thupten Jinpa)

[Appearances] indeed have a certain existence,
But they do not appear in such a black-and-white fashion like now —
My father’s and mother’s perfect harmony, inseparable great ease,
Appears to be so much gentle happiness. (Karl Brunnholzl)

That which exists, of course exists
But not in the way as this upright contradiction
Mother and father
Inseparable in their harmony
Are at ease – happy and at peace (Stephen Dominick)

That which exists of course exists
but not in the way as this: erect and upright with contradiction
yet mother and father, inseparable in their harmony,
are at ease, happy and at peace. (Gavin Kity)

Verses 13-14

བྱེ་མདོ་རྣམ་རིག་དང་ཤར་གསུམ་མཁན་པོས། །
ཨ་མ་གླང་ཆེན་གྱི་ཐལ་དཀར་གཟུགས་ལ། །
བེམ་པོ་འཛུམ་རིས་ཀྱི་རྒྱ་སྟག་ཁྲ་བོ། །
འཛིན་པ་ཀླད་མེད་ཀྱི་སྤྲེའུ་སྨྱོན་པ། །
གཉིས་མེད་ཚུགས་ཐུབ་ཀྱི་དོམ་བུ་ངར་མའི། །
ཐ་སྙད་སྣ་ཚོགས་ཤིག་འདོགས་པར་བྱེད་ཀྱང་། །
ཨ་མ་རྒན་མོ་དེ་སྟོར་ནས་འདུག་གོ །

Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, Vijñānavāda,
and the three Eastern masters, though label
this mother, limestone-like white elephant,
with names so divergent: “external matter,” a beaming tiger!
“an intrinsic subject,” a crazy brainless monkey!
“inherently existing nondual nature,” a ferocious bear!
Yet they all seemed to have lost the old mother. (Thupten Jinpa)

For the Vaibhaskas, Sautrantikas, and the Vijñapti[vadins], as well as the three eastern panditas,
Our mother, who has the form of [Indra’s] divine white elephant,
Is matter — as if she were a tiger with its colorful patterns;
The apprehender — as if she were a brainless, crazy monkey;
And self-sufficient nonduality — as if she were a wild bear!
They lay all kinds of such conventional terms on her,
But they just keep losing this old mother. (Karl Brunnholzl)

Followers of the Specifics, followers of Sutra
Mind Only School, Three Scholars of the East –
They try and harness the great white form of mother elephant
With the mere striped tiger-thread of matter
Becoming like mindless and aggravated monkeys
Or else, employing an army of words, they bind her with many a name
To the wild bear of self-sustaining existence without duality
But they have made of her such schisms that mother elephant is lost entirely (Stephen Dominick)

Followers of Vaibashika, Followers of Sutrantika,
Mind Only School, Three Scholars of the East,
they ascribe the great white form of mother elephant
to the striped tiger of matter with its painted smile,
or to the brainless monkey of consciousness
or to the wild bear of self sustaining existence of non-duality
They label her with many a name
but they have shattered away the old mother. (Gavin Kity)

Verses 15-16

ས་རྙིང་ཀར་འབྲུག་གི་མཁས་གྲུབ་མང་པོས། །
གསལ་སྟོང་འཛིན་མེད་ཀྱི་རང་གི་རིག་པ། །
ཀ་དག་ལྷུན་གྲུབ་ཀྱི་ཀུན་བཟང་རང་ཞལ། །
མ་བཅོས་ལྷན་སྐྱེས་ཀྱི་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ། །
ཡོད་མིན་མེད་མིན་གྱི་ཁས་བླང་བྲལ་སོགས། །
སྣ་ཚོགས་ཐ་སྙད་ཀྱི་ཞལ་ཕོ་སྒྲོགས་ཀྱང་། །
གཤིས་ལུགས་ཐིགས་པོ་ཞིག་ཡིན་ན་ལེགས་ཏེ། །
མཛུབ་མོ་འཛུགས་ས་དེ་ཅི་ཞིག་ཡིན་ཨང་། །

Likewise, many scholars and meditators
amidst Sakya, Nyingma, Karma and Drukpa,
pride themselves in diverse terminology:
“reflexive awareness,” subject-free, empty, and luminous;
“primordial purity and spontaneity,” Samantabhadra’s true face;
“mahāmudrā,” the uncontrived innate nature;
“neither is nor is not,” devoid of any standpoint.
It is all well if the target is hit;
but I wonder what you are all pointing at! (Thupten Jinpa)

Many scholars and siddhas of the Sakya, Nyingma, Kargyü, and Drugba
[Call her] lucid and empty self-awareness without fixation,
Samantabhadra’s own face of alpha-pure spontaneous presence,
Uncontrived, connate Mahamudra,
And freedom from claims—being neither existent nor nonexistent.
They loudly proclaim all kinds of such conventional terms,
But that’s fine, if they refer to the heart-drop of the fundamental nature—
I just wonder what it is their fingers point to! (Karl Brunnholzl)

Many scholars and meditators of the Sakya,
Nyingma, Karma Kagyu, and Drugpa Kagyu
Proudly promulgate their terms and locutions
Talking of a self-knowing consciousness
Comprised of the union of ungraspable clarity and emptiness
Of the primordially pure and spontaneous face of Samantrabhadra,
Of the uncreated, innate Mahamudra
They talk of being free from asserting existence or non-existence and so on
And if they are on target, it is good and well
But I wonder at what they are pointing? (Stephen Dominick)

Many scholars and meditators of the Sakya,
Nyingma, Karma Kagyu and Drugpa Kagyutalk of a self-knowing consciousness of ungraspable clarity and emptiness,
of the primordially pure, spontaneous face of Samantrabhadra,
of the uncreated, innate Mahamudra,
of being free from asserting existence or non-existence, and so on.
Proudly you proclaim your terminology,
and if it is on target, good,
but I wonder what you are pointing at. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 17

ཕྱི་དོན་མ་བཤིག་པས་བློ་ཚུབ་མི་དགོས། །
དོན་སྨྲ་སྡེ་གཉིས་རྣམས་དགྱེས་དགྱེས་མཛོད་ཅིག །
རང་རིག་མ་ཡིན་ཀྱང་ཚད་གཞལ་འཐད་པས། །
རྣམ་རིག་སྨྲ་བ་ཀུན་དགྱེས་དགྱེས་མཛོད་ཅིག །
རང་མཚན་མ་གྲུབ་ཀྱང་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་བཀྲ་བས། །
ཤར་གསུམ་མཁན་པོ་ཀུན་དགྱེས་དགྱེས་མཛོད་ཅིག །

As external matter is not dismantled;
Vaibhāṣika and Sautrāntikas, worry not and be pleased.
Though no self-cognition, cognition and cognized is tenable;
all Vijñānavādins, do be pleased.
Though no intrinsic nature, dependent arising remains stark;
O three Eastern masters, do be pleased as well. (Thupten Jinpa)

Without destroying outer objects, you don’t need to be upset —
You two parties who propound real objects, just be joyful!
There is no self-awareness, but valid cognition’s evaluation is still justified,
So all you Vijñaptivadins, just be joyful! (Karl Brunnholzl)

No need to be anxious,
As external phenomena are not annihilated
Be happy you believers in external phenomena
Though there is no consciousness
Cognition can be validly established
So be happy you followers of Mind Only
Phenomena do not exist by their own nature
Yet there is this diversity of dependent arisings
Be happy you Three Scholars of the East (Stephen Dominick)

No need to be anxious,
external phenomena are not destroyed,
be happy you the two believers in external phenomena.
There is no consciousness knowing itself
but valid still is the concept of cognition and its object,
so be happy you followers of Mind Only.
Phenomena do not exist by their own characteristics,
yet there is this variety of dependent arising.
Be happy you Three Scholars of the East. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 18

གསལ་སྟོང་མི་འགལ་བས་བཟུང་ཀྱང་ཆོག་གི །
སློབ་བཤད་རྒྱུད་འཛིན་རྣམས་དོགས་ཆུང་མི་དགོས། །
ཀ་ནས་དག་ན་ཡང་བཟང་ངན་འཐད་པས། །
རིག་འཛིན་ཞིག་པོ་རྣམས་བཟང་ཞེན་མི་དགོས། །

As clarity and emptiness can be held without conflict,
upholders of pupil-instruction, be not apprehensive.
Though primordially pure, good and bad are feasible,
knowledge-bearers, you need not grasp at purity. (Thupten Jinpa)

Not established through specific characteristics, dependent origination still vividly blooms,
So all you panditas of the eastern tradition, just be joyful!
Since lucid and empty are not contrary, it’s sufficient to just sustain that,
So you lineage holders of “the guiding instructions” don’t need to worry about a thing! (Karl Brunnholzl)

There is no trespass in holding the still clarity
Of interdependence’s multiplicity
As non-contradictory
Put away even your slightest suspicions
Upholders of the student instruction lineage
All may be well primordially pure
But even still good and bad exist
Do not cling to purity Knowledge Bearers (Stephen Dominick)

It is alright to hold clarity and emptiness
as non-contradictory,
put away your slightest of suspicion
upholders of the student instruction lineage.
All may be primordially pure
but good and bad exist,
do not cling to purity Knowledge Bearers. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 19

བཅོས་ནས་བསྒོམ་ན་ཡང་ལྷན་སྐྱེས་འཆར་བས། །
རྟོག་ལྡན་རྒན་པོ་རྣམས་ཨུ་ཚུགས་མི་དགོས། །
ཡོད་མེད་སྤྲོས་བྲལ་དེ་ཁས་བླང་ཆོག་པས། །
རྟོག་གེ་མགོ་མཁྲེགས་རྣམས་ཚབ་ཚུབ་མ་བྱེད། །

Since the innate nature can dawn
even through meditation that is contrived,
elderly meditators, you need not be persistent.
Since one can uphold the absence of elaboration
of existence and nonexistence,
stubborn logicians, you need not fret. (Thupten Jinpa)

Though being alpha-pure, good and bad are still justified,
So you smashing awareness-holders don’t need to hang on to what’s good!
Even if you meditate with contrivance, the connate will dawn,
So you seasoned realized ones don’t need to be pushy!
It is sufficient to accept the freedom from the reference points of existence and nonexistence,
So you hardheaded dialecticians, don’t go helter-skelter! (Karl Brunnholzl)

Though meditated with effort and contrivance
The innate realization will still occur
No need for such insistence
You old Togden meditators
There is no violation in asserting the non-elaborations
Of existence and non-existence
Do not fret you stubborn logicians (Stephen Dominick)

Though meditated with effort and contrivance
the innate will yet still arise;
no need to be so insistent
you old Togden meditators
It is alright to assert the non-elaborations
of existence and non-existence;
do not fret you hard-headed logicians. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 20

འོན་ཀྱང་གཞུང་ལུགས་ལ་སྦྱངས་པ་ཆུང་རྣམས། །
ཐ་སྙད་སྦྱོར་ཚུལ་ཞིག་མ་མཁྱེན་ཡིན་སྲིད། །
ཁོ་བོ་ཁྱེད་ཅག་ལ་མི་གུས་མ་ལགས། །
ཕོག་ཐུག་བྱུང་ན་ནི་བཟོད་པར་མཛོད་ཅིག །

All of this evolved perhaps due to
not knowing how to use conventions
by some lacking in extensive study.
It is not that I have no respect for you.
Do forgive me, if I cause offence. (Thupten Jinpa)

However, it is possible that those with little learning in scriptural traditions
Do not know some ways of applying conventional terms.
It is not that I don’t have respect for you,
So if you have become irritated, please forgive me. (Karl Brunnholzl)

However it is possible that these little obfuscations
May be attributable to those who, being ill-versed in scripture,
Are thus strangers to the terminology
I intend no disrespect
Forgive me if I have offended (Stephen Dominick)

However, it is possible that this has come about
because those not well versed in scripture
are not familiar with the terminology.
I mean no disrespect to you,
Forgive me if I have offended. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 21

ཁོ་བོ་ཀུན་ཤེས་ཀྱི་ཤར་པོ་མིན་ཡང་། །
ཕ་མེས་གཞུང་ལུགས་ཀྱི་རྟ་ཕོ་བཟང་པོ། །
རྟག་སྦྱོར་གུས་སྦྱོར་གྱིས་བཞོན་ཚུལ་མཁས་པས། །
གཅིག་རྡུགས་འཕྲང་ལས་ནི་ཐར་བར་རེའོ། །

Though I am not an omniscient,
I do possess expertise in riding
the well-bred horse of my ancestors’ works.
And through enduring and dedicated striving,
I hope to ride through the difficult passage. (Thupten Jinpa)

I am not the all-knowing youthful one,
But through constant and respectful exertion, I am skilled in the way of riding
The excellent stallion of the scriptural tradition of my forefathers,
So I hope to be liberated from this single obstructing, narrow passage. (Karl Brunnholzl)

I mean not to maintain omniscience or even knowledge
It is with diligence and perseverance as my coaches
That I am a well-trained equestrian
And riding the noble stallion of my ancestors’ lineage
I am imbued with hope that I will be delivered
From the dual chasms that line either side of this precipice (Stephen Dominick)

I am not a young know-it-all
but I ride the noble stallion of my ancestors’ lineage.With diligence and perseverance
I became skilled in riding
and be delivered with hope from this frightening precipice path. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 22

འཚོལ་དགོས་མི་འདུག་སྟེ་འཚོལ་མཁན་རང་ཡིན། །
བདེན་པར་མི་ཞེན་ཏེ་བརྫུན་པ་ཉིད་ཡིན། །
བརྫུན་པ་མི་འགོག་སྟེ་བདེན་པ་རང་ཡིན། །
ཆད་མིན་རྟག་མིན་ལ་ངལ་གསོས་ཆོག་གོ །

No search is required, for the seeker is it.
Never grasp as true, for it is false.
Yet shun not this falsity, for it is the truth.
And we can rest in this [truth],
which is neither nothing nor absolute. (Thupten Jinpa)

There is no need for searching, it’s the searcher itself.
Don’t cling to something real, it’s just delusive.
Don’t block delusiveness, it’s reality itself.
Neither extinct nor permanent, all you have to do is rest at ease. (Karl Brunnholzl)

No need to search, for this corporeality is enough
And search as I may, I am still an ostensible searcher
Do not cling to things as real for they are not
But do not condemn the false for they are what they are
Take rest! Be released from oblivion and eternity (Stephen Dominick)

No need to search for it is the searcher himself,
do not cling to things as real for they are false
but do not abdicate or refute the false for it is truth itself.
Take rest in freedom from nihilism and eternalism (Gavin Kity)

Verse 23

ཨ་མ་མ་མཐོང་ཀྱང་མིང་ཙམ་ཞིག་གིས། །
ཕ་མ་དྲིན་ཅན་དེ་ཡུན་རིང་སྟོར་བ། །
གན་ན་འདུག་པ་བཞིན་འཕྲད་པར་སྣང་གི །

Though I may not see my mother directly,
through [hearing] their mere names I feel
that I’ve just found my long-lost kind parents,
as if they are right here next to where I am. (Thupten Jinpa)

Though I didn’t see my mother, just through some names,
[Now] it seems I meet my kind parents lost for so long,
As if they were right here in front of me. (Karl Brunnholzl)

I have mistakenly estranged my kind parents
By naming them distinctly
Infinitesimally, my vision begins to clear
And mother and father become reconciled
Thanks to my kind teachers (Stephen Dominick)

I have not seen my mother
but by just their names
it is as if my kind and long lost parents
are here standing before me. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 24

ཀླུ་སྒྲུབ་ཡབ་སྲས་དེ་བཀའ་དྲིན་ཆེའོ ། །
བློ་བཟང་གྲགས་པ་དེ་བཀའ་དྲིན་ཆེའོ ། །
དྲིན་ཅན་བླ་མ་དེ་བཀའ་དྲིན་ཆེའོ ། །
བཀའ་དྲིན་གཟོ་ཐབས་སུ་ཨ་མ་མཆོད་དོ། །

Great indeed is the kindness of Nāgārjuna and his heirs.
Great indeed is the kindness of Losang Drakpa,
Great indeed is the kindness of my guru.
To repay their kindness, I will honor my mother. (Thupten Jinpa)

Great is the kindness of father Nagarjuna and his heirs.
Great is the kindness of Lobsang Tragba.
Great is the kindness of the benevolent gurus.
As a means to repay their kindness, I supplicate my mother. (Karl Brunnholzl)

Nagarjuna and his followers, so kind!
Lobsang Dragpa, so kind!
My dear lamas, so kind!
In gratitude I perform the puja of mother (Stephen Dominick)

Nagarjuna and his followers, so kind!
Lobsang Dragpa, so kind!
My kind lamas, so kind!
In return I perform the puja of mother (Gavin Kity)

Verse 25

སྐྱེ་མེད་བརྗོད་བྲལ་གྱི་ཨ་མ་རྒན་མོས། །
རིག་པའི་བུ་ཆུང་དང་ལྷན་ཅིག་འཛོམ་ནས། །
ཀུན་བཟང་སྤྱོད་པ་ཡི་དགའ་སྟོན་ཆེན་པོས། །
མ་རྒན་འགྲོ་བ་ཀུན་གཏན་བདེར་འཁྲིད་དོ། །

By the joyous celebration of all noble deeds,
through the meeting of the young child of awareness
with his unborn and inexpressible aging mother,
may all mother beings be led to lasting joy. (Thupten Jinpa)

Once the small child of my awareness has met
With its unborn and inexpressible mother,
Through the great feast of the conduct of Samantabhadra,
I will lead all beings, my previous mothers, to lasting bliss. (Karl Brunnholzl)

I pray that my unborn inexpressible old mother
Unites with her little child of the mind
And with a great festival of Bodhisattva deeds
Leads all beings to everlasting happiness (Stephen Dominick)

I pray that my unborn inexpressible old mother
comes together with her little child of the mind
and with a great festival of Bodhisattva deeds
leads all beings to everlasting happiness. (Gavin Kity)

Verse 26

ཨེ་མ་ལ་རོལ་པའི་རྡོ་རྗེ། །
ཨ་འོ་ལ་སྐྱིད་པའི་རྐང་བྲོ། །
འོ་ན་ལ་འདི་རུ་བརྡུངས་ནས། །
ཨ་ཧོ་ཡ་དཀོན་མཆོག་མཆོད་དོ།། །།

Ah! I, Rölpai Dorjé
perform here right now
a dance of ecstatic joy
to honor the Three Jewels. (Thupten Jinpa)

E MA LA, I, Rölpé Dorje,
A O LA, dancing here,
O NA LA, this enraptured dance,
A HO YA, pay homage to the [three] jewels. (Karl Brunnholzl)

Ema! I Rolpa Dorje dance with great joy
Aho-la! In this very place – a puja for the Three Jewels (Stephen Dominick)

Ah yes! Rolpa Dorje
dances for joy.
Ah yes! In this very place,
puja for the Three Jewels. (Gavin Kity)


ཞེས་ཨ་མ་ངོ་ཤེས་ཀྱི་བརྫུན་ཚིག་བྲག་ཆའི་སྒྲ་དབྱངས་འདི་ཡང་དབུ་མ་ཆེན་པོ་ལ་ལྷག་པར་མོས་པའི་ལྕང་སྐྱ་རོལ་པའི་རྡོ་རྗེས་སྤྲུལ་པའི་གནས་མཆོག་རི་བོ་རྩེ་ལྔར་སྨྲས་པའི་ཡི་གེ་པ་ནི་དགེ་སློང་དགེ་ལེགས་ནམ་མཁའོ།། །།

These few deceptive lines describing the recognition of my mother entitled “The Melodies of an Echo” have been written by Cangkya Rölpai Dorjé, someone who has deep admiration in the great Middle Way, on the miraculous holy site of Wutaishan (Five-Peaked Mountain). Scribed by Gelong Geleg Namkha. (Thupten Jinpa)

These lines of Recognizing My Mother—the melody of an echo — were uttered by Janggya Rölpé Dorje, who is extremely dedicated to Great Madhyamaka, on the Five-Peaked Mountain, a supreme place of emanation. The scribe was the monk Geleg Namka. May there be virtue! (Karl Brunnholzl)

This untrue echo of a song entitled ‘Recognizing My Mother’ was composed by Chankya Rolpa Dorje, someone with great devotion to the Madhyamika, at the second place known as the Five Mountain Peaks. The scribe was the monk Gelek Namkha.I received teachings on Recognizing My Mother from Geshe Namgyal Wang (Stephen Dominick)

This untrue echo of a song entitled ‘Getting to Know Mother’ was composed by Chankya
Rolpa Dorje, someone with great faith in the Madhyamika, at the sacred place known as
the Five Mountain Peaks. The scribe was by the monk Gelek Namkha. (Gavin Kity)


Translated by Thupten Jinpa and first published in Songs of Spiritual Experience: Tibetan Buddhist Poems of Insight and Awakening (Boston: Shambhala, 2000); translation revised in January, 2021. (Thupten Jinpa)

I received teachings on Recognizing My Mother from Geshe Namgyal Wangchen 12 at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in south India in June of 2003. It was a most undeserved and wonderful privilege to share many dialogues with Geshe Wangchen. It is with the humble hope of strengthening my tenuous comprehension of all that my teachers have imparted that I endeavor to write this commentary on Rolpa Dorje’s profound text. May an ocean of compassion and wisdom wash across the universe of sentient beings and may I someday be of service to all who suffer. (Stephen Dominick)

Translated into English by Gavin Kilty 1998
Edited by Geshe Dorje Domdul 2003 (Gavin Kity)