The Tambura’s Yearning Song of Devotion: A Prayer Summarizing Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal’s Life and Liberation by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye
Namo Guru Jnana Dakinyai!
Homage to the Guru, the Wisdom Dakini!
Samantabhadri, Unchanging Goodness, Prajnaparamita, Perfection of Wisdom,
Dhatvisvari, Mother of All Encompassing Space, Vajrayogini,
Sarasvati, Goddess of Learning, Yeshe Tsogyal, Wisdom Queen of the Lake,
Dakini inseparable from the Guru’s three kayas: to you, we pray!
Before Dharmodgata, you made great aspirations;
Before the Sage, you manifested as Gangadevi;
In the pure realms, you took the form
Of the exalted goddess Sarasvati: to you, we pray!
When the time had come to tame the beings of Tibet,
You descended from the sky, as means and wisdom united.
In Drak, you entered the womb of a Kharchen maid
And manifested countless auspicious signs: to you, we pray!
You were born in the bird year, on the tenth of the monkey month, at sunrise.
The earth shook and thunder filled the sky,
Flowers fell like rain, the lake overflowed,
And huge canopies of light streamed across the sky in rainbows: to you, we pray!
At birth, you uttered the alphabet and recited lines of poetry.
The sky rang with the sound of goddesses singing verses of auspiciousness.
After just one month you looked like an eight-year-old child,
And your fame spread across the kingdom: to you, we pray!
Developing renunciation for samsara’s prison,
You fled far from the suitors of surrounding kingdoms,
And, aligning yourself with King Trisong Detsen,
You entered his noble court: to you, we pray!
Reading, writing, the five major sciences —
A few signs by the teachers, and you understood everything.
Your previous karma sparked your interest in the Dharma,
And you became spiritual advisor to the king: to you, we pray!
While you, the master Padmakara, were residing at Chimpu,
The king invited you to court and offered his kingdom as a mandala.
When he asked you to teach the effortless yana,
You demonstrated the rarity of Secret Mantra: to you, we pray!
Again, Padmakara, you were offered a grand feast with the appropriate samaya substances and also the lady Tsogyal.
With joy, you accepted the king’s request to teach,
Took Yeshe Tsogyal as consort, and granted her empowerments,
Returning together to Chimpu for secret practices: to you, we pray!
Having trained in the Dharma of cause and result,
In the three collections — the Dharma of scripture, and the provisional meaning of the twofold vehicle,
You met Sarasvati, the Goddess of Learning, face to face, she gave you the supreme siddhi of perfect recall,
And so you gained clairvoyance and magical powers: to you, we pray!
Able to accomplish whatever was needed, mastering whatever explanations you heard,
Understanding whatever was to be known — this is how you came to define the nine yanas.
In the depths of your being, you could tell valid from invalid,
Thus perceiving the deceptive creations of karma: to you, we pray!
Wanting to know the profound secret beyond karmic causality,
You received, from the Guru, the samayas beyond transgression.
In Yamalung, to ripen your mind-stream, he gave you
The Ocean of Dharma, Great Gathering of Transmitted Precepts: to you, we pray!
By miraculous means, the two of you sped to Shoto Tidro
Where, in the assembly hall, you offered the Guru the mandala of great bliss.
Thus you were granted the four secret empowerments, which matured in you the enlightened body, speech and mind
And refined your pure perception of the master: to you, we pray!
Having cultivated for six months the empowerments received,
At an auspicious time you halted your karmic winds, thus purifying the twelve links,
And four occasions, and seizing the supreme twelfth ground.
Through this, you attained inconceivable qualities: to you, we pray!
Following the Guru’s instructions you travelled to Nepal,
Brought a corpse back to life, were rewarded with gold
And ransomed your consort of skilful means, Acarya Sale.
In such ways, you guided beings, so difficult to tame: to you, we pray!
You exchanged teachings with Vasudhara, Sakyadema and others,
And made your way back to Tidro.
You cultivated the four joys, attained the siddhi of the vital essence,
And brought the five elements under your control: to you, we pray!
At the buddhist king’s request, you accompanied the Guru to Chimpu,
Where he disclosed a hundred and twenty peerless mandalas
And thereby matured three hundred fortunate disciples.
And so you received the heart practice of the enlightened mind: to you, we pray!
Having accomplished the Guru practice at Tidro, you received great blessings,
And all appearances arose as the Guru’s great display.
In visions you travelled to Uḍḍiyana, land of the dakinis, and to other lands supreme among all realms.
And so it was that you beheld marvelous signs: to you, we pray!
You practiced the austerities of food and clothing, of body, speech and mind, and the Buddha’s teaching,
Bringing benefit to others and practicing compassion.
As prophesied by the Guru, you mastered these eight great challenges
And displayed signs of accomplishment in every case: to you, we pray!
On the Ya glacier when you accomplished the bliss and heat of tummo,
You needed no ordinary clothing, for the six bone ornaments were your adornments.
In Senge Dzong, you extracted the essence of medicinal herbs as your sustenance,
And you were worshipped by all the masters and deities of healing: to you, we pray!
Dissolving into rainbow body as you entered the realm of Vajravarahi,
Your speech was perfectly endowed with sixty melodious tones,
And your mind immersed in the vajra-like samadhi,
You who attained all the supreme and ordinary siddhis: to you, we pray!
At Nering Dzong, there were hordes of humans and other beings.
You subdued them all, causing great faith to spark and grow within them.
Powerful gods and demons offered you their life-force
And you appointed them as guardians of the teachings: to you, we pray!
At Paro Taktsang, you adopted the yogic discipline of the profound path,
Transforming your three doors into the three vajras of supreme bliss.
You shone, then, mesmerizing as a sixteen-year-old maiden.
Courageous heruka goddess: to you we pray!
Amitayus bestowed on you empowerments and prophecies,
Through which you attained the vidyadhara level of immortality, beyond the reach of death and decline.
You became the principal goddess of every limitless mandala,
Blazing dark blue lady of longevity: to you we pray!
Having accepted Tashi Kyidren of Mon as your disciple,
Together with the Guru you practiced Vajrakila in Opu Taktsang,
Seizing the life force of all the gods and demons of the three-thousand-fold universe.
Dhatvisvari, Mother of All-Encompassing Space: to you we pray!
By means of wondrous magic you defeated the evil bonpos,
And put a stop to the actions of the wicked ministers there.
You healed the discord in the Sangha, guiding with skill and compassion,
Allowing the teachings of the Victorious One to shine like the sun: to you, we pray!
At the Karak glacier, at Jomonang in Tsang,
And in the valley of Ukpalung, you spread the lineage oral instructions.
By this means, seven fortunate ones were matured and liberated,
And likewise five hundred siddhas, and many more besides: to you, we pray!
At the Shampo glacier you introduced seven bandits
To the nature of mind, and sent them on to Uddiyana.
In Nepal you took the Dakini Kalasiddhi under your care
And granted her liberating instructions: to you, we pray!
Together with the Guru, you stayed again at Chimpu,
Where for eleven years he bestowed upon you all his heart treasures,
With nothing omitted, as if filling a vase.
And so you spread both theory and practice far and wide: to you, we pray!
Millions of heart practices, ten thousand of heart essence cycles,
Teachings vast and profound, tantra, scriptures and pith instructions —
You codified them all in symbolic scripts on yellow scrolls,
And, with this, you laid the foundation of the profound terma treasures: to you, we pray!
Together with the Guru and accomplished fellow practitioners, you travelled in a group to U, Tsang and Kham.
Together, you left footprints and blessed the land through your practice,
You concealed terma treasures in the earth, left accounts,
And prophesied their revelation by those with appropriate karma: to you, we pray!
You accompanied your Guru as he left for the land of the rakṣasas.
You were there at Tsasho Rong when he revealed the Atiyoga teachings,
Perfect, all-encompassing in their entirety,
And you received his three testaments and final prophecies: to you, we pray!
You stayed awhile in Shang and Zabu, maturing and liberating fortunate disciples.
There, resting evenly in the wisdom expanse of Ati,
Your awareness expanded to full maturity.
This is how you visited sixty pure realms: to you, we pray!
You visited the hells and rescued the evil minister Santipa,
Giving food, clothes, medicine, jewels, and protection both physically and mentally.
You performed amazing deeds of exchanging yourself with others,
And thus you were venerated by gods and nagas: to you, we pray!
At Chimpu, in Tibet, you acted as an adviser to the King.
You became the source of instructions to all the followers of the Guru.
Your teachings spread far and wide throughout the world,
Bringing benefit to beings as far as space pervades: to you, we pray!
The whole of Tibet was benefited by your grace.
Leaving hand- and footprints, syllables and images of deities,
You brought benefit to everyone connected with you,
Including all those in the future with faith and devotion: to you, we pray!
You journeyed to great numbers of sacred sites, one hundred major and seven million minor,
Twenty-five glaciers, eighteen major regions,
Twelve hidden valleys, seven spectacular places,
And seven supremely secret sites: to you, we pray!
In these places, under seal, you hid countless terma caskets
With teachings, precious objects, and samaya substances.
Uttering aspirations and verses of auspiciousness,
You ensured the rise of excellence and virtue forever: to you, we pray!
By giving teachings at the temple of Karchu Dorje Ying,
The vast and profound Three Gatherings and others,
You matured and liberated fortunate sons and daughters,
The prince foremost among them: to you, we pray!
As you practiced the Gathering of Secrets, the Guru appeared to you
And stayed for seven days, maturing and liberating the prince.
Thus with compassion you bestowed the first profound instructions
Of the Naturally Liberated Wisdom: to you, we pray!
You journeyed to Karchu, where in meditative equipoise
You actualized the dissolution of experience into its nature.
Sending forth your emanations as guides throughout the six realms,
And you dredged saṃsara from its depths: to you, we pray!
Mandarava came from the holy land of India.
And together you discussed the Dharma, compared pith instructions,
And exchanged teachings with one another, amid garlands of praise.
Such was the delightful melody of auspiciousness: to you, we pray!
You returned to the valley of Zabu in Shang,
Where you performed a great feast with your eleven heart disciples,
And granted hundreds of pith instructions —
The beating heart of the oral lineage: to you, we pray!
Responding to the heartfelt prayers of your disciples,
You gave prophecies, instructions, and words of advice.
You remained for two hundred and eleven years
To protect and be a guide for Tibetans: to you, we pray!
On the eighth day of the bird month, dakinis of the three worlds
And rakṣasas of all eight classes came from Camara to greet you.
You granted nine requests made by gods and humans
And gave prophecies of nine great events: to you, we pray!
You gathered the two dakinis from Bhutan and Nepal into your heart centre, one on either side.
And on the tenth day, within an aura of light,
Borne by four dakinis on a palanquin of light rays,
You lovingly gave your final testament: to you, we pray!
In essence you actualized full awakening, the youthful vase body was yours.
In appearance you journeyed to the Palace of Lotus Light,
In the form of the dakini Blazing Blue Light,
There to rule the rakṣasas as their queen: to you, we pray!
Your enlightened body, speech, and mind, and all your enlightened qualities and activities,
Are inseparable from those of your master and Guru.
And these five inexhaustible aspects reach wherever space extends,
Bringing benefit to beings: to you, we pray!
On account of your love for the people of Tibet,
You appeared to them in twenty-five primary manifestations; and at all times you send
An uninterrupted stream of perfect emanations
As guides and teachers for all sentient beings: to you, we pray!
To us, your disciples, you offer friendly counsel on what we should adopt and avoid.
You dispel any obstacles and you grant us siddhis.
In these and other ways you are always our guardian,
Tibet’s one true Mother, peerless and kind: to you, we pray.
Your profound wisdom-mind pervades the whole of space,
Your compassion shines more brightly than the sun,
A sweet rain of siddhis falls from the clouds of your blessings.
Great mother of swift enlightened action: to you we pray!
Through the power of our prayer to you, our faith and devotion,
You gaze upon us with the eyes of primordial wisdom.
Swiftly seize and bind us with your hook of compassion
And lead us to Khecara, the pure land of the dakinis.
Hold us, in this life and all our lives to come,
And in your compassion grant us your blessing
Now and forever, be our teacher
And grant us every siddhi, common and supreme!
Exactly as they are, the excellent Padmakara and his consort,
May we swiftly, all of us, become just like them!
Through your life and liberation, inseparable from the victorious ones,
May each and every being, as far as space pervades, be established on the level of buddhahood!
According to the judicious command of the glorious master, Padma Osal Dongak Lingpa and the repeated urging of that queen among yoginis, the great Doshul Khandro, I, the Kusali Padma Garwang Lodro Thaye, with one-pointed faith in the Guru and consort inseparably united, at Kunzang Dechen Osal Ling within the sacred site of Sri Devikota, at the beginning of the Water Snake year, on the tenth day of the waxing moon within the miracle month, have distilled the meaning of the life and liberation of Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, as revealed in a terma by the great treasure-revealer Samten Lingpa.
Translated by Stefan Mang with reference to Padmakara’s translation of Yeshe Tsogyal’s life and liberation and Richard Barron’s translation of the same prayer. Edited by Libby Hogg.
Source: Lotsawa House.