How Amazing! by Lama Shabkar

(This pretty much says it all).

by Lama Shabkar

Eh ma ho! How amazing!
In both samsara and nirvana, the renown of the awakened state
Is heard everywhere, like thunder throughout the sky.
This awakened state is always within the minds of all beings.
How amazing that one is never separate from it for even an instant!

Not knowing that the awakened state is within oneself,
How amazing that one searches for it elsewhere!
Although it is as clearly manifest as the brilliance of the sun,
How amazing that so few see it!

Having no father and mother, one’s mind is the true Buddha.
How amazing that it was never born, so never dies!
No matter how much happiness and sorrow is experienced,
How amazing that it is never impaired or improved even in the slightest!

How amazing that the mind’s nature is primordially pure, unborn
And spontaneously present!
This self-knowing was naturally free from the very first.
How amazing it is to be liberated just by resting
At ease in whatever happens!

(adapted from “Flight of the Garuda”)

Like a lion coursing through the snow: The Song of Lama Jungne Yeshe

When Padampa Sangye asked him to express his realization, Lama Jungne Yeshe sang:

Like a fatally ill ascetic,
Seek to remember your own death!
Like a lone man struck with leprosy,
Seek realization of disillusionment!
Like a stone thrown into the sea,
Seek realization of irreversibility!
Like a bird seeking worms,
Seek realization of undistractedness!
Like meeting your only child,
Seek realization of recognition!
Like a lion coursing through the snow,
Seek realization beyond fear!

                                                                       ~~From Lion of the Siddhas: The Life and Teachings of Padampa Sangye (translated by David Molk)

Why enlightenment?

Sakyamuni Buddha initially felt no one would comprehend what he had realized under the Bodhi tree. According to legend, he did not want to teach until the god Brahma convinced him that there are beings whose eyes had little dust and who would understand.

Enlightenment is not hard to get because it is foreign or complex. It is hard to understand only because it is so simple yet profound. It is like convincing a fish that it is in the water and it is mostly made of water. It is hard to see because it is so close and so present.

Because of its subtlety, some might even ask, what good is enlightenment anyway? Why should one try to realize enlightenment at all?

I think that Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths is an elegant, simple, and profound solution to this question. Buddha taught that there is suffering; there is a cause of suffering; there is an end to suffering; and there is a path. If you are dissatisfied, do not seek to end your dissatisfaction with a temporary patch. Liberate yourself from its inner root. Seek enlightenment.

Buddha identified a problem—dissatisfaction or suffering—and offered a solution. In that way, out of his great compassion, he made the purpose of liberation and the path to liberation accessible.

But—dare I say this?!—liberation has another meaning, beyond the end of dissatisfaction alone. Or perhaps I should say, calling it the end of dissatisfaction does not seem to do it complete justice, does not by itself give a sense of liberation’s fullness, and might even mislead one into thinking it is a state that is placid or numb.

Beyond the end of suffering, there is an ecstatic quality to liberation. It gives fullness, meaning and joy. It brings gratitude and love. It reveals the beauty and magic of the ordinary. It grants overwhelming wonder that there is anything rather than nothing at all. It shows the whole universe to be an amazing magic trick. In its wake comes immense satisfaction and well-being. It is like putting down a burden one has carried for a million years. Attaining it might even make one want to sing, shout and dance like a madman or a fool.

In the realm of liberation, the evocation of bliss found in the secret Tantra, or the love and ecstasy found in the poetry and song of a Hafiz or Rumi, might be closest to the truth.


As a kind of beginning, some words from Hafiz:

Tiny Gods

Some gods say, the tiny ones,
“I am not here in your vibrant moist lips
That need to beach themselves upon
The golden shore of a
Naked body.

Some gods say, “I am not
The scarred yearning in the unrequited soul;
I am not the blushing cheek
Of every star and

I am not the applauding Chef
Of those precious secretions that can distill
The whole mind into a perfect wincing jewel, if only
For a moment;
Nor do I reside in every pile of sweet warm dung
Born of the earth’s

Some gods say, the ones we need to hang,
“Your mouth is not designed to know His,
Love was not born to consume
The luminous

Dear ones,
Beware of the tiny gods frightened men
To bring an anesthetic relief to their sad

–“Tiny Gods,” Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky in The Gift

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