staying on the path (tanka) Tibetan’s Mgur – religious poetry

faith is the way
chanting mindfully
steers you on the path
distractions change the course
away from eternal bliss

© Tournesol ’16/02/19

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu 70 Tibetan’s Mgur, a religious form of poetry 

The mgur as a primarily religious genre, dates chiefly from the time of the greatest of all Tibetan poets, Mi la ras pa* (1040-1123). Though his hundreds of mgur were not given their definitive written form until several centuries after his death, their influence on Tibetan culture seems to have been widespread from Mi la’s time onward, through their preservation in various oral versions and written recensions, and through the importance Mi la quickly assumed as a Tibetan Buddhist culture-hero. Mi la’s greatness lay in his ability to compose songs that combined the imagery, structural parallelism and expressive directness of ancient glu with distinctively Buddhist themes and Indian-inspired metrical schemes. In particular, Mi la ras pa—and thus the classical tradition of mgur—can be seen as inheriting two major influences:

(1) the early diffusion traditions of songs of “positive personal experience,” primarily secular in orientation and distinctly Tibetan in style, and
(2) the tradition—brought to Tibet by Mi la’s guru Mar pa—of tantric songs, those often spontaneous, always richly symbolic dohās, caryāgīti or vajragīti sung by Indian mahāsiddhas to express their spiritual realizations.

The themes, moods and styles of Mi la’s mgur range widely: though the Dharma almost always is the real subject, it is expressed in verses at various times simple or complex, devout or wrathful, puritanical or ribald, humorous or stern, intensely autobiographical or impersonally didactic. An example of one of this mgur (songs) composed by Mi la ras pa

Faith is the firm foundation of my house,
Diligence forms the high walls,
Meditation makes the huge bricks,
And Wisdom is the great corner-stone.
With these four things I build my castle,
And it will last as long as the Truth eternal!
Your worldly houses are delusions,
Mere prisons for the demons,
And so I would abandon and desert them.

The success of Mi la ras pa’s songs in helping to popularize Buddhism, combined with the innate Tibetan love of poetry and song, helped assure that in the centuries after Mi la, mgur composition came to be a widely practiced art.

  • Also known as Milarepa

all one and the same (haibun)

Awakened by the lovely sound of birds chirping made her hope it might be sunny today.  It is! Her friend meows in protest for having shut her bedroom door earlier in the morning.  She chatters away expressing her discontent with a hint of hope to be stroked, fed and stroked some more.

The sky is a darker blue than most seasons…not quite cobalt but close with pearly billows drifting by accentuating the hues of this majestic sky.

sea of blue above
islands shaped in pearly greys
beg my surrender

She had moved her laptop in the living room so she could watch a movie last night and fires it up always curious to see the haiku prompt of the day at Carpe Diem Haiku kai.   In the past few months she has not been as regular contributing and she misses her haijin family.  Yesterday she took the time to visit a few siblings and cousins homes around the world in the blogosphere.

Her thoughts wander to a friend who is in San Ramon today and will be seeing Amma at her retreat. How she misses her warm and healing embrace.  Some call her a guru, others call her a hugging saint…she feels she is all of these and more. Her healing touch, her soothing smile, her words of wisdom and mostly her way of living by loving, giving tirelessly to humanity makes her heart swell.   Amma has a way of looking at you and making you see the beauty within. How she does it is a mystery or is it?  She does not preach laws but models compassion and asks us to see the light we all have within.

Her mind drifts off to sounds of various bhjans songs and the tabla drumming to her heartbeat.  Its echo makes her feel the divine beauty reflected from within.   So many instruments mimic nature and human sounds;  her Celtic spirit awakens with strings,  flutes and drums that soften her heart.  Drum circles come to mind and First Nations People who have become her conscious, reminding her to be good to Mother Earth.

© Pinterest

She looks at her mala beads and remembers hearing Amma say last year, “We are all beads strung on the same string of love.”   She tries to remember this daily.  The image of several homeless people who sit along her path to work come to mind.   Some speak French, English, Créole, Arabic or Spanish but she knows they all understand the same language…compassion.

sound of the drum
listen to the heart beat
all, one and the same

© Tournesol’15/11/14

Carpe Diem Extra Shaman