Basic Buddhism in Songs: Contemporary Nuns’ Oral Traditions in Kinnaur. Collected by Linda La Macchia
1. It is said about the world it is an ocean of misery,
Burning life a fire of misery.
If you remember death, give up nonvirtuous actions,
And accumulate virtuous actions.
Having accumulated virtuous actions, give offerings to the Triple Gem.
2. When death comes, nobody will help you.
Not only will nobody help you, even your own family will not help,
Not only your family, but also your beloved body.
Leaving the beloved body will also happen.
3. At the time of death, naked and alone,
We will not know where we are going.
We will reach the hand of Yama’s messenger.
In front of Dhammaraja,
Black stones and white stones will be separated.
4. Who will pull us out of the ocean of misery?
Only you, please pull us out, Protector, Triple Gem,
And the kind root guru
O root guru, close the door of the six realms,
And make taut the rope of Buddhahood.
Read the short story – The magic pond, written by Buddhist nun Namgey Lhamu
The Magic Pond.
Dawa Tsering of the large village of Khrimu and Ngima Tsering of the little village of Siru were the best of friends.Every day Dawa Tsering would come to Khrimu and Ngima Tsering would go back to Siru to his friend’s village.
Now what was not good about them was that they both drank a lot of wine.The first thing they needed when they got up from bed early in the morning was a glass of wine. If they did not drink some wine, their hands would tremble and they were unable to do any work as their hands would keep trembling..But once they started to drink they would drink all day long. This made them lazy . They did no work. Neither did they dig the fields nor did they cut wood.Both friends simply chatted and joked the whole day.
Now their parents were very unhappy because of this. They decided to send them away from home. So the two friends walked out of their homes one day with some wine and headed towards Lumla.
“Ngima Tsering” said Dawa Tsering.”Lumla is a warm place. We will have fun there!” “Yim! Yim! Puna!” Yes!Yes! friend! saidNgima tsering feeling very happy.
So the two friends walked happily towards Lumla. After a day’s walk, they arrived at Tak-tsang. “We will rest here for the day” said Dawa tsering. There was a big hill opposite tak-tsang below which they both lay down to rest for the evening..But first, both friends prostrated three times before the tak-tsang. They felt very sad that they did not have any money to offer or buy some butter lamps to burn and offer at the Lha- khang..They fell asleep with a sad heart.
The next morning when they woke up form sleep, they had no more wine left.They wanted to offer three prostrations but ya! Da! Poor Ngima Tsering and Dawa Tsering!Their hands trembled as if hot iron was kept on them and could not offer even a single prostration.
They sat down on the ground sadly.After a while they felt thirsty.They got up and walked around not knowing what to do.Suddenly,Ngima Tsering said
“Look! there is a little pond there!” There was a little pond a little further away from wher they had slept. Ngima Tsering ran to the pond to drink some water from the pond.
“Won’t you drink! Are’nt you thirsty?” asked Ngima tsering. “I only wish it were wine” said Dawa Tsering.
WAI!! No sooner had he said that, Ngima Tsering got a smell of wine coming from the little pond.He could not believe it,so he put his nose near the pond and smelt it again.It smelt of wine.He could not believe it so he took a sip from the pond to see if it was really wine. AA-TSE! IT WAS! THE WATER IN THE POND HAD TURNED INTO WINE!
“Dawa Tsering! Dawa Tsering!” shouted Ngima tsering . “Look! The water in the pond has changed into wine!
Dawa Tsering could not believe what his friend had just said.He went near the pond and smelt it.It did smell of wine. But he would not believe it till he tasted it,so he too took a sip from the pond.
AA-TSE! IT WAS WINE!
Ha! Hai!The two friends cried out in joy.
They drank to their fill. Their hands stopped trembling. They offered three prostrations to thank Guru Rinpoche and the Gods and Goddesses of Taktsang.
“We will no more go to Lumla” said Ngima “But will live here, drink wine and sell wine!”
“ Yim! Yim!” said Dawa“What a comfortable livelihood!”
They both offerd three more prostrations to thank Guru rinpoche and the Gods and Goddesses of Tak-Tsang.
They happily went to tell the ku-nger of Tak-Tsang about the magic pond.
“How can that be?” asked the ku-nger.How can a pond of water turn into a pond of wine?”
“Come and see it for yourself “ said the two friends. So the ku-nger went to see the magic pond for himself.. It was true. The little pond had turned into a pond of wine.
The ku-nger thought to himself“If such drunkers who never chant a single mantra, have their wishes fulfilled, surely, my wishes would be fulfilled. I do not drink and chant thousands of mantras a day”. So he stood before the little pond and made a wish..
“I want a nice and cozy little cottage for myself” he said . But his tiny and dirty old cottage remained the same,It did not turn into a nice and cozy little cottage.
The ku-nger became angry. He shouted. “Oh! The Gods like drunkers and not monks like me who chant the whole day!”
He was so angry that he did not know what to do. At last he thought
“Ya! Da!” Okay Now! “ From today, I too shall drink and drink and drink and become a drunker like the two of them, and, maybe then ,my wish would be fulfilled”. So the ku- nger became a drunker. He went to the magic pond everyday and drank till the end of the day with the two friends. And everyday he stood before the pond and made the same wish.
I want a nice and cozy little cottage for myself”.
Days went by this way, and weeks and months. The ku-nger made his wish everyday for a nice and cozy little cottage but his wish never came true.
The ku-nger became very angry. He did not know what to do. At last he thought “ I should rather die than not have my wish fulfilled”. So he climbed up the hill below which the two friends slept. He was going to jump from the hill and die. But the two friends saw him and ran after him to stop him from jumping from the hill.
“WAI KUNGER!” STOP! STOP!” shouted the two friends. But he did not stop. He kept climbing up the hill . The two friends ran after him to stop him from jumping down the hill.
“We are very sorry kunger” they said. “You must live and look after this sacred shrine.If you die, who will make butter lamps and offer to kunchok sum ? Who will offer incense everyday and who will tell the pilgrims the story of this most sacred of shrines? It is we who must die”.
The ku-nger said nothing. The two friends caught each other’s hands and jumped down the hill.
Wai Da! They did not fall but flew up! up! and up! until they could no more be seen in the midst of white clouds.
The ku-nger was surprised! “How could sinners like them fly up!” he asked not believing what he just saw.
“KUNGER!” a voice called. The voice came from down below the pond.The two friends only drank but they had pure hearts. You who chant everyday, thousands of mantras is full of pride and jealousy. You hurt many people with your pride, and jealousy and they hurt no one”.
“It is most important to have a compassionate heart than chant a thousand mantras everyday”.
The ku-nger realized his mistake. He became humble and rejoiced in the good fortune of others instead of getting jealous. Many years later he was sitting near the magic pond and thinking about the two friends .He thought about the wish he had made then, about a nice and cozy little cottage. He laughed and went back to his room.
Da! Da! His cottage was no more there! But there was in its place a nice and cozy little cottage !