Bodhisattva's Song



Even a cow knows how
To take care of himself,
To eat a few clumps of grass
He easily comes across;

Even the beast can merrily drink
From a pool of water he finds
As bitter thirst
Torments him.

But think now what it is
To put your whole heart
Into taking care of others;

This is glory,
This is a park of pleasure,
This is the ultimate.

The Sun
Climbs aboard his fantastic chariot,
Flies across the sky,
Lights up all the world.

The Earth
Raises up his might arms,
Bears the load,
Holds up all mankind.

And so is the way
Of those great beings
Who wish nothing
For themselves,

Their lives devoted
To a single song:
The well-being and happiness
Of every living thing.

Excerpted from Letter to a Student (10th century) by Chandragomi. This passage has been famously quoted by the Fifth Dalai Lama and the first Panchen Lama, and is an illustration of the primary concept of the Bodhisattva Path.

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