A Feast Song by the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje



A Feast Song in Lhasa


I salute the guru Jewel.

In the ocean of true essence

arise multitudes of unreal concepts,

like varied patterns in the water.

Therefore I practice the following.

This heroic feast- the culmination of merit

for the profound mother tantra-

was taught to increase the merit of beings.

Thus do I understand its meaning:

Beings of the beginning stage

should visualize their body as a deity

at this stage of imaginative engagement.

Purify food and drink into nectar,

and offer the skandhas to the victorious sages.

This is called the great feast:

heros and heroines equal in number,

who have attained high realizations,

contemplate the essence of void and bliss

amid the abundance of food and drink.

Great is the assembly at the feast!

Since all heros have gathered,

it is called the joyous feast of heros.

The Master knows the way of mantra,

his mindstream is empowered,

he understands the essential precepts;

disciple-hosts of heroines and heros,

together engage in full absorption-

the stages of generation and completion-

immeasurable are the attainments of the feast.

Those who do not possess such virtues,

and wrongly take out of self-importance,

will encounter obstacles; this is foretold.

Though I have not seen the assembled heros,

I have sung the essence of the tantric scriptures;

for this is called the essential instruction.

Be inspired with wondrous admiration.

Join the celebration, partake fully in the feast!

(This poem was sung in Lhasa at the assembly gathered to celebrate a religious feast on the evening of the eighth day of the tenth month of the dragon year)[i]


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[i] Taken from Songs of Spiritual Experience, trans. By Thupten Jinpa and Jas Elsner.  Shambala, 2000.





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