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Letter Poem to Draktokpa, by Chöjé Marpa Sheyrab Yéshey

Missive to Master Patron Draktokpa (dpon-yon brag-tog-pa la sbkur-ba)
by Chöjé Marpa Sheyrab Yéshey (smar-pa shes-rab ye-shes, 1135–1203)
Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos


One named Dönden Drakpa Yéshey!

“The nature of mind, free from base and root,

Is that which is, innately, spontaneously present:

The Absolute Body (dharmakāya)”; thus spoke the Dharma Lord.


I, the unpredictable wandering monk of Śākya,

Have a constitution, the Absolute Body of my own mind, which is at ease;

Rejoicing at having long associated

With the transcendent View, Conduct, and Meditation.


And so it is that, although there is no addendum the end of this text, here I shall write one at this point, following the example of the others. This note was written by the Karmapa of the Snowy Mountains (gangs-ri karma-pa, Gangri Karma Rinpoche).


(Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos, March 2016.

Found in the collection of poems, songs and other writings by Marpa Sheyrab Yéshey, chos-rgyal smar-pa’i mgur-‘bum legs-par bzhugs so, published by the Martsang Kagyu Global Corporation, Taipei/Delhi 2015, pages 150-151)


“wandering priest of Śākya” (shaa+kya’s ban-ldom): ‘priest of Śākya’ is a synonym for someone in the Buddhist clergy; ban usually refers to a Buddhist monk, and probably comes from bhante, a Pāli/Sanskrit form of polite address to monks still current in Sri Lanka. Śākya was the family ethnic tribe of the Buddha Gautama, and therefore he is referred to as Śākyamuni, the Sage of the Śākyas (the Śākya tribe still flourishes in Nepal to this day).

Image result for tibetan letters handwritten


Erick Tsiknopoulos View All

Erick Tsiknopoulos (b. 1981) is an American translator of Tibetan, a scholar, researcher and postgraduate student in Buddhist Studies, a teacher and tutor of Tibetan language, a writer and editor, a voracious reader in various subjects, and an experienced world traveler. He is the founder and primary Tibetan translator of the Sugatagarbha Translation Group, and the creator of their main website,, which currently features English translations of over 400 Tibetan texts. Many of his translations have been published in various forms, including as books.

He has been a student of Buddhism since 1999, a student of Tibetan Buddhism since 2003, and a student of Tibetan language since 2005. He has been translating Tibetan texts into English since 2007, has been based in India and Nepal studying Tibetan language and Buddhism intensively and translating Tibetan texts since 2008, and has been working professionally as a Tibetan-English translator and interpreter since 2009.

He is available for contact via email at: and

3 thoughts on “Letter Poem to Draktokpa, by Chöjé Marpa Sheyrab Yéshey Leave a comment

  1. Спасибо! Желаем удачи. И того, чтобы редких переводов с тибетского языка было больше и больше, потому что западные люди в этом остро нуждаются.


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