Missive to Master Jangch’ub Kyab (dpon byang-chub skyabs la sbkur-ba)
by Chöjé Marpa Sheyrab Yéshey (smar-pa shes-rab ye-shes, 1135–1203)
Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos
If original mind, the Absolute Body (dharmakāya), is not realized,
Then even staying in forest retreats is just paying rent.
If, in the realization of the mind of indivisible emptiness and compassion,
Which has neither center nor edge,
Mindfulness is without distraction,
Then even staying on the homestead is the hermitage supreme.
And so it is that I beseech thee not to let thy mind be depressed about the maintenance of households and monasteries; for if embraced with the excellent aspiration of Awakened Mind (bodhicitta), it becomes the Dharma.
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.
“just paying rent” (khral ‘jal): khral literally means ‘tax’ (and is still the common Tibetan term for taxation), but in older usage can also mean ‘rent’, as it probably does here.
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, Tibetan-Translations.com, 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: EmptyElephant@yahoo.com and SugatagarbhaTranslations@gmail.com