The Mother’s Gift. a poem about devotion in Dzogchen. Emerson, 2019

On the final morning (16 June 2019) of a retreat at Emerson College James began by saying:

The language of dzogchen tends to be somewhat clinical, a little bit neutral. That is  because dzogchen is primarily focussed on clarity: being able to open to how it is, as it is. This may sometimes seem a little bit bleak but dzogchen is niched within all the other modes of dharma and they bring their own flavours, energies and qualities, bringing more warmth to the  situation. 

Devotion in dzogchen is primarily non-distraction. If we are really devoted to something we give ourselves to it and we don’t wander off – because this is where we want to be. It is not a bhakti type of devotion where there is the arousing of emotion but none the less there needs to be a flavour. So I was reflecting on this last night and I wrote something which I think maybe gives you a flavour of it.

The Mother’s Gift

Mother, ground, basis, source,
I remain unborn within you,
playing with all the plays within you.

You offer endless toys,
rising like dream gifts for me,
whom you also dream
without dreaming,
without sleeping,
being ever awake,
yet peaceful
and at ease.

Irrational earth soul,
protect me from
rational sky spirit.

Sweet mad Dionysus
keep cruel clean Apollo
from my heart.

Mother, these gods dance
and march within you,
and falling in their battles
I forget you,
and drift away within my home.

Forgetting you is the birth of me.
Please let me die to the thought of me,
and be unborn again in you,
free from the burden of lonely struggle
to find something to replace you
when nothing will.

Copied down by Rainer Schader

If you want to listen to James read the poem please click here and go to File number 11, starting exactly 02.28 and up to 03.34, so it is quite at the beginning.

Read and Download a PDF of the Poem in English.

Read this page and the poem in Portuguese translated by Madalena Pedroza.

Read this page and the poem in Turkish translated by Mustafa Mert Çelebi

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