A Leading Monk Praises the Tibetan Government, 1937

Translated from Tibetan by Paul Hackett

This poem was written by the famous scholar-monk Do-bi Geshe Sherap Gyatso to express his support for the in praise of the Tibetan government.  It was published in 1937 the first long-running Tibetan-language newspaper, the Me long  (The Mirror), produced in Kalimpong in Northern India from 1925 to 1963. This poem illustrates conventional Tibetan political discourse, which at least in public consisted typically of lavish praise, if the writer was living within Tibet. Like the vast majority of Tibetan poetry until 1950, the poem is written according to the conventions of classical Indian poetry.

Soon afterwards the Geshe (the title given to a holder of the highest theological degree in the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism) fell out with the Tibetan government and returned to his homeplace in Amdo, the Tibetan area in the north-east of the Tibetan plateau within Qinghai province. In the late 1940s he became a leading spokesman and translator for the Chinese Communist Party and called on Tibetans to welcome the People’s Liberation Army when it advanced into Tibet in 1950.

For details about the Me long, see the Me long and  The Tharchin Collection at the Columbia University Library. For introductory articles to the Me long, see also Paul Hackett,  “Kalimpong, Gergan Dorje Tharchin, and his MIRROR newspaper” and Isrun Engelhardt, “Reflections in The Tibet Mirror: News of the World, 1937-1946”.  

Source: [untitled poem by Do-bi Geshe Sherap Gyatso], Yul phyogs so so’i gsar ’gyur me long (The Mirror of News from All Sides of the World), vol. 8, no. 11 [December 2, 1937], p. 1.

 

To the Government consisting of the seven monastic representatives,
Reting Rinpoche [the regent], the Prime Minister, the four Kalöns [cabinet ministers], and the Shigatse and Ganden Potrang [Lhasa] governments.

 

From the East, the Precious Conqueror and the Paṇ-chen, union of the sun and the moon,

Marvelously shimmering and clothing in the sky

With offering goddess surrounding them, in such an adorned state,

I pray that the joy of gods and men will abound!

 

[With] the skill of a Conqueror, foremost of the government being unsurpassed in sovereignty

Resplendent in the seven [ways], dispelling the longings of disciples of all sorts,

Protector of this great earth, [a state] ten million [beings would find] difficult to endure,

To the foremost in the Dharma, Reting, I give praise from afar.

 

The Buddhist ministers (blon)—the great offering of this pure government—

The four (bzhi) who are great by virtue of the best advice (blon) [told] in secret words (bka’),

Together in the palace (pho brang) replete (ldan) with the thousand joys (dga’) of pacification (zhi)

May [you] blaze forth as an indestructible-vajra Mt. Sumeru (lhun po)!

 

This pleasant news, a garland of discussion,

Passes from the throat of the queen of speech [Sarasvati];

May all of these — like the songs of the Gandharvas in competition —

Be grasped by those surrounded by the four rivers [Ganges, Sita, Sindu, Pakṣu (Brahmaputra) coming from Kailas, i.e. Tibetans].

 

Thus, those endowed with the traits of the best of men (*nara-nara),

Brought alive with the force of their insight and intellect,

May accept or reject these [praises]; nonetheless, may [they] ascend up

The ladder of the gods to the throne of supreme bliss.

 

[While] the Fire Ox (1937) is king (*bhūdhana), with the blossoming of

A million flowers of benefit and happiness as the crown of a heap of jewels,

[Like] a bee of the people, in a state intoxicated with bliss,

May [you] rival (‘gongs) the crown of knowledge of Brahma.

 

[It is my] hope that by this [prayer], the very deepest of your wishes will truly be fulfilled;

But whatever may be the case, many defiling words of coarse and crass meaning will do no good.

Prajñāsamudrena antamitaṃ śubhaṃ [ “By Prajñāsamudra (shes rab rgya mtsho), [who was] cast to the outskirts. May there be auspiciousness” (Sanskrit)].