Song Clarifying Recollection

by Lord Jigten Sumgon

translated by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltshen


Once, when Jigten Sumgon was residing at Drikung Thel, he gathered his students in a meadow behind the monastery and asked them to perform displays of their miracle powers. All but one were able to comply with their guru’s request, and this disciple, Rinchen Drak, suddenly died from shame. When the undertakers tried to dismember his corpse in order to feed it to the vultures, the body resisted the knife. Jigten Sumgon placed his walking stick on the heart-center of the corpse and sang this song:



          I bow at the feet of glorious Phagmo Drupa ( the Teacher of the composer of the song )

          Listen, Rinchen Drak, my son.

          Ka! At the time of death?.

          Worldy activities are a lie.

          The eight worldly dharmas are like the colour of a rainbow.

          Think, can you put your trust in them?

          When you see the separation of gathered friends,

          The affection of relatives and friends is a lie.

          Heart-felt words are like an echo.

          Think, can you put your trust in them?

          When you see the growth and decline of the four elements of the body,

          The illusion of strength and ability is also a lie.

          The spring flower of youth?

          Think, can you put your trust in it?

          When you see the gathering and consumption of wealth,

          Clinging and painful accumulation are also lies.

          Food and wealth are like dew on a blade of grass.

          Think, can you put your trust in them?

          When you see the suffering of birth and death,

          The happiness of the assemblies of gods and men is a lie.

          The joy and suffering of the wheel of samsara?

          Think, can you put your trust in them?

          To the tree, the father, bodhicitta,

          The bias of disciples is a lie.

          Nonvirtuous and misleading friends?

          Think, can you put your trust in them?

          When you understand that all sentient beings are your parents,

          Attachment to self-cherishing is a lie.

          The Shravakas?vehicle of self-liberation?

          Think, can you put your trust in it?  

          When you become convinced of the cause and result of karma,

          The instruction of non-effort is a lie.

          Thunder without rain in an empty sky?

          Think, can you put your trust in it?

          For the guru who has the realization of power and blessings,

          The obstacles of maras and error is a lie.

          Chattering prayers like a parrot?

          Think, can you put your trust in that?

          When you realize the nature of your mind,

          The three limitless kalpas are also a lie.

          The deceptive vehicle of relative truth?

          Think, can you put your trust in it?

          In the cemetery, Gathering Relics, are you sad, son, at being alone?

          Since nothing lasts and all must die, Rinchen Drak, don’t be attached.

          If your mind is still attached, transfer it to your guru’s heart.


Rinchen Drak’s body was then cut open and found to contain numerous relics. There were so many of these that they had to be swept together with brooms.





Notes by Khenpo Koncohg Gyaltshen:

[1] Concern with gain and loss, pleasure and pain, fame and disgrace, and kind and harsh words.

[2] This isn’t to say that human beings don’t feel genuine affection for each other, but that relationships are impermanent, and nothing to cling to as ultimately real.

[3] This is a metaphor that compares bodhicitta, which is without bias, to a sheltering tree and protecting father.

[4] An advanced teaching in Vajrayana that can lead to carelessness if not properly understood.

[5] The cemetery where this miracle occurred was thereafter referred to as Ten Chak Gang (“Gathering Relics?. There Jigten Sumgon opened a mandala for the purification of the lower realms, which was placed under a large slab of stone. Under that slab, he also created a light which will burn until the end of the kalpa, and which benefits the minds of those whose bodies are brought there, causing them to be free from birth in lower realms.

Appendix by Kunga Nyima:

About the song: This song presents the main points of the Buddha’s teachings of  renunciation, bodhicitta ?the supreme wish of wanting to achieve Buddhahood for the ultimate good of all, the inter-dependent nature of phenomena and some of the most important topics of the Vajrayana such as the Guru Yoga.

About the composer of the song –Lord Jigten Sumgon: He is the founder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage and is also one of the Teachers of the first Gyalwa Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, the Founder of the Karma Kagyu School.

Who is Khenpo Konchog Gyaltshen: Khenpo Konchog Gyaltshen is one of the highest Abbot of the Drikung Kagyu School. Rinpoche is also one of the most widely-recognised scholar on Tibetan Buddhism in general and the Drikung Kagyu tradition in particular alive in the world today. Rinpoche is the teacher and founder of numerous Buddhist centres in the west. Books authored or translated by Rinpoche includes The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, The Garland of Mahamudra Practices, The Jewel Treasury of Advice amongst others. Both a brilliant scholar and earnest practitioner, Rinpoche touches people who come into contact with him with his simplicity, sincerity, genuine humility and kindness.


Khenpo Konchog Gyaltshen was in Singapore for the first time and was teaching on the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra at Karma Choying Kunkhyab Ling from 9 to 11 March 2001.

Karma Choying Kunkhyab Ling is the official centre representing HH the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje in Singapore.

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje is recognised by HH the 14th Dalai Lama and all other senior lineage-holders of Tibetan Buddhism as the authentic reincarnation of the Gyalwa Karmapas and the Official Head of the Karma Kagyu School.


Information on the centre can be assessed at: [ web-site ] or 2747800 or 2706606


Permission to quote the translation is graciously granted by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltshen. This translation is found in “Prayer Flags? a collection of articles and translations on the life and spiritual teachings of Jigten Sumgon. This book, together with other works of Khenpo Konchog Gyaltshen can be purchased from Snow.