H.H. the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, Rangjung
Rigpe Dorje (1924 - 1981)
song is ala ala ala.
It is thala thala thala.
"Ala" means it is a song
of the unborn.
"Thala" is a word that invokes.
you do not recognize this place,
It is the place of Akanishtha's heart
In the mandala of glorious Chakrasamvara,
The main seat is Tsurphu in the Dowo
you do not recognize a person like
I belong to the family lineage of
'den, a good ancestry.
If you call me by name, I am known
as Rigdröl Yeshe.
This victory banner of the teaching
raised high on the summit of worldly
Planted at the end of a series, held
high and never
Nourished by the essence of the father
It is the perfection of the great
display of innate
the land of high snows, this turquoise
of the lion
Pervades the countries of the future,
they say. 
In the exquisite sandalwood forests,
lives a huge tiger
With a powerful roar and the radiant
he conquers the wild animals of wrong
What I have spoken is the truth, the
Resounding over the lake with its
Like the pleasant sound of hastening
the sky, vast and all-pervading,
Are set the sun and moon, luminous
The most famous one called Rigdröl
Does not remain, yet knows not where
he will go.
The swan places its trust in the lake
And the lake, unreliable, turns to
The white lion places its trust on
But fine, white snow attracts the
all the noble ones left behind in
land of Tibet
Not come under the sway of the four
From unmanifest space, the protector
looks after them,
Holding them always with his gentle
hook of compassion.
May all sentient beings who have a
connection with me
Bring to fruition the four supreme
I do not stay now, yet my place is
I go to experience the fruition of
previous lives' karma.
springtime a cuckoo will come to Tibet.
Its lovely song will strike sadness
in your heart.
Then you will wonder where the man
Will not you, who depend on me, know
the day the swan circles the edge
of the lake
And leaves its fledglings in the darkening
The day the white vulture
soars in the depths
of the sky,
You will wonder where the man Rigdröl
Fledglings, I feel untold grief for
Now I will not explain much; this
is but a jest,
Yet unified with ultimate reality.
When the Lord of the Path
is held by the
king of birds,
In prayer I aspire that we gather
in great joy.
For this life, take this as the essential
point to be heard:
Speech is indestructible sound like
Mind is empty, free of material concerns.
On the path that does not take up
the positive nor
The conduct of the king of birds
is relaxed within
Examine in detail this meaning in
a hundred flavors.
Ki so so,
gathering of wrathful Wermas.
the sixteenth rabjung's [sixty-year cycle's]
year of the wood monkey , this was
composed by the sixteenth incarnation of
the Karmapas, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, in his
residence Tashi Khangsar, located in the
main temple of Tsurphu Dowolung. May
it be auspicious. Under the guidance
of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, translated
by Michele Martin of New York © April
annotations by Ven. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
Tibetan ears, these sounds of ala
and thala add a mellifluous quality
to the line. Such devices are common
in Tibetan poetry.
can have several meanings; here, it poetically
refers to Tsurphu as a sambhogakaya pure
land. Three of the main monasteries
associated with the Karmapa are linked to
the enlightened body, speech, and mind of
the Buddha: Kampo gangra (Kam po gangs ra)
represents the body, Karma gon (Karma dgon),
the speech, and Tsurphu (mTshur phu), the
of the main deities practiced in the Kagyu
Dowo is the name of the river that flows
by Tsurphu and gives its name to the valley.
This is a childhood name of the XVIth Karmapa,
used until his enthronement at the
age of eight.
Lhaje or Gampopa was the teacher of the
first Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa.
"Series" refers to the unbroken
lineage of the Kagyü teachings.
snow lion's mane is vast and a metaphor
here for the teachings of Buddhism in Tibet.
The lustrous saffron color of the tiger
refers to the brilliance of the Dharma.
water is cool, sweet, light, soft, clear,
pleasant, wholesome, and soothing.
The metaphors of the lake and ducks refer
to the clear and pleasing quality of the
Dharma and to the fact that it pervades
the great oceans.
metaphor refers to the naturally luminous
quality of the Dharma and to the fact that
it pervades all space.
Karmapa is the swan residing on the lake
of his monastery, Tsurphu. When the
Chinese invade Tibet and take over the monastery,
it becomes uninhabitable like a frozen lake.
lion is also the Karmapa, who relies on
his monastery of Tsurphu in the snowy land
of Tibet. The heat of the sun, which
melts the snow, is a metaphor for the destruction
of Tsurphu during the Cultural Revolution.
Both metaphors of the swan and its lake
and the lion and its snow indicate that
although the Karmapa wished to remain at
Tsurphu, it was not possible.
the Karmapa prays that those who could not
escape will be protected from harm caused
by the four elements, such as being drowned
in water, burned by fire, and so forth.
Referring to the troubles in Tibet and the
immense suffering of its people.
the swan is the Karmapa departing for India
and the young birds left behind are the
people of Tibet, and in particular, his
are two kinds of vulture (rgod) in
Tibet, the white and the black. They
are renowned as being able to fly higher
than any other bird. It is another
metaphor for the Karmapa.
Lord of the Path" refers to the astrological
path or cycle of twelve years and the "king
of birds" refers to the year of the
bird, when the XVIIth Karmapa will be back
in his monastery, beginning his activity
"the king of birds" refers to the vulture
and, in particular, to the way it flies,
soaring and gliding at ease in space.
previous four lines refer to meditation
on the true nature of mind.
points to one's courage and intelligence;
"so" is like a loud whistle, meaning "Wake
up! Be aware! Pay attention!"
are dharmapalas (protectors of the Dharma)
with great dignity and courage.