A Prayer Song to Mother Labkyi Drönma
Translations | Training, Awareness

Namo guru dakiye

Above my head, a foot above
Is a three-tier seat, lotus, sun and moon,
Rainbow light forms a canopy:
Inside it is the teacher I trust
Essentially identical with the mother of the four noble ones,1
Mother Labkyi Drönma, white in form.

Her silken black hair flows down her back,
Her face is peaceful and smiling, her three eyes look into the sky.
Her white silk blouse with long sleeves flutters in the breeze,
Her red silk skirt is bound with a sash at her waist.
She sits in the vajra posture.
In her heart is a moon with the syllable ah above it, surrounded by the mantra.2

Her right hand holds a gold drum,
Its beat resounds through the universe.
From the supreme domain of awakening, the realm of totality,
Her offspring gather, awakened ones, awakening beings, and masters,
Coming like flower petals swirling in the wind.
All of them are absorbed into Only Mother’s body.3

Her left hand holds a silver bell.
Its ringing fills the ten directions.
The dakinis of the twenty-four places gather,Coming like snowflakes in a storm.
All of them are absorbed into the Great Mother’s body.4

Only Mother Labkyi Drönma, union of all refuges,
I pray to you from the bottom of my heart.

This precious human form is difficult to obtain and embodies opportunities and resources.
Give me energy to realize its potential.

The ultimate foe, the lord of death, can come at any time.
Give me energy to live a life of no regret.

The laws of the way things are5 work internally.
Give me energy to live without shame.

Suffering is present in all six realms.
Give me energy not to take birth in these states.

The three jewels are the reliable and definite refuges,
Give me energy to trust them.

The six kinds of beings are as kind as my parents.
Give me energy for loving kindness and compassion.

In the end my mind is bare being as truth.
Give me energy to attain this stable understanding.

As water is poured into water,
May the body, speech and mind of Mother Labkyi Drönma,
Join with mine and become one
And through this connection bring great peace.

The power of my prayer makes
The Great Mother dissolve into light: she is absorbed into me.
My mind drops into naked simplicity.

Now, look inwards, look at your mind.
When you look at mind, nothing is seen, no substance.
This emptiness of experience is your own mind.
It’s not that there is no mind; anything can arise.
The pristine awareness that knows experience is your mind.

If you experience bliss, look at the essence of bliss.
This is the mahamudra of empty bliss experience.

If you experience clarity, look at the essence of clarity.
This is the mahamudra of empty clarity experience.

If you experience emptiness, look at the essence of emptiness.
This is the mahamudra of non-thought experience.

When you look inwards, there is nothing to be seen.
Experience drops into naked ordinary knowing.
Looking outwards, everything is like rainbow:
While forms are clear, they are in essence empty.
This is the experience of appearance and existence spontaneously arising as enchantment.

Whatever thoughts of the five poisons6 arise,
Look at their essence and they will spontaneously subside.
This is the instruction for the spontaneous freeing of the five poisons.

Whatever appearances of happiness and suffering arise,
Look at their essence and they will spontaneously subside.
This is the mahamudra of making all tastes equal.

Whatever the various disturbing and frightening appearances,
Look at their essence and they will spontaneously subside.
This is the mahamudra of the cutting ground.7

Whatever appearances of suffering arise,
Look at their essence and they will spontaneously subside.
This is the holy instruction of calming suffering.8

Mind is free from existence or non-existence, order or chaos.
This is the holy instruction of the great middle way.

There is no experience that is not complete in the mind.
This is the holy instruction of the great completion.

The mind of the victorious one and your own mind,
And the mind of all beings is in essence one.9
This is the view that samsara and nirvana are inseparable.

Place your mind without trying to cultivate something:
This is naked ordinary knowing.

Place your mind without looking or something looked for:
This is the practice of mahamudra.

To keep practice, outlook, and activity clean
And to protect your commitments as you do your eyes
Combine the two rivers, the Kadampa and the Mahamudra.
The point is to attain stability in your mind.

The point is to attain stability in your mind.
This is called the fruition.
This is the fruition of the secret enchantment tradition.10

This prayer was written down on paper for the hermit Jomo by Raga Asya in a camp on Dharma Mountain in Tö. It was translated by Ken McLeod for a student who has a special interest in this practice.

  1. The four noble ones or four aryas are the sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and buddhas.
  2. The mantra associated with the Perfection of Wisdom:om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
  3. Machik means “the one mother” which I have here translated as Only Mother. It is, of course, a devotional term and refers to the manifest historical person.
  4. Yum, or Yum Chenmo, means “great mother”. In contrast to Machik, this refers to the perfection of wisdom, the “mother” of all buddhas.
  5. The laws of the way things are refers to the working of karma. A good way to regard karma is that it is a natural process in the universe, somewhat like the force of gravity. The experience of all beings evolves according to the workings of karma in the same way that motion of bodies in space are shaped by the law of gravity. For both translation and spiritual reasons, I’ve chosen to render this phrase with this internal interpretation.
  6. The five poisons are attraction, aversion, stupidity, pride, and jealousy.
  7. More usually known as Chö.
  8. In Tibetan, this practice is called Shi Jé.
  9. This doesn’t mean that there is one big mind, but that there is only one kind of mind, as there is only one kind of water.
  10. This phrase is usually translated as “secret mantra tradition” but I wanted to avoid the use of the word mantra. Since mantra means spell and has the idea of enchantment in order to protect, I went with this rendering.