Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Dalai Lama's Wild Youth

by Richard Smoley The latest issue of my old college literary magazine, The Harvard Advocate, appeared in my mailbox a few days ago. It contains some translations of some poems by the Dalai Lama—not the current one (the Fourteenth, or if you like the XIVth), but the Sixth. He was something of a different character, I guess, from the current occupant of the post. Although since all of the Dalai Lamas are said to be the same being, incarnations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the god of compassion, I suppose one could say that the Dalai Lama had a wild youth a few centuries back. Anyway, some samples:
If my girl could not die there'd be no end to beer; we'd stay in youth's haven. In this I put my trust. Is not my love since youth descended from the wolves? Once she's known skin and flesh she bolts back to the hills. Our tryst in the dense woods of the southern valley a parrot only knows, all else are ignorant. O parrot, please do not repeat our secret words.
—Tsangyang Gyatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama translated by Nathan Hill with Toby Fee From The Harvard Advocate, winter 2008

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