Shabkar (1781 – 1851) was a famous Tibetan hermit and yogi, who was particularly known for his advocacy of vegetarianism and an utterly simple life. His biography shows him going through very human struggles. Because he spends so much time in hermitages far from human habitation, he interacts with many animals even tadpoles and ants – conversing with them, teaching them, learning from them. He conveys his experiences in ”Songs”, which is the traditional way of Tibetan yogis. One song covers meditation, and gives advice and hints….
To let the mind become vast and
open like the sky
Is the key instruction for enhancing
Ascertain that mind is not something
That it has neither center nor boundary –
And let this discovery expand.
Sometimes, merge mind
With a clear, cloudless sky;
Make it vast and lofty;
Leave it wide open…….
Then, when mind contracts again,
Like an old scroll rolling itself up,
Examine mind thoroughly, time and
To practice by merely remaining in a vague, oblivious, ordinary state –
that’s completely useless for progressing along the paths and stages, isn’t it?
(Yes)…when a state of vague
Obscures one’s meditation,
One should straighten one’s back,
Raise one’s gaze,
Widen one’s perspective, heighten awareness.
Let it extend into infinity,
Then let it be.
One must remain in a vivid, lucid openness,
Like looking out
Into the reaches of the boundless sky
From the peak of a mountain open to
The nature of mind is the sky beyond
the contents of thoughts.
Remain thus at ease,
Not holding on to some thought,
Or pushing other thoughts away….
Ever empty, ever empty; ever void, all void;
This crucial absolute truth is a treasure
Which shines everywhere – above,
below, between, in all directions……….
Merge then into the sky-like absolute expanse,
Empty, luminous, beyond clinging.
Outside, inside, eyes open or closed,
Day night; asleep, awake: