Erotic Poetry by the Sixth Dalai Lama

A new translation unveils the passion and song of this seventeenth-century Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama

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Dalai Lama VI
Before a great lama,
I asked for holy help.
No good—though thoughts delayed,
They slipped back to my love.

Meditating—in mind,
No lama’s face appears.
Unbidden, lover’s face
In mind, so clearly clear.

With thoughts on religion
That were ever for her,
One lifetime, one body—
I become a Buddha!

From Songs of Love, Poems of Sadness: The Erotic Verse of the Sixth Dalai Lama, © 2004 by Paul Williams. Published with permission of I. B. Taurus.

Image: Dalai Lama VI, Tsangyang Gyatso, Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton, Courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art

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