Semkyi Log Phep


The Desire of Returning

Kunga, Yadung, Gangzhuk, Tsewang

ཀུན་དགའ། ཡ་དུང་། གང་ཞུགས། ཚེ་དབང་།


The title means that with the feeling of kindness they return to visit their home, their place.

There are four singers. The first is called Kunga, he sings songs in support of the Tibetan tradition. The last singer is called Yadung, a very famous singer. They sing together. They were invited to Qinhai province and they also performed there on television. At the beginning, they give a kind of introduction because they are from Derge, my part of the country. In particular Yadung is from my town near Galengteng, where the dialect is slightly different than that of the ordinary people of Amdo. For this reason, first of all they introduce the meaning of the song and how important it is that they have come to visit their native land, because they have grown up and now live far away. Then they sing.

This song is very widespread now in Tibet and is very interesting. It describes what the dimension of Tibet is and also combines it with the cosmological system. It is a very beautiful song, written in poetic style, to support Tibetan culture.

This, more or less, is the meaning of the song:

This is the place at the top of the world, our homeland. The snowy mountains surrounding Tibet are like the dimension of the devas. All the rivers – for example, the four great rivers that flow into India, two into China, and one to the south, the famous Mekong – they all come from Tibet and are like ornaments in space. The meadow lands, vast dimensions, are like space in which the stars appear. This means really vast, that Tibet is a very large continent. It is the pinnacle of the world. This is our Tibet, our homeland. The word ‘ma-yum’ means ‘mother’, that is, the earth. They speak to mother earth: we grew up in your lap and from there we now sing a song, a song that you taught us. This is repeated. What we sing is what you have taught us because it brings good fortune. This song is a gift for having visited this place. This is the first verse.

The second verse helps us understand how the Tibetan people are. If Tibetans didn’t have their Tibetan character today, with this entire situation, they would have become violent long ago. Why haven’t they become so? Because of their character, their nature. It isn’t just that they say this but that they live in this way. It is very important to understand this.

The words of second verse are: all of the beings of the six lokas are our parents. Our treasure is the peace within our minds and the fact that we do not create problems for anyone. This is our courage. Even though we have so many problems and difficulties, we are committed to not performing negative actions. The ancestry of the people who live in the snowy mountains and were the first to dominate and live in these highlands is Tibetan.

Brothers and sisters! Recalling your kindness, we have come to visit you. In front of you today, we want to sing and dance. Brothers and sisters! That which we sing and dance is that which you have taught us: this is our gift in meeting you again.

And it is repeated. More or less, this is the meaning.

གངས་ ~དཀར་ ལྷུན་~ པོ་~ ལྷ་~ཡི་ ལྕགས་~རི་ ཡིན~།
gǎŋ ~gar lhun ~ bo lha~yi jag~ri yin~
gǎŋ-gar: white snowy mountain
lhun-bo: large mountains, like Everest, like the Himalayas, the Amnye Machen range
jag-ri: all the surrounding dimension
lha-yi: divinities, superior to something
It also says that Kailash, the Himalayas, and Amnye Machen are sacred mountains. So it means surrounded by all these sacred mountains.

གཙང་ ~ཆབ་ སྔོན་ ~མོ་ ཉི་~ཟླའི་ འཕང་~འཕྲུལ ཡིན~ །
zaŋ ~qab ŋòn ~mo ñi~dái qyàŋ~trùl yin~
zaŋ-qab: all of the sources of the rivers
Two of the rivers that flow in China, the Yangtse and the Yellow River, have their source in Tibet. Also one that flows to the south becoming the Mekong; one that goes westward comes from Kailash and goes to India, the Brahmaputra arrives in Bangladesh; and then others in India, another in Pakistan which flows westward; the Ganges, the Indu, the Brahmaputra, there are four principal rivers. For all of them their origin is in Tibet.
ŋòn-mo ñi-dái qyàŋ-trùl yin: they are like ornaments of the sun and moon whose rays expand throughout the entire universe.
So the streams of water that spread out everywhere are like this.

རྩྭ་ ~ཐང་ ཡངས་ ~པོ་ སྐར་~མའི་ མལ་~སྟན་ ཡིན~ །
za ~taŋ yaŋ ~bo gar~mai mal~dan yin~
za-taŋ: the highlands full of grass, etc.
yaŋ-bo: magnificent, spacious
gar-mai mal-dan yin: as if it were the base of the universe, of the stars, and of manifestations
In general, ‘mal-dan’ means the bed where one sleeps; ‘gar-mai mal-dan’ is a bed of stars. It means that sky and earth, everything is connected because it is the highest place.

ནམ་ ~མཁའི་ མཐོངས་ ~སུ་ ཆགས་~པའི་ གནས་~མཆོག་ འདི~ །
nam ~kài tòŋ ~su qag~bai nás~qòg dì~
nam-kài tòŋ-su: a land that is in the midst of the sky 
qag-bai: that possesses
nás-qòg dì: that supreme land

འཛམ་ ~གིང་ ཡང་ ~རེ་ གངས་~ལོངས་ ཕྱུག་~མོ་ སྟེ~ །
zàm ~líŋ yaŋ ~ze gǎŋ~jóŋ qyug~mo de~
zàm-líŋ yaŋ-ze: the top of the world
gǎŋ-jóŋ qyug-mo de: full of snow mountains
ངེད་~གངས་~ཅན་ བོད~ཀི་ཕ་~ས་~ཡིན~།
ŋed-gǎŋ ~jan bǒd ~gyi pa~ sa~ yin~
pa-sa: homeland
ཨོའོ་~ མ་~ཡུམ་~ ལགས~ ། གངས་ལོངས ~།
ohǒ~ ma~yum~ lag~  gǎŋ~jóŋ ~
ma-yum lag: great mother
The Great Mother is the land, Tibet: it is as if they are calling: ‘Mother!’ 
gǎŋ-jóŋ: Land of Snows
Mother, Land of Snows.

Then after, in the second verse, it says ‘Brothers and sisters!’

ཨོའོ་~ སྤུན་ ~ཟླ་~ ལགས~ ། བོད་པ ~ །
ohǒ~ bun~dá ~ lag  bǒd~ba ~
bun-dá: brothers, not only male, but male and female, everyone 
bun-dá lag: a polite way to address them
We have come from your womb.
The land doesn’t have a uterus, so this is somewhat poetic, because they call the land ‘Mother’.

ཁྱེད་ ~ཀི་ རུམ་ ~ཁོང་ དྲོན་~མོ་ བསེགས་~ནས་ འོངས~ །
kyed ~gyi rum ~ koŋ drǒn~mo ñèg~nas hǒŋ
kyed-gyi: your
rum-koŋ: it doesn’t say womb, it says ‘rum-koŋ’.
A ‘rum’ is something like a pocket in a Tibetan dress, where a mother keeps her children warm close to the belly. So when children are in this ‘rum’ they are almost in contact with the mother’s body. 
drǒn-mo: warm, physical contact
ñèg-nas hǒŋ: keeping, holding this, it is not separate, inseparable from this land, I came from your womb.

དེ་ ~རིང་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀི་ པང་~ནས་ གླུ་~ཞིག་ ལེན~ །
dě ~riŋ kyed ~gyi baŋ~nas lú~xĭg len~
dě-riŋ: today
kyed-gyi: your
baŋ: it is what you wear in front to hold the children 
nas: from
lú-xĭg: a song
len: singing

འདི་ ~ནི་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀིས་ བསླབས་~པའི་ ཤིས་~གླུ་ ཡིན~ །
dì ~ni kyed ~gyis làb~bai xis~lú yin~
dì-ni kyed-gyis làb-bai: this is what you have taught us xis: that brings fortune, that is positive
lú: song
yin: it is
Today I want to sing this song that you have taught me and that brings fortune.

འདི་ ~ནི་ ཕ་ ~ཡུལ་ འགིམ་~པའི་ ལེགས་~སྐེས་ ཡིན~ །
dì ~ni pa ~yul drìm~bai leg~gyes yin~
dì-ni: this
pa-yul: homeland
drìm-bai: to visit, go around
leg-gyes: an offering to all those that he meets, to all those who hear 
yin: is

འགོ་ ~དྲུག་ སེམས་~ ཅན་~ རང་~གི་ ཕ་~མ་ ཡིན~ །
drò ~drǔg sem~ jan~ raŋ~gi pa~ma yin~
drò-drǔg: Since we follow the teachings we already know what the six lokas mean. In general in the monasteries, they don’t know much about these things, but when people go to the essence of the teaching, they know.

འཚེ་ ~མེད་ ཞི་ ~བདེ་ སེམས་~ཀི་ ལོངས་~སྤོད་ ཡིན~ །
cè ~med xĭ ~dé sem~gyi loŋ~jyod yin~
Keeping the peace without disturbing others, this is our wealth or pleasure, we have this understanding.

You see how lovely this song is. This is what they truly apply.

དཔའ་ ~མཛངས་ བརྟུལ་ ~ཕོད་ སིང་~གི་ རུས་~པ་ ཡིན~ །
ba ~zàŋ dul ~pod ñiŋ~gi rus~ba yin~
ba-zàŋ: courageous, but not courageous in making war or in destroying something. Rather it’s someone who has the understanding of how the situation is, and can also bear suffering, like a bodhisattva. Courageous means being capable of sacrificing oneself the right way, making sacrifices when necessary, but not being beaten down.
dul-pod ñiŋ-gi rus-ba yin: it is our ‘bone of the heart’
The heart doesn’t have a bone, it actually means its substance.

གངས་ ~རིའི་ ལོངས་ ~སུ་ གནས་~པའི་ མི་~རིགས་ འདི~ །
gǎŋ ~rii jóŋ ~su nás~bai mi rig dì~
The people that live in the snowlands

མཐོ་ ~སྒང་ འདི་~ ཡི་~ གཞི་~འཛིན་ དང་~པོ་ སྟེ~
tò ~gáŋ dì~ yi~ xí~zìn dǎŋ~bo de~
tò-gáŋ dì-yi: of these highlands
xí-zìn dǎŋ-bo de: those who live there, who dominate this territory

ངེད་~གངས་ ~ཅན་ གདོང་ ~དམར་ བོད་~ པ་~ ཡིན~ །
ŋed gǎŋ ~jan dóŋ ~már bǒd~ ba~ yin~
ŋed gǎŋ-jan: we the people of the snow 
dóŋ-már bǒd-ba yin: a red face, a ruddy face

See how beautiful it is, to understand who Tibetans are and what they do.

ཨོའོ་~ སྤུན་ ~ཟླ་~ ལགས~ ། བོདཔ ~།
oh bun-dá ~ lag  bǒd-ba ~
‘Tibetan brothers and sisters!’

ཁྱེད་ ~ཀི་ མཛའ་ ~བརེ་ ཟབ་~མོ་ དྲན་~ནས་ འོངས ~ །
kyed ~gyi zà ~ ze zǎb~mo drǎn~nas hǒŋ
kyed-gyi: your
zà-ze: love, not passionate, but true love 
zǎb-mo: profound, deep
drǎn-nas: remembering
hǒŋ: we have come

དེ་ ~རིང་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀི་ མདུན་~ནས་ བྲོ་~ཞིག་ འཁབ ~ །
dě ~riŋ kyed ~ gyi dùn~nas drǒ~xĭg tràb
dě-riŋ: today
kyed-gyi dùn-nas drǒ-xĭg tràb: I do a dance

འདི་ ~ནི་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀིས་ བསླབས་~པའི་ སྐོར་~བྲོ་ ཡིན ~ །
dì ~ni kyed ~gyis làb~bai gor~drǒ yin~
dì-ni: this
kyed-gyis làb-bai: that you taught us
gor-drǒ: a dance that goes in a circle. Many people who dance together in a circle is called ‘gor-drǒ’.
This dance is what you have taught.

This song is very beautiful and when Yadung sings and then when they sing together, it is so beautiful, they sing so well.
sem-gyi log peb
The desire to return

                                ཀུནདགའ། ཡ་དུང་། གང་ཞུགས། ཚེ་དབང་།

                                    gun-gá,  ya-duŋ, găŋ-xúg, ce-wáŋ

གངས་ ~དཀར་ ལྷུན་~ པོ་~ ལྷ་~ཡི་ ལྕགས་~རི་ ཡིན~ །

găŋ  ~gar   lhun ~ bo   lha~yi   jag~ri    yin~,

The white snow-clad mountains are a sacred dimension,

             གཙང་ ~ཆབ་ སྔོན་   ~མོ་ ཉི་~ཟླའི་ འཕྱང་~འཕྲུལ ཡིན~ །

            zaŋ  ~qab   ŋòn  ~mo   ñi~dái   qyàŋ~trùl  yin~,

            The blue rivers are the dangling ornaments of the sun and the moon,

                        རྩྭ་ ~ཐང་ ཡངས་   ~པོ་ སྐར་~མའི་ མལ་~སྟན་ ཡིན~ །

                        za  ~taŋ   yaŋ  ~bo   gar~mai   mal~dan  yin~,

                        The vast grasslands are the beds of the stars,

ནམ་ ~མཁའི་ མཐོངས་ ~སུ་ ཆགས་~པའི་ གནས་~མཆོག་ འདི~ །

nam  ~kài   tòŋ  ~su   qag~bai   nás~qòg  dì~,

This highest land in the dimension of the sky,

            འཛམ་ ~གླིང་ ཡང་ ~རྩེ་ གངས་~ལྗོངས་ ཕྱུག་~མོ་ སྟེ~ །

            zàm  ~líŋ   yaŋ  ~ze   găŋ~jóŋ   qyug~mo   de~,

            This rich Land of Snow, pinnacle of the world,

                        ངེད་~གངས་ ~ཅན་ བོད ~ཀྱི་ ཕ་~  ས་~  ཡིན~ །

                        ŋed-găŋ  ~jan   bŏd  ~gyi   pa~   sa~   yin~ .

                        Is our fatherland, the Tibetan Snow Land.

ཨཽའོ་~ མ་~ཡུམ་~  ལགས~ ། གངས་ལྗོངས  ~  །

ohŏ~     ma~yum~  lag~  ,        găŋ-jóŋ ~    !

Oh, Mother Snow Land!

            ཁྱེད་ ~ཀྱི་ རུམ་ ~ཁོང་ དྲོན་~མོ་ བསྙེགས་~ནས་ འོངས~ །

            kyed  ~gyi   rum ~ koŋ   drŏn~mo   ñèg~nas   hŏŋ,

            We came here seeking your warm womb,

                        དེ་ ~རིང་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀྱི་ པང་~ནས་ གླུ་~ཞིག་ ལེན~ །

                        dě  ~riŋ   kyed ~gyi   baŋ~nas   lú~xĭg    len~.

                    And today, on your lap, we sing a song.

ཨཽའོ་~ མ་~ཡུམ་~  ལགས~ ། གངས་ལྗོངས  ~ །

ohŏ~ ma~yum~  lag~  ,        găŋ-jóŋ ~  !

Oh, Mother Snow Land!

            འདི་ ~ནི་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀྱིས་ བསླབས་~པའི་ ཤིས་~གླུ་ ཡིན~ །

            dì  ~ni   kyed ~gyis   làb~bai   xis~lú    yin~,

            It is an auspicious song that you taught us,

                        འདི་ ~ནི་ ཕ་ ~ཡུལ་ འགྲིམ་~པའི་ ལེགས་~སྐྱེས་ ཡིན~ །

                        dì ~ni   pa  ~yul   drìm~bai   leg~gyes   yin~ .

                        A present on returning in the fatherland.

འགྲོ་ ~དྲུག་ སེམས་~  ཅན་~  རང་~གི་ ཕ་~མ་ ཡིན~ །

drò  ~drŭg   sem~  jan~  raŋ~gĭ   pa~ma   yin~,

All the beings of the six lokas * are our fathers and mothers,

            འཚེ་ ~མེད་ ཞི་ ~བདེ་ སེམས་~ཀྱི་ ལོངས་~སྤྱོད་ ཡིན~ །

            cè  ~med   xĭ  ~dé   sem~gyi   loŋ~jyod   yin~,

            Nonviolence and peace are the wealth of our minds,

                        དཔའ་ ~མཛངས་ བརྟུལ་ ~ཕོད་ སྙིང་~གི་ རུས་~པ་ ཡིན~ །

                        ba  ~zàŋ   dul  ~pod   ñĭŋ~gi   rus~ba   yin~.

                        Courage and bravery are the strength of our hearts.

གངས་ ~རིའི་ ལྗོངས་ ~སུ་ གནས་~པའི་ མི་~རིགས་ འདི~ །

găŋ  ~rii   jóŋ  ~su   nás~bai   mi rig   dì~,

The people who live in the land of the snow mountains,

            མཐོ་ ~སྒང་ འདི་~ ཡི་~  གཞི་~འཛིན་ དང་~པོ་ སྟེ~ །

            tò  ~gáŋ   dì~  yi~   xí~zìn   dăŋ~bo   de~,

            The first to own these highlands,

                        ངེད་~གངས་ ~ཅན་ གདོང་ ~དམར་ བོད་~  པ་~  ཡིན~ །

                        ŋed-găŋ  ~jan   dóŋ  ~már   bŏd~  ba~   yin~.

                        Are we, the ruddy-faced Tibetans.

ཨཽའོ་~  སྤུན་ ~ཟླ་~ ལགས~ །        བོད་པ ~   །

ohŏ~ bun-dá ~ lag ,        bŏd-ba  ~   !

Oh, brothers, Tibetans!

            ཁྱེད་ ~ཀྱི་ མཛའ་ ~བརྩེ་ ཟབ་~མོ་ དྲན་~ནས་ འོངས~ །

            kyed  ~gyi  zà ~ ze  zăb~mo  drăn~nas  hŏŋ,

        We have come remembering your profound love,

                        དེ་ ~རིང་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀྱི་ མདུན་~ནས་ བྲོ་~ཞིག་ འཁྲབ~ །

                        dě ~riŋ kyed ~ gyi  dùn~nas  drŏ~xĭg  tràb.

                    And today we perform a dance before you.

ཨཽའོ་~ ་ སྤུན་~ཟླ་~ ལགས~ །            བོད་པ ~ །

ohŏ~ bun~dá~   lag~ ,        bŏd-ba  ~   !

Oh, brothers, Tibetans!

            འདི་ ~ནི་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀྱིས་ བསླབས་~པའི་ སྐོར་~བྲོ་ ཡིན~ །

            dì  ~ni   kyed  ~gyis   làb~bai   gor~drŏ   yin~,

            It is the circle dance that you taught us,

                        འདི་ ~ནི་ སྤུན་ ~ཟླ་ མཇལ་~བའི་ ལེགས་~སྐྱེས་ ཡིན~ །

                        dì  ~ni   bun  ~dá   jàl~bai   leg~gyes   yin~.

                        A present on meeting you, brothers.

ཨཽའོ་~  སྤུན་~ཟླ་~ ལགས~ །            བོད་པ ~ །

ohŏ~   bun~dá~   lag~ ,        bŏd-ba  ~ !

Oh, brothers, Tibetans!

            འདི་ ~ནི་ ཁྱེད་ ~ཀྱིས་ བསླབས་~པའི་ སྐོར་~བྲོ་ ཡིན~ །

            dì  ~ni   kyed ~gyis   làb~bai   gor~drŏ   yin~,

            It is the circle dance which you have taught us,

                        འདི་ ~ནི་ སྤུན་ ~ཟླ་ མཇལ་~བའི་ ལེགས་~སྐྱེས་ ཡིན~ །

                        dì  ~ni   bun ~dá   jàl~bai   leg~gyes   yin~.

                        A present on meeting you, brothers.

                                    འདི་ ~ནི་ སྤུན་ ~ཟླ་ མཇལ་~བའི་ ལེགས་~སྐྱེས་ ཡིན~ །

                                    dì ~ni   bun ~dá   jàl~bai   leg~gyes   yin~.

                                    A present on meeting you, brothers.

                                                འདི་ ~ནི་ སྤུན་ ~ཟླ་ མཇལ་~བའི་ ལེགས་~སྐྱེས་ ཡིན~ །

                                                dì ~ni   bun ~dá   jàl~bai   leg~gyes   yin~.

                                                A present on meeting you, brothers.

* The six realms of existence, inhabited by gods, demigods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings.