In Tibet's ancient shamanistic tradition the cuckoo was a magical
bird, the king of birds. As the cuckoo's first call is the harbinger
of spring, so the six verses of the Cuckoo's Song of Total
Presence introduce the total presence of the nature of mind.
The six lines of the Cuckoo's Song are also known as the Six
Vajra Verses. They are considered to be the root text of the
Dzogchen Mind Series tradition out of which the entire view,
meditation and action of Dzogchen may be extrapolated. If the
meaning of the verses in Tibetan is simple, the expression of
that meaning in English is no simple matter.
The nature of multiplicity is nondual
and things in themselves are pure and simple;
being here and now is thought-free
and it shines out in all forms, always all good;
it is already perfect, so the striving sickness is avoided
and spontaneity is constantly present.
Turned into prose, based on the Dochu commentary, it says:
All experience, the entire phantasmagoria of the six senses, the
diverse multiplicity of existence, in reality is without duality. Even
if we examine the parts of the bodhi-matrix in the laboratory of the
mind, such specifics are seen to be illusive and indeterminate. There is
nothing to grasp and there is no way to express it. The suchness of
things, their actuality, left just as it is, is beyond thought and
inconceivable and that is the here and now. Yet diversity is manifestly
apparent and that is the undiscriminating, all-inclusive sphere of the
all-good buddha, Samantabhadra. Total perfection has always been a fact
and there has never been anything to do to actuate this immaculate
completion. All endeavour is redundant. What remains is spontaneity and
that is always present as our natural condition.
Chogyel Namkhai Norbu and Adriano Clemente rendered the
Six Vajra Verses like this: in The Supreme Source:
The nature of the variety of phenomena is non-dual
Yet each phenomena is beyond the limits of the mind
The authentic condition as it is does not become a concept
Yet it manifests totally in form, always good
All being already perfect, overcome the sickness of effort
And remain naturally in self-perfection: this is contemplation.
Chogyel Namkhai Norbu's commentary divides the six verses
into three verses of two lines. The first couplet describes
the ground of being and the view, relating to the Mind Series
of instruction and to Garab Dorje's first Incisive Precept
which is introduction to the nature of mind. The second
couplet describes the path, the nature of meditation,
relating to the Space Series of instruction and Garab Dorje's
second incisive precept which is conviction of the reflexive
function of liberation. The third couplet describes the
product, which does not differ from the ground and relates
to the Secret Precept Series and to Garab Dorje's third
incisive precept which is confidence in the process.
Based on Chogyel Namkhai Norbu's commentary, John Reynolds
(Vajranath), Nyingma scholar and yogi, made this discursive
Even though the nature of the diversity (of all phenomena)
is without any duality,
In the terms of the individuality of the things themselves,
they are free of any conceptual elaborations.
Even though there exists no thought or conception of what
is called the state of being just as it is,
These various appearances which are created are but
manifestations of Samantabhadra.
Since everything is complete in itself, one comes to abandon
the illness of efforts
And thus one continues spontaneously in the calm
state of contemplation.
Professor Samten Karmay found a version of the text
amongst the cache of material that Sir Aurel Stein found
in Tun Huang and which was concealed in the tenth century,
thus validating its age and form His rendering is this:
All the varieties of phenomenal existence as a whole
do not in reality differ one from another.
Individually also they are beyond conceptualization.
Although as "suchness" there is no mental
discursiveness (with regard to them)
Kun-tu bzang po shines forth in all forms.
Abandon all the malady of striving, for one has
already acquired it all.
One leaves it as it is with spontaneity.
The first Tibetan Dzogchen master, Pagor Vairotsana, received
the Six Vajra Verses in the eighth century from Shri Singha,
his Indian Guru, in the land of Uddiyana. This text was amongst
the first translations he made at King Trisong Detsen's court at
Samye in Tibet. It is considered the root transmission text of the
Mind Series of Dzogchen instruction and is the first in the list of
the eighteen transmission texts of the Mind Series tantras. The
copy of it found amongst the stash of Tun Huang manuscripts
hidden in the tenth century and recovered earlier this century,
authenticates its age and form.
Here is the Tibetan text:
sNa tshogs rang bzhin mi gnyis kyang
Cha shas nyid du spros dang bral.
Ji bzhin pa zhes mi rtog kyang
rNam bar snang mdzad kun tu bzang
Zin bas rtsol ba'i nad spangs te
Lhun gyis gnas pas bzhag pa yin.