In Tibet, vajra songs became popular when Milarepa gave teachings in that style to his disciples. His example influenced all Tibetan Buddhist schools, particularly the Kagyu lineages. People commonly memorized such songs and sang them with beautiful melodies. But vajra songs are much more than pleasant tunes or ordinary poetry. A vajra song reflects the enlightened mind of its author by encapsulating precisely profound meaning in just a few words. Thus, it can be difficult for the unenlightened to penetrate their meaning.
Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen learned to sing vajra songs at his mother’s knee. Later in life, he learned of their profound meaning from masters of Tibetan Buddhism, which allowed him to finally experience their depth in solitary retreat. Rinpoche brings this tradition into a Western context by translating songs composed by iconic Buddhist figures and explaining them in contemporary terms.
Rinpoche presents the outer and inner meaning of nine vajra songs by Milarepa (ca. 1052–1135) and Jigten Sumgön (1143–1217). He describes the Buddhist path of wisdom and compassion that leads to ultimate peace and happiness, and shows how to develop our mental qualities. In ancient times, these teachings were given to help others reach spiritual maturity. Here, we are invited into the world of transmission from master to disciple in order to discover truth for ourselves—to open the eye of wisdom that reveals the mind that cannot be seen.