thugs rje’i yid bzhin nor gyis gtams
mdzad pa’i rlabs phreng g.yo ba can
thub dbang chos kyi rgya mtsho rgyal
The wish-fulfilling jewel of compassion permeates the endless depths of unfathomable wisdom, just as the rippling waves of the Buddha’s enlightened actions prevail over the
. ocean of Dharma
. . . just as the Buddha, endowed with the rippling waves of enlightened action, prevails over the
. ocean of Dharma
. . . just as the Buddha prevails over the
, endowed with the rippling waves of enlightened action. ocean of Dharma
I translated gtams as “to permeate,” but in a note the word is equated with gang ba and bcol, both of which mean to fill up or deposit. So permeate could be replaced with “fills up,” and I also like the verb “to plumb.”
The syntax is unclear in the verse and, in my opinion, purposefully so. Notice that can refers to "the Buddha [who is] endowed with rippling waves of enlightened action", but at the same time the Buddha is also the subject prevailing over the ocean. So he is the ocean while he presides over the ocean. This subtlety is lost in translation because it requires awkward maneuvering - as evidenced in the alternates - and even so the meaning is still not clear. Any suggestions on this count would be greatly appreciated.
What is the wish-fulfilling jewel of compassion? This term is frequently used in Tibetan Buddhist texts and is most commonly equated with the mind of the Buddha – or bodhicitta – but it has a long history in both Buddhist and Hindu religions. As such, there are many stories and ideas about the jewel. In Similes of Trees and Water, Gung Thang is most enamored by the idea that the jewel is located in a lake or ocean (of Dharma), usually held by the dragon-king. In keeping with this metaphor, it is also common to read about all the beings who gather at the shore of the lake to be close to the jewel.
Signing off in Lhasa, Miss A.