Douglas Penick

An Invocation to Gesar of Ling


Now when the virtues of the human realm
Wane like a sallow moon drowning in a molten copper sea,
The phantasmagoria of the six realms pollute the air,
And take possession of the human mind.

Civilization collapses, societies implode.
On teeming battlegrounds of pain and fear.
Armies of tormented Hell Beings swell and rage
As tribes and clans are turned to murderous mobs
Ravaging their ancient lands, uprooting all.

So severed from established human bonds,
Pressed on by their insatiable appetites,
Men and women scour the earth like Hungry Ghosts,
Devouring elders, daughters, friends, lovers, parents, sons
To fill up their inner emptiness.

Words lose meaning. There are no norms.
Culture is now a din of venal exhortation,
Wisdom is now the lost opinions of the dead.
Like beasts, all shut their minds
And hide deep in the migrations of the herd.

Claustrophobia and uncontrollable fate
Mock the ways all know and wish to know themselves,
And many, like jealous gods denied their birthright,
Plot incessantly to seize the knowledge, wealth and power
To rise above the sorrows of the world.

The fortunate aspire only to dwell untroubled
In a vast expanse of light,
Absorbed in infinite arrays of fabricated bliss,
And like the radiant gods of desire form and formlessness,
Live eternally in utter indifference,
In indomitable peace.

So having lost our confidence in our own humanity.
So having ravaged the earth to sustain our dreams,
So having debased truth and true love,
Can we still yearn to discover the virtues of the human realm?

Hounded by suffering and the specter of death,
We cry out for the great warrior within us to arise.


King Lion Gesar, Crest Jewel of Warriors,
Vajra Subduer of Maras, Protector of the Human Realm,
Heart of Dharma and Deathless Lord of Life,
You stand amid clouds of hosts of Drala and Werma,
Like the noon-day sun at the summit of the six realms.
To whom can we now look but you?

Please come to us now in this stricken world
Where we twist in nets of delusion and pain,
Please restore the virtues of this human realm.

Come, wearing the pristine golden armor of confidence,
Brandishing the razor sword of wisdom
And your meteoric arrows of compassion.
Come mounted on your great horse of miracles, Kyang Ko Kar Kar.
Lion Lord Norbu Dradul, Gesar King of Ling,
Flying through the air with your vast retinue of warriors
Shouting KI and SO,
Come to us here and now.

Grasp the Mu cord that joins heaven and earth.
Grasp the Mu cord that passes through life and death.
Grasp the Mu cord that joins the time of legend with the present.
Descend on our offering of billowing juniper smoke.
Accept this offering of our pure longing.
Restore the virtues of this human realm.

From the kingdom of no dharma,
Come into our hearts
As the signless expanse of primordial awareness.

From the spontaneity of authentic presence,
Come into our perceptions
As a blazing rainbow of wisdom light.

From the equanimity of Dharmadhatu,
Fill our beings
With confidence untouched by bias.

As space, as light, as compassion;
As a gap, as a shout, as a story, as a living being—
Be with us here and now
Restore the heart of this human realm.

Show us the way through the realms of life and death.
Show what does not change in the endless sea of change.
And while time remains, live in our hearts
As the light of our true being.

Penetrating the darkness of painful illusion,
Show the dawn of Vajrasattva,
The luminous bridge through the six realms and three times.

Show us the path within the human heart
To the Kingdom of Shambhala here and now.

When the future seems most perilous and there is no clear refuge, when the truth has degenerated into a logic of advantage, when teachers are self-seeking, when friends and loved ones are fickle, when sickness, danger, death, or battle looms; at such a time this invocation to Gesar, Norbu Dradul, is sung. With offerings of billowing juniper smoke and the music of cymbals, is sung in a strong melodious voice.

Submitted: Sunday, August 26, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

This is the invocation calling on the great warrior king, Gesar of Ling to appear amid the hardships of this era. It is the opening of Crossings on a Bridge of Light.

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