home ~ up ~ next









Bad Karma


A girl driving her donkeys out to grass

was ambushed by an old, outlandish man

who tried to straddle her.  The robust lass

thrust off her would-be ravisher and ran

home to her mother in their humble yurt.

As barking mastiffs spooked her father's yak,

the lathered girl had scarcely breath to blurt

her story of the reprobate's attack.


Her mother recognized the Tantric seer

Dugpa Kunlegs, revered throughout Tibet.

Among the Nyingmapa he had no peer;

who knew what prodigy he might beget?

"Go throw your body at his sacred feet

and gratify the mighty lama's whim,"

mother instructed daughter.  "Go entreat

Rinpoche's pardon for repulsing him!"


The girl returned and flung herself prostrate.

"My child," the Holy One sighed wearily,

"Women don't interest me.  You've come too late

to implement my purpose.  Recently

the Grand Lama of Yerpa Gompa died.

Wasting his life on drunkenness and mirth,

he left a host of sins unrectified.

I sought to save him from a bad rebirth

after I glimpsed his spirit drifting here.

But while you left your herd to graze, alas,

two of your donkeys coupled; and I fear

the Grand Lama will be reborn an ass."


Timothy Murphy



Author's note:  Nyingmapa were a sect known for
magical practices.  Rinpoche is an honorific applied to
a high lama.  A gompa is a lamasery.


From Very Far North, The Waywiser Press, London,
England, 2002.  Reprinted by permission of the

by Grapholina

home ~ up ~ next