One reader suggested that these different translations of The Four Teachings of Gampopa were more akin to variations on a theme, like, for example, the numerous variations of Paganini’s 24th Caprice. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c33q87s03h4 for a discussion of Rachmaninoff’s composition.)
Thus, however presumptuously, I’ve decided to call this series Variations on a Theme by Gampopa.
Here is the original.
And here are three variations.
A traditional translation might read:
May my mind turn to the Dharma.
May Dharma become the path.
May the path dispel confusion.
May confusion arise as wisdom.
Many years ago I translated The Four Teachings of Gampopa as part of contemporary set of prayers to use at the beginning and end of practice sessions. Like Sakya Pandita's Separating From the Four Concerns, these four lines are a wonderful summary of the essential practice points in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism.
Let my heart turn to practice.
Let practice become a path.
Let this path dissolve confusion.
Let confusion become wisdom.
But now I would be more likely to render these four lines this way:
Let me be clear about what I am seeking.
Let me follow this path without compromise.
Let me see confusion and difficulty as the path.
Let me find understanding in confusion itself.