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The poet with the crimson cassock

By Wen Chihua | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-15 07:11
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Gyatse Phurjun Rinpoche receives an interview by China Features reporter.[Photo by Wen Chihua/China Daily]

He is Living Buddha called Gyatse Phurjun Rinpoche, and he is different. Some say his writings are like the melodious love songs of the 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso. He talks to China Features reporter Wen Chihua

He is a holy man aged 36. And he writes poetry that touches laymen's hearts through his ability to combine the holy and the secular.

A poem from his first book, A Thought-Moment in the Secular World, reads:

Flowers evoke romance

When they bloom in the heart of a poet;

Flowers evoke the scenery

When they bloom in a the heart of a traveler;

Flowers evoke enlightenment

When they bloom in the heart of a mendicant.

"I love his poems, they are philosophical, Zen-like, and yet not recondite," says Zhang Yu, a woman in her late 40s with a grown son.

"I feel intoxicated and enchanted when I read them. It's difficult to believe they are written by an ascetic."

The author is not just a monk. He is a Living Buddha called Gyatse Phurjun Rinpoche in Qinghai province. He hears comments like these frequently. And he responds by saying, in Mandarin: "What I wrote in the book is nothing extraordinary. It's simply a record of my thinking, my personal feelings about the Buddha's dharma, and our society."

He writes every day, and in Chinese. This makes him different from most monks of Tibetan Buddhism, as few of them write in Chinese.

Some say his poetry and essays are like the melodious love songs of the 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso.

Gyatse Phurjun Rinpoche says being compared to Tsangyang Gyatso is inappropriate. He said that Tsangyang Gyatso was a great philosopher and a master of the history of Tibetan Buddhism.

He says: "Tsangyang's poems are written in a very metaphorical style, containing the wisdom of dharma. Those who have a deep understanding of Buddhism will get a lot from his writings. When eminent monks read his poetry, their doubts are resolved. People who read his poetry simply as love songs is a misinterpretation by the people outside Tibet."

For instance, one of Tsangyang's most recognizable poems, On the Eastern Hills reads:

Over the eastern hills rise

The pure white face of the moon;

In my mind forms

The smiling face of a beloved young girl.

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