Into the Wild

Zhabkar Tsokdruk Rangdröl

(Translated from the Tibetan by Peter Woods)


I’m going, I’m going, to the wild plains I go—

to a valley draped in bright flowers,

where I’ll rest on green grasses at ease;

listening to a symphony of bees, I’ll go.


I’m going, I’m going, to the wild woods I go—

to eat delicious fruits of the trees

in the shade of the forested eaves;

to listen to the cuckoo’s song, I’ll go.


I’m going, I’m going, to the wild hills I go—

to drink from cool, clear streams,

and take shelter in sacred caves of clay;

to watch the deer gambol and play, I’ll go.


I’m going, I’m going, to the wild cliffs I go—

atop red-rock peaks where vultures soar

I’ll make unhewn caverns my home;

to eat nettles and garlic greens, I’ll go.


I’m going, I’m going, to wild places as I please—

upholding the legacy of sages long past,

lifting high the banner of my line;

to set this dream-like body upon a hill, I’ll go.


I’m going, I’m going, I go now with all haste—

leaving behind this prison they call home,

I’ll show these jailers the back of head;

to leave these tears of craving and hate, I’ll go.


I’m going, I’m going, and this is how I’ll go—

riding my staff like a great stallion,

a delightful tune slipping off my tongue;

remembering my guru’s advice, now I’m gone!


Madhyamaka practitioners, come follow me!

Dzogchen practitioners, come follow me!

Mahamudra practitioners, come follow me!

All you practitioners of Dharma, just follow me!


(Tsokdruk Rangdröl once sung this on his travels through the remote mountain wilderness.)

(The original poem, nga dro nga dro wenpé pang la dro (Tib. ང་འགྲོ་ང་འགྲོ་དབེན་པའི་སྤང་ལ་འགྲོ།) can be found in Volume I on page 216 of Zhabkar’s collected songs, accessible on BDRC here.)


Zhabkar Tsokdruk Rangdröl (Tib. ཞབས་དཀར་ཚོགས་དྲུག་རང་གྲོལ།) (1781-1851) was a Tibetan Buddhist yogi and poet from Rebkong, Amdo. He studied with masters of multiple Tibetan Buddhist schools including Gelug and Nyingma and received Dzogchen teachings from his main root guru Chögyal Ngakgi Wangpo. He spent years in solitary retreats in various caves, woods, and mountains of Tibet.

Peter Woods completed a degree in Philosophy at the University of Virginia in 2009, and later earned a Master’s in Religion from Yale in 2015. He went on to study at Rangjung Yeshe Institute in the Translator Training Program and the Master’s program in Buddhist Studies as a Tsadra Scholar, living in Nepal from 2015 to 2019. Peter works with Lhasey Lotsawa Translations and Publications and their Nekhor project and serves as program director at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde California.