The great Tibetan meditation master Gyalwa Godrakpa (1170-1249) practiced and taught a nonsectarian approach to realization. Hermit of Go Cliffs is the first English translation of The Collected Songs of Godrakpa, presented here with the original Tibetan text and with Cyrus Stearns' comprehensive introduction to Godrakpa's life, legacy, and poetry.
Like the songs of Tibet's great saint Milarepa, Godrakpa's songs are uniquely beautiful and accessible: sometimes stern and sharp, sometimes lyrical and filled with allusions to the natural world. These songs express what Godrakpa emphasized in his life - a no-nonsense approach to the practice of meditation.
"An inspiring collection... These pared-down verses reflect the refreshing, unmannered honesty and direct style characteristic of early Buddhist masters in Tibet... An exceptional resource..."
– Janet Gyatso, Harvard University
"In these times when the practice of Dharma often becomes yet another type of mundane activity, the total dedication to spiritual practice, renunciation, inner joy and depth that emanates from the life and songs of Godrakpa is like a fresh mountain breeze in the midst of the debilitating heat of apathy and worldly concerns."
– Mathieu Ricard, co-author of The Monk and the Philosopher
"Hermit of Go Cliffs is a valuable new addition to the still small body of scholarship and translation clarifying the formation of Tibetan Buddhist thought and practice during the crucial period from the eleventh through thirteenth centuries."
– Matthew Kapstein, University of Chicago
"These tantric songs have a spare elegance and power that is beautifully rendered into English by Cyrus Stearns...The simplicity and deep contemplative insights are rendered into simple yet evocative English poetry that very much resonates with the style, vigor and power of the original Tibetan songs."
– David Germano, University of Virginia
"Cyrus Stearns has presented us with another of his remarkable works... [and] has put together for the first time a complete version of this master's life as well as a complete recension of his spiritual songs... The songs themselves are unpretentious and simple in style but extraordinarily profound in their insights; enjoyable to even those today who are perhaps new to Buddhism... We are greatly indebted to Cyrus Stearns for his masterly and evocative translation."
– The Tibet Journal
"Poetry that encourages us to find the kind of solitude in the midst of life that these great yogis found in the wilderness."
– Stuart Smithers, Professor of South Asian religion, University of Puget Sound
"In Hermit Of Go Cliffs: Timeless Instructions From A Tibetan Mystic, Cyrus Stearns draws upon his impressive Tibetan scholarship to translate from the writings of Tibetan masters for the benefit of an English-speaking readership. This particular and remarkable compendium features 'The Collected Songs of the Adept Godrakpa Who is Peerless in the Three Realms'. The text is enhanced for students of Buddhism with illustrations, an informative introduction, notes on the translation, a bibliography, and an index. Hermit Of Go Cliffs is an invaluable, worthwhile, and much appreciated contribution to the expanding library of Buddhist thought and philosophy now available to western readers."
– Wisconsin Bookwatch
"Rated Very Good (!!!) to Exceptional (!!!!)"--
– Today's Books
"Godrakpa Sonam Gyaltsen was a great Tibetan Buddhist master of the 12th century whose songs were a great influence on the early yogic traditions... Stearns provides an admirable translation of these tantric songs for the benefit of an English-reading public. Hermit of Go Cliffs is a very welcome and highly appreciated contribution to the growing library of Buddhist literature available to both the student and the non-specialist general reader seeking an appreciation of Tibetan Buddhism."
– Midwest Book Review
"Godrakpa spent many years practising in some of the same caves as Milarepa, and indeed this new publication brings together a collection of 44 poetic songs with a style and content similar to his better-known precursor. The songs are fresh and spontaneous, most avoid technical jargon, and many are profound and pithy. As one might expect from a realised yogin, Godrakpa also combines humour with direct teachings. Stearns' translations are lucid, the Tibetan text is reproduced on facing pages, and black-and-white photographs of the Tibetan landscape complement and add atmosphere to the verses. This is a precious addition to the translated canon of yogi-songsters."