The precious garland of the teachings of birds
In Tibet the arrival of the cuckoo, the king of birds, announces the awakening of nature. In this text the cuckoo, under whose feathers the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, who personifies compassion, conceals for the occasion, announces to the winged people the possibility of awakening to the real nature of the mind, buried under the involvement in phenomenal existence, contracted in the frost of emotional storms and clouded by the mist of ignorance. Meditate on his instructions, in turn the birds gathered in assembly declare what they have understood and make their verses heard: verses that, if they seem at first glance unintelligible, sound in Tibetan as peremptory exhortations to remember the teachings of the Buddha and as warnings gnomic in character. The following year the Indian birds, to which the doctrine was initially exposed, migrate north and find themselves in the Snow Country, as if to symbolize the subsequent spread of Buddhism from India to Tibet. Translated for the first time in the West in 1953, this anonymous and uncertain era operetta was immediately perceived as a gem of Tibetan Buddhist wisdom.