The Teaching of the Birds


Translated from Tibetan by Enrico Dell’Angelo with Introduction and Notes. English translation by Maria Simmons.

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The Teaching of the Birds. This small jewel of Buddhist literature is a Tibetan fable wherein a wise cuckoo transmits teachings of the Buddha to his avian kin. Around him listening and responding are birds of India and Tibet, each one expressing his thoughts through his own song. Coming together like this, birds of all species speak their minds, peacocks, parrots, cranes, geese, vultures, and so forth, all portrayed with grace and simplicity by the anonymous author. Thus the fundamental principles of Buddhism and the concepts of Tibetan folk wisdom are expressed with spontaneity and a fresh outlook through The Teaching of the Birds so that readers, even those whose culture is most distant from Eastern thought, are enchanted and able to savor the living spirit of that teaching.