100 Verses of Advice

Homage to the teacher!
Fortunate practitioners gathered here in Tingri, listen!

Just as worn-out clothes can never again be made as new, it’s no use seeing a doctor once you’re terminally ill; You’ll have to go.

We humans living on this earth are like streams and rivers flowing toward the ocean. All living beings are heading for that single destination.

Now, like a small bird flying off from a treetop, I, too, will not be here much longer; soon I must move on.

  1. If you spend the present meaninglessly and leave with empty hands, a human life in the future will be very hard to find.
  2. To apply yourselves with body, speech and mind to the sacred Teachings, is the best thing that you can do.
  3. Give your very life, heart and soul to the Three Jewels — the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha — and their blessings cannot but arise.
  4. Forget your goals for this life — concentrate instead on lives to come. That is the highest goal.
  5. Families are as fleeting as a crowd on market day; don’t bicker or fight.
  6. Wealth and poverty, like a magic show, just seduce and deceive; don’t let the knot of avarice bind you.
  7. This body’s just a bag containing various kinds of filth; don’t pamper it and spruce it up so.
  8. Family and friends are no more real than a magic show; in your fondness for them don’t tie yourself down.
  9. Country and land are like a nomad’s pastures, don’t cling sentimentally to them.
  10. As parents, all beings in the six realms have cared for you; don’t relate to them with your ideas of “I” and “mine”.
  11. The day you were born, your death began approaching. Remember: there is never any time to spare.
  12. Fundamentally there’s no delusion, it’s an ephemeral occurrence; look at the nature of what it produces.
  13. Without distraction apply yourselves to the sacred Dharma; after death it will guide you on the path.
  14. The truth of cause and effect ensures that actions yield their full result; avoid all actions that are negative and evil.
  15. Leave all your activities behind like a country in a dream; just put non-action into practice.
  16. The very thing you feel attached to, let go of it, whatever — there isn’t anything that you need.
  17. Since you won’t be staying in this world forever, make your preparations for the journey now.
  18. If you first finish what you have to do, you’ll never get to Dharma; while you’re thinking about it, practice straight away.
  19. Inside the forest, monkeys may be living happily at ease, but at the edges forest fires are closing in all round.
  20. Birth, sickness, ageing and death flow on, a river without ford or bridge; have you prepared yourselves a boat?
  21. In the narrow defiles of birth, death and the intermediate state bandits await — the five poisonous emotions — sure to ambush you; avail yourselves of the teacher as your escort.
  22. Your never-failing source of refuge is the teacher; carry him constantly on the crown of your head.
  23. If your protection is the teacher, you’ll reach wherever you aspire to go; cultivate devotion as the fare you pay for the journey.
  24. Those who get wealthy get miserly too; give generously without being partial.
  25. Whoever gets power acts sinfully too; abandon all desire for rank and power.
  26. Those with rank and riches are never happy and at ease; get ready to claw at your chest in anguish.
  27. In the next world, there are neither family nor friends; place your confidence in the Dharma.
  28. If you wander in distraction, you’ll waste the freedoms and advantages of human life; make a resolute decision now.
  29. While you’re busy being distracted, the demon of Death will catch you; practice from this very moment onwards.
  30. When will the demon of Death appear? There is no easy way to tell; right now be always on your guard.
  31. The day you die, there’s no one who’ll protect you; be ready to have yourselves alone to count on.
  32. If you reflect on death, there’s nothing you will need; always keep your death in mind.
  33. Like lengthening shadows as the sun sinks low, the demon of Death relentlessly draws nearer; quickly! Get away from him!
  34. The morning’s ravishing flower will wither by nightfall; don’t put your hopes in your body.
  35. Even if resembling, while alive, the children of the gods, once dead they are more frightful than a demon horde; you’ve been deceived by these illusory bodies.
  36. Visitors to market day, their trading finished, on the morrow have dispersed; your friends will part from you, be certain.
  37. Since the scarecrow conjured up by magic is sure to tumble down; act now according to the linking of effect with cause.
  38. For sure, the vulture of your mind will one day fly away; now is the time to soar up to the heights.
  39. All beings of the six realms have cared for you as parents; towards them cultivate your love and compassion.
  40. Hate for enemies is samsara’s hallucination, caused by actions; transmute your hatred and your hostile mind.
  41. Prostration and circumambulation purify obscuration of the body; abandon all your worldly physical work.
  42. Recitation and taking refuge purify obscuration of the speech; abandon all your ordinary conversation.
  43. Fervent devotion purifies habitual tendencies of the mind; meditate on the teacher above your head.
  44. Your flesh and bones took form together, but in the end are sure to separate; do not believe that you will live forever.
  45. Capture that most sublime of countries, the constant land of the natural state; where there is no transition or change.
  46. Enjoy that most sublime of riches, the treasure of the nature of mind; which cannot ever be depleted.
  47. Savor that most sublime of foods, the exquisite taste of meditation, which abolishes the pangs of hunger.
  48. Imbibe that most sublime of drinks, the ambrosia of mindfulness, whose flow is never interrupted.
  49. Rely upon that most sublime companion, primordial awareness wisdom, from which you never can be parted.
  50. Seek for that most sublime of progeny, the young child pure awareness, for which there is no birth or death.
  51. In a state of emptiness, whirl the spear of pure awareness; the view is free of being caught by anything at all.
  52. In a state without thoughts, without distraction, abandon the watcher; the meditation is free of any torpor or excitement.
  53. In a state of natural spontaneity, train in being free of any holding back; in the action there is nothing to abandon or adopt.
  54. The four bodies, indivisible, are complete in your mind; the fruit is beyond all hope and doubt.
  55. The root of both samsara and nirvana is to be found within your mind; the mind is free of any true reality.
  56. Desire and hate appear, but like birds in flight, should leave no trace behind; in meditation be free of clinging to experiences.
  57. The unborn absolute body is like the very heart of the sun – there is no waxing or waning of its radiant clarity.
  58. Thoughts come and go like a thief in an empty house – in fact there is nothing to be gained or lost.
  59. Sensations leave no imprints, like drawings made on water; don’t perpetuate deluded appearances.
  60. Thoughts of attachment and aversion are like rainbows in the sky; there is nothing in them to be grasped or apprehended.
  61. Mind’s movements dissolve by themselves, like clouds in the sky; in the mind there are no reference points.
  62. Without fixation, thoughts are freed by themselves, like the wind, which never clings to any object.
  63. Pure awareness is without fixation, like a rainbow in the sky; experiences arise quite unimpededly.
  64. Realization of the absolute nature is like the dream of a mute; there are no words to express it.
  65. Realization is like a youthful maiden’s pleasure; the joy and bliss cannot be described.
  66. Clarity and emptiness united are like the moon reflecting in water; there is nothing to be attached to and nothing to impede.
  67. Appearances and emptiness inseparable are like the empty sky; the mind is without either center or periphery.
  68. The mind with no thought and no distraction is like the mirror of a beauty; it is free of any theoretical tenets.
  69. Awareness and emptiness inseparable are like reflections in a mirror; nothing is born there and nothing ceases.
  70. Bliss and emptiness inseparable are like the sun lighting up the snows; there is nothing there to apprehend.
  71. Deluded talk will fade without a trace, like echoes; in sound there is nothing to be grasped.
  72. Happiness and suffering, through a mechanism like the sounding of a lute’s body and strings, are produced when actions are combined with necessary conditions.
  73. The natural freedom of samsara and nirvana is like a children’s game; have a mind without any aims.
  74. Your notions of the outer world derive from the mind within; let the solid ice be melted into liquid.
  75. The mechanism of ignorance is like the gush of a meadow spring; it cannot be halted by obstructing it.
  76. The delusions of samsara and nirvana are like coming face to face with an enemy; as your ally practice virtue.
  77. The natural clarity of the five kayas — aspects of enlightenment — is like the expanse of a continent of gold; there is no hope or doubt, attachment or aversion.
  78. With its freedoms and advantages, human life is like a treasure island; do not come back an empty-handed failure.
  79. The practice of the Great Vehicle is like a wish-fulfilling gem; however hard you search, it would be difficult to find again.
  80. For this life, come what may, you’ll have enough to eat and clothe yourself; put everything you have into practicing the Dharma.
  81. While you are young, practice hard and with austerities; once you’re old your constitution won’t withstand it.
  82. When emotions arise, bring antidotes to bear on them; let free all concepts in their very nature.
  83. Think from time to time of all the defects of samsara; that will make your faith become much clearer.
  84. Right now, develop diligence and stand your ground; when you die it will guide you on the path.
  85. If you’re not free now, when will you ever get to be free? Your chance to eat comes only one time in a hundred.
  86. Life is so ephemeral, like the dew on the grass; don’t yield to laziness and indifference.
  87. From where you are now, should you lose your footing, it will be hard to find a human life again.
  88. The Buddha’s teaching is like the sun shining through the clouds; now is the one time that it is present.
  89. You say such clever things to people, but don’t apply them to yourself; the faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
  90. That faith succumbs to circumstance is only a short step away; contemplate samsara’s imperfections.
  91. Frequenting evil friends is bound to make your own behavior evil; abandon any friendships that are negative.
  92. Frequenting virtuous friends is bound to make your own good qualities arise; follow your spiritual teachers.
  93. Deception and lies deceive not only others, but yourself as well; as witness take your own conscience.
  94. Delusion born from ignorance is the worst disaster-bearing demon; hold fast to your vigilance and mindfulness.
  95. If you don’t hold on to the three or five poisons — desire, hatred, ignorance, jealousy, and pride — the path is near; generate powerful antidotes against them.
  96. If your perseverance has no strength, you will not reach Buddhahood; make sure that you don that Armor.
  97. Habitual tendencies, being old acquaintances, keep on coming back; don’t go on following the past.
  98. If your understanding and realization are weak, pray to your lord teacher; and deep meditation will be born in you.
  99. If you aspire to happiness in future, accept your present trials; then Buddhahood is right here just beside you.
  100. This old Indian master will not stay in Tingri, he will go away; it is now that you must clarify your doubts.

I myself have practiced without distraction; you too should follow this example.