Source: Advice From The Lotus Born Guru (Shambala Press, Pg 25)
The Precious Guru advises practitioners to be diligent, as human life is hard to achieve and is brief, and gives simple, practical advice. Highlights selected by web editor.
I, the Lotus Born master of Uddiyana,
Trained in the Dharma for the welfare of myself and others.
To the east of the Vajra Seat
I studied and became learned in the Sutra teachings.
To the south, west and north
I studied the collections of Vinaya, Abhidharma, and the Paramita teachings.
In Bhasudhara I studied Kriya.
In the land of Uddiyana I studied Yoga.
In the country of Zahor I studied the two sections of Tantra.
In the land of Jah I studied Kilaya.
In the country of Singha I studied Hayagriva.
In the land of Marutsey I studied Mamo.
In Nepal I studied Yamantaka.
At the Vajra Seat I studied Amrita.
The four sections of Father Tantra and Mother Tantra,
Including the Guhyasamaja,
I studied to erudition in the land of Jala.
The Great Perfection I learned from my naturally aware mind.
I have realized that all phenomena are like dreams, like magic.
In the land of Tibet I performed immense actions for the welfare of beings.
In the age of degeneration I will benefit beings.
Therefore I concealed innumerable terma treasures
Which will meet with destined people.
All you fortunate ones who connect with these termas,
Fulfill the command of the Lotus-Born!
Thus he spoke.
This life is crossed in a brief moment, but samsara is endless. What will you do in the next life?
Emaho! At the end of this age my terma treasures will flourish in this snowy land of Tibet. Listen here, all of you who will follow my advice at that time!
It is difficult to realize the nature of Ati Yoga of the Great Perfection, so train in it! This nature is the awakened state of mind. Although your body remains human, your mind arrives at the stage of buddhahood.
No matter how profound, how vast, or how all-encompassing the teachings of the Great Perfection maybe, they are all included within this: Don't meditate on or fabricate even as much as an atom and don't be distracted for even as much as an instant.
There is a danger that people who fail to comprehend this will use this platitude: "It is all right not to meditate!" Their minds remain fettered by the distractions of samsaric business, although when someone realizes the nature of nonmeditation, they should have liberated samsara and nirvana into equality. When realization occurs you should definitely be free from samsara, so that your disturbing emotions naturally subside and become original wakefulness. What is the use of a realization that fails to reduce your disturbing emotions?
However, some people will indulge in the five poisons while refraining from meditation. They have not realized the true nature and will surely [descend] to hell.
Day and night, look into your mind. If your stream of mind contains any nonvirtue, renounce it from the core of your heart and pursue virtue.
Don't profess a view you haven't realized! Since the view is devoid of viewing, mind essence is an expanse of great emptiness. Since the meditation is without meditating, leave your individual experience free from fixation. Since the conduct is without acting, it is unfabricated naturalness. Since the fruition is without abandoning or achieving, it is the dharmakaya of great bliss. These four sentences are words from my heart. Contradict them and you fail to discover the nature of Ati Yoga.
At the end of the future age, there will be many perverted practitioners who will treat the Dharma as merchandise. At that time, all of you who obey my words, do not forsake the ten spiritual activities.
Although your realization is equal to that of the buddhas', make offerings to the Three Jewels. Although you have gained mastery over your mind, direct your innermost aims towards the Dharma. Although the nature of the Great Perfection is supreme, don't disparage other teachings.
Although you have realized that buddhas and sentient beings are equal, embrace all beings with compassion. Although the paths and bhumis are beyond training and journeying, don't forsake purifying your obscurations through Dharma activities. Although the accumulations are beyond gathering, don't sever the roots of conditioned virtue.
Although your mind lies beyond birth and death, this illusory body does die, so practice while remembering death. Although you experience dharmata free from thought, maintain the attitude of bodhichitta. Although you have attained the fruition of dharmakaya, keep company with your yidam deity.
Although dharmakaya is not some other place, seek the true meaning. Although buddhahood is not anywhere else, dedicate any virtue you create towards unexcelled enlightenment. Although everything experienced is original wakefulness, don't let your mind stray into samsara.
Although your mind essence is the awakened one, always worship the deity and your master. Although you have realized the nature of the Great Perfection, don't abandon your yidam deity. Those who, instead of doing this, speak foolishly with boastful words only damage the Three Jewels and will find not even an instant of happiness.
To obtain a human body is extremely difficult, so it is foolish to ignore the Dharma once having found it.
The guru said: Human beings don't think of death. A man's life is like a pile of chaff or a feather on a mountain pass. The demon Lord of Death comes suddenly, like an avalanche or a storm. Disturbing emotions are like straw catching fire. Your life-span decreases like the shadows of the setting sun.
All sentient beings of the three realms entangle themselves in their self-created black snake of anger. They pierce themselves with the horns of their self-created red ox of desire. They obscure themselves with their self-produced dense darkness of dullness. They chain themselves to their self-created cliff of conceit. They mangle themselves with their self-created jackal of envy. People don't notice that they fail to escape the five dangerous defiles of disturbing emotions. They do anything to experience the samsaric pleasures of just this life.
This life is crossed in a brief moment, but samsara is endless. What will you do in the next life? Also, the length of this life is not guaranteed: the time of death lies uncertain, and like a convict taken to the scaffold, you draw closer to death with each step.
All beings are impermanent and die. Haven't you heard about the people who died in the past? Haven't you seen any of your relatives die? Don't you notice that we grow old? And still, rather than practicing the Dharma, you forget about past grief. Rather than dreading future misery, you ignore the suffering of the lower realms.
Chased by temporary circumstances, tied by the rope of dualistic fixation, exhausted by the river of desire, caught in the web of samsaric existence, held captive by the tight shackles of karmic ripening - even when the tidings of the Dharma reach you, you still cling to diversions and remain careless. Is it that death doesn't happen to people like you? I pity all sentient beings who think in this way!
The guru said: When you keep in mind the misery of dying, it becomes clear that all activities are causes for suffering, so give them up. Cut all ties, even the smallest, and meditate in solitude on the remedy of emptiness. Nothing whatsoever will help you at the time of death, so practice the Dharma since it is your best companion.
Your master and the Three Jewels are the best escort, so earnestly take refuge. To practice the Dharma is what helps your state of mind the most. Re-member what you have heard, since the Dharma is the most trustworthy.
No matter which teaching you practice, give up feeling sleepy, lethargic and lazy. Instead, don the armor of diligence. No matter which teaching you have comprehended, don't separate yourself from its meaning.
If you want to genuinely practice the Dharma, do what is virtuous, even the most minute deed.
Padmasambhava said: Do like this if you want to practice the true Dharma! Keep your master's oral instructions in mind. Don't conceptualize your experience, as it just makes you attached or angry. Day and night, look into your mind. If your stream of mind contains any nonvirtue, renounce it from the core of your heart and pursue virtue.
Moreover, when you see other people committing evil, feel compassion for them. It is entirely possible that you will feel attachment to or aversion for certain sense objects. Give that up. When you feel attachment towards something attractive or aversion towards something repulsive, understand that to be your mind's delusion, nothing but a magical illusion.
When you hear pleasant or unpleasant words, understand them to be an empty resounding, like an echo. When you encounter severe misfortune and misery, understand it to be a temporary occurrence, a deluded experience. Recognize that the innate nature is never apart from you.
To obtain a human body is extremely difficult, so it is foolish to ignore the Dharma once having found it. Only the Dharma can help you; everything else is worldly beguilement.
Again the guru said: Beings with inferior karma aim at the grandeur and vanity of this world and act with no thought of karmic ripening. Future misery will endure much longer than that of the present, so feel motherly love and compassion for the beings of the three realms. Keep constant company with the awakened mind of bodhichitta. Forsake the ten nonvirtues and adopt the ten virtues.
Don't regard any sentient being as your enemy: to do so is only your mind's delusion. Don't seek food and drink through lies and deceit. Though your belly will be full in this life, it will weigh heavy in the following.
Don't get involved in business and making profits: in general, it is distracting for both yourself and others. Attach no importance to wealth, because it is the enemy of meditation and Dharma practice.
Dwelling only on food is a cause of distraction: keep your meditation provisions sufficient merely to sustain yourself. Don't live in villages or areas which promote attachment and aversion. When your body is in seclusion your mind will be also. Give up idle gossip and speak less. If you hurt another's feelings, both of you create negative karma.
In general, all sentient beings without exception have been your parents, so don't allow yourself to feel attached or hostile. Maintain a peaceful frame of mind. Give up angry and harsh words; instead speak with a smiling face.
It doesn't matter whether your act of giving is as small as a single sesame seed; if you give with compassion and bodhichitta you achieve hundredfold merit.
Your parents' kindness cannot be repaid even if you sacrifice your life, so be respectful in thought, word, and deed. Virtue and evil both come from perceived objects and companions, so don't keep company with evildoers. Don't remain in a place where people are hostile towards you and which furthers anger and desire. If you do, it only increases disturbing emotions in yourself and others.
Stay where your state of mind is at ease and your Dharma practice will automatically progress. To remain in places of extreme attachment and aversion is only distracting. Stay where your Dharma practice develops.
If you become conceited, your virtues diminish, so give up being arrogant and haughty. If you become disappointed and disheartened, console yourself and be your own counsel. Re-embark on the path.
The guru said: If you want to genuinely practice the Dharma, do what is virtuous, even the most minute deed. Renounce what is evil, even the tiniest deed. The largest ocean is made from drops of water; even Mount Sumeru and the four continents are made of tiny atoms.
It doesn't matter whether your act of giving is as small as a single sesame seed; if you give with compassion and bodhichitta you achieve hundredfold merit. If you give without the bodhichitta resolve, your merit will not increase even if you give away horses and cattle.
Don't indulge in flattery and half-hearted friendships. Remain honest in thought and deed. The foremost Dharma practice is to keep honesty in thought and deed. The foundation of Dharma practice rests on pure samaya, compassion and bodhichitta. The samayas of Secret Mantra, the bodhisattva precepts, and the rules of the shravakas are all included within this.
The guru said: Spend all your food supplies and wealth on virtuous deeds. Some people say, "One needs wealth at the time of death." But when you are struck by a fatal sickness, you cannot apportion your pain out for money, no matter how many helpers you have, and your pain is no greater if you have none.
At that time it makes no difference whether you have helpers, servants, attendants and wealth. All are all causes for attachment. Attachment binds you, even attachment to your deity and to the Dharma. The rich person's attachment to his thousand ounces of gold and the poor man's attachment to his needle and thread are equally binding. Give up the attachment that blocks the door to liberation.
When you die, it is the same whether your body is cremated on a pyre of sandalwood or consumed by birds and dogs in an unpeopled place. You go on, accompanied by whatever good or evil deeds you committed while alive. Your had name or good reputation, your stock of food and wealth, and all your helpers and servants are left behind.
On the day you die you will need a sublime master, so seek one out [beforehand]. Without a master you cannot possibly awaken to enlightenment, so follow a qualified master and accomplish whatever he commands.
Again the guru said: Listen here, fortunate people of future times who follow the words of Padmakara! First of all, when embarking on the path you must be diligent. For so long in the past, you were engrossed in deluded experience; for incalculable aeons, anything you did went astray in delusion. Cut through this delusion right now while you have obtained a human body.
All sentient beings are obscured by the darkness of the ignorant all-ground. When dualistic experience arose, it was solidified through dualistic fixation. No matter what sentient beings do, they commit miserable deeds. This prison of delusion of the six classes of beings is so tight!
It is extremely difficult to obtain a human body. Having obtained it, only a few people hear the name of the Buddha. After hearing it, it is extremely rare that someone feels faith. And even feeling faith once, after entering the Dharma many people like stubborn beasts break their samayas and precepts and head downhill. Seeing these sentient beings, the bodhisattvas despair, and I, Padmakara, grieve.
It is extremely difficult to obtain a human body.
Having obtained it, only a few people hear the name of the Buddha.
After hearing it, it is extremely rare that someone feels faith. And even feeling faith once, after entering the Dharma many people like stubborn beasts break their samayas and precepts and head downhill.
Seeing these sentient beings, the bodhisattvas despair, and I, Padmakara, grieve.
Tsogyal, in a place where the teachings of the Buddha are present, even people who obtained a perfect human body have since innumerable lifetimes gathered boundless merit, but they still possess the complete karma of the six classes of beings.
Some of them, upon hearing of the qualities of the Buddha, are set ablaze with attachment and anger, worried that other people will be interested too. Having joined the followers of the Buddha's teachings, they worry that samsara will be depleted. This type of attachment and anger is the seed for the hell realms. In future lives such people take rebirth in places where they never hear the name of the Three Jewels.
You people who live now or appear in the future and who correctly listen to the words of Padmakara, this is what you should do: In order to take advantage of the human body you have obtained, you need the sublime Dharma. People who cling to and yearn for mundane prestige and fame rather than practicing the Dharma belong to the highest level among animals.
If you doubt this, then ponder carefully: to be anxious that this body is comfortable, to be anxious that it will last, to be anxious that one triumphs, to be anxious that one's intimates are benefited, to be anxious that one's hated enemies are repaid in kind - all these are something that worldly people possess. The birds in the sky, the mice on the earth, the ants who live under stones and rocks all have the same as well. All sentient beings have it.
To have less harmful enemies than other beings is merely the highest level among the animals. In order to practice the Dharma you must cast away attachment to a country. Your homeland is the birthplace of attachment and anger.
Keep as much food and wealth as convenient to take and carry. Do so until you have cast away attachment to food and clothing. Don't keep possessions that become a distraction. Seek a place unfrequented by savage people. Keeping to food that is sufficient to simply sustain you, live in solitude free from companionship.
At first, purify' your misdeeds. Next, look into your mind! The fact that the natural state of mind doesn't last but projects thoughts is proof that it is empty. The uninterrupted occurrence of projecting thoughts is its cognizant clarity. Don't pursue the projection of thoughts. Don't cling to the cognizant clarity. By relaxing your attention and recognizing its essence, your natural awareness dawns as dharmakaya.
At times, do the practices for clearing hindrances and bringing forth enhancement. If you can follow my testament in this way, you will attain the state of Vajradhara in this very lifetime.
Tsogyal, someone with a dark brown and wrathful form will appear near the end of the teachings of Shakyamuni. For his sake, conceal these words of mine within a casket of brown rhino skin.
Thus he spoke.
The testament of the Lotus-Born master of Uddiyana entitled the Jewel Spike is hereby completed.
This was revealed by Rigdzin Godem, the Vidyadhara with the Vulture Feather, from the white treasure-trove to the east.
Samaya, seal, seal.
May it be virtuous.
May it be virtuous.
May it be virtuous.