Advice to Damngak Gyatso
Advice to Damngak Gyatso of Do
First, since this human body—the support for freedom’s qualities—is difficult to find, we must turn our thoughts away from the affairs of this life.
Second, since even once we've gained what is so difficult to find, death can come so easily upon us, we must avoid the belief that things will last forever.
Third, since the effects of our actions will surely follow us after death, we must turn our minds from unwholesome actions.
Fourth, since wherever we might take birth in saṃsāra, be it somewhere high or low, will still have the nature of suffering, we must dispel any thought of seeking higher realms.
Fifth, since all the qualities of higher states and liberation’s perfect excellence stem from virtuous practice, we must apply body, speech and mind to what is wholesome.
Sixth, since the guide along the way is the gracious master, we must serve and please him in the three ways, regarding all that he does as Dharma.
These are known as the six phases of the common outer preliminaries.
First, since the foundation of all vows is taking refuge, we must seek the protection of the Three Jewels.
Second, as it is the great pathway taken by all the bodhisattvas, heirs to the Victorious Buddhas, we must arouse bodhicitta as our motivation.
Third, since misdeeds and obscurations obstruct us on the path, we must put our energy into visualizing the teacher as Vajrasattva and reciting his mantra.
Fourth, since gathering the accumulations will create favourable circumstances, we must offer the three-kāya maṇḍala.
Fifth, since the source of all suffering is clinging to an “I”, we must overcome the delusion of past, present and future that is caused by ignorance and clinging to things as real, cutting through (chöd) it completely within the space of absolute reality.
Sixth, since all ordinary and supreme accomplishments arise from meditating on the guru, we must perform the essence of all practices, the generation phase, in which all that appears and exists arises as the guru, and the perfection phase, in which our mind merges with his wisdom mind inseparably.
These are known as the six phases of the uncommon inner preliminaries.
Finally, since the practice of transference (phowa) can come to our aid on the path, we must settle and allow our own awareness to merge with the guru’s wisdom mind inseparably. As this is the king of all transferences and an extremely profound and crucial point, always keep it in mind!
This advice was offered to Damngak Gyatso of Do by Chöying Rangdrol. May virtue abound!
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2013.