Advice Series

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Guru Dewa Chenpo

Further Information:

Lotsawa House presents the following texts as part of our Advice Series:

General

In this brief advice the great scholar Butön Rinchen Drup (1290–1364) explains what it is to be truly wise, a true bodhisattva, and a true adept of the secret mantrayāna.

In this song of yearning devotion, or prayer of 'calling the guru from afar' (bla ma rgyang 'bod), the late Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche offers his followers some profound advice related to "the swift path of the luminous Great Perfection."

Important words of advice for all serious Dharma practitioners from the great Dzogchen yogin Chatral Sangye Dorje.

Making use of classical sources, Jigme Tenpe Nyima warns of the dangers of sleep and drowsiness. He offers some practical suggestions for cutting down on sleep and enhancing diligence.

A candid, somewhat comical description of what it means to take a limited and superficial approach to scholarship, which Jigme Tenpe Nyima tells us is based on his own experience.

In this short text, Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche explains some important points of conduct to be observed by the sangha of monastic practitioners and the sangha of vidyādhara yogins. It was written with a view to preserving aspects of tradition in danger of being lost forever.

This general advice from the great Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé covers every level of the spiritual path. Drawing upon famous statements by Atiśa and Śāntideva, he offers ethical guidance and practical instructions for watching the mind, cultivating renunciation, compassion and devotion, and realising the nature of all phenomena.

In the form of an address to himself, Jamyang Khyentse delivers some urgent and uncompromising advice, before offering a heartfelt prayer to his teacher and concluding words of aspiration.

In response to a question from his spiritual consort, Khandro Tsering Chödrön, Jamyang Khyentse explains the essence of the path in just a few lines. (Khandro's question is in the form of an acrostic poem, the opening syllables of its four lines being the first four syllables of the Tibetan alphabet).

These verses of advice for renunicant meditators (spong ba bsam gtan pa) cover the entire Buddhist path, from instructions on following a spiritual friend through to the most advanced generation and perfection phase practices.

In this brief, practical instruction written for a disciple, the great Khenpo Tashi Özer explains the root of meditation, which he described as "mind looking into itself".

In this text from his miscellaneous writings, Khenpo Shenga offers advice on visualizing oneself as the tutelary deity, or yidam, and cultivating what is known as 'vajra pride'.

In this famous poem Könchok Tenpe Drönme offers a powerful and moving contemplation on impermanence and mortality, inspiring the reader to focus on Dharma practice without delay.

Essential advice on every stage of the path from beginning to end. As Longchenpa puts it in the text itself: "Even if we were to meet in person, I would have no greater instruction to give you than this. So take it to heart, all the time, and in any situation."

Longchen Rabjam tells us that he composed these thirty verses of heartfelt advice for himself and others like him, out of a sense of renunciation. In what has become one of his most famous and popular teachings, he advocates simplicity, ethical discipline, humility, and, above all, diligent practice.

This very short yet practical set of instructions, composed in verse, was written at the request of several beginners.

Mipham Rinpoche gave this text in thirty-seven verses to the Third Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima as a sealed scroll while they were both at Dzongsar Monastery. Although the precise date is unclear, it seems likely that this was in or around 1886. The text is a mixture of personal, often cryptic advice and prophecy.

In these six pithy verses, composed in 1896, Mipham explains the relative strengths of each of the four main Tibetan Buddhist Schools—Nyingma (rnying ma), Kagyü (bka' brgyud), Gelug (dge lugs) and Sakya (sa skya)—and appeals to their followers to tolerate and respect one another.

This short advice in verse explains the perfect equality (mnyam pa nyid) of the dharmadhātu (chos kyi dbyings), the space-like nature of phenomena, which, Mipham says, is a crucial point to understand in both sūtra and tantra. Mipham wrote this text in 1901.

This short song from Nyala Pema Dündul explains that whether or not we have realised the truth of the teachings and progressed along the path is apparent in our character and our actions.

In this brief song Nyala Pema Dündul advises his audience how to give up the eight ordinary concerns, or 'worldly dharmas' ('jig rten chos brgyad), i.e., hope for happiness and fear of suffering; hope for fame and fear of insignificance; hope for praise and fear of blame; hope for gain and fear of loss.

This poem explains the tell-tale signs for determining whether the common preliminary practices (sngon 'gro) have penetrated the mind of a practitioner.

In this important guide to Mahāyāna ethics, Patrul Rinpoche elaborates upon nine points or criteria that a follower of the bodhisattva path should consider when seeking to act for others' benefit.

In this brief series of verses, Rongtön explains the benefits of the six transcendent perfections, or pāramitās, and shows how they incorporate many other aspects and qualities of the Mahāyāna path.

The Viśuddhadarśanacaryopadeśa (lta spyod rnam dag gi man ngag) is a very brief work included in the Tengyur. In it Śākyaśrībhadra discusses the empty, illusory nature of reality and recommends meditation on 'emptiness with compassion as its core' (stong nyid snying rje'i snying po can).

In this brief text Yukhok Chatralwa explains the common outer and uncommon inner preliminary practices in very simple terms.

In Jest

Retreat

In this teaching, which was originally intended for participants in a three-year retreat in Chanteloube, in the Dordogne region of France, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche discusses the importance of faith, renunciation, compassion, and looking into the nature of mind.

A very short text on the best conduct and attitude to adopt when practising in meditative retreat.

Longchenpa describes this text as a letter sent from his mind to itself, and, as befits such a personal message, it is heartfelt and candid. The core of the message is simple enough: to leave behind the busyness of saṃsāra and set out instead for the peace and tranquility of the forest, where "meditation naturally grows" and "one can find the bliss of inner peace." Yet while Longchenpa makes this point uncompromisingly, his language, particularly in describing the kind of wild woodland sanctuary he recommends, is often beautifully evocative and poetic.

In this poem Nyala Pema Dündul praises the peace of isolated mountain hermitages and retreats, contrasting it not only with the hustle and bustle of towns and villages, but also with the everyday comings and goings of ordinary monasteries.

Written for his close disciple, Alak Dongak Gyatso (1824–1902), this text of Patrul Rinpoche offers advice on the purpose and significance of solitude. Brief as it is, the work is of interest not only for its comments on retreat, but also for the clues it holds about Alak Dongak's life, especially as no complete biography has yet come to light and his writings have not survived.

Yukhok Chatralwa records the pithy advice of the Nyarong Lama, i.e., Tertön Sogyal Lerab Lingpa, on the subject of how to remain in solitary retreat.

Heart Advice

Bardos

Mahāmudrā

Songs

Dzogchen

Related Topics

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