Torch for the Path to Freedom
Literary Genres › Advice | Tibetan Masters › Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
A Torch for the Path to Freedom
by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
The one who reveals the excellent path
And shuts the door to the lower realms,
Protector, teacher of the way to awaken,
Glorious guru, to you I pay homage.
Dharma practitioner of noble family,
Insistently you said, "I need advice."
And while this means you should consult
The sublime words of the masters of the past,
Still I shall write here a simple summary.
Kyema! Now you have this flawless physical support,
Adorned with the freedoms and advantages,
If you fail to put the Dharma into practice
You’ll only deceive yourself, a grievous mistake.
It will be hard to find a situation like this again.
"Why is that?" you might ask.
It’s taught that it is through keeping discipline
And cultivating patience that one gains
The physical support of a god or human being,
But such an achievement is rare.
Even when one gains a support like this it doesn’t last.
Consider how things do not endure but soon perish
By considering examples of various types—
Dewdrops on grass, bubbles in water, and the like.
Do not delay; apply yourself to the Dharma.
Human life is often squandered in a state
Of plans to do this tomorrow and that the next day.
But one day death will surely come for us,
And though we might feel regret, it’ll be too late.
Now, then, while we have some autonomy,
Let’s not think too much but endeavour in Dharma.
What’s more, virtue that’s half-mixed with vice
Will not be virtue that is especially powerful.
Apply mindfulness and vigilance, therefore,
And fully avoid all misdeeds, great or small,
Confess past errors and vow not to repeat them.
Fruits of actions cannot fail to materialize.
Whatever we do will ripen upon us alone.
Saṃsāra is not beyond the nature of suffering,
And thus to swiftly liberate sentient beings,
Ourselves and others, we must take refuge
And, with a kind heart, generate bodhicitta.
Those who harbour jealousy and malice
Will not fulfil their short-term aspirations.
They’ll experience severe pain as they die
And will face the unendurable fires of hell.
So make prayers of noble, positive aspiration
That all that you do with body, speech and mind
May be of benefit to sentient beings.
No matter how much wealth you might acquire,
It’s hard to be content, and even as you expend energy
Amassing more and protecting what you have,
This is hard to achieve, insignificant, of little benefit.
All will most likely be wasted on petty trifles.
All will most likely be enjoyed by others.
Rely, therefore, upon contentment.
And whenever you do gain some small wealth
Use it to accumulate merit
By offering to the Three Jewels and so on.
Excessive talk undermines yourself and others.
Speak only in a measured, meaningful manner.
Constantly recite the Maṇi and Siddhi mantras
And make your speech purposeful in every way.
Guard your body to the utmost.
On full and new moon days, the eighth and so on,
Take the one-day precepts of the fasting practice.
Mind, too, should be restrained, bound tight
With the straps of mindfulness and vigilance,
Not allowed to roam freely in deluded thought.
Train your mind repeatedly
In bodhicitta and the view.
Your own true face of buddha-nature
Is obscured by the dust of ignorance,
So exert yourself in confession and purification,
Especially the visualisation and recitation of Vajrasattva.
To create the right interdependent circumstances
For the wisdom of realization to dawn within the mind,
Devotion and receiving the guru’s blessings are essential,
So put energy into the profound practice of guru yoga.
Cut the fundamental basis of the deluded mind.
If you realize the reality of mind’s unborn nature,
This itself will empty the citadel of saṃsāra
And strengthen pristine wisdom beyond limit.
Through the profound yoga of continuously settling
In a state that’s uncontrived yet undistracted,
Free from dualistic perception of subject and object,
You’ll seize the stronghold of the dharmakāya
And lead all sentient beings, as infinite as space,
To the level of the three kāyas.
The one with faulty discipline
Who is named Chökyi Lodrö
Wrote whatever came to mind
As this, a garland of advice,
Merely to avoid refusing the request
That came, supported by a gift,
From the ḍākinī Nordzin Wangpo.
May its virtue bring about the liberation of sentient beings.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey with the generous support of the Khyentse Foundation and Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2022.
'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros. gsung thor bu/_'jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros/ (rgya gar bir'i par ma/). (BDRC W21814). 2 vols. null: null, null. Vol. 2: 63–67
'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros. "zhal gdams thar lam sgron ma" In 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi blo gros kyi gsung 'bum. 12 vols. Bir, H.P.: Khyentse Labrang, 2012. (W1KG12986). Vol. 8: 322–325