Advice in Sets of Three
Literary Genres › Advice | Tibetan Masters › Patrul Rinpoche
From the murals of Shechen Monastery. Used with permission of Rabjam Rinpoche.
The Precious Treasury of Written Instruction Transmitted One-to-One
by Patrul Rinpoche
This is for my son Śrī to keep in mind.
Three things must not be forgotten:
The gracious guru,
The compassionate Buddha,
And mindfulness and vigilance.
Three things must be recalled:
The preceptor who transmitted the precepts,
The teachings that reveal those precepts,
And the commitments and vows to be upheld.
Three things must be present:
The mind in the body,
The body on its seat,
And the mind in relaxation.
Three things are best forgotten:
The objects of desire,
And dullifying sleep.
Three things are best kept under control:
Your mouth when at gatherings,
Your hands when alone,
And your mind at all times.
Three things must be kept secret:
Your own virtues,
The faults of others,
And plans for the future.
Three things should not be flaunted:
And cursory deeds of virtue.
Three places are best avoided:
And venues of games.
Three things are not to be divulged:
Dharma to the apathetic,
Histories to the unfamiliar,
And talk of the impossible.
Three things are uncalled for:
Moodiness toward friends,
Inconsistencies in reports,
And duplicity in dealings.
Three things should be avoided:
Gestures of self-importance,
And derision of anyone.
Three things should not be surrendered:
Resources to the privileged,
Trust to charlatans,
And heart-secrets to anyone.
Three things should not be examined closely:
A beauty’s physique,
A friend’s actions,
And one’s own qualities.
Three things should be in accord:
Conversation with friends,
Clothing with location,
And mind with the Dharma.
Three things should go unheeded:
Praise from others,
And ill-considered advice.
Three things are not to be yearned for:
The riches of the wealthy,
Privileges of the high-ranking,
And ornaments of the glamorous.
Three things should not be criticized:
Wares that others are peddling,
And friends who have been kind.
Three types of person should not be praised:
One who is universally condemned,
A self-regarding fool,
And a child who knows nothing.
Three types of person should neither be praised nor criticized:
One’s own close relations,
An unfamiliar lama,
And anyone else at all.
There are many such statements, but what they all boil down to is this: Always examine yourself. Don’t forget this. It includes both the Dharma and mundane ethics. It is the instruction in a single statement and is extremely profound.
This is the advice of the yogi Drimé Lodrö for his son Śrī, who is as dear as his own heart, so put it into practice. May virtue abound.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2021.
o rgyan 'jigs med chos kyi dbang po. "chig brgyud man ngag gi yi ge rin po che'i mdzod/" in gsung 'bum/_o rgyan 'jigs med chos kyi dbang po. BDRC W1PD107142. 8 vols. khreng tu'u: si khron dpe skrun tshogs pa/ si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2009. Vol. 8: 171–173
Here Patrul Rinpoche playfully uses two of his own names, Drimé Lodrö and Śrī—Sanskrit for the Pal (dpal) in Paltrul (or Patrul)—as this is advice he gave to himself. ↩