Advice Series

Literary Genres › Advice

English (110) | Deutsch (18) | Español (17) | Français (22) | Italiano (6) | Português (18) | 中文 (16) | བོད་ཡིག (110)


Further Information:
Download this collection:

A series of texts of advice and practical instructions on the path in general as well as more specific topics such as the intermediate states (bar do), Dzogchen, Mahāmudrā and retreat:




Simple advice on investigating the origination, presence and departure (byung gnas 'gro gsum) of thoughts and resting without fabrication or contrivance in order to see the essence of mind.

These few lines of verse, taken from the advice section of Jamyang Khyentse's collected writings, are effectively an aspiration for mastering the Dzogchen practice of Tögal.

This practical instruction in just a few lines covers the path of Dzogchen by highlighting only its most crucial elements.

This brief advice on the practice of the Great Perfection and the importance of devotion was written for the king of Lowo in Ngari in 1750.

In this short instruction in verse, Khenpo Pema Vajra explains the key points of the path in general and of the Great Perfection in particular. His practical advice includes what to do in the intermediate state, or bardo.

One of the better known instructions from the collection known as Responses to Questions, Advice from the Guru's Direct Instructions (bla ma dmar khrid kyi zhal gdams zhus lan skor), which is included in the Precious Treasury of Revelations (rin chen gter mdzod). The text contains simple advice from Guru Padmasambhava for his elderly disciple, Ngok Sherab Gyalpo.

Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche recalls the advice of Khenpo Ngawang Palzang, who managed to encapsulated the Dzogchen practice of Trekchö (khregs chod) in a single pithy instruction.

In this short essay, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche explains the theory behind the Dzogchen preliminary practice known as Khordé Rushen ('khor 'das ru shan), or separating the domains of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa.

Definitions of the five wisdoms (ye shes lnga), i.e., the wisdom of dharmadhātu, mirror-like wisdom, wisdom of equality, wisdom of discernment and all-accomplishing wisdom, according to the oral tradition of Khenpo Ngawang Palzang, aka Khenpo Ngakchung.

Pith instructions on liberating thoughts, translated from a rare manuscript in the library of Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje.

These notes discuss the ālaya, or 'ground of all', as well as the ālaya-consciousness (ālaya-vijñāna) and other forms of consciousness from a practical, experiential perspective, rather than a scholastic or theoretical point of view. They drew upon the sayings and explanations of such masters as Adzom Drukpa, Tertön Sogyal and Dudjom Lingpa.

Ethical Guidelines


This short text—Bodhisattvamaṇyāvalī in Sanskrit—is regarded as a classic work of the Mind Training (blo sbyong) tradition. With its direct and pithy language, it is not so much a poem as a series of maxims on the bodhisattva path.

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.

Composed for the sixth Drikung Chungtsang, Könchok Tenzin Chökyi Lodrö (1801–1859), this short text offers straightforward advice on measuring one's progress on the Dharma path.

In these four short lines, written in 1989, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche encapsulates the entire Buddhist path, which includes the cultivation of devotion, non-distraction, the recollection of death and impermanence, and compassion.

In this brief text, Jigme Tenpe Nyima explains the most important reasons for regarding the teacher as a buddha, a central tenet of the Vajrayāna.

On the basis of classical sources, Jigme Tenpe Nyima warns of the dangers of sleep and drowsiness; he also 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 very short text, Jigme Tenpe Nyima describes the best, middling and inferior ways of using pain and illness as part of the Mahāyāna path.

One of Jigme Tenpe Nyima's best known works—and indeed one the most famous Tibetan texts of recent times—this is a pithy and practical guide to integrating all experiences, good and bad, happy and sad, into the path to enlightenment. As the text itself puts it, this is “indispensable for leading a spiritual life, a most needed tool of the Noble Ones, and quite the most priceless teaching in the world.”

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

Six lines of essential advice from the Fifteenth Karmapa Khakhyab Dorje to his spiritual consort, the celebrated ḍākinī Urgyen Tsomo (1897–1961).

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.

This simple advice covering the entire Buddhist path was composed at the request of Degyal Rinpoche (b. 1937).

Verses of pithy advice for the Sakya khenpo Jamyang Losal Zangpo (1919–1993).

This general advice, written for a student called Karma Chöchok (karma chos mchog), includes the Tibetan syllable ang — indicating insistence or encouragement and translated here as "hey!" — in each of its first four verses.

These verses of advice for Khenpo Jamyang Losal emphasize the importance of recognizing the view and practising guru yoga.

This remarkably concise and pithy instruction on Dzogchen practice and preparation for death was composed for Ane Kalchö of Lakar.

A verse on resting in the nature of mind, which is said to have been composed for Palpung Situ Pema Wangchok Gyalpo (1886–1952).

These pithy verses of advice for an unnamed disciple cover the entire path from the outer preliminaries through to the advanced yogas of the generation and perfection phases.

Written for a disciple named Osam (Orgyen Samdrup? Orgyen Samten?), this short text in verse covers the whole path from the most basic contemplations of the outer preliminaries through to the highest form of meditation.

Concise counsel on every stage of the path, from recognizing the preciousness of a human life onwards, composed for an unnamed disciple.

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.

Jamyang Khyentse says he composed this candid song of self-counsel during the first month of a Snake year as he felt by turns joyous and sorrowful.

Pithy counsel for an unnamed tulku.

A simple instruction based on the so-called Four Dharmas of Gampopa: 1) turning the mind toward the Dharma, 2) making progress along the path, 3) clarifying confusion, and 4) allowing confusion to dawn as wisdom.

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).

Requested by a Paksam Gyatso, this general advice in verse covers the entire path from the preliminaries through to the most advanced meditation and its fruition.

A comprehensive guide to the Mahāyāna path in the Sakya tradition written at the behest of a lama referred to as Kangyurpa.

A short song of advice on the theme of the 'Three Greats', i.e., Great Middle Way (Madhyamaka), Great Seal (Mahāmudrā) and Great Perfection (Dzogpachenpo).

Verses of general advice on how to practise the path, from the preliminary contemplations through to the more advanced practices of the generation and completion phases, written for an unnamed student.

Khyentse Wangpo composed this commentary to The Essence of Nectar: Graduated Stages of the Path (lam rim bdud rtsi'i snying po) at the request of Chöying Palden, who had also requested the original root verses. The text covers every stage of the paths according to the vehicles of the transcendent perfections (pāramitā) and secret mantra.

These verses of advice for renunciant 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 describes as "mind looking into itself".

These words of advice from Khenmo Rigdzin Chödrön of Larung Gar were recently shared widely on social media.

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.

A brief text in verse, written for a monk who said that he sometimes felt sad when remembering his parents and sought advice on how to channel that feeling constructively.

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 a few lines of verse, Mipham explains the essence of Dzogchen Atiyoga, which is, in turn, the essence of the 84000 approaches of the Dharma.

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 a few simple verses, Palyul Choktrul sets out the basic elements that make human life meaningful, from thoughts that generate renunciation to cultivating devotion for the guru.

In this succinct account of the difference between ethical and unethical companions, Patrul explains the various ways in which they can influence one's own character for good and ill.

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.

One of the best-known and most popular texts of Patrul Rinpoche's, in which he offers pithy mundane and dharmic counsel (to himself) in sets of three.

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).

This short text in verse offers a clear and concise description of the liberated experience that results from practising the path of the development and completion stages.

Pithy verses of advice on the need to practise the path by letting go of attachment to saṃsāra and, upon the foundation of bodhicitta, meditating intensively in solitude.

Pithy verses of counsel covering the entire path, which Shechen Gyaltsab composed for the bhikṣu Jampa Dargye at Lhodrak Kharchu.

This short instruction on relative and absolute bodhicitta was composed at the request of the English monk Tenzin Jamchen (Sean Price).

These four lines of advice that encapsulate the entire path were requested by Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche on behalf of his students.

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

Guru Yoga

Heart Advice

In Jest


Drawn from the collection of advice called Ambrosia of the Heart (snying gi bdud rtsi) this brief text offers a very simple guide to practising Mahāmudrā.

This brief explanation of how to meditate on the Mahāmudrā of the innate (lhan skyes phyag chen) on the path of liberation (grol lam) is taken from the Ambrosia of the Heart collection of advice.

In this text Jamgön Kongtrul, referring to himself as a "kusāli"—a virtuous beggar—offers instruction on how to sustain an experience of the essential nature of mind in meditation.

Khenpo Gangshar describes this pithy advice on how to be truly happy by settling into realization of mind's essential nature as "insane ramblings", but it will surely be of great benefit to practitioners.

In this short text of practical advice, Mipham Rinpoche defines mental stillness, movement and awareness and explains how understanding the 'secret of the mind' leads to deeper levels of realization.

This concise commentary draws from the tradition of Fivefold Mahāmudrā teachings passed down from Pakmodrupa to Jikten Sumgön, and thus especially emphasized within the Drikung Kagyü lineage. When included in a single session of practice, these five points—bodhicitta, guru yoga, yidam practice, Mahāmudrā, and dedication—are held to provide a complete path to awakening. Chokyi Jungné’s instruction expands upon traditional presentations by concluding with specific instructions on how to practice during all periods of the day, as well as at the time of death.

A straightforward yet profound instruction on the nature of mind written in response to a request from an unnamed practitioner.


Mind Training



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.

Verses in praise of mountain solitude inspired by a recognition of the turbulence and futility of ordinary affairs and interactions, including some aspects of monastic life.

This pithy advice for a lama about to enter retreat explains the ultimate sense of the Tibetan term tsam (mtshams), which means 'retreat' but also 'boundary' or 'limit'.

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.


Related Topics