Advice from Atisha's Heart
Friends, since you already have great knowledge and clear understanding,
whereas I am of no importance and have little wisdom, it is not
suitable for you to request advice from me. However because you
dear friends, whom I cherish from my heart, have requested me,
I shall give you this essential advice from my inferior and childish
Friends, until you attain enlightenment the Spiritual Teacher
is indispensable, therefore rely upon the holy Spiritual Guide.
Until you realize ultimate truth, listening is indispensable,
therefore listen to the instructions of the Spiritual Guide.
Since you cannot become a Buddha merely by understanding Dharma,
practice earnestly with understanding.
Avoid places that disturb your mind, and always remain where your
Until you attain stable realizations, worldly amusements are harmful,
therefore abide in a place where there are no such distractions.
Avoid friends who cause you to increase delusions, and rely upon
those who increase your virtue. This you should take to heart.
Since there is never a time when worldly activities come to an
end, limit your activities.
Dedicate your virtues throughout the day and the night, and always
watch your mind.
Because you have received advice, whenever you are not meditating
always practice in accordance with what your Spiritual Guide says.
If you practice with great devotion, results will arise immediately,
without your having to wait for a long time.
If from your heart you practice in accordance with Dharma, both
food and resources will come naturally to hand.
Friends, the things you desire give no more satisfaction than
drinking sea water, therefore practice contentment.
Avoid all haughty, conceited, proud, and arrogant minds, and remain
peaceful and subdued.
Avoid activities that are said to be meritorious, but which in
fact are obstacles to Dharma.
Profit and respect are nooses of the maras, so brush them aside
like stones on the path.
Words of praise and fame serve only to beguile us, therefore blow
them away as you would blow your nose.
Since the happiness, pleasure, and friends you gather in this
life last only for a moment, put them all behind you.
Since future lives last for a very long time, gather up riches
to provide for the future.
You will have to depart leaving everything behind, so do not be
attached to anything.
Generate compassion for lowly beings, and especially avoid despising
or humiliating them.
Have no hatred for enemies, and no attachment for friends.
Do not be jealous of others' good qualities, but out of admiration
adopt them yourself.
Do not look for faults in others, but look for faults in yourself,
and purge them like bad blood.
Do not contemplate your own good qualities, but contemplate the
good qualities of others, and respect everyone as a servant would.
See all living beings as your father or mother, and love them
as if you were their child.
Always keep a smiling face and a loving mind, and speak truthfully
If you talk too much with little meaning you will make mistakes,
therefore speak in moderation, only when necessary.
If you engage in many meaningless activities your virtuous activities
will degenerate, therefore stop activities that are not spiritual.
It is completely meaningless to put effort into activities that
have no essence.
If the things you desire do not come it is due to karma created
long ago, therefore keep a happy and relaxed mind.
Beware, offending a holy being is worse than dying, therefore
be honest and straightforward.
Since all the happiness and suffering of this life arise from
previous actions, do not blame others.
All happiness comes from the blessings of your Spiritual Guide,
therefore always repay his kindness.
Since you cannot tame the minds of others until you have tamed
your own, begin by taming your own mind.
Since you will definitely have to depart without the wealth you
have accumulated, do not accumulate negativity for the sake of
Distracting enjoyments have no essence, therefore sincerely practice
Always keep pure moral discipline for it leads to beauty in this
life and happiness hereafter.
Since hatred is rife in these impure times, don the armour of
patience, free from anger.
You remain in samsara through the power of laziness, therefore
ignite the fire of the effort of application.
Since this human life is wasted by indulging in distractions,
now is the time to practice concentration.
Being under the influence of wrong views you do not realize the
ultimate nature of things, therefore investigate correct meanings.
Friends, there is no happiness in this swamp of samsara, so move
to the firm ground of liberation.
Meditate according to the advice of your Spiritual Guide and dry
up the river of samsaric suffering.
You should consider this well because it is not just words from
the mouth, but sincere advice from the heart.
If you practice like this you will delight me, and you will bring
happiness to yourself and others.
I who am ignorant request you to take this advice to heart.
This is the advice that the holy being Venerable Atisha gave to
Venerable Jangchub Ö."
Translation by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
Atisha's Advice is shown here as presented in the best-selling book, The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
If you would like to attend meditation classes near you and learn about Buddhism, visit the main website for Kadampa Buddhism which has details of Buddhist Centres around the world.
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