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Longchenpa's 30 Pieces of Sincere Advice

In these difficult times you may feel that it is helpful
To be sharp and critical with aggressive people around you.
This approach will just be a source of distress and confusion for you.
Speak calmly – that’s my sincere advice.

Intending to be helpful and without personal investment,
You tell your friends what is really wrong with them.
You may have been honest but your words gnaw at their heart.
Speak pleasantly – that’s my sincere advice.

You engage in discussions, defending your views and refuting others’
Thinking that you are clarifying the teachings.
But this just gives rise to emotional posturing.
Keep quiet – that’s my sincere advice.

You feel that you are being loyal
By being partial to your teacher, lineage or philosophical tradition.
Boosting yourself and putting down others just causes hard feelings.
Have nothing to do with all this – that’s my sincere advice.

As you carefully go over the teachings you’ve studied
You may think that picking out others’ mistakes is real understanding.
You will just build up a lot of negative fixations.
Keep your perception clear – that’s my sincere advice.

Mindless talk of emptiness ignores causation.
You may think the ultimate teaching is that there is nothing to do,
But when you stop the two ways of growing, [3] your practice will wither.
Cultivate these two together – that’s my sincere advice.

You think that you will enhance your practice by taking a partner
And transforming sexual energy in the context of the third empowerment,
But the path of non-retention has snared many great meditators.
Keep to the natural path – that’s my sincere advice.

Giving empowerments to those who aren’t ready,
Or even distributing sacred materials in large gatherings,
Leads to abuse and causes commitments to be broken.
Be precise – that’s my sincere advice.

You may think that you practice deliberate behavior [4]
By going naked in public and shocking people in other ways.
Such actions just cause ordinary people not to trust the Dharma.
Be impeccable – that’s my sincere advice.

You work at being ethical, learned, and noble
So that you will be the best person in your district.
But from this peak you can only fall to a lower status.
Be moderate – that’s my sincere advice.

Wherever you live, in towns, spiritual communities or in isolation,
Don’t seek out special friends.
Don’t be close or at odds with anyone, no matter who is around.
Be independent – that’s my sincere advice.

continued on next page, see link below footnotes

  1. The two ways of growing are through goodness and through pristine awareness. []
  2. A discipline in vajrayana in which you directly test the depth of your understanding. []

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