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Longchenpa's 30 Pieces of Sincere Advice

Maybe you appear deferential and appreciative
To your faithful supporters who provide you with your livelihood,
But in deceiving others you only entangle yourself.
Treat everyone equally – that’s my sincere advice.

Countless books on divination, astrology, medicine and other subjects
Describe ways to read signs. They do add to your learning,
But they generate new thoughts and your stable attention breaks up.
Cut down on this kind of knowledge – that’s my sincere advice.

You stop arranging your usual living space,
But make everything just right for your retreat.
This makes little sense and just wastes time.
Forget all this – that’s my sincere advice.

You make an effort at practice and become a good and knowledgeable person.
You may even master some particular capabilities.
But whatever you attach to will tie you up.
Be unbiased and know how to let things be – that’s my sincere advice.

You may think awakened activity means to subdue skeptics
By using sorcery, directing or warding off hail or lightning, for example.
But to burn the minds of others will lead you to lower states.
Keep a low profile – that’s my sincere advice.

Maybe you collect a lot of important writings,
Major texts, personal instructions, private notes, whatever.
If you haven’t practiced, books won’t help you when you die.
Look at the mind – that’s my sincere advice.

When you focus on practice, to compare understandings and experience,
Write books or poetry, to compose songs about your experience
Are all expressions of your creativity. But they just give rise to thinking.
Keep yourself free from intellectualization – that’s my sincere advice.

When a thought arises, the key is to look right at it.
When you know about mind, the key is to be right there.
Although there isn’t anything to cultivate, the key is to keep cultivating.
Keep yourself free of distraction – that’s my sincere advice.

Act from emptiness knowing the effects of your actions.
When you understand not doing, observe the three vows. [5]
With non-referential compassion work to help beings
Keep the two ways of growing inseparable – that’s my sincere advice.

I’ve studied with many learned and masterful teachers and received their profound instruction.
I’ve read some profound sutras and tantras and understood a little of them.
But I don’t practice what I know. It’s too bad. I just fool myself.
So, for me and those like me I offer these thirty pieces [6] of sincere advice.

May the good from writing these verses with this attitude of determination
Guide all beings out of the desolation of existence and bring them great joy.
May we follow the way of the buddhas of the three times, their followers and the ancient masters,
And become their great and powerful offspring as well.

Thirty Pieces of Sincere Advice was written by Tsultrim Lodru out of some slight feelings of determination. Ken McLeod translated this work because it spoke to him.


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  1. The vows associated with individual liberation (the five precepts and monastic ordination), the bodhisattva vow, and the vajrayana vows. []
  2. There are actually only twenty-nine verses of advice. I don’t know whether this is due to a corrupt Tibetan text or, as is often the case, the whole work is counted as one, too. []

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