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37 Practices of a Bodhisattva

29
Understanding that emotional reactions are dismantled
By insight supported by stillness,
Cultivate meditative stability that passes right by
The four formless states — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

30
Without wisdom, the five perfections
Are not enough to attain full awakening.
Cultivate wisdom, endowed with skill
And free from the three domains — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

31
If you don’t go into your own confusion,
You may just be a materialist in practitioner’s clothing.
Constantly go into your own confusion
And put an end to it — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

32
You undermine yourself when you react emotionally and
Grumble about the imperfections of other bodhisattvas.
Of the imperfections of those who have entered the Great Way,
Don’t say anything — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

33
When you squabble with others about status and rewards,
You undermine learning, reflection, and meditation.
Let go of any investment in your family circle
Or the circle of those who support you — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

34
Abusive language upsets others
And undermines the ethics of a bodhisattva.
So, don’t upset people or
Speak abusively — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

35
When reactive emotions acquire momentum, it’s hard to make remedies work.
A person in attention wields remedies like weapons,
Crushing reactive emotions such as craving
As soon as they arise — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

36
In short, in everything you do,
Know what is happening in your mind.
By being constantly present and aware
You bring about what helps others — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

37
To dispel the suffering of beings without limit,
With wisdom freed from the three spheres
Direct all the goodness generated by these efforts
To awakening — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Following the teachings of the holy ones
On what is written in the sutras, tantras, and commentaries,
I set out these thirty-seven practices of a bodhisattva
For those who intend to train in this path.

Because I have limited intelligence and little education,
These verses are not the kind of poetry that delights the learned.
But because I relied on the teachings of the sutras and the revered
I am confident that The Practices of a Bodhisattva is sound.

However, because it’s hard for a person with limited intelligence like me
To fathom the depths of the great waves of the activity of bodhisattvas,
I ask the revered to tolerate
Any mistakes — contradictions, non sequiturs, and such.

From the goodness of this work, may all beings,
Through the supreme mind that is awake to what is ultimately and apparently true,
Not rest in any limiting position — existence or peace:
May they be like Lord All Seeing.

Tog-me, the monk, a teacher of scripture and logic, composed this text in a cave near the town of Ngülchu Rinchen for his own and others’ benefit.


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