by Atisha Dipamkara

Homage to the great compassion!

Homage to the deities who inspire faith and devotion!

Homage to the masters!

 

Be done with doubt and indecision,

And embrace your practice with all your heart.

Shake off lethargy, dullness and laziness,

And strive always with enthusiasm and joy.

 

Mindful, vigilant and careful,

Guard the doorways of your sense at every moment.

Three times each day, three times at night,

Again and again, examine your thoughts.

 

Make plain your own failings,

But don’t look for faults in others.

Make known the good points of others,

but keep quiet about your own best qualities.

 

Let go of craving for gain and honour,

And give up the urge to profit or fame.

 

Cultivate love and compassion

And make your bodhichitta stable.

Avoid the ten unwholesome actions,

And make your faith and confidence be strong.

 

With few wants, be content with what you have,

And with gratitude repay any kindness you receive.

 

Overcome anger and arrogance,

And let humility rule your mind.

Give up any unwholesome kind of living,

And pursue a livelihood in keeping with the Dharma.

 

Do away with your addiction to material things,

And adorn yourself with the riches of the Aryas.

The wealth of faith, of discipline,

Generosity and learning,

Decency, self-control,

And wisdom – such are the seven riches.

These most scared forms of wealth

Are seven treasures that never run out.

Do not speak of this to those who are not human.

 

Leave all busyness and distraction behind,

And dwell instead in seclusion and solitude.

 

Refrain from meaningless chatter,

And always keep a check on what you say.

 

Whenever you see your master or preceptor,

Offer to serve them with devotion and respect.

Those who possess enlightened vision

And those first setting out upon the path –

Regard them both as your spiritual teachers.

 

Whenever you see any sentient beings,

Regard them as your parents or your children.

Don’t befriend those who act in harmful ways;

Instead relay on true spiritual friends.

 

Drop any feelings of hostility or ill will,

And be happy, wherever you choose to go.

 

Avoid getting attached to anything at all

And stay free from craving and desire.

Attachment not only keeps you from happy births,

It kills the very life of liberation.

 

Should you find a way to peace and happiness,

Strive constantly to put it into practice.

Whatever task you set out to do,

Accomplish that very thing first.

This way, everything will turn out well;

If not, nothing will succeed.

 

Never take pleasure in acts that harm.

And when thoughts of superiority creep in,

There and then, deflate your self-importance,

And recall your master’s personal advice.

Or whenever you feel discouraged or inadequate,

Raise you spirits and encourage yourself.

And always meditate on emptiness.

 

Should the objects of attachment or aversion appear,

View them as no more than illusions or projections.

Should you hear unpleasant words,

Consider them nothing more than echoes.

Should you suffer physical harm,

See it as the result of your past actions.

 

Keep entirely to solitude, far away from town,

And, like the carcass of some wild animal,

Stay hidden in nature by yourself,

Free of all entanglement and attachment.

 

Always keep up your pledges and commitments,

And should laziness or procrastination strike,

Immediately take not of your errors, one by one,

And remind yourself of the heart of your discipline.

 

Whenever you meet another person,

Speak calmly, sincerely and truthfully.

Take care not to drown or glare.

And always wear a cheerful smile.

 

And when you’re with those you see every day,

Don’t be stingy, but be happy to give.

And banish all feelings of envy.

 

So as to protect others’ peace of mind,

Stay clear of quarrels of any kind,

And be patient and always forbearing.

 

Don’t flatter, or be a fickle friend,

But be steadfast and reliable all the time.

Never disparage or belittle other people,

But treat everyone with respect.

 

When giving advice or instructions,

Do so with compassion and a genuine wish to help.

Be sure never to criticize the teachings.

Set your sight s on what inspires you most.

And, through the ten forms of Dharma practice,

Exert yourself in sessions, day and night.

 

Amoung others, keep a check on your speech;

When alone, keep a check on your mind.

 

Whatever virtues you a mass in the past, present and future,

Dedicate them all towards great, unsurpassable awakening,

Share your merit among all sentient beings,

And with the seven branch practice,

Continually make great prayers of aspiration.

 

Practicing like this, you will complete

Accumulations of both merit and wisdom,

And eliminate the two forms of obscuration.

You will make this human life meaningful,

And, in time, gain unsurpassable awakening.

 

Translated by Dipamkara Shrijnana

Rigpa Translations, 2008. Revised 2012.

Distrusted by Tara Mandala.

Image of Bodhisattva from Lion's Roar.