My Advice to Myself

by Dza Paltrül Rinpoche

My one Lama and yidam – Dorje Sempa sits on a full-moon lotus of white light in the full bloom of youth. Think of me Dorje Sempa, remaining unmoved—as you are—within the manifest bliss-emptiness display of Mahamudra.

Listen Paltrül, you day-dreaming prisoner of conditioned perception and response – how long you have been entranced, goaded, and bewildered by appearances? Are you aware that—in this instant—you are under the spell of dualism? Be observant, and try not to not take your false and vacuous life so seriously.

Your mind spins with possible projects – yet they are all futile, so you may as well give them up. Considering the plethora of plans you hope to accomplish – will you ever have time to complete them? These purposes you propose are a burden – they merely weigh you down with distraction. Projects never end – they proliferate like ripples in water, so just for once let go of your ridiculousness and sit. Consider the teachings you have heard, hundreds of them – what is the point of further listening when you have not yet grasped the meaning of the first teaching you heard?

What is the point of reflecting on teachings, if you do not apply them when needed? You may meditate according to instructions – but it does not rid you of obscurations. When you cannot even accomplish kyé-rim envisionment, you may as well forget the arithmetic of the mantras you have recited. You may see yidams clearly – but you never transcend subject and object. You may tame those appearances you call ‘evil spirits’ and ‘ghosts’ – but you cannot tame the stream of your mind.

Forget about your four meticulously arranged sessions of drüpthab. They are no use to you. When your are cheerful you seem to have clarity – but you cannot relax. When you are depressed your meditation seems stable – but lacks brilliance. As for awareness – it is as if you were stabbing a target with a stake: you merely force states which vaguely approximate rigpa. So forget about these yogic postures and gazes that seem to keep your mind stable – they are merely tethers.

Giving grandiose teachings does not free your mind-stream. Your analytical reasoning may seem precise and sharp – but it is merely another form of delusion, with little more to recommend it than goat dung. Forget about the oral instructions, because—profound as they are—if you do not put them into practise, then re-reading texts will merely keep you occupied and make your eyes sore.

People may find it charming when they hear you playing your damaru – but your liturgies which offer your body to be devoured are sheer nonsense, when you obviously continue to hold it so dear. You may well clash tingshar – but as you fail to keep the real purpose in mind – you may as well forget such attractive practice equipment.

Your students appear to be studying hard – but they cannot maintain attention. Today they seem to understand – but tomorrow not a trace maybe be left. Even if one student seems to learn something, it is rarely bears itself out in their conduct – so forget about these elegant academic disciplines.

Forget about these ‘dear friends’ and the display of their smiling faces. This year they care about you – next year they could not care less. At the moment they seem modest and obliging. Later they may become pompous and aloof, and the more appreciation and affection you show – the more distant they become.

Forget your lady-friend too. Her smiles seem joyful – but who knows what is real? At the moment it may be perfect pleasure – but later it will be nine months of grief. This affair may be fine for a month but sooner or later trouble may come of it – and if it does people will tease you and your mind will becomes embroiled with ramifications.

As for these endless conversations replete with attraction, aversion, and indifference; they seem so entertaining at the time – but they merely spread the useless goat dung of other people’s mistakes. Your listeners may seem polite and attentive – but you are an embarrassment to them and they are ashamed for you. So forget this useless chatter – it only serves to make you thirsty.

Forget about pontificating on meditation texts when you have no real practice experience. People may listen to you with devotion – but what you present is not real. It is merely reciting a dance-manual – thinking that constitutes dancing. Sooner or later—when your actions contradict Dharma—you will feel ashamed that you have merely mouthed the words of eloquent explanations.

When you have no texts you long for them – but when you obtain the text you want, you hardly look at it. The number of pages may be few in number – but there never seems time to transcribe them. Even if you transcribed every text in existence, your greed would not be satiated. Transcribing texts is a waste of time – so, unless you are paid for the task, you may as well forget about it.

Today, people are happy – but tomorrow—with their alternating good and bad moods—they could well become furious about something or other. They are never satisfied, and even if they are reasonably pleasant they are unlikely to be there when you need them most – so forget about them or they will just disappoint you further. Forget artificial politeness and affected courtesies Paltrül you old codger – religious work is the province of the gentry – that is not your line of work.

Have you not noticed, that once you have made the effort of borrowing an old yak to service your dri, he seems bereft of any desire apart from falling to sleep. That is just how you should be – just sleeping, eating, urinating, and defæcating. These are unavoidable. Nothing else in life is mandatory so there is no point in further involvements. Just sleep – or be inconspicuous.

You are often the lowest in company – so take the lowest seat, but if you happen to be offered a superior seat – try to avoid self importance. There is no incontrovertible need for close friends – so you are better placed in keeping your own company. When you find yourself without social or religious obligations, try to avoid manufacturing them.

You know … if you just keep letting go – that is the real point.


Written by Tri’mèd Lödrö (Paltrül Rinpoche) for his close friend Ahu Shri (also Paltrül Rinpoche) to give advice tailored precisely to capacity and designed to be put into practice. However – as you do not know how to practice – simply keep letting go. If you cannot manage that, please do not get angry. Righteous!