The Instructions of Gampopa:
A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path
by Gampopa (1079–1153)
His Holiness Gampopa is one of the most prominent Teacher in Tibetan Buddhism of the 12th century, the most important student of the famous Jetsun Milarepa – and teacher of the First Karmapa, the men who integrated Atiśa’s Kadam teachings and Tilopa’s Mahamudra teaching to establish the Kagyu lineage of transmission in Tibetan Buddhism. Four of His disciples later founded 4 important Kagyu Schools, including Karma Kagyu.
His name Gampopa literary means “the man from Gampo”, but He is also known as Sönam Rinchen and by the title Dakpo Lharjé “the physician from Dakpo.”
A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path and The Jewel Ornament of Liberation or The Wish-fulfilling Gem of the Noble Teachings are the most known works with teachings of Gampopa.
Namo Ratna Guru (Salutation to Ratna Guru)!
To those who liberate beings
from the terrible ocean of Samsara that is so hard to cross,
who are ornate with the pure practice of the precious Kagyu tradition, whose river of blessing is endless like the expanse of an ocean; to those holy gurus of the soft and pure practice lineage
of vast, far- seeing spontaneously accomplished aspirations,
I pay homage and go refuge.
I supplicate you to overflow me with your gracious blessing.
Having churned the oral tradition of Kagyu for a long time and keeping it in my mind and heart, I write down this Precious Garland of the Supreme Path with instructions which will be extremely valuable to those fortunate ones who directly or indirectly venerate me and those persons who desire to attain the liberation and omniscient Buddhahood.
10 causes of non-compensable losses of human life:
At the outset, they should meditate upon the ten causes of non-compensable losses of human life which are as follow:
1. It is a non-compensable loss to this very rare and pure human life to get oneself indulged in wrong doings (negative deeds).
2. It is a non-compensable loss to die by engaging this rare, pure, transient and perishable human life in irreligious and material activities.
3. To waste this short human life of Kali Yuga (degenerated-age) in worthless activities is also a non-compensable loss to this rare human life.
4. Without elaboration of mental fabrication of the mind whose nature is the Dharmakaya, but to sink into the abyss of Samsaric mire due to ignorance is a non-compensable loss.
5. To detach oneself from the company of the holy guru, who is the best path-finder, before one attains awakening and be able to help cultivate the Bodhichitta is a non-compensable loss.
6. Vows and Samaya are instrumental to achieve Nirvana (liberation), which we destroy by our affliction, carelessness and adverse condition. So, they are non-compensable losses to this human life.
7. To lose the awakening experience achieved with the blessing of the holy guru amidst the clumsy, confused and irreligious activities is a non-compensable loss to this human life.
8. To sell out invaluable and profound instructions of the great Siddhas to unfortunate and unworthy common men for shake of ordinary material benefits is a non-compensable loss to this human life.
9. All the sentient beings must have been our kind parents in any one of our previous births. So, we ought to acknowledge our gratitude to them. We not only forget them, but also react against them with different attitudes (desire, anger, pride, greed, attachment and envy). It is also a non-compensable loss to this rare human life.
10. To close the three gates (body, speech and mind) in the practice of Dharma by indulging oneself in luxurious material life during his full youthful is also a non-compensable loss to this rare human life.
The 10 necessary things:
1. It is necessary to be disciplined oneself in order not to be deprived from his own original and unique concepts by misled advice.
2. It is necessary to accomplish the instructions of one’s supreme guru with faith and diligence through the arising of faith and intense diligence; you are able to put the instructions of the guru into practice.
3. It is necessary to identify the difference between the right and wrong instructions; but one should not make mistakes and misunderstand the conception of the holy guru.
4. It is necessary to execute the intentions of the holy guru, with transcendental wisdom, faith12 and diligence.
5. It is necessary to meditate and churn over one’s deeds and to distinguish between the good and evil deeds through possession of mindfulness, attention and conscientiousness, so that one can keep these three entrances unstained by the defects of faulty conduct.
6. It is necessary to practice upon the tutelary deity with a stable, purified and independent thorough possessing of courage and the armour like diligence.
7. It is necessary to be without attachment and craving of conduct and not to entrust the nose-rope in the hand of other.
8. It is necessary to always be diligent in gathering the two accumulations of merits by practicing the preparatory performance and dedication from the core of the heart.
9. It is necessary that one turns one’s mind to benefit the sentient beings both directly and indirectly with loving-kindness and compassion.
10. It is necessary that one should not mistake all things to be substantial and inherently that furnish essential characteristics through the possession of knowledge, understanding and realization.
The 10 dependable things:
1. One should take refuse in a holy guru, who possesses supreme knowledge and compassion.
2. One should take shelter in the monastery, which is isolated from the society, spiritually pleasant, blissful and established with the divine blessing.
3. One should take stable companions like views; character and practice keep with equal importance.
4. Keeping in mind that livelihood is full of faults and leads to sinful deeds; one should keep himself confined to limited livelihood.
5. One should take shelter in the lineage instructions of Siddhas by giving up the partial outlook.
6. One should apply the materials, medicines, mantras and deep interdependence that are beneficial to oneself and others.
7. One should take food that benefits his health and should follow the path of method for sound health.
8. One should take shelter in Dharma and conduct to benefit himself through experience.
9. One should teach only to faithful and fortunate disciples.
10. One should always have mindfulness and alertness upon the four kinds of conducts and should use them in life.
The 10 things to be given up:
1. Give up the master whose actions are always mixed with the eight worldly Dharmas.
2. Give up those friends and companions whose company affects your mind and experience negatively.
3. One should abandon those places and monasteries which nourish more laziness and violence.
4. Give up that wealth which is amassed through pretension, theft, robbery and cheating.
5. Give up those actions and activities that affect your mind and experience.
6. Give up that food and conduct which are harmful both mentally and physically.
7. Give up fixation and attachment that binds you with desire, hope and greed.
8. Give up the careless and shameless conduct that compels others to lose their faith in you.
9. Give up the meaningless actions and activities walking and sitting.
10. Give up the habit of hiding your own faults and exposing other’s.
The 10 things not to be abandoned:
1. Compassion is the root cause of benefit to others; so it must not be abandoned.
2. The appearances of various aspects are the radiance of the mind; so it must not be abandoned.
3. All thoughts (nature of relativity) are the transitory reflection of dharmata only; so they must not be abandoned.
4. Defilements are instrumental of cultivating wisdom; so they must not be abandoned.
5. The desirable objects that appear to the five senses are like the water and fertilizer for experience and realization; so they both must not be abandoned.
6. Sickness, suffering and sorrows are like our teacher; so they must not be abandoned.
7. The enemies and obstructers are exhortation of the Dharmata; so they must not be abandoned.
8. It is a boon to achieve spontaneity; so it must not be abandoned.
9. Path and method are always support to proceed on the path of wisdom; so they must not be abandoned.
10. What is accomplished through sadhana is the physical conduct of Dharma; so it must not be abandoned.
The intention to benefit others, which needs little physical ability, must not be abandoned.
The 10 things to know:
1. Since the external appearances are deceptive, one should treat it as unreal.
2. Since the internal mind is selfless, it should be treated as empty.
3. Since the thought arises from some condition, it should be treated as incidental.
4. Since the body and speech are products of elemental forces, they should be treated as impermanent.
5. Since all the pleasures and sufferings of sentient beings arise from karma, the result of actions should be treated as unfailing (non-deceptive).
6. Since suffering is the cause of renunciation, it should be treated as a spiritual teacher (Kalyanmitra).
7. The pleasure and comfort of this life are the causes of rebirth; so they should be treated as craving and attachment to Mara.
8. Merry-making in the gathering and festivals are obstacles against the accumulation of merit; so they should be treated as obstacles of merit.
9. The obstacles and accidents urge to cultivate virtues. So the enemies and obstacles should be treated as our teachers.
10. The absolute truth is that all phenomena are without a nature; one should know everything to be the same.
The 10 things to be practiced:
1. After entered into the gate of Dharma, do not indulge in the worldly life and practice in accordance with Dharma.
2. After giving up your native place, do not settle yourself permanently elsewhere; practice without attachment.
3. Give up arrogance and practice in accordance with the instructions of your holy guru.
4. Do not just teach; train your mind through hearing contemplation and churning over the Dharma; practice what you have learned.
5. When realization has arisen in mind, do not be satisfied with it and without being complacent, practice without distraction.
6. After achieving the spiritual experience through meditation, do not enter into the life of community and carry-on practice till you attain the Enlightenment.
7. Having promised and committed yourself, do not involve in the three gates in irreligious activities; practice the three trainings. (Trisiksa)
8. Having generated the Bodhichitta (Supreme Awakening), perform all practice for the benefit of others, by giving up your own selfishness.
9. Having entered the world of tantra, do not indulge your three gates in ordinary works; practice about the three Mandalas.
10. In your youth, do not wander meaninglessly; practice Dharma in the presence of a holy teacher.
The 10 things to be emphasized:
1. At the very beginning the practitioner should emphasize on hearing and analysis of Dharma.
2. The practice of meditation done with experience should be emphasized to more arisen practice.
3. Until you attain stability of your mind, emphasize on living in solitude.
4. If excitement predominates mind, emphasis should be given to control it.
5. If torpor and depression predominate, emphasis should be given to a little nap of mind in order to be active again.
6. Until the mind is stable, emphasis should be given to contemplation.
7. Through your stabilized in even placement, emphasize on attaining Buddhahood.
8. If unconducive conditions are many, emphasize on practicing three folds of patience.
9. If desire and attachment grow in stature, emphasize on forceful renunciation.
10. If love and compassion weaken, emphasize on the cultivation of Bodhichitta.
The 10 exhortations:
1. Considering the difficulty to obtain the very rare human life and sources, exhort yourself to practice the genuine Dharma.
2. Considering the death and impermanence of life, exhort yourself to cultivate the virtues.
3. Considering the unfailing results of actions, exhort yourself to abandon wrong deeds.
4. Considering the defects of Samsara, exhort yourself to accomplish liberation (Nirvana).
5. Considering the suffering of the beings of this Samsara, exhort yourself to cultivate the Bodhichitta in your mind.
6. Considering the existent evil thought in the minds of the sentient beings, exhort yourself to hear and reflect Dharma.
7. Considering the difficulty of abandoning the habits of evil thoughts, exhort yourself to practice meditation for giving up them.
8. Considering the result of the defilement in this age of decadence, i.e., Kali yuga, exhort yourself to prevent the bad deeds.
9. Considering the many unconducive conditions present in this age of decadence, i.e., Kali yuga, exhort yourself to be patient.
10. Considering the emptiness of worthless activities, do not waste your valuable human life, and exhort yourself to be diligent.
The 10 deviations from Dharma:
1. If one has little faith and sharp intelligence, he remains as a speaker forever, which is a deviation.
2. If one has deep faith and little intelligence, his effort goes meaningless, which is a deviation.
3. In the lack of instructions, a courageous person takes to evil and faulty ways, which is a deviation.
4. In the lack of hearing and reflection, meditation is obscured with the darkness of ignorance and false faith for which the meditator does not achieve the goal. This is a deviation.
5. After understanding the Dharma and the nature of wakening, if it is not practiced, one becomes a lazy religious practitioner. It is a deviation.
6. If one’s mind is untrained after the methods of great compassion, there is very possibility in following the path of Hinayana. It is a deviation.
7. If one’s mind is untrained after wisdom and emptiness, the person concerned travels about the mire of Samsara. It is a deviation.
8. If the eight worldly Dharmas are not overcome, the last deed follows the path of worldly Dharma. It is a deviation of whatever you do becoming a worldly decoration.
9. If one has too much attachment and interest to one’s house, household articles and one’s town, he always works to please that people and follow his way. It is a deviation.
10. When one has knowledge and spiritual power, but an unstable in mind and always follows the path shown by ordinary priests for their rituals. So, is a deviation.
The 10 confusions to be identified:
1. Confusion occurs between faith and desire. So, identify them.
2. Confusion occurs among love, compassion and attachment. So, identify them.
3. Confusion occurs between the emptiness of nature of all knowledge and the emptiness of human intellect. So, identify them.
4. Confusion occurs between the nature of emptiness of the phenomena (Dharmadhātu) and the view of annihilation. So, identify them.
5. Confusion occurs between experience and realization. So, identify them.
6. Confusion occurs between the virtuous and the show people. So, identify them.
7. Confusion occurs between the loss automatically done and the loss carried out by Mara. So, identify them.
8. Confusion occurs between the deeds of siddhas and conjurers. So, identify them.
9. Confusion occurs between deeds that benefit others and oneself. So, identity them.
10. Confusion occurs between skilful methods and pretentious skill. So, identify them.
The 10 unmistaken principles to be observed:
1. To leave home without attachment to anything, to take ordination, and to be homeless is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
2. To venerate the holy guru and the well-wishers like that of turban on the head is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
3. To combine the hearing, reflection and meditation on the right Dharma is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
4. Modest conduct and high thinking are an unmistaken principle to be observed.
5. To have broad view, open mind, and strong commitment is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
6. To have supreme wisdom and less pride is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
7. To be rich with instructions and in practice of the Dharma is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
8. To have the supreme experience and Enlightenment without arrogance and vanity is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
9. To live, especially, in solitude and to refrain away from the community is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
10. Detaching oneself from selfishness, to do welfare to others is an unmistaken principle to be observed.
The 14 useless deeds:
1. Having got the rare human life, not to observe the Dharma is like returning empty handed from the Island of jewels. So the life is useless.
2. Having entered the ordination of Bhikṣu to remain indulged in worldly life is like a moth dying in the flame of fire. So the life is useless.
3. Having no faith in Dharma while living with a great teacher of Dharma is like dying of thirst while living on the shore of an ocean. So the life is useless.
4. Dharma that does not cure the four basic faults and ego is like an axe that does not cut down the poisonous tree. So, life is useless.
5. Instructions are worthless if they do not mitigate the hindrances just like medicines in the bag of a physician not being used for a patient. So, life is useless.
6. Dharma not applied into the real life is like the recitations of a parrot who does not understand the meanings. So, life is useless.
7. To give in charity the wealth amassed though pretension, cheating and stealth is just like wasting the sheepskin in water. So, life is useless.
8. To venerate the three Jewels by harming the sentient beings is just like serving the mother with the flesh cut off from child and being cooked. So, life is useless.
9. By taking this birth for granted and in order to be happy by oneself through deception and patience is just like an attempt to attach a mouse to a cat. So, life is useless.
10. To perform the great acts of virtue for accumulating fame, name and wealth in this life is like exchanging a wish-fulfilling jewel for a wood apple or for a little fried flour. So, life is useless.
11. After having sufficiently studied and hearing about Dharma, if the mind does not change, the person concerned remains insufficient and worthless, as a physician is unable to cure himself of tuberculosis. So, life is useless.
12. The rich instructions are worthless, if not translated into real life just like the lost key to the treasury of a rich person. So, life is useless.
13. To teach Dharma without proper understanding of its real meaning is like a blind person leading another sightless one. So, life is useless.
14. To overlook the practical aspect of life because of the fast experience gained from tricks, and not to search for the true nature of things are just like assuming brass to be gold. So, life is useless.
The 18 prohibitions against hidden evil for practitioners of the Dharma:
1. While living in solitude to work for fame and happiness in this life is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
2. To accomplish one’s own desires by being the leader of the mass is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
3. Not to fear for committing sins by being a learned religious person is the prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
4. Having heard sufficient instructions, to get indulged in ordinary life is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
5. While observing the moral conduct thoroughly, to be highly ambitious is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
6. Having good experience and having realized the supreme knowledge thoroughly, not to be able to control one’s own mind is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
7. Having entered into the ordination of Dharma, not being able to give up the common anger and the very nature of ordinary life of human affairs is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
8. Having entered into the ordination of Dharma by giving up material life, once again to return to the material life of a common man is a prohibition for the practitioner of Dharma.
9. Knowing pretty well what Dharma is, not to practice it is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
10. After having commitment of the Sadhana, not to fulfil it is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
11. Having done all the acts in accordance with the Dharma, not to improve the moral character is a prohibition of the Dharma.
12. Having all food and clothes spontaneously, but not to part with it is like roaming about aimlessly amidst a community, which is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
13. To spend one’s power accumulated from virtuous deeds entirely for the healing of the patients and for the happiness of a child is a prohibition to the practitioner of the Dharma.
14. To teach the profound instructions only for food and wealth is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
15. To praise oneself indirectly and to censure others is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
16. To give instructions to others, while one’s own mind is contrary to Dharma is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
17. To be unable to live in solitude and not to live with the company of the people is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
18. To be anxious and worried both in the time of happiness and sorrow is a prohibition for the practitioner of the Dharma.
The twelve essential things:
1. It is essential for the practitioner to have faith, arising from deep fear of birth and death as well as to consistently practice Dharma with the knowledge that birth and death are true to life.
2. A guru who shows on the path of liberation is essential.
3. The wisdom for understanding the meaning of Dharma is essential.
4. Diligence like amour and courage is essential.
5. Not being complacent with the three trainings and the two accumulations, cultivating more virtues is essential.
6. A right view to realize the nature of all phenomena is essential.
7. Meditation in which the mind itself abides wherever it is placed is essential.
8. It is essential that all the conduct and all actions should lead to right path.
9. Proper instructions to abandon the hindrance, māras, mass destruction and the wrong path are essential.
10. Not confining instruction only to words, but to realize them in action is essential.
11. To have great confidence on a happy mind at the time of separation of body and mind is essential.
12. To accomplish Trikāya as the natural result of Sādhana is essential.
The 11 marks of a holy person:
1. The reduction of jealousy and pride is the mark of a holy person.
2. To have little desire and to be content with the ordinary possessions is the mark of a holy person.
3. To be without might, snobbery and arrogance is the mark of a holy person.
4. Not to show off oneself and censure others is the mark of a holy person.
5. To examine any action with alertness and perform with alert mindfulness is the mark of a holy person.
6. To uphold the result of the karmic action carefully accepting the truth like that of protecting the pupils of one’s eyes is the mark of a holy person.
7. Without pretension of vows and Samaya, to act according to the demand of the situation is the mark of a holy person.
8. Without passionate and humiliating treatment to treat all the sentient beings essentially equal is the mark of a holy person.
9. Not to anger with others for their sinful deeds, but to have patience is the mark of a holy person.
10. To give other people all the credit of a victory to and to accept all defeat oneself is the mark of a holy person.
11. To possess thought and conduct unlike common worldly people is the mark of a holy person.
The opposite deeds of a holy person are the marks of an unholy person.
The 10 non- beneficial things:
1. This illusory body is perishable and certain to be destroyed. So it is non-beneficial to give much attention to and serve this body.
2. Too much greed and avarice in giving up trivial things is non- beneficial as men take nothing along with them when they will die.
3. The labour put into the construction of beautiful palaces and mansions is non-beneficial, as one does not possess them when dies. On the other hand, one’s corps will be put out from the door of the mansion.
4. To give wealth as a token of love to the children, nephews, and nieces is non-beneficial, as they will not have an instant’s power to help one at the time of one’s death.
5. To give much attention to the concerns of the family and friends is non-beneficial at the time of death, as one has to die alone.
6. To increase the number of children, nephews and nieces as well as to give one’s amassed wealth them is non-beneficial, as everybody is perishable and everything is destructible.
7. The effort put into the acquisition of land, property and authority for the maintenance of luxurious life is non-beneficial, as one has to leave fully everything behind at the time of death.
8. By Entering into the gate of Dharma through faith, without conduct yourself in accordance with sincerity is non-beneficial, as it turns out to be the cause of lower migrations (suffering).
9. Knowing Dharma very well and having trained the mind in hearing and reflection, if one does not practice he will have nothing by which to take death onto the path. It is non-beneficial at the time of death.
10. It is non-beneficial to remain with a holy guru for a long time and to have no faith and respect towards his teachings. You will not receive his instructions or blessing.
The 10 self-accomplished sufferings:
1. To live the life of a worldly person without a wife is like a fool taking poison to suffer himself.
2. Devoid of Dharma, to commit negative deeds is like a mad man jumping from an unreachable height to suffer himself.
3. Deceiving others with undue pretensions is like taking the poisoned food to suffer oneself.
4. To entrust the leadership to a man of little intelligence is just like asking an old woman to guard the cattle. It is a self-accomplished suffering.
5. Not to labour for other’s benefit through an excellent motivation, but to labour only for self-interest by the eight worldly Dharmas is just like a sightless person wandering the Northern oasis, which is a self-accomplished suffering.
6. Undertaking a great endeavour for impossible tasks is like a weak person trying to carry heavy burden, which is a self-accomplished suffering.
7. Disregarding one’s holy guru and the teachings of the Buddha is like a ruler ignoring his council, which is a self-accomplished suffering.
8. Giving up the meditation, to come back to the worldly life is just like a deer wandering into the valley for its possible death, which is a self-accomplished suffering.
9. Not to encourage the natural wisdom, but to be disturbed by the elaboration of distractions like a bird (Garuḍa) with broken wings is a self-accomplished suffering.
10. Carelessly consuming the property of the guru and the Three Jewels is like a small child taking fire into its mouth, which is a self- accomplished suffering.
The 10 self-accomplished great kindnesses to oneself:
1. To abandon the human attachment, envy and dislike in order to practice the divine Dharma is a great deed to one self.
2. To abandon the worldly life and relatives and to take shelter in holy persons is a great deed.
3. To abandon activities of distraction and to hear, to reflect as well as to meditate upon the scriptures is a great deed to oneself.
4. To give up the intimacy with the members of the family and to live alone in solitude is a great deed to oneself.
5. Having control over the sensual objects, to remain independent without attachment is a great deed to oneself.
6. To be content with ordinary things and to have no desire for luxuries and precious things is a great deed to oneself.
7. Not surrendering one’s freedom to others, to meditate upon one’s tutelary deity is a great deed to oneself.
8. Not taking care of the pleasures of this life, to cultivate the Bodhichitta in mind to obtain the permanent spiritual happiness is a great deed to oneself.
9. Abandoning fixation on the reality of things, to cultivate emptiness is a great deed to oneself.
10. Not using the three entrances (body, speech and mind) of our life in ordinary acts, but endeavouring to unify the two accumulations48 is a great deed to oneself.
The 10 perfect things:
1. To trust in the result of action is the right view for one having little intelligence.
2. Realizing that external and internal Dharmas have four units of appearance and emptiness, the awareness and emptiness is the right view for one having moderate intelligence.
3. Realizing the viewed, the viewer, and the realization as not different from each other is the right view for one having sharp intelligence.
4. To concentrate on the object of target, i.e., tutelary deity etc., is the right meditation for one having little intelligence.
5. To concentrate on the Samādhi of the four units is the perfect meditation for one having moderate intelligence.
6. The contents without concept in the indivisibility of the meditated, the practitioner and the practice are the same. Knowing this well, to concentrate on practice is the perfect meditation for the one having sharp intelligence.
7. Accepting the results of action like one’s eyes is the right conducts for one having little intelligence.
8. Accepting all Dharmas as dreams and illusions is the right conduct for one having moderate intelligence.
9. Engaging in no conduct whatsoever is the perfect conduct for one having the sharp intelligence.
10. To reduce the reflection on one’s self, the defilements and grasping at self by and by till they are mitigated completely is the perfect sign of progress for the one having little, moderate and sharp intelligence.
The 10 mistakes of practitioners:
1. Not relying upon a guru who properly practices genuine Dharma, to follow a talkative practitioner is an extremely mistake for a practitioner.
2. Not searching for the traditional instructions of the Siddhas, but to look for pointless intellectual Dharma is a mistake for a practitioner.
3. Not being happy and content with whatever got at the moment, but to try more and more to get the things required for one’s material happiness is a mistake for a practitioner.
4. Not knowing what is the meaning of Dharma and while not living alone for practicing Dharma oneself, but to teach the gathering is a mistake for a practitioner.
5. Not giving in charity the wealth and excess possessions, but to amass wealth by means of greed and pretension is a mistake for a practitioner.
6. Not guarding the time (samaya) and vows properly, but to misuse the three entrances (body, speech and mind) to Mokṣa in worthless works is a mistake for a practitioner.
7. Not oneself realizing the true nature of things and practicing it, to use up this life only for material benefit is a mistake for a practitioner.
8. Not controlling one’s own fickle mindedness, but foolishly try to control other’s is a mistake for a practitioner.
9. Not fostering the experiences gained from meditation, but to try to achieve greatness in this life is a mistake for a practitioner.
10. Not engaging in diligence while auspicious conditions are assembled in this life, but to try to be happy with this dormant life is a extremely mistake for a practitioner.
The 10 needful things:
1. As a deer escapes out of the cistern after much effort, so is it needful for the practitioner at the beginning to generate the genuine faith from fear of birth and death and believe in this practice absolutely in order to escape the cycle of death and rebirth.
2. It is needful for the diligent to harvest virtuous deeds at the middle stage of a practitioner like a farmer having a good harvest after sowing good seeds, so that there will be nothing to regret at the time of death.
3. In the end it is needful to try to achieve an imperishable mind as the holy person tries for the bliss of the mind and achieve it.
4. It is needful to immediately busy oneself in the meditation knowing the shortage of time like someone trying to immediately save himself being pierced by an arrow.
5. In the middle stage, it is needful for the practitioner to have undisturbed meditation like the feelings of a mother for her only son who has recently died.
6. In the end it is needful for the practitioner to protect himself from doing meaningless activities as well as to remain alert just as a cow remains alert to save her calf from predators as well as tries to feed the calf with the best food.
7. It is needful for the novice practitioner to be happy by generating confidence and certainty towards Dharma like a hungry person feeling happy after getting delicious food to eat.
8. In the middle stage it is needful for the practitioner to be happy by generating confidence and certainty towards one’s own mind like a pauper being happy getting a jewel.
9. In the end, it is needful for a practitioner to generate confidence towards non-duality for practice like a liar being single-minded to speaking lies.
10. It is needful for a practitioner to have resolute of realities like a crow flying away from the ship.
The 10 needless things:
1. If the mind itself realizes to be empty, hearing and reflection of Dharma are needless for a practitioner.
2. If the awareness is recognized to be uncontaminated and pure, the purification of wrong-doing is needless for a practitioner.
3. If one abides by the natural path the accumulation of gathering (Sāmbhar) is needless for a practitioner.
4. If one cultivates the natural state of mind, it is needless for a practitioner to reflect on the path of method.
5. If one recognizes the nature of spiritual thought to be dharmata, it is needless to non-conceptual meditation for a practitioner.
6. If the roots of the defilements (Kleṣa) are recognized to be rootless, it is needless for a practitioner to find out their remedies.
7. If appearances and sounds are recognized as illusory, it is needless for a practitioner to find out any remedies with them.
8. If suffering is recognized to be the replica of Siddhi, it is needless for the practitioner to look for pleasure.
9. If one’s own mind is realized to be unborn, it is needless for the practitioner to practice transference.
10. If every activity is dedicated for the benefit of others, it is needless for the practitioner to work for his own benefit.
The 10 superior things:
1. One human life with freedom is superior to all other sentient beings of the six types of cyclic existence.
2. One person observing Dharma is superior to all ordinary people lacking interest in Dharma.
3. One vehicle of meaningful essential path is superior to all other ordinary-vehicles of paths.
4. One moment of knowledge arising from meditation is superior to all knowledges arising from hearing and reflection.
5. One moment of non-composite virtue is superior to all the composite virtues.
6. One moment of non-conceptual meditative concentrations (Samādhi) is superior tall the conceptual concentrations (Samādhis).
7. One moment undefiled virtue is superior to all the defiled virtues.
8. The arising of one moment realization is superior to the entire product of experience in the mind.
9. One moment selfless conduct is superior to all the selfish conducts.
10. Giving up the material of the world is superior to all the material generosity.
The 10 supreme acts:
1. A religious minded person if gives up or does not give up the worldly activities for Dharma’s sake, it is a supreme act.
2. Once doubt is over, to contemplate over Dharma or not to contemplate over, both are supreme acts.
3. After the victory over passion, to do things passionately or dispassionately is a supreme act.
4. After the direct realization of Dharma (Dharmata), sleeping in an empty cave or leading a large community on the right path is a supreme act.
5. After recognizing the sight as illusion or dream, to live in solitude on a mountain-top or to wander about the world is a supreme act.
6. If an individual has attained the freedom of mind, whether he abandons the desirable things or upholds them is a supreme act.
7. In an individual practicing Bodhichitta, whether he meditates in solitude or does welfare to the other beings is a supreme act.
8. If an individual, who has deep faith towards the guru, remains with the guru or does not remain with him is a supreme act.
9. If an individual who has heard much and understood the meaning of Dharma, whether he attains siddhi or comes across hindrances, both are supreme acts.
10. If a Yogi who has attained supreme realization demonstrates signs of siddhi or does not do it, it is a supreme act.
The 10 qualities of perfect Dharma:
1. The arising of the ten virtues, six perfections, all emptiness, all factors of Bodhi-Dharma, the four noble truths, the four Dhyānas (Concentration), the four formless absorptions, and the ripening and liberating of Mantra etc., in this world are a quality of perfect Dharma.
2. The appearance of the noble lineages of human monarchs, noble lineages of Brahmins, noble lineages of householders, the six types of gods of desire realm, and four great kings, the seventeen types of gods of form realm, and the four types of formless gods in this world are the quality of perfect Dharma.
3. The arising and existing of streams-enterers (continuous procession), coming and non-coming (once-returners, non-returners) Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, and wholly omniscient Buddha etc., in this world are a quality of perfect Dharma.
4. The arising of natural benefit for sentient beings by the two forms of bodies (Buddha’s Enjoyment Body and Emanation Body) with the self-arisen compassion until the samsara is felt empty by the great power of Bodhicitta66 and the aspiration, is a quality of perfect Dharma.
5. For the excellent means of sustenance of all sentient beings, the appropriate rising of power through aspirations of Bodhisattvas is the quality of perfect Dharma.
6. The arising of slight and momentary happiness due to the result of the merits of virtuous actions in lower migration, prolonged unhappiness (life in hell and in the forms of ghost and animal) is a quality of perfect Dharma.
7. When a bad person’s68 mind follows the path of right Dharma and he becomes a holy person as well as is respected by everyone, it expresses the quality of perfect Dharma.
8. When someone has been committing wrongdoings since the previous life, it is like adding fuel to the fire of hell. In this state if his mind changes towards Dharma and he labours for achieving the happiness of higher-state and liberation, it is a quality of perfect Dharma.
9. Only to have faith, respect and delight in genuine Dharma as well as the wearing of the dress of a monk creates a sense of respect among the ordinary people. Making the base of such respect is the quality of perfect Dharma.
10. After abandoning all the possessions leaving home and being ordained as a Bhikṣu as well as being fully furnished with the provisions of sustenance, one should hide away in solitary hermitage. Yet facing no problems for sustenance of life is the quality of perfect Dharma.
The 10 things, which are merely names:
1. The nature of the ground of the universal Dharma is inexpressible. So the ground is merely a name.
2. There are no such things as path, journey and traveller. They are merely names.
3. In true sense of the term, there is nothing to be viewed and no viewer. So everything is empty. The realization is merely a name.
4. In the primordial mind, there is nothing to meditate and no meditator; the experience is merely a name.
5. In ultimate nature there is nothing to be done and no doer. The process of conduct is merely a name.
6. Ultimately, there is no thing as time-bound and no doer to do according to time. So time (Samaya) is merely a name.
7. Ultimately, there is nothing to be accumulated from virtuous deeds and no accumulator; the two accumulations (merits and knowledge) are merely names.
8. Ultimately there is nothing to be purified and no purifier; the two obscurations are merely names.
9. Ultimately, there is nothing to be abandoned and no abandoner; in this world both are merely names.
10. Ultimately, there is nothing to be obtained and no obtained; the fruition is merely names.
The 10 Great Bliss:
1. The nature of the minds of all sentient beings being abide in Dharmakaya is a spontaneously great bliss.
2. To be free from the elaboration of characteristics, the ground, the expanse of dharmata is a spontaneously great bliss.
3. To be free from the partial influences of the realization of the mind, both conceptually and non-conceptually (view of externalism and view of nihilism) is a spontaneously great bliss.
4. The experience of being free from the influences of the dormant state of mind and having no conceptual elaboration is a spontaneously great bliss.
5. To be free from the influences of acceptance and rejection and rejection of effortless conduct and slothfulness is a spontaneously great bliss.
6. As dharmakaya and wisdom are inseparable and same, being free from the grasping and non-grasping attitudes of the Dharmakaya is a spontaneously great bliss.
7. In the Sambhogakaya (Enjoyment Body) these is the self-arisen great compassion. So to be free from the influences of birth and death of the above body is a spontaneously great bliss.
8. To be free from the elaboration of the perception of dualistic appearance, the Nirmanakaya (Emanation Body) or the self- arising compassion is a spontaneously great bliss.
9. To be free from the influences of elaboration of view of the self or the characteristics as preached by the Buddha in his turning of the Wheel of Dharma is a spontaneously great bliss.
10. Devoid of partiality and seasons or scheduled time, the activity of boundless compassion of Buddha is a spontaneously great bliss.
In this text the essence of the teachings of the Kadampa tradition has been compiled.
In order to spread and preach the doctrine of the Buddha in the Tibetan region of the Himalayas, Atiśa Dīpankara Śrījñāna instructed these teachings to his dear disciples like Geshe Dromtonpa and Geshe Channgawa.
The writer of this text Gampopa admits that he has been able to compile these teachings of Atiśa with the blessing of the holy gurus of Kadampa tradition and his tutelary deity Arya Tara.
Milarepa received the treasury of instructions of the great sages of India namely, Naropa and Maitripa who are as glorious as the sun and the moon, as well as the instructions of the great knowledgeable lama of Tibet namely, Marpa. His instructions also have been compiled in this text.
Sonam Rinchen of Dagpo Nysgom from Eastern Tibet has also prepared this text by compiling the teachings of Kadampa tradition as preached by Atiśa Dīpankara Śrījñāna and the teachings of Kagyu tradition (Kadampa coming from Serlingpa and Atiśa, and Mahamudra lineage coming from Naropa and Maitripa and so on).
In the words of Gampopa,
“All individuals of the future, who have devotion to me and are not able to see me, if they read the text composed by me, such as, ‘A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path’ and ‘ The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, ’ they will get the result of seeing me.”
Therefore, Oh! Fortunate disciples of Gampopa! Attempt to spread the teachings of Gampopa composed in these two texts for the benefits of those persons, who want to practice and read these books and for all sentient beings.