Secondly, as an individual who takes up the practice,
You must have faith, perseverance, renunciation and a sense of disenchantment.
You must be saddened and wearied by samsara, and strive for freedom.
Renouncing the concerns of this life and seeking eventual enlightenment,
You must leave distractions and busyness far behind, and have few mental afflictions,
Be easy-going and tolerant, and have pure perception and great devotion,
As well as stability of mind[i] and deep respect towards the teachings—
[Practitioners such as this will accomplish the most supreme liberation!][ii]
You must serve, in the best possible way, a noble teacher,
And purify your mind through study, reflection and meditation.
In particular, you should spend your days and nights
Diligently applying yourself to the essential instructions of the aural lineage.
Without becoming distracted for a moment by ordinary concerns,
Diligently apply yourself to the profound innermost meaning.
Never transgressing the precepts of the shravakas, bodhisattvas and vidyadharas,
With your own mind under control, help others in any way you can,
And take whatever you experience onto the path to liberation.
As a beginner, it is most important that you secure your own well-being,
Guarding your mind in solitude, abandoning distractions and busyness,
Avoiding unfavourable situations, and subduing the mental afflictions with appropriate antidotes.
Ensuring that your view and conduct are in harmony, enthusiastically devote yourself to meditation.
Whenever any of the ordinary five poisons arise, in that very moment,
Catch them with mindfulness, and, without distraction, apply the antidotes.
With conscientiousness, introspective vigilance, self-restraint and a sense of dignity, bring your own mind under control.
See the equality of praise and blame, approval and disapproval, good and bad reputation,
For they are just like illusions or dreams and have no true existence.
Learn to tolerate them as if they were mere echoes,
And sever at its root the mind which clings to an ‘I’ or a self.
In short, by never transgressing the Dharma in all that you do,
Bring your mind under control, do no harm to others,
And without succumbing, even for an instant, to the mental afflictions,
Devote your days and nights to virtue—this is crucial!
Nowadays, when people are so unruly,
It is vital that you first achieve your own well-being in solitude.
Just as a bird can not fly without both wings,
The welfare of others cannot be accomplished without the higher faculties of perception,
So diligently strive for your own wellbeing, whilst mentally considering the welfare of others.
Without letting your mind be deceived by the devious maras of distraction and busyness,
It is vital that you apply yourself to the practice—
Do not cause yourself to suffer regrets at the time of death!
Therefore, make your mind ready now,
And consider this: Were you to die now, what would become of you?
Without any assurance as to where you’d go or what might happen,[iii]
To spend your days and nights in the grips of confusion and distraction,
Is to squander and make meaningless the freedoms and advantages.
Meditate therefore on the essential meaning, alone and in solitude.
For it is now that a long-term strategy is really needed.
How can you be sure where you will go in future?
You must diligently apply yourself this very day!
These delusory appearances of samsara are like treacherous pathways.
Keep this in mind: You must find the methods to free yourself.
For if you remain deluded now, you’ll wander in delusion forever.
So arouse perseverance and keep this in your heart.
The ocean of mental afflictions and the sea of self-grasping are difficult to cross,
But now that you have the vessel of the freedoms and endowments, use it to reach the distant shore!
Now that you have gained this rare opportunity through the force of your merit—access to the path of liberation and enlightenment—
Secure your own benefit and happiness by striving with heartfelt sincerity!
Life is impermanent and changes from one moment to the next,
And we expertly deceive ourselves with distractions, postponing virtuous practice.
When we have long become accustomed to delusion,
In each moment we’re naturally drawn into the mental afflictions,
And even if we apply ourselves to merit and virtue,
We find they do not easily arise.
Strive, therefore, to avert the miseries brought about by your own actions![iv]
There is not the slightest joy to be found within the states of samsara.
The sufferings of conditioned existence, if you think of them, are impossible to bear.
Therefore apply yourself right now to the means of gaining freedom.
If you do not earnestly devote yourself to the essential meaning,
The state of leisure and intermittent Dharma will bring no benefit.
So develop a strong sense of weariness for all that is impermanent,
And, without being distracted even for an instant, generate enthusiasm for the practice!
If you realize this at the very outset,
You will swiftly achieve the state of an Arya!
Accomplishing your own welfare, the welfare of others will come naturally,
And you will find the supreme path of liberation from the states of samsara.
When everything that you do is in accordance with the Dharma,
Then you are one who has the basis for attaining enlightenment.
[i] As H.V. Guenther noted, the word bstan meaning teachings appears in the
"Despite the fact that we are a ceaselessly transforming stream, interdependent with other beings and the whole world, we imagine that there exists in us an unchanging entity that characterizes us and that we must protect and please. A thorough analysis of this reveals that it is only a fictitious mental construct".
Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche.