The Sutras, tantras, and philosophical scriptures are extensive and great in number.
However, life is short and intelligence limited, so it is hard to cover them completely.
You may know a lot, but if you don’t put it into practice,
It’s like dying of thirst on the bank of a great lake.
The scriptures of the sutras and tantras and the words of the learned and accomplished ones of India and Tibet.
All have great blessings but are difficult for ordinary people to grasp.
Though they are indispensable for teaching in a monastic college,
For one-pointed practice they are of little use.
This ‘pointing-out instruction for an old lady’ is more beneficial for your mind than all of the others.
All the innumerable and profound teachings, such as Mahamudra and Dzogchen,
Which are decisive and unmistaken in each root text,
Are indispensable when teaching disciples who will hold the Dharma-lineages.
But for personal practice, for the sake of the future.
It is more profound to condense them all into one.
To grasp precisely and unmistakenly the various traditions of the Dharma
Is necessary for upholding the doctrinal teachings.
But if you are concerned with the welfare of your future,
It is more profound to train in being nonsectarian, seeing all of them as being pure.
It is necessary to focus your mind on one single and sufficient master.
If you are to be his chief disciple.
But if you wish to have the virtues if experience and realization dawn within you.
It is more profound to combine all the teachers you have met into one.
And to visualize him the Buddha resting on our crown and to supplicate him.
The different recitations for various development stage practices
Of numerous yidam deities in the sections of tantras
Are indespensable if you are to give empowerments as a great master.
But as a means for purifying your own obscurations and attaining enlightenment,
It is more profound to practice one deity and mantra that includes them all.
The innumerable practices of the completion stage, with and without reference point,
Are indispensable for expounding the countless meditation manuals.
But as a means for the virtues of experience and realisation to dawn within you,
It is more profound to sustain the essence, which is the embodiment of them all.
There are many ways of demonstrating the view,
Such as cutting through fabrications from the outside and from within.
But, just as smoke vanishes when the flames in the fireplace are extinguished,
It is more profound to cut through the root of mind.
Although there are numerous meditation techniques,
both with and without concepts,
It is more profound to practice the unity of luminosity and emptiness,
The development stage completed by mere recollection.
Although there are numerous kinds of behaviour, high and low, coarse and precise,
It is more profound to exert as much as you can in practicing
and abandoning evil deeds.
Although numerous details have been taught about attainment, the time of reaching fruition,
It is more profound to possess the definite certainty of attainment.
After having unmistakenly practiced the view, meditation, and action.
Although bodhisattvas who have accomplished the levels
Are not obscured even by serious wrongdoings or misdeeds
done for the sake of the teachings,
Since someone like us has to fear the lower realms,
It is more profound to shun, without involvement,
wrongdoings and severe faults.
Moreover, without self-interest and for the general benefit of beings
It is profound to seal your practices, such as offering and giving, copying teachings, and reciting texts,
With a dedication free from conceptualising the three spheres.
quoted in the book Jewels of Enlightenment: Wisdom Teachings from the Great Tibetan Masters
translated by Erik Pema Kunsang
Further quotes from the book Jewels of Enlightenment:
- Your life is running out
- The Unity of Shamatha and Vipashyana
- Dependent Origination
- Mind Essence
- Relying on someone who is better than you
- Three Types of People
- Just this