Fourteen verses written by Lama Tsong Khapa




1. As far as I am able, I shall explain

the essence of all high teachings of the Victors,

the path that all their holy sons commend,

the entry point for the fortunate seeking freedom.


2. Listen with a pure mind,

fortunate ones who have no craving

for the pleasures of life, and who to make leisure and fortune meaningful,

strive to turn their minds to the path which pleases the Victors.


3. There is no way to end,

without the pure renunciation,

this striving for pleasant results in the ocean of life.

It is because of their hankering life as well

that beings are fettered,

so seek renunciation first.


4. Leisure and fortune are hard to find; life is not long;

think it constantly, stop desire for this life.

Think over and over how deeds and their fruits never fail,

and the cycle's suffering; stop desire for the future.


5. When you have meditated thus,

and feel not even a moment's desire

for the good things of cyclic life,

and when you begin to think both night and day

of achieving freedom,

you have found renunciation.


6. Renunciation, though, can never bring

the total bliss of matchless Buddhahood,

unless it is bound by the highest wish;

and so, the wise seek

the high wish for enlightenment.


7. They are swept along on four fierce river currents;

chained up tight in past deeds, hard to undo;

stuffed in a steel cage of grasping "self";

smothered in the pitch-black ignorance.


8. In a limitless round, they are born,

and in their births, are tortured by three sufferings without a break;

think how your mothers feel;

think of what is happening to them;

try to develop this highest wish.


9. You may master renunciation and the wish,

but unless you have the wisdom perceiving reality,

you cannot cut the root of cyclic life.

Make efforts in ways, then, to perceive interdependence.


10. A person has entered the path that pleases the Buddhas

when, for all objects, in the cycle or beyond,

he sees that cause and effect can never fail,

and when, for him, they lose all solid appearance.


11. You have yet to realize the Thought of the Able

as long as two ideas seem disparate to you:

the appearance of things -- infallible interdependence

and emptiness -- beyond taking any position.


12. At some point they no longer alternate

[but] come together; just seeing that

interdependence never fails

brings realization that destroys how you hold to objects,

and then your analysis with view is complete.


13. In addition, the appearance prevents the existence extreme,

and emptiness [prevents] that of non-existence;

and if you see how emptiness shows in cause and effect,

you will never be stolen off by extreme views.


14. When you have grasped as well as I

the essential points of each of the three principal paths explained,

then go into isolation, my son,*

make mighty efforts,

and quickly win your ultimate wish.



* The word "son" here refers to those who have developed bodhichitta in their hearts, rather than indicating gender.

© Gelugpa