Longchen Rabjam


(Klong-chen rab-íbyams-pa)

© Translated By Herbert V. Guenther, 1971


Klong-chen rab-íbyams-país parting injunctions1. present the essentials of Buddhism in a poetic form whose special appeal lies in the use of striking similes and a beseeching refrain.The tenor of these injunctions is the realization of Being, of which it cannot be said that it is or that it is not, but which as dynamic wholeness makes all differentiations and assertions, positive or negative, possible. In its experience, this wholeness is cognitively meaningful from deep within itself and spreads unlimited as the open sky in its felt immediacy. It is impossible to say that this wholeness has ever come into existence as a thing, but precisely because it is not a thing, it remains infinitely fertile.



The Translation



Homage to all noble persons endowed with great compassion.

Homage to Him who is the sun, shining in the wondrous brightness of what is good and pure,


In the primordial (sky-like) ground of Being:

Displaying various manifestations of His compassion

And looking after living beings by His charismatic actions.


Homage to Him, who after completing All that was to be done by him, went to Kuśīnagara,

Truly the most wondrous city, To teach a lesson to those who believe in everlastingness.


From former time I know the nature of Samsara:

Therefore, from one about to leave behind this body which is transitory and deceptive

Listen to this admonition which is solely for your benefit ñ In worldly things there is no abiding essence.

Although you may hold, in this your life, to it as true, it will most likely deceive you.

Once you have fully understood that you cannot rely On that which is impermanent and without essence,

Attend to the real meaning of Being straight away.


Friends do not last forever, but are rather like guests: 

They meet occasionally and quickly go their ways.

Dismiss attachment to your companions in this magic show and attend to the real meaning of Being, which alone is beneficial.

The wealth and possessions you have amassed must be left behind.

They are like honey to be enjoyed by those who did not gather them.

Now, while you still can, make arrangements for your needs on the way hereafter.

The wealth that on you will confer excellent qualities.


The house you have built is going to collapse, it is only a temporary abode;

You cannot stay on, but must go.

Dismiss your attachment and craving for places of excitement.

Resort to solitary places straight away.


Friendship and hostility are like the play of children:

Love and hatred for that which has no value are a blazing fire.

Control your mind straight away.


Deeds, having no essence, resemble a magic show Although you involve yourself in them for a while, ultimately they are fruitless.

Cease troubling about this life, dismiss worldly concerns. Look for the road to deliverance straight away.


Your bodily existence, a unique occasion and right juncture, is like a precious boat:

While you still have the power to steer it across the ocean of frustrations,

Shun laziness, indolence, and idleness.

Activate the power of strenuous exertion straight away.


The real Guru is like an escort on a dangerous road:

With great devotion, confident of body, speech, and mind,

Depend on this guide who protects against the enemy of Samsara.

Revere and rely on him, straight away.


Instruction in the profound is like the elixir of immortality:

Since it is the best cure for the disease of emotionality, Depend on your inner being, discover precisely its quality.

Imbibe it and allow it to affect you straight away.


The three trainings, when utterly pure, are like the Wish- Fulfilling Gem:

They are the path itself, which here and hereafter offers bliss, and ultimately leads to what is good and pure.

Through them you find real peace in limpid clearness and consummate perspicacity. (your very Being)

Let them develop straight away.


Learnedness is like a precious lamp:

Dispelling darkness and illuminating the path toward liberation,

Its beacon of prosperity and bliss opens the eye of pristine cognitions.

Let it shine unrestricted straight away.


Proper thoughts are like a skilled goldsmith:

They remove all impositions and doubts about ëthisí and ëthatí

By exercising a discriminating awareness born from thinking

about what you have heard.

Absorb them within you straight away.


Cultivation (of what you have learned) is like the taste of nectar:

Through the cultivation of what has been heard and thought about, all emotional afflictions are remedied,

The ocean of propositions is crossed, and the other shore of Being is reached.

In forest groves start contemplative cultivation straight away.


Vision is like the bright sky:

Free from all that is high or low, divided or partial,

Neither wide nor narrow, it is beyond attempts to verbalize it.

Apply the tool of understanding straight away.


Contemplation is like a mountain or a sea:

Neither moving nor changing, it is lucent and unsullied:

All labeling which erupts through the proliferation of perturbations thus ceases.

Contemplate (things) as they really are straight away.


Fruition is like a guide gathering riches:

Wealthy himself, he allows othersí values spontaneously to come forth.

Without expectations and apprehensions, the mind feels naturally blissful.

Exert yourself to win this wealth straight away.


Mind, a continual source of meanings is like the sky:

The sky is Mind, genuine meaningfulness,

Without duality, complete and identical with itself.

Understand it thoroughly straight away.


All the variety of things and ideas are like images in a mirror:

Void of appearances, there is yet no emptiness;

If (this paradox) is left unresolved as to being identical or different, complacency prevails.

Know experience thoroughly for what it is straight away.

The subject dealing with its object is like a dream:

Although there is no duality (of subject and object), ingrained tendencies cause duality to appear.

What is postulated by the intellect is nothing self-sufficient.

Know non-duality straight away.


Samsara and Nirvana are like a magic play:

Although good and evil seem to exist (independently),

the identity (of Being with itself) remains (unaffected by these deformations).

Know this thoroughly straight away.


Mistaken identities are like a parade of happiness and misery:

Once good and evil have individually arisen they perpetuate themselves.

In actuality they remain unborn; in facticity they neither move nor change.

Know this thoroughly and straight away.


Intellectual postulates are like the quarrels of foolish men:

There is nothing substantial about them.

Divisive notions have introduced a split and Philosophical axioms will take good and evil to be separate.

Know identity straight away.


The bestowing of gifts is like a precious treasure:

Inexhaustible, increasing ever more, the cause of good fortune,

To the fields of merits, whether they be inferior, mediocre, or superior.

Give what is deserving straight away.


Self-discipline is like a fine, clean carriage:

The ladder for climbing up to heaven or to the citadel of happiness.

Restraint, adherence to what is meaningful, and aiding all beings.

Let these qualities abide in yourself straight away.


Patience is like the unruffled ocean:

It cannot be disturbed by injury; it is the best rigorous training,

Accepting frustrations and developing a sense of compassion.

Accustom and familiarize yourself with patience straight away.


Effort is like a blazing bonfire:

Burning away the unsuitable, it rushes toward the good. Neither idle, unconcerned, nor lazy.

Realize this path towards deliverance straight away.



Concentration, unswerving, is like the king of mountains:

Unshaken by objectifying tendencies, unperturbed in the presence of objects,

Wherever it is firmly settled, it cannot be upset by anything. Familiarize yourself with it straight away.


Appreciation is like the sunís great orb:

Dispelling the darkness of your mindís murkiness and causing the real meaning to shine,

Raising up the sublime island of deliverance and drying up the ocean of evil; Intensify it straight away.


Appropriate action is like a sea captain in charge of his precious cargo:

With it your cross the ocean of frustration, go to the island of utter bliss, and 

Realize the three sublime strata whereby the twofold aim of life is spontaneously fulfilled.

Benefit others by appropriate action straight away.


Strength is like a hero conquering his enemies:

It overcomes the army of emotions and proceeds toward enlightenment.

Since strength does not admit of hindrances, and by it wholesomeness will reach its ultimate quality.

Develop it in yourself straight away.


Supplication is like the Wish-Fulfilling Gem:

All desires are granted and bliss grows naturally. It puts the mind at rest and fulfills ones expectations.

Give supplication its great chance straight away.


Pristine awareness is like clouds gathering in the sky:

From the nourishing clouds of holistic feelings, it lets fall the rain of prosperity and bliss,

And makes the crop of the wholesome prosper in all beings.

Make efforts to gain this awareness straight away.


Appropriate action and appreciation are like excellent steeds:

Never stumbling into worldliness or quiescence, ones own and others values are realized.

The five paths are traversed to their end, and the three strata are spontaneously present.

Realize these two through your efforts straight away.


Qualities conducive to (the realization of) limpid clearness and consummate perspicacity are like a highway:

This road has been and will be traveled by noble people throughout all time,

Beginning with the four inspections, there are thirty-seven qualities in all.

Make an effort to develop them straight away.


Kindness is like ones parents:

Caring ceaselessly for their children, the six kinds of beings.

Their love forever aids and enables (spiritual) success to be realized.

Familiarize yourself with kindness straight away.


Compassion is like the Bodhisattvas, the Buddhas spiritual sons:

Clothed in the armor of perseverance, they desire to free Beings from suffering, as if it were their own.

Let compassion grow in yourself straight away.


Joy is like the considerate family elders:

Happy over the welfare of others, They delight in providing for such welfare.

Attend intensively to joy straight away.


Equanimity is like the level earth:

Without attachment or aversion to those near or far, and free from afflictions,

Great bliss emerges from its everlasting evenness.

Familiarize yourself with equanimity straight away.


Aspiration and perseverance, needed for realizing limpid clearness and consummate perspicacity, are like a true leader:

The helmsman, guiding (you) to the island of deliverance where all wholesomeness is found,

Not deterred by worldliness, the value in others stands out.

Over and over again bring aspiration and perseverance to life straight away.


Devotion is like the great ocean and the high seas:

Full of what is wholesome, maintaining one flavor throughout,

Its waves of faith surge, never wavering.

Let devotion swell in your heart straight away.


Dedication is like the inexhaustible treasure of the sky:

By dedicating everything to the realm of reality, wealth will not lessen but will grow even more.

(in) the one-flavored stratum of meaningfulness, the other two strata are spontaneously present.

Purify the three aspects (of the situation) from their concretization straight away.


Rejoicing is like the vault of the sky:

Its merits are unlimited; it is unobjectifiable and without pride,

Thoroughly transparent and unshakable.

Let rejoicing grow on and on straight away.


Furthermore, inspection is like an iron hook:

It keeps in check the untamed, drunken elephant of mind.

Turning it away from evil and tying it to what is wholesome.

Let inspection reside in you straight away.


Circumspect alertness is like an iron hook:

It does not offer the thief, unwholesomeness, a chance; It is there to guard the wealth of wholesomeness.

Have such alertness with you straight away.


Concern is like the world-encircling mountain:

It is safe from the thieving horde of emotions And it commands the army that defeats karmic actions.

Make effort to guard the mind straight away.


Trust is like a fertile field:

It lets all desires grow into the harvest of limpid clearness and consummate perspicacity;

The field of bliss here and hereafter, trust always yields good fortune.

Let it increase straight away.


Generosity is like a lovely lotus pond:

What is genuine gathers there, delightful to behold.

It is true enjoyment; it is its own reward.

Let generosity bring joy to others straight away.


Pleasant speech is like the sound of thunder:

It captivates and pleases the minds of beings,

It reverberates around those to be taught and makes them feel happy.

Gladden others by singing their praises straight away.


Calm behavior is like a true sage:

Unwholesomeness ceases, and people's trust increases.

Give up artificiality and make this natural discipline,

Your supreme conduct straight away.


Life's real meaning is like the Buddhaís power:

In accord with everything, yet superior to all;

Similar to everything, yet dissimilar to all.

Let it reside in yourself straight away.


This body, a unique occasion and right juncture, is like a phantom house:

For a while it is there, but the time of collapse is uncertain.

It will not linger, you must part with it.

Remember this again and again, straight away.


Opportunities are unstable, like autumn clouds:

Their occasion is certain to dissipate;

They have no solid core.

Thoroughly and from your heart understand this straight away.


All beings are transients, like past and future guests:

The old have gone; the young will also go.

This generation won't even last a hundred years.

Understand this thoroughly straight away.


The presence of this life is like a single day:

The presence of the intermediate state is like tonight's dream.

The presence of a future life will come as quickly as tomorrow.

Deal with lifeís real meaning straight away.

When all that is important has been illustrated by appropriate examples,



To those who have firm trust, my exhortation is:

What has come together will have to separate.

Hence I shall not tarry, but will proceed to the island of deliverance.

Since no reliance can be placed on the things of Samsara Let me sit down firmly on Being's unborn throne.


The appearances in this world are like a trickster, Mendacious, a wanton whore.

Since they turn the mind from the wholesome and cause the

Crowd of emotions to increase, Send them far away and practice what is right.

Without contentment, even ëwealthí is poverty. The avaricious mind enjoys no satisfaction.


Contentment itself is the greatest wealth;

Even a little fills the mind with happiness.

Wine and women are the source of emotional turmoil.

Dismiss such thoughts which cause clinging, hankering, and craving.

Set out to emulate the sages and contemplate in sylvan solitudes the value of inner calm.

With mind focused on the wholesome, day and night,

Renounce wrong doing and do what is beneficial, as the Buddha has advised:

Unswervingly practice what is right.

Then you need not worry about death, for things will develop as they should.

Through actions and supplications developed over a long period of time,

Learning and commitment naturally reside in the disciples who must eventually go their own ways.

So also teacher and disciple must part.

Know them to be like customers in a marketplace.


These words are spoken from the heart, for (your) sole benefit:

Give up the distractions and diversions of this life Which are provided by country, property, friends, and relatives, And cultivate meditation in quiet places.

When nothing prevails anymore, and the time has come to pass on, You need (to understand the) real meaning (of life), fearless of death.

Familiarize yourself with the quintessence of the profoundness of the Guru's instruction.

Make effort (to comprehend it) straight away.


Strive to realize this ultimate bliss, good through and through, The very light within,

This mystery of the within in the within, The most supreme,

the path towards Buddhahood within a Single lifetime.

Seek the meaning which worthy men transmit by possessing the immortality-giving essence, Being's profound value.

Experience their unique meaning through the power of your efforts

And quickly reach the citadel of the Victorious One.

Straight away bliss supreme is realized and Even at a later time benefits accrue.

Strive from now on for the quintessence of being with its vast qualities both seen and unseen.

The stars, attendants of the full moon in a cloudless sky, have assembled,

The Lord of stars himself is about to appear.

The lotus-face of the Lord of Compassion, is made even more beautiful by the host of Dakas and Dakinis,

With their canopies, umbrellas, royal standards, and courtly music.

Gently he breathes on me, intimating my acceptance.

The time has come to go; like a traveler, I must be on my way.


My joy in dying has been well earned:

It is greater than all the wealth in the ocean a merchant may have won,

or The godlike power of having conquered armies,

or The bliss found in meditation.

So I, Padma-las-íbrel-rtsal, wait no longer,

But go to sit firmly on my seat in the bliss supreme that knows no death.


This life is finished, karma is exhausted, what supplication could achieve has ended;

Worldliness is done with; this lifeís show is over.

Having realized, in one moment, the very nature of (Being's) self-manifestation

Through the vast realms in the intermediate state,

I am close to taking up my seat at the beginning of all and everything.

The riches found in myself have made the minds of others happy,

Through this magic existence the opulence of the island of deliverance has been realized.

Having been with you, my excellent disciples, during this time, I have been satiated with the joy of meaningfulness.

Now that the connection with this life has lost its karmic power,

Do not lament about this beggar who died happily and unattached, But constantly pray (that he be with you in spirit).

These words spoken for your benefit are like a multitude of lotus-flowers gladdening the bee(-like) trusting beings.

Through the good of these words may the beings of the three worlds

Go to the place of the origin of all and everything, Nirvana.