Longchenpa’s Final Instructions, by Erik Pema Kunsang
Mirror to Reflect the Most Essential
Longchen Rabjam: The Final Instruction on the Ultimate Meaning.
Single embodiment of compassionate power and activities,
in the infinite mandalas of all-encompassing conquerors,
glorious guru, supreme lord of a hundred families,
forever I pay homage at your feet.
Ema! Listen here, you fortunate yogis.
At present we have achieved the perfect human body
of freedoms and riches.
We have met the precious teachings of the greater vehicle.
We now have the independence
to genuinely apply the sacred dharma,
so do not squander your life on pointless things.
Instead, pursue the lasting goal.
The categories of teachings are endless.
The entrance doors to the vehicles are innumerable.
The words to be explained are extensive.
Even if you succeed in memorizing millions
of volumes of dharma scriptures,
unless you are able to practice the essential meaning,
you can never be sure that they will help you
at the moment of death.
And even if your education in studies and reflections is boundless,
unless you succeed in being in harmony with the dharma,
you will not tame your enemy, negative emotions.
Even if you succeed in being the owner of a trillion worlds,
unless you can curtail your plans
from within with the feeling that nothing more is needed,
you will never know contentment.
Unless you prepare yourself
with the attitude that your death could happen at any time,
you cannot achieve the great aim
that is surely needed at the time of death.
You must tame your own shortcomings
and cultivate impartial pure perception,
for a biased attitude
will not let you shoulder the Mahayana teachings.
Since all the sentient beings
among the six classes in the three realms
have without exception been your own parents,
unless you make pure aspirations
with ceaseless compassion and bodhichitta,
you cannot open the jewel mine of altruistic actions.
Unless you generate a devotion toward your kind guru
exceeding even that of meeting the Buddha in person,
you will not feel the warmth of blessings.
Unless you genuinely receive the blessings,
the seedlings of experience and realization will not sprout.
Unless realization dawns from within,
dry explanations and theories will not help you
achieve the fruit of enlightenment.
In short, unless you mingle your mind with the dharma,
it is pointless to merely sport a spiritual veneer.
Keep to the bare necessities for sustaining your life
and warding off the bitter cold;
reflect on the fact that nothing else is really needed.
Practice guru yoga and supplicate one-pointedly.
Direct every spiritual practice you do
to the welfare of all sentient beings, your own parents.
Whatever good or evil,
joy or sorrow befalls you,
train in seeing it as your guru’s kindness.
Within the vastness of spontaneous self-knowing,
let be freely, uncontrived and free of fabrication.
Whatever thoughts arise,
be sure to recognize your nature
so that they all dissolve as the play of dharmata.
Even though you practice in such a way that there
is not even as much as a hair tip
of a concrete reference point to cultivate by meditating,
do not stray into ordinary deluded diffusion,
even for a single moment.
Instead, make sure that
every aspect of your daily activities
is embraced by an undistracted presence of mind.
Whatever occurs and whatever you experience,
strengthen your conviction
that they are all insubstantial and magical illusions,
so that you can experience this in the bardo as well.
In short, at all times and in every situation,
make sure that whatever you do
turns into the sacred dharma
and dedicate every virtuous action toward enlightenment.
By doing so, you will fulfill your guru’s wishes
and be of service to the Buddha’s dharma;
you will repay your parents’ kindness
and spontaneously accomplish
the benefit of yourself and others.
Please keep this in your heart.
Even if you were to have met me in person,
I would have had no superior advice to give you,
so bring it into your practice
in every moment and in every situation.
Longchenpa is not only one the most prolific and brilliant philosophers in Buddhist Himalaya to appear in more than a millennium, he is also regarded as truly and completely enlightened. Many of his books describe how it is to be enlightened, seen from the inside. He could explain dharmakaya in incredible detail. This short text contains his last words, his testament, for all meditators who want to follow in his footsteps and attain the same level of realization. These words are regarded as pure gold, as he said, “Even if you were to have met me in person, I would have had no superior advice to give you.”