Other translations:

Eight Orders for My Students

To my students, wise, diligent and faithful:
If you want to get rid of illness once and for all
Since illness’ real cause is clinging to “me” and “my”
Meditate on true reality, where there is no “I”.

So much troubles your body, you want it to heal
But the source of that trouble is thinking that the body’s real
This body appears only when causes and conditions allow it to
Know that it appears but is empty, like a watermoon.

If you want to give up the suffering that gets its start
In the people you know who warm your heart
The cause of such pain is easy to know:
Taking them to be real, holding on and not letting go
But dreams and watermoons are all they are made of
So give up your attachment to the ones you love.

Then there’s the suffering that comes from those you hate
Here’s how to get rid of it before it’s too late
If you don’t stop thinking that enemies are true
The suffering coming from them will continue
So no matter how real they may seem
Remember again and again that it’s just a dream.

Working very hard so that your wealth will accrue
Then you guard it so well—how much anxiety this all brings you!
To get rid of it, remember this a lot:
Wealth is dreamlike, whether you have or have not
When you know material things to be just a dream
You’ll be enriched by contentment, of all wealth supreme.

The four elements: earth, water, fire and air
They harm your body and cause your mind fear
But just like dream appearances that cause confusion
These four are empty appearances—illusions!
Know it to be like this with everything you see
And meditate in the illusion-like samadhi.

All your concepts about the body:
Thoughts of “clean” or “dirty”, “beautiful” or “ugly”
They are a constant source of difficulty
So meditate in the samadhi of their equality.

When you think “I exist” or “I don’t exist”
That’s how you fall into realism, or become a nihilist
To know your true nature, think of a clear sky at night
And on a beautiful lake, the moon that shines so bright!
Appearance and emptiness, no one can separate
This is how you have to meditate!

The one called Sherab Lodrö when he was small
With his mind filled with love, sends this to you all
As a closing prayer, this is what I sing:
May none of us ever leave the excellent path to awakening!

Boudhanath, Nepal, December 21, 1997. Translated by Ari Goldfield. Translation copyright 2012, Ari Goldfield.