JETSUN DAGPA GYALTSEN
who posseses the three excellent marks of
HOMAGE TO THE HOLY GURU
I take refuge, from my heart , in the kind gurus and compassionate
patron deities, asking them to bestow upon me a
To act without religion is unnecessary. As to the practice of Dharma, I
entreat you to hear this advice on parting from the
The author begins with an invocation and a promise
to explain the meaning of the Zenpa Zidel.
If you desire this life,
you are not a religious person;
if you desire the round of existence,
you have not turned about with conviction;
if you desire for the sake of self,
you haven’t the enlightenment thought;
if grasping ensues,
You haven't the view.
Firstly, moral conduct, hearing and contemplation, and meditation are
the three remedies for desiring this life. Put aside
the accomplishments of non-religious persons, which
are meant for this life.
Morality, if we begin by describing it, is a root cause of the
achievement of higher worlds, a ladder to attaining liberation,
and an antidote for removing sorrows.
Though resources are not lacking in morality, the moral conduct of one
who desires this life is a root cause of achieving
the eight dharmas - : with abuse towards the
Jealousy towards the upright, and hypocrisy in his own moral
observances, it is a seed for the attainment of evil states.
Put aside this sham morality.
A person who practices hearing and contemplating is wealthy in the
accomplishment of worth while subjects; he holds a
light that dispels ignorance, he has knowledge of the path on which
to lead beings, and possess the seed of the
Though means are not lacking in hearing and contemplation, their
practice by one who desires this life is a wealth of
acquired pride. With contempt for inferiors in hearing
And jealousy towards those who do hear and contemplate, he seeks for
followers and affluence and gains a root cause
of attaining the evil states. Put aside this hearing and
contemplation of the eight worldly dharmas.
All persons who practice meditation have the antidote for removing the
defilements; they possess the primary cause of
achieving the path to deliverance, and the seed for
Though meditation does not lack in means, the meditator who practices
for this life is noisy even while remaining in
seclusion, blinding intoning words of
He is slanderous towards those who hear and contemplate, jealous of
others who meditate, and unsteady in his own
concentration. Put aside this meditation of the
eight worldly dharmas.
These lines are in accord with the Abhidharmakosa, where it is written,
’He who possess morality, hearing and contemplation is especially
assiduous in meditation’ Thus far, the
author has dealt with the distinction to be made between absolute and
relative aims (i.e. The desire actually to win enlightenment and worldly
ambition to gain advantages of one
kind or another). A brief discourse upon the difficulty of
obtaining humanity follows next, leading implicitly to the mediation
upon death and impermanence.
To attain Nirvana, seek to abandon attachment to the three worlds. To
cease desiring the three worlds, keep in mind the
faults of Samsara.
Firstly, the suffering of suffering is the misery of the three evil
states of existence. If that were well considered, our flesh
even would tremble - for , if it befell us, there
would be no way to bear it.
Without attaining the virtues of renunciation, people cultivate instead
the lower worlds - evil hearted wherever they are.
On contemplating the suffering of change, this is seen to be the going
from heavens to unhappy worlds. Sakra falls to a
common rebirth, the sun and moon grow dark, and the universal
emperor is reborn a servant.
Although this is credited by relying upon the precepts of sages,
ordinary people cannot understand it. Observe, then,
within your own sight, the transformation of
human beings .
Wealthy men become beggars, the mighty grow weak, many persons are
replaced by one, and so on beyond the mind’s
ability to estimate.
On contemplating the suffering of aggregates, there is seen no end to
actions. Suffering exists among the many or few,
amidst the rich and the destitute.
All human life is exhausted in preparations for, in the process of
arranging, everyone dies. In death also, there is no end to
preparing, as the preliminaries of the next
life are begun.
They are evil-hearted who desire the heap of
In giving an idea of the defects of worldly existence, these lines
allude also those actions which should be taken up or abandoned in the
light of karma and results.
By parting from desires, Nirvana is won; attaining Nirvana, bliss is
attained; the song of experience is this Zenpa Zidel!
But there is no benefit in liberating myself alone, for the three
worlds’ beings are my fathers and mothers. To leave my
parent in the midst of distress, while desiring happiness
for myself, would be evil-hearted.
"Let the sufferings of the three worlds ripen to me and my own merits
be taken by sentient beings. By the blessings of this
virtue, may all beings attain Buddhahood
While alluding to the cause for meditating love and
compassion, these lines stress the subsequent exchange of self for
In whatever situation I may be , emancipation does not lie in
grasping at reality’s nature. To explain this precisely:
Clinging to ‘being’ would mean there is no emancipation, grasping at
‘non being’ would mean there are no higher worlds,
grasping at ‘both’ is done in ignorance - better ascribe
it to the state of non-duality.
In rejecting the extreme views of eternity and annihilation, the
general method is shown of keeping in mind the inseparability of 'being'
and 'non-being' i.e. their non duality.
All darmas are the mind’s sphere of activity. Without seeking for a
creator in chance, Isvara, etc. nor in the four elements,
ascribe (their origin) best to the nature of
Thus far, the stages of the path which are common to both the vijnana
Bodhisattva and the Mahayana Madyamika have been reviewed. Finally, the
extraordinary path of the latter is
Appearances are of the nature of illusion, and interdependent in
origin. Not knowing how to describe their natural state,
ascribe it to their inexpressible nature.
Although this verse contain an allusion to the method of training the
mind in Samandhi, essentially it refers to the way in which the
meditator - after having concluded in the
insight wisdom (Vidarsana) born of systematic meditation that all
phenomena are mind-made, illusorily wrought and without nature,
interdependent in origin and indescribable -
then enters into meditation on the (absolute)
state of inactivity in which mind and reality unite.
By the merit of virtue arising from this explaination of the Zenpa
Zidel, may the seven classes of beings all be established
The author concludes with a blessing which
points to the ultimate results.
Eight worldly dharmas