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Tibetan Sayings

They sayings below are from three sources:

  1. The Precious Treasury of Elegant Sayings is attributed to the Grand Lama of Saskya, who flourished in the 1200s (cf. Tiy 60).

  2. Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup rendered The Ocean of Delight for the Wise (Tib. Lodan-Gawai-Roltso - author unknown to us - into English. (cf. Tiy 63).

  3. And finally, sayings from the collection The Staff of Wisdom are attributed to the philosopher Nagarjuna. They too were first translated from the Tibetan by Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup (1868-1922) (cf. Tiy 62)


A Precious Treasury of Elegant Sayings

A straw floats on the surface of water, but a precious gem placed upon it sinks (Tiy 61).

An excellent, old man is not grieved by praise (cf. Tiy 61).

Experience can be a most beautiful adornment (cf. Tiy 61).

Hurtful expressions may carefully be avoided (cf. Tiy 61).

Meditation without Knowledge will in the end be without true success (Tiy 62).

Men of little ability may prosper by depending on the great (Tiy 61).

Much talking can be a source of danger (Tiy 61).

Only narrow-minded men make such distinctions as "enemies" and "friends". It is uncertain who may yet be of aid to one (cf. Tiy 61).

The greatest happiness consists in having tranquillity of mind (Tiy 61).

The quiescence of a holy man is the sign of his being a sage (Tiy 61).

The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, who cannot speak, fly about freely (Tiy 61).

To know thoroughly one's own virtues or powers are the characteristics of an excellent man (Tiy 61).

When about to perform any great work, endeavour to have a trustworthy associate (Tiy 61).

From The Ocean of Delight for the Wise

Dhyana [contemplation] is a clarifier of a beclouded mind. (cf. Tiy 64).

Don't consult the one who is habituated and hardened to evil doings (cf. Tiy 64).

Gloat not, even though death and misfortune overwhelm your enemies (cf. Tiy 64).

Gold is acceptable even from one who is inimical (Tiy 64).

He who fails to practice worthy precepts after learning them, could be like someone who lights a lamp and then shuts his eyes (cf. Tiy 65).

He who is ever looking for faults in those who are learned and righteous, has the nature of a crow (Tiy 65).

Narrowmindedness merely serves praise (cf. Tiy 65).

Preaching religious truths to an unbeliever is like feeding a venemous serpent with milk (Tiy 65).

Relinquish an evil custom even if it is of your fathers and ancestors; adopt a good custom even though it is established among your enemies (cf. Tiy 64).

The selfish don't know enough of what leads to altruism (cf. Tiy 63).

Who can say with certainty that he will live to see the morrow? (Tiy 65).

From The Staff of Wisdom

Companionship with the wise and gentle, even in prison, can work better than sovereignty with the unruly. (cf. Tiy 63).

In eating, sleeping, fearing, and copulating, men and beasts are alike. (Tiy 62, abbreviated).

The science that teaches arts and handicrafts is for gaining a living - The science that teaches deliverance from worldly existence, is not that the true science? (Tiy 63).

Time is fleeting and learning is vast, so use the swan's art of extracting milk from water and devote yourself to the Most Precious Path. (cf. Tiy 62).

To him who knows the True Nature of things, what need is there of a teacher? (Tiy 62).

Concluding part

These extracts are based on the vast wisdom-lore handed over to us by great Kagya (Kagyupa) Sages. (cf. Tiy 66).

From The Illustrious Kagyupa Line of Gurus

Kagyupa (Tibetan: "Transmitted Word"), also Kagyu, is the third largest Buddhist school of Tibet, and one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Tilopa flourished in the middle of the 900s AD. His Indian yogi disciple Naropa taught philosophy in the celebrated Buddhist University of Nalanda in north-west India. Among Naropa's disciples was Marpa (1012-96) of Lhobrak - one of the foremost Tibetan translators of Indian Tantric Buddhist texts. Naropa made Marpa his successor in Tibet and foretold that his lineage would continue like a flowing stream. Milarepa (1040-1123) was Marpa's chief disciple. One of Milarepa's direct disciples, Rechung-Dorje Tagpa, wrote his biography, and Dvagpo-Lharje (Gampopa) (1079-1153) is remembered for compiling sayings and teachings (Tiy 57-59, 102-3).

What Kagyupa teachers uphold, includes Hatha Yoga exercises (with postures and breathing techniques) and that the supreme goal is the mahamudra ("great seal, great symbol"). The central meaning of the Great Symbol teachings is that joy comes or rises with one's progress. The teachings present disciples with techniques for attaining enlightenment in this life or at the moment of death.

[One source: EB, sv. "Buddhism"]

Be lamps to yourselves.
And hold fast to the Truth.

- Gautama Buddha (240)


Tibetan sayings, The Precious Treasury of Elegant Sayings, Grand Lama of Saskya, The Ocean of Delight for the Wise, Lodan-Gawai-Roltso, the Staff of Wisdom attr. Nagarjuna, Literature  

Tiy: Evans-Wentz, W. ed: Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. Paperback. 2nd ed. Oxford University. London, 1967 (1st ed. 1935 - 3rd ed. 2000). ⍽▢⍽ Dr Evans Wentz edited good translations of Tibetan Buddhist texts, and also translations of orally transmitted traditions and teachings relating to the texts, all which were translated into English by his Guru, Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup (1868–1923).

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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