A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path – Gampopa (Part 1)



Namo ratna guru. To those who liberate beings from the terrifying ocean of samsara that is so hard to cross, who are adorned with the pure practice of the precious Kagyu whose river of blessings is inexhaustible like the expanse of an ocean; to the holy gurus of the stainless practice lineage of vast, far-seeing, spontaneously accomplished aspirations, I pay homage and go for refuge. I pray that you engulf me with your splendor.
Having considered for a long time the oral tradition that has come from those Kagyus, I will write down a precious garland of the supreme path, instructions that are extremely valuable to those fortunate ones who directly or indirectly venerate me.

The Ten Causes of Loss
Those individuals woshng to attain liberation and omniscient Buddhahood should from the beginning recollect the ten causes of loss :
1. This pure human body, so difficult to acquire, is lost in wrong-doing
2. This pure human body with its freedom and resources, so difficult to possess, is lost in ordinary physical death without Dharma.
3. This brief human life in the age of decadence is lost and used up in meaningless activities.
4. This mind whose nature is the Dharmakaya, beyond elaboration, is lost and mired in the swamp of samsaric confusion.
5. The holy guru who leads one on the path is lost if one is separate from him at any time until one attains awakening.
6. Vows and samaya, the ship of liberation, are lost in destruction by kleshas, carelessness, and adverse conditions.
7. The experience and realization that one has acquired through the intercessassion of one’s guru are lost in the forest of mental formations.
8. The profound instructions of siddhas are lost by being sold to the unworthy
9. Sentient beings, one’s kind parents, are lost when one abandons them through anger.
10. One’s youthful three gates are lost in ordinary indifference

Those are the ten causes of loss.
2. The Ten Necessary Things
1. It is necessary to be independent so that one is not mislead by advice.
2. It is necessary to practice with faith and dilligence in accordance with the instructions of the holy guru.
3. It is necessary to select instructions of one’s guru unmistakenly, through understanding the difference between instructions that are appropriate and inappropriate.
4. It is necessary to enact the intentionns of the holy guru with knowledge, faith, and dilligence
5. It is necessary that through one’s possession of mindfulness, attentiveness, and carefulness, one’s three gates be unobscured by defects.
6. It is necessary that one be stable and independent in one’s practice, through possessing courage and the armor of dilligence
7. It is necessary that, by being without attachement and craving, one avoid giving one’s nose-rope to others.
8. It is necessary to be dilligent in the continual gathering of the two accumulations, by complementing one’s practice with preparation, execution, and conclusion.
9. It is necessary that one turn one’s mind to benefiting beings, both directly and indirectly, with loving-kindness and compassion.
10. It is necessary that through knowledge, understanding, and realization, one not mistake all things to be substantial and inherently endowed with characteristics
Those are the ten necessary things.

3. The Ten Things Upon Which to Rely
1. Rely upon a holy guru who possesses realization and compassion.
2. Rely upon solitude that is isolated, pleasant, and endowed with blessing.
3. Relu upon stable companions of like views and practice.
4. Rely upon moderation, recollecting the defects of necessities.
5. Rely impartially upon the instructions of the lineage of siddhas.
6. Rely upon materials, medicines, mantras, and profound interdependence that are beneficial to oneself and others.
7. Rely upon food that suits your constitution, and upon the path of method.
8. Rely upon Dharma and conduct that benefit your experience.
9. Rely upon worthy disciples who have faith and respect.
10. Rely upon mindfulness and attentiveness throughout the four modes of conduct.
Those are the ten things upon which to rely.

4. The Ten Things to be abandoned
1. Abandon masters whose every action is mixed with the eight wordly dharmas.
2. Abandon retinue and negative companions that harm your mind and experience.
3. Abandon places and hermitages of great distraction and adanger.
4. Abandon sustenance obtained through theft, robbery, and deception.
5. Abandon actions and activities that harm your mind and your experience.
6. Abandon food and conduct that harm your constitution.
7. Abandon fixation and attachment that bind you in desire, hope, and greed.
8. Abandon careless conduct that causes others to lose faith.
9. Abandon meaningless walking and sitting around.
10. Abandon concealing your own defects and proclaiming the defects of others.
Those are the ten things to be abandoned.

5. The Ten Things Not To Be Abandoned
1. Since Compassion is the root of benefit for others, do not abandon it.
2. Since appearances are the radiance of the mind, do not abandon them.
3. Since thoughts are the play of dharmata, do not abandon them.
4. Since kleshas are the revelation of wisdom, do not abandon them.
5. Since desirable things are the water and manure of experience and realization, do not abandon them.
6. Since sickness and suffering are teachers, do not abandon them.
7. Since enemies and obstructers are the exhortation of dharmata, do not abandon them. If they disappear spontaneously, that is siddhi. Do not reject that.
8. Since the path of method is always a support for the path of knowledge, do not abandon it.
9. Do not abandon physical Dharma practices that you can accomplish.
10. Do not abandon the intention to benefit others, even though you have little ability.
Those are the ten things not to be abandoned.