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Advice from Gampopa

Gampopa (1072-1153C.E.) is the disciple of Milarepa and founder of the Kagyupa school of Tibetan Buddhism. In his most important work, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, he brought together the teaching of the Kagyupa and Kadampa “as two streams flow into one.” In it, he gave the following advice, that any individuals wishing to attain liberation and omniscient buddhahood should remember the ‘Ten Causes of Loss’:

  •  This precious human body, so difficult to obtain, is lost by engaging in non-virtuous deeds.
  • This precious human body, with its freedom and riches, so hard to acquire, is lost by dying at the end of an ordinary life without advancing on the path to enlightenment.
  • This brief human life, in the age of decadence, is lost when spent on meaningless activities.
  • This mind, whose unobstructed nature is the dharmakaya (body of the Buddha in unity with everything existing), is lost and mired in the swamp of samsaric confusion.
  • The Holy Guru, who leads one onto the path of liberation is lost when one is separate from him even a brief moment before attaining enlightenment.
  • Vows and samaya (sacred pledge of Vajrayana practice), the ship of liberation, are lost when affected by afflictive mental factors and frivolous disturbing emotions.
  • The experience and realisation that one has acquired, through the assistance of one's Guru, are lost when allowed to dissipate in the forest of materialistic mental activities.
  • The profound instructions of the siddhas are lost when handled by the unworthy like merchandise.
  • All sentient beings, one's kind parents, are lost when one, out of anger, abandons them.
  • One's youthful three gates (body, speech & mind) are lost when spent in ordinary indifference. 

– Those are the Ten Causes of Loss –