Excerpt from A Catalogue of Vajra Songs, Elegantly Composed

by Longchenpa
Translation by Willa Miller (for Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche’s teachings at Wonderwell, June 2014)

Namo Guru Bhya
Throughout the mandala of the vast expanse of space, ready to be known,
The mandala of the sun of wisdom, the knower, shines,
Causing the heart-lotus of wise and loving fortunate ones to bloom—
I bow at the feet of the glorious protector, my sacred teacher.

Listen friends with faith and good fortune
To this candid soulful advice, this affectionate counsel!
May you engage this expression of the way things are—
This guidance that comes from my heart is best nurtured in the depths of your own.
Because of the radiance of your previously cultivated virtue,
You enjoy rare and precious leisures and opportunities in this life,
And have encountered the dharma taught by the Buddha—
Isn’t it time to devote your heart to the practice?

Common are those who secure the human advantage,
But those who encounter the dharma are rare as daytime stars.
And to meet the dharma of the supreme vehicle is almost impossible
Isn’t it time to devote your heart to the practice?

Now you have a human life and with it independence,
Now you hold the three vows—pratimokṣa, bodhisattva and niruttara
At such a time of fortune and leisure,
Isn’t it time to devote your heart to the practice?

You have actually met the bright, learned teacher Mañjuśrī,
Whatever mahāyāna and niruttara you could want or need falls like rain,
At this time when the Buddha rests in the palm of your hand,
Isn’t it time to devote your heart to a practice?

Your teacher, a glorious protector, gives to fortunate disciples
Profound advice, the refined essence of his heart
When whoever wishes get what they wish for,
Isn’t it time to devote your heart to a practice?

When you are taught the essence of your own mind is unborn
And the fundamental nature, just as it is, is the truth,
You come to understand the part of you that is Buddha.
Isn’t it time to devote your heart to a practice?

The natural awareness taught in such a way, the dharmakāya—
Now that you have the chance, to sustain it, just as it is
It would be excellent to accomplish the goal of making it stable.
Isn’t it time to devote your heart to the practice?

Alas, wherever you are born in the three realms,
There is not the slightest chance for comfort or happiness.
Because you need to purify suffering, cause and effect,
Surely the time has come to awaken!

However many friends and relatives you have,
When impermanence strikes and the time of death is nigh,
Even if you want to, you cannot stay an extra minute.
Surely the time has come to awaken!

No matter how much wealth and material comfort you have,
It is just the basis for all afflictions—greed and so forth—
At the time of death, all this is just the cause of mental clinging.
Surely the time has come to awaken!

No matter how many armies and governments we amass,
They won’t last long—everything falls apart.
All is impermanent, and headed for the world beyond.
Surely the time has come to awaken!

No matter how great your power and strategies,
They are the basis of all non-virtue, suffering and afflictions.
They are the cause of the three lower realms, avīci and so forth.
Surely the time has come to awaken!

Many people older and younger than me have died.
Those my age have also passed away: It is certain that I too will die!
After death, I have no freedom, no control of where I’ll be born.
Surely the time has come to awaken!

In short, all the activities of this life
Are like food mixed with poison.
To renounce them from the heart is the mark of a holy life.
Surely the time has come to awaken!

Alas, alas! The phenomena of the three realms of samsara
Are impermanent, unstable, the abode of all suffering.
They are the cause of taking a negative rebirth after death.
At the time of death, you need a beneficial dharma.

This life is impermanent, like the flash of a shooting star.
Youth is impermanent, like a flower in the autumn.
Powerless, you will have to cross to the great beyond.
At the time of death, you need a beneficial dharma.

Right now, you are distracted by laziness.
You fritter your life away in a state of idleness.
At the mercy of karma, it is uncertain where you will be reborn.
At the time of death, you need a beneficial dharma.

When you go from this world to the next,
Relatives, friends, wealth and possessions will be left behind.
Discarding your own body, you will have to move on.
At the time of death, you need a beneficial dharma.

When death suddenly befalls you,
If you don’t have the confidence that emerges from realizing the true nature,
Will a bunch of material things be any help at all?
At the time of death, you need a beneficial dharma.

If you were to die right now,
You would certainly want a fearless confidence.
But think—What virtuous results of gathering the two accumulations have you amassed?
At the time of death, you need a beneficial dharma.

Therefore, fortunate ones, listen to the advice of this old beggar.
If you postpone freedom, and do not accomplish enlightenment,
Are you not deceiving yourself?
At the time of death, you need a beneficial dharma.

Ema! The characteristics of the three realms of samsara—
If you examine them, there is no essence at all.
Since everything is the cause of clinging, you need nothing whatsoever—
Isn’t renunciation and weariness really the thing to be cherished?

The root of the dharma of the great vehicle is bodhicitta,
The bodhicitta that exchanges self for others,
And includes all sentient beings, vast as space.
This altruism you generate—Isn’t that really the thing to be cherished?

Visualizing yourself as the yidam deity,
Meditate on the wish-fulfilling jewel, the lama on the crown of your head.
And mentally supplicate him/her.
The powerful devotion that arises in that moment—Isn’t that really the thing to be cherished?

Ālaya, the eight consciousnesses, perceived and perceiver and so forth,
All the phenomena of this life, samsara and nirvana,
Are primordially empty, rootless, unreal, and ephemeral.
This deep realization—Isn’t that really the thing to be cherished?

The original nature is reflexive awareness, the dharmakāya,
Immeasurable, unceasing, impartial suchness,
Awareness-emptiness, naked primordial wisdom.
This authentically, naked realization—Isn’t that really the thing to be cherished?

The supreme path consists of two aspects: “breakthrough” and “transcendence”.
Don’t cling to these as separate: they are an inseparable union.
Settle naturally into simplicity, just as it is.
To simply sustain the way things are—Isn’t this really the thing to be cherished?

This helpful heart-advice was composed by Kunkyen Longchen Rabjam.