Like a lot of dharma practitioners in the West, most of the books I read and have read are those written by Westerners about Buddhism, rather than being Buddhist scriptures or texts from the East. This book has been an exception that I am very glad to have made.
Advice from the Lotus Born is described as “A Collection of Padmasambhava’s Advice to the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal amd Other Close Disciples”. I first came across it when my dharma teacher read the class an extract from it talking about faith.
I produced the above journal page using some of the similes, and wrote about my thoughts in this post.
The style and language is very different to what one might expect from a modern Western dharma book but it really resonates with me. Similes abound, as do exclamation marks! As you can see from the photo showing my copy with plenty of page markers, there were lots of passages that appealed to me, provoked me, interested me.
I think the way I would best describe Padmasambhava’s approach to the dharma is fiercely uncompromising. For example:
To have faith doesn’t mean to whimper; it means to enter the right path out of fear of death and rebirth. To be diligent doesn’t mean to engage in various restless activities; it means to exert oneself in the means of leaving samsaric existence behind. To be generous doesn’t merely mean to give with bias and partiality; it means to be profoundly free from attachment to anything whatsoever.
There is nothing wishy-washy about this!!
He goes on to say:
Don’t mistake mere words to be the meaning of the teachings. Mingle the practice with your own being and attain liberation from samsara right now.
As well as the uncompromising nature of the teachings, I am drawn to the poetic nature of the text. I do so love a good simile, as I *may* have mentioned before ;-). The teachings also include songs and I have to include this extract from one which Padmasambhava is said to have sung to the King:
Your Majesty, listen here, take the cross-legged position,
Keep your body straight on the seat and meditate!
Keep your attention thoughtfee and unconfined by mental constructs.
As your focus transcends all types of objects,
Unfixed on any mark of concreteness,
Remain quiet, tranquil and awake!
When you remain like this, the signs of progress naturally appear,
As the clarity of consciousness that neither arises nor ceases
And as awareness utterly free of misconceptions.
This is the awakened state found in yourself,
Not sought elsewhere but self-existing – how wonderful!
How wonderful indeed!!
I recommend this book to lovers of the dharma, and lovers of beautiful prose.