The Dromtönpa Human Values ​​Garland

- through Francois Leclercq

Published on

Advice given by Dromtönpa (1005/5-1064), founder of the Kadampa school, to one of his fellow students about to leave for Nepal.

O you, the first of us, the sons of the north!
Having traveled over hill and dale, I have seen,
And I've heard so much. So my words hit the mark.

Is reputed to be sagacious who distinguishes the true from the false like the forehead from the nape of the neck.
To whatever place or direction you go,
In whatever site or dwelling you establish yourself,
Whoever you relate to or find yourself with,
Harmonizing with others is the basis of human values.

Listen to the opinion that I am going to expound on this.
Listen to the analysis of the facts and gestures that I will carry out.
Listen to the instruction, which appeases gods and nagas, which I will deliver.
Among the values, excellent are these deep human values.

For whoever you trouble yourself about,
Don't brag about it and don't grumble.
Whatever you undertake or accomplish,
Comply with customs.

However many your qualities,
Do not belittle others or look down on them.
No matter how intense is your attachment to your possessions,
Do not take too much privacy with other people's property.

However gifted you are in deeds, means or designs,
Don't break the general rule.
Even though it is goods acquired by yourself,
Hide them in public and don't flaunt them.

Even if you are considered by all as a good man,
Do not have that pride which is infatuation.
Even if you are infinitely superior to all,
Dispels any sense of superiority.

Even though you are called upon as a spiritual guide,
Have little disdain for anyone, educated or uneducated.
Even if there is no one who is superior to you,
Get down low and make yourself accessible.

However execrable the leader of some may be,
With respect return hi for hi.
As soon as someone appeared who would be your equal,
Give him the place of honor and treat him with respect.

Who asks for instruction, whether leper or beggar,
Expose the instructions abundantly, and this in the middle of all.
And if it was to belittle you or even test you,
Take care of your speech, exceptionally sublime.

Even if offerings and dedicated services are rightfully yours,
Ignore it and put everyone on equal footing.
Since it should be kept secret,
Remain silent as if you were mute.

This was a rudimentary statement of generalities.
As I will open my heart again, please listen.
Seeking an understanding with enemies is deeper.
Silence to his son what is confidential is safer.

Keeping your prayers in your throat is more pious.
Concealing the wrongs on both sides is wiser.
Dig into your own faults is wiser.
Not pointing out the mistakes of others is better.
With heart caring for those who rely on you is most remarkable.

As I open my heart to you, please listen again.
From the first meeting, speaking with an open heart is a mistake.
Without verification, granting trust is a mistake.
If you made a mistake while checking, continuing is an error.
Assigning tasks to unscrupulous people is a mistake.
To make community of goods with people who don't like you is a mistake.
Take for disciple someone while he is devoid of faith is a mistake.
Considering someone a master when he is devoid of compassion is a mistake.
Friending someone unfaithful and unashamed is a mistake.
Giving advice to those who do not listen is a mistake.
It is a mistake to seek clear-sighted advice from someone who does not know.
Once we know that these are errors, if we are not on guard against them yet,
Then one must know that one is insane.

As I open my heart to you, please listen again.
At the time of consuming the meal, everyone is in good spirits.
After three days spent together, many are those who unmask their flaws.
Relatives or strangers, if, without waiting for a year to pass,
We entrust them with tasks, we quickly repent of it.
To report the faults that appear to us in others is deplorable.
Just thinking about it is disturbing. Talking to two is devastating.
Let three of us talk about it, and the wind spreads the rumor.
If we don't state it and it fades into a vacuum, it's better advised.
If, by various means, one understands what the odds are on the oral level, there is something to laugh about.
If one abandons oneself to doubts, the demons are delighted. If you take a plague for a friend, that's the biggest mistake.

As I open my heart to you, please listen again.
Do not have too much attachment to food; donate it.
Do not be too greedy for possessions; make an offering.
Do not change too much of physiognomy; be smiling.
Do not harm enemies too much while favoring friends; cultivate complete equality.
Do not incense those around you too much; keep it inside of you.
Do not anathematize too quickly; skilfully put aside.
Don't make too many promises to anyone; hold them.
Give no one bad advice; provide good ones.
If you have failed, do not allow yourself to be crushed by regret; don't start over.

As I open my heart to you, please listen again.
To complain is to hail the enemies; really put an end to it.
Multiple activities command trouble; really put an end to it.
Abundance of ideas disrupts designs; really put an end to it.
A bad character is like a gathering of enemies; really put an end to it.
Chimeras and other superstitions are a hall of demons; really put an end to it.
A bad environment is a source of discredit; really put an end to it.
Bad friends are cause for regret; really put an end to it.
Evil lands are spirals of evil; really put an end to it.
The affairs of the world are fetters on the feet; really put an end to it.

As I open my heart to you, please listen again.
When the five degradations of the times of degeneracy gain momentum,
The demon that obstructs all practitioners is having an attachment to some and aversion to others.
Wherever you go, moderate bias.
Whatever you do, put yourself in the back row.
The plains of distant Nepal have a hot climate.
Be careful what you drink from it to quench your thirst.
Latö in the south is home to fearsome creatures;
Beware of heinous curses.
In Nyangchab, in the north, gossip is rife,
Beware of endless chatter.
In Tibet, the Kingdom of the dead, there is neither shame nor fidelity;
Annoyed, beware of anger. People these days are fickle;
Beware of talkers.

As I open my heart to you, please listen again.
Do not lose your hopes and trust in the tutelary deity,
But don't expect much from men in these dire times.
Do not skimp on your scruples or your loyalty to your companions.
Whether they act right or wrong, make few remarks.
Do not postpone the "white" [beneficial] activities,
But engage in the practice of the excellent way.
Do not seek too much ease in all your undertakings,
But, through the three gates [body, speech, mind], show respect to your masters.

In short, raise all the greats of this world into crowns.
Take care of the humble as to preserve them from the edge of the sword.
Be of cordial company with equals, like oxen in the same team.
In any activity, have few personal expectations. In any business, favor the collective good.

The advice that I gave you,
Don't regard them as the bird its shell.
Transcribe in lanza these excellent words
And in solitude, contemplate the grandiose spectacle.
If you manage to apply them, you will be successful.

From this day and throughout all our lives,
May we work together to guide sentient beings to happiness.
Let us rejoice with the same prayers
What did Samantabhadra formulate?

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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