Four thoughts (Tib. བློ་ལྡོག་རྣམ་བཞི, lodok namshyi; Wyl. blo ldog rnam bzhi) — these are the four contemplations that turn the mind away from samsara, namely:

which turn the mind away from the concerns of this life;

and the reflections on

  • 3) the defects of samsara, and on
  • 4) action (karma: cause and effect),

which turn the mind away from our attitudes and conduct with respect to future lives.

Brief Version of the Four Thoughts from the [[Ngöndro]] Practice

dal jor di ni shintu nyé par ka<br> This free and well-favoured human form is difficult to obtain.

kye wü dön drup top par gyur wa la<br> Now that you have the chance to realize the full human potential,

gal té di la pen pa ma drup na<br> If you don’t make good use of this opportunity,

chi di yang dak jor war ga la gyur<br> How could you possibly expect to have such a chance again?

—from the Bodhicharyavatara.

si sum mi tak tön ké trin dang dra<br> This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.

dro wé kyé chi gar la ta dang tsung<br> To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movement of a dance.

kyé wü tsé dro nam khé lok dra té<br> A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,

ri zar bab chu shyin du nyur gyok dro<br> Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.

—from the Lalitavistara Sutra<ref> Lalitavistara Sutra, Existence, as Transient as Autumn Clouds</ref>

dü kyi nyen né gyal po dro gyur na<br> When his time has come, even a king has to die,

long chö dza dang nyen shé je mi drang<br> And neither his friends nor his wealth can follow him.

kyé wu dak ni gar né gar dro yang<br> So for us—wherever we stay, wherever we go—

lé ni drip ma shyin du jé su drang<br> Karma follows us like a shadow.

—from the Rajavavadaka Sutra<ref> Sutra of Instructions to the King</ref>

se si ma rik wang gi kyé wo nam <br> Because of craving, attachment and ignorance,

mi dang lha dang ngen song nam sum po<br> Men, gods, animals, hungry ghosts and hell-beings

dro wa nga po dak tu mi khé khor<br> Foolishly go round,

per na dza khen khor lo khor wa shyin<br> Like the turning of a potter’s wheel.

—from the Lalitavistara Sutra<ref> Lalitavistara Sutra, Foolishly Go Round, Like the Potter's Wheel</ref>

Alternative Terms/Translations

  • four reminders



Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha

Further Reading

  • Khandro Rinpoche, This Precious Life: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on the Path to Enlightenment (Shambhala Publications, 2003)
four_thoughts.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/15 15:05 (external edit)

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