H.H. Yangthang left a letter to his niece’s daughter before he passed into nirvana. This letter was found in his personal bag after his parinirvana. We believe that this letter is also the last teaching he bestowed to all of us. We are very grateful to Sangye Khandro, who translated this letter into English for all of us.
～ A BIT OF ADVICE ON PUREST INTENTIONS FOR TASHI CHOTSO:
Although you are still young, this is the time when your mind is fresh and clear. Now is the time to carefully consider your present human life and what will follow this. The wise ones of the past have said, “If you plan ahead, it is smart. If you regret later it is dumb.” So, that means you must carefully consider finding the correct direction to take that will benefit this life and the future. Once you have found this then it is extremely important to pursue that path whole heartedly. Once inadvertently entering the wrong direction it is difficult to turn around and reenter the right way even if you want to. You won’t be able to instantly turn around so from the onset it is best to get this right.
In short there are two paths to take, the worldly and the spiritual path. If you take the worldly path both this and the future life will be involved with suffering. This direction is very challenging because it involves the path of negativity and non-virtue. The spiritual path is the direction that illuminates fully endowed happiness and wellbeing both temporarily and ultimately. Even though that is the case, these days there are very few who chose to enter this illuminating path.
Among the seven point three billion inhabitants of this planet, there are only several hundred thousand who are following the path of dharma. Everyone else is pursuing the worldly path.
By only establishing non-virtue, then due to the power of negativity they must powerlessly pursue a misguided direction that leads to suffering. Having attained this precious human life just this once, they are distracted by meaningless activities on the path of cyclic existence and without even noticing their life is wasted. One day when death arrives they must leave behind this world, their loving parents, relatives, abundance and even their cherished body and enter their future life with eyes full of tears. Having spent their life only accumulating non-virtue they can only take rebirth in the three lower realms. Revolving within the three lower realms repeatedly, after some hundreds and thousands of human years they may take rebirth just once in a higher place. Experiencing continuous suffering for such a long time, by circling throughout the six realms, there will be no chance to achieve freedom from this.
This kind of worldly direction is a vast heap of suffering. Since it endures for so long it is actually a very frightening path. Due to the power of negative karma all humans will powerlessly proceed down this undesirable direction. That is why you, young girl, must make prayers that you can avoid this direction! If due to your karma you end up having to go there, please keep this advice strongly in your heart:
Don’t react with frustration and try to make decisions by yourself; listen to the advice of your parents and elders who have good intentions; respect the advice of those with knowledge and learn to trust the Triple Gem and divinations concerning your future.
Always look within yourself with careful consideration and walk with firm steps in the positive direction without mindlessly engaging in chaotic activities.
If you wish to choose the path of the sublime dharma, that would be the best! That is the correct illuminating path and it is the unmistaken way to go! First it is important to single pointedly trust in the Triple Gem and firmly cherish the advice of parents and elders, and listen and guard the teachings given to you from compassionate masters, monks and excellent practitioners. Keep your own mind stable and focused and without wavering enter this luminous path. First purely accomplish your own purpose and then work to benefit others.
If you, young girl can enter this path of the Buddha then in order to practice dharma you must study and learn the Tibetan language. This is very important. You must be diligent in studying Tibetan. Although it may be challenging, it will allow you to accomplish a greater purpose. Right now your focus is on worldly subjects in ordinary school. Through this knowledge you will only learn that which benefits the practical aspects of survival for this life alone. For example, you will learn how to get food, wealth, name, fame reputation and status. All those philosophers who are learned in western subjects such as science are able to identify that which is invisible to ordinary people.
Nevertheless, although they see and extract that which is precious among the external four elements, have made medical discoveries that cure diseases, are able to benefit and protect their own direction and deliver that which is harmful to others, are expert in discovering substances that bring both benefit and harm into this world; their capacity to be omniscient is still extremely limited.
If we compare that to the omniscience of the Buddha, then from a spiritual perspective the capacity of the buddha is equal to space. There is not even a hair’s worth of anything that cannot and is not known. That is called being fully and completely omniscient.
If you come to understand the dharma that is taught by such an omniscient Buddha then your own mind will become like the sky and will never be rigid. Your entire being will be open and free. Since the teachings of the Buddha are full of such temporary and ultimate benefit to yourself and all others if you can learn even a little bit of this dharma that will bring tremendous achievement.