‘There is no time to waste’: an Appeal’ by 3rd Karmapa, with commentary by 13th Karmapa

Today for the full moon, am delighted to offer the first translation of a short root text by the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, ‘There is No Time to Waste: an Appeal’, together with a short commentary on it by 13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje[i]. I was unable to find the root text in the 3rd Karmapa’s Collected Works online, however in this edition of the text A Collection of Karmapa’s Works, it states that the 3rd Karmapa taught it at Tshurphu [monastery] and that the 13th Karmapa wrote his commentary at Khyung Dzong hermitage. 

The title of the text uses the Tibetan words longs med, which literally means ‘having no leisure/time’ and rgyud bskul, which means to ‘encourage, entreat, appeal. The text is short series of pith appeals (or exhortations) that ‘there is no time’! The translation is published in full below, and can also be downloaded as a .pdf here.

Please forgive any mistakes. May this new translation be of benefit in encouraging all of us to remember death and that there is no time to waste on distractions and worldly matters! To practice Dharma and not merely pretend to do so!

‘There is no time to waste‘: an Appeal’ by 3rd Karmapa
Commentary by 13th Karmapa
3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje

Root Text by 3rd Karmapa

From the teachings of the Dharma Lord, Precious Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje:

“Like easily spouting Dharma ‘from the mouth’, yet no-one is doing Dharma ‘from the heart’.

Like taking one person’s story as true, yet whoever has excellent analysis as false.

Like when thinking about wealth, food and clothing, that death will not arrive.

When punished by sickness and negative conditions, desperately racking one’s mind for a useful method!

Never weighing up necessary debts, forgetting that one day repayment is due.

Not even once remembering death, yet karmically led there by the Lord of Death [Yama]. 

Since at that time, one always has to ‘go’, yet ‘from now onwards, I will assist that ‘going’’.

Oh you, lazy ones don’t do this, generate diligent effort!

Do not enjoy being distracted, tie up and control the intellect!”

ཁ་ནས་ཆོས་བྱེད་སླ་སླ་འདྲ༎                 ཆོས་སྙིང་ནས་བྱེད་པ་སུའང་མེད༎

མི་གཅིག་གཏམ་ན་བདེན་བདེན་འདྲ༎      ལེགས་པར་བརྟགས་ན་སུའང་རྫུན༎

ལྟོ་གོས་ནོར་ཕྱིར་བསམས་པའི་ཚེ༎           འཆི་བ་གཅིག་གཏན་ནས་མི་ཡོང་འདྲ༎

ནད་དང་རྐྱེན་ངན་གྱིས་བཅུན་པའི་ཚེ༎     ཐབས་ཅི་འདྲ་གཅིག་བྱས་ན་དྲག་གམ་སྙམ༎

ནམ་ཡང་འཇལ་དགོས་ཀྱི་བུ་ལོན་དེ༎        དུས་ལན་གཅིག་བརྗེད་ཀྱང་བསྙག་ཏུ་འོང་༎

འཆི་བ་དེ་ལན་གཅིག་མ་དྲན་ཡང་༎         ལས་ཀྱི་གཤིན་རྗེས་ཁྲིད་དུ་འོང་༎

དེ་དུས་ནམ་ཡང་འགྲོ་དགོས་པས༎           ང་ནི་ད་ནས་འགྲོ་ཚིས་བྱེད༎

ཁྱེད་་ལེ་ལོ་མ་བྱེད་བརྩོན་འགྲུས་བསྐྱེད༎     གཡེང་བ་ལ་མ་དགའ་བློ་ཐག་བསྟུངས༎

13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje

Commentary by 13th Karmapa:

This was taught at Tshurphu. It has also been taught by other previous Victors [Buddhas]. Even though the meaning is encapsulated in few words, as it is exceptionally amazing and of benefit in making the mind supreme, thus I also have written about the exact [‘thig thog’[ii]] situation/reality.

Like easily spouting Dharma deeds ‘from the mouth’, means all humans who perform Dharma, even though all those humans who are called Dharma practitioners, they are more often than not miserly beggars when it comes to food and clothing and wanting power over manufactured things.

Yet no-one is doing Dharma ‘from the heart’ means that some ‘mahasiddhas’, since they are connected by attachment and clinging to this world, with no power of pure, righteous Dharma; are not greatly different from abiding in a river, so with respect to others, how could they teach?!

Like taking one person’s story as true, yet whoever has excellent analysis as false means that hypocrites pretending to be Dharma practitioners falsely present themselves as gurus. Even worse, giving various teachings of a two-faced ‘mahasiddha’. Others are simply businessmen, who are totally fake.

Like when thinking about wealth, food and clothing, that death will not arrive: when all lay-people and monastics behold desired objects, they are like people exhausted by sickness or an old man brandishing a walking stick, yet thinking only about material objects. Whoever thinks about death decisively?!

Even though punished by sickness and negative conditions, racking one’s mind as to what method is useful! means however one is flung into an untimely, sudden death or a brief life, it is finished. When tormented by intense severing of sickness, being helpless as to what to do, one remembers Dharma, but then it is too late [time has gone]!

Never weighing up necessary debts, forgetting that one day repayment is due: as the karma, cause and effect of virtue and sins is never ever lost, the beneficial qualities of virtue and the faulty downsides of sin, are like individual coloured seeds that ripen.

Not even once remembering death, yet karmically led there by the Lord of Death [Yama]: even those who mentally never remember death, at the time of death, they have to die!

Since at that time, one always has to go. From now onwards, I will assist that ‘going’ : I will act to meet and accomplish the heart, the source of refuge, Jetsun Guru, form of the actual naturally-arisen awakened one [Buddha].

You, lazy ones don’t do this, generate diligent effort! Don’t enjoy being distracted, tie up and control the intellect!: even though one thinks of accomplishing Dharma for all, oneself and others, so as to do not wander off under the influence of laziness, pelt oneself with the necessary iron whip of diligent effort. Put aside all the distractions of the worldly life, however big or small, by giving up hopes and worries of unripened karma. By concentration may we become bound up in the heart of accomplishment of a ‘thorn-free’ abode. May we accomplish the immense waves of activities of permanent bliss!

Translated and edited by Adele Tomlin, 28th December 2020. Copyright.


[i] “longs med rgyud bskul gyi gzhung dang ‘grel pa bcas/.” In karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ‘bum phyogs bsgrigs/. TBRC W3PD1288. 92: 108 – 111. lha sa/: dpal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ‘jug khang /, 2013?. http://tbrc.org/link?RID=O4CZ358916|O4CZ3589164CZ3622554CZ362361$W3PD1288

[ii] I have kept the Tibetan thig thog here, since in English we often say ‘tick-tock’ to refer to the ticking of a clock and time passing, and it seems coincidentally apt here too!

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