Feb 12 2021

Patrul Rinpoche – Use the time of your life

Published by at 9:43 am under Poetry

Use the time of your life
by Patrul Rinpoche

Use the time of your life.
Develop your inner happiness.
Recognize the impermanence
of all outer pleasure.

Live as a Yogi
Do your spiritual practices.
Work as a Bodhisattva
for a happy world.

Become an Amitabha
a Buddha of love and light.
Turn your world into the paradise Sukhavati,
by unfolding the enlightenment energy within you.

Search you a spiritual master,
who knows the goal of enlightenment.
Change your world into a place of grace,
by understanding all the phenomena as spiritual exercises.

Dedicate your actions to the benefit of all beings.
Send all beings light.
Live for the happiness of all beings.
So you get the energy of light.

/ Image by Hartwig HKD /

Today, February 12, is the beginning of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, a good time to release the old and welcome in the new.

I don’t often feature poetry from the Tibetan tradition, even though I love this rich heritage. The reason is that much of the sacred poetry that comes to us from Tibetan practitioners can seem to the casual reader to be rather technical and philosophically didactic. It is rarely the fluid and ecstatic outpouring of the heart, like Rumi’s poetry, for example. But, once you have explored Tibetan expressions of Buddhism a bit and understand some of the sacred terminology, then Tibetan poetry reveals itself to be a treasure trove of wisdom and beauty.

For today, I thought I’d choose a relatively simple and direct poem by Patrul Rinpoche.

Use the time of your life.
Develop your inner happiness.

This poem is a direct appeal to seize the opportunity of our being. We have the blessing of life and awareness, so let’s joyfully use them for what they were really made for — awakening.

The outer satisfaction of pleasures and acquisitions, while they may have their place in our lives too, are always limited and, because of their exterior nature, never provide us with lasting fulfillment.

Recognize the impermanence
of all outer pleasure.

When we are wise, we cultivate our inner happiness, our wellspring of inherent bliss, which does not fluctuate with outer experiences.

We can find parallels in the Christian tradition when Jesus advises his followers to store one’s treasures in heaven where they are not vulnerable to decay or theft.

Patrul Rinpoche gives us simple, clear guidance for a life of spiritual fruition:

Live as a Yogi
Do your spiritual practices.

He reminds us to remain engaged in the practices and activities that return our focus, again and again, to our higher purposes in life. Yes, we have our daily roles and responsibilities, but we must always return to the deeper meaning of our lives and find ways to infuse even our most mundane tasks with that extra spiritual magnetic charge so that increasingly every activity becomes a spiritual practice filled with inner purpose.

Work as a Bodhisattva
for a happy world.

A Bodhisattva is one who has taken vows to work for the healing and spiritual awakening of all beings. In other words, he advises us to live in service and act with kindness, healing the world as we move through it.

Become an Amitabha
a Buddha of love and light.

An Amitabha is a Buddha of light, a radiant and loving expression of pure awakening. The spiritual path is not one of drudgery or rigid progress. We blossom with love and light.

Turn your world into the paradise Sukhavati,
by unfolding the enlightenment energy within you.
…Change your world into a place of grace.

As we discover our inner bliss, we unleash it into the world, letting it do its transformative work. Allowing that energy to move through us, we naturally strive to build outer manifestations of that inner joy, trying to awaken that awareness of paradise in others and in the social fabric we collectively weave.

The well-lived spiritual life becomes a dance of inner and outer, in which kindness and joy are both natural and logical as we more fully recognize the interrelationship of being we all share.

Dedicate your actions to the benefit of all beings.
Send all beings light.
Live for the happiness of all beings.
So you get the energy of light.

May this be a time of cleansing endings and joyful new beginnings. Happy Losar!


Patrul Rinpoche, Patrul Rinpoche poetry, Buddhist poetry Patrul Rinpoche

Tibet (1808 – 1887) Timeline
Buddhist : Tibetan

Patrul Rinpoche, Orgyen Jigme Chökyi Wangpo (1808–1887), a wandering practitioner in the ancient tradition of vagabond renunciants, became one of the most revered spiritual teachers in Tibetan history, widely renowned as a scholar and author while at the same time living a life of utmost simplicity.

– From Matthieu Ricard’s biography of Patrul Rinpoche
published in The Lion’s Roar

More poetry by Patrul Rinpoche

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Patrul Rinpoche – Use the time of your life”

  1. Maggion 13 Feb 2021 at 12:49 am

    Sometimes I don’t understand if I am the one kept away from enlightenment or is it that I am a sinner or I haven’t done much good in my life that I feel so hollow within. There are days when I feel dreadfully lonely and yet my spiritual teachings say that I need to go within and find the real joy and things but I haven’t been able to do that. The mystical literature has its own aesthetic value but the didactic side is vague at least for me. Is there a problem with me only? At this point in time I feel like a plastic wrapper on a white-washed wall; so invisible and so unnecessary. I do not have the luxury to cry before someone and yet these poems call me to their formalistic beauty but my circumstances do not let me appreciate the substance of these poems. Not a critic on you Ivan, I love what you do; just trying to journal how I feel.

  2. Ivan M. Grangeron 13 Feb 2021 at 7:32 am

    Dear Maggi,

    I would say that we all go through periods like that at some point in our lives. Perhaps people are especially experiencing that right now. So the first thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong with you or how you are feeling. The spiritual path is not all about good feelings all the time. And I am not a fan of religious or spiritual ideas that talk too much about sin or spiritual “worthiness,” implying that experiences of enlightenment have to be earned through a cruel sort of self-perfection and herculean effort. We are all worthy, always, by our very nature. The only work is to patiently let go of the tensions that distract us from our inherent fullness and joy.

    But I also believe that an important part of our growth is facing darkness, in ourselves and in the world around us. That process, which life often thrusts upon us, whether we want it or not, can sometimes feel bleak. I know. I have gone through very difficult periods like that in my own life. Dealing with that level of reality is also spiritual work, sometimes the most important work, more important than some perfect idea of meditation or prayer.

    Here’s something I would remind us all of when those periods get especially difficult: Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your life. Learn what it means to be truly self-accepting.

    This is not to say that we shrug our shoulders at the parts of ourselves that we want to improve. Nor do we become passive in the parts of our lives that we want to change. But wherever we are, whatever we are experiencing, we can cultivate a compassionate form of self-acceptance that embraces who we are in this moment, where we are in this moment, our entire history. This not only heals the wounded heart, it also allows us to be more whole, and it unlocks the strength and self-awareness necessary to move through the difficult periods until we emerge again into sunny days. Because the sun is there too. It never goes away. The clouds are always the temporary element passing through.

    Self-acceptance and kindness towards oneself is the way forward.

    Sending love and sunny days your direction.


  3. Maggion 13 Feb 2021 at 9:42 am

    Thanks Ivan. I think if I can only be able to pretend being this much positive, some change might intersect my perspective. But I’ll make a conscious effort to be kind to myself. Thanks once again.

  4. Anna M.on 14 Feb 2021 at 3:45 am

    I listen the sound of
    Tibetan’s singing bowls,

    the sound beyond sound,

    coherent emotions
    triggers the sound of
    appreciation and gratitude…

    deep…deep in the heart,
    hear the sound
    unifying mind, body and soul…

    I felt deep inside an open space,
    a large spaciousness,
    expanding and expanding….

    in the Multivese,
    including my Universe

    felt it so natural…

    …still hear the Tibetan’s
    singing bowls…

    …still hear…the sound of

    cleansing fear, anxiety, traumas, depressions,
    helplessness, pains, sadness…

    “May this be a time of cleansing endings and
    joyful new beginnings.
    Happy Losar!”

  5. Mig Kon 14 Feb 2021 at 10:55 am

    As is so often the case with treasure, I happened across this blog while searching for something else (in this case, John O’ Donohue’s ‘On Presence’) and was led to these gifts.
    What a wonderful poem and what wonderful comments.
    I am facing a potentially huge change in my life and relationships and have just journalled “Is it possible to have growth without pain? Is it possible to have growth without loss?”
    Discovering that two days ago was the Tibetan New year and a time to release the old and welcome in the new is really helpful.
    I wonder if there’s a ritual that goes with that?
    Thank you.

  6. Ela Zehnon 17 Feb 2021 at 9:05 am

    A yogi is the one
    who has the awareness that
    this body is the dirty costume and
    that it will be shed at last
    before returning to the home.

    A yogi has unlimited
    disinterest in maya.

    A yogi makes effort to
    stay in remembrance while
    performing actions so that the
    burden of sins is removed from the
    head and the soul becomes
    satopradhan from tamopradhan.

    A yogi accumulates the
    power of yoga
    in this short time because
    it will be very useful at the end.

    A yogi has such a practice of
    remembrance that
    anyone who comes in front with
    bad thoughts is transformed.

    A yogi attains self-sovereignty
    as a knowledgeable soul and
    merges in the Ocean of Knowledge and
    the knowledge.

    A yogi surrenders everything
    including the body to be an
    embodiment of all attainments.

    A yogi automatically has the
    stage of being ignorant of the
    knowledge of desire for name.

    Those who call out questions
    of “What?” and “Why?”,
    those who call out,
    those who internally have
    one form but are externally
    something else cannot be called
    knowledgeable souls.

    Only those who experience
    super-sensuous happiness and
    bliss in their lives are easy yogis.

    To be a pure and easy yogi
    remember the one Father
    who is the only true Sukhdata.

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