Sakya Paṇḍita’s Instruction on Parting from the Four Attachments

I prostrate at the feet of the noble lama!
Having obtained a body with all the freedoms and advantages, encountered the precious teachings of the Buddha, and genuinely aroused the right attitude, now we need to put the Dharma into practice without any mistake. For this, we must take to heart and practise the ‘Parting from the Four Attachments’.
What exactly does this imply?
—not being attached to the present life;
—not being attached to the three realms of saṃsāra;
—not being attached to your own self-interest;
—and not clinging to some true reality in things and their characteristics.
To explain this further:
It is futile to be attached to this life, since it is like a bubble on water, and the time of our death uncertain.
These three realms of saṃsāra are like a poisonous fruit, delicious at first, but ultimately harmful. Anyone who is attached to them must be deluded.
Attachment to your own self-interest is like nurturing the child of an enemy. It may bring joy at first, but in the end only leads to ruin. Just so, attachment to your own welfare brings happiness in the short term, but eventually leads you to the lower realms.
Clinging to true existence in things and their characteristics is like perceiving water in a mirage. For a moment it looks like water, but there is nothing there to drink. This saṃsāric existence does appear to the deluded mind, yet when it is examined with discriminating awareness, nothing, nothing at all, is found to have any intrinsic existence. So, having come to an understanding where your mind does not dwell in the past, the future, or the present, you should recognize all phenomena as naturally free from any conceptual complexity.
If you act in this way,
—by relinquishing attachment to this life, there will be no more rebirth in the lower realms,
—by relinquishing attachment to the three realms of saṃsāra, there will be no more rebirth in saṃsāric existence,
—by relinquishing attachment to your own self-interest, there will be no more rebirths as a śrāvaka or pratyekabuddha.
—finally, through abandoning any clinging to reality in things and their characteristics, you will swiftly attain complete and perfect buddhahood.
This completes Sakya Paṇḍita’s unerring instruction on the ‘Parting from the Four Attachments’, the enlightened intent of the glorious Sachen Kunga Nyingpo.


“If you are attached to this life, you are not a true spiritual practitioner;
If you are attached to saṃsāra, you have no renunciation;
If you are attached to your own self-interest, you have no bodhicitta;

If there is grasping, you do not have the View.” - Manjushri


G wrote: 

All these advice lead to nothing. Its all a kind of analysis-based summation. So you must sum all those different directions and try to make out something of them. Just more of the same old stuff. The mind gets addicted to an analytical seeking stance which tends to become the real conditioning.

Instead: there is only one POV in the universe. There had never been another; there will neve be another. There is no choice. Be aware of it. Be it..... Analyse what? In the last moments of life will there be time to go through all those clever advices?!

Andre replied:

several things I disagree with here.

First, I'm slowly realizing that disagreeing with and disparaging lineage masters is seldomly a good idea. We are ignorant little ants compared to them, so criticizing them only deepens the gap between

Second, these instructions point to a gradual set of contemplations, each with its own realization. So the point is not to have a distillation of it all, but to gradually get to subtler realizations.

Thirdly, I don't think this is the same old stuff. It's old, indeed, but it is rarely reflected upon.

Forthly, the mind doesn't get addicted to conscious patterns of analysis. The mind is attached to subconscious tendencies, which that analysis is precisely trying to uproot.

Fifthly, analysis is a means to a non-conceptual realization. At the moment of death, it's that non-conceptual realization that is helpful, not the conceptual analysis.

Sixthly, what is that singular pov? If there is no choice, what is the point of instructing one to be aware of it? In the moment of death, clinging to the existence of some ultimate whatever isn't gonna help. It's grasping to one of the ontogical extremes and thus a ticket to more samsara

G: First, and what if the lineage of masters is an All-There-Is-is-Ground-Awareness lineage? Then its OK to disagree with and disparage?

Andre: G, it's never ok to disparage, even if their views are provisional or "inferior".

G: I had to look up the meaning of "disparage". I agree.

Lets drop this. I am in a premenstrual mood.

Just that, right now, looking at what others have to say about what the taste of the grapes I am eating makes no sense.

I wrote:

If anatta is realised there is no grasping at some ground awareness. “Awareness” is not referring to a truly existing undifferentiated oneness but just an empty convention like weather, a convenient label for the multiplicity of self luminous disp
lays. Analysis on this point is required until one directly realises this beyond a shadow of doubt, then all appearances arise as one’s radiance as the bardo thodol (“tibetan book of the dead”) often emphasize is the requirement for liberation while dying.

The advice posted by Andre above can be summarised as completely non attached yet fully engaged. This is the practice-actualization after anatta realisation and has to penetrate all three states to be of help at death.

When anatta matures, one is fully and completely integrated into whatever arises till there is no difference and no distinction.

When sound arises, fully and completely embraced with sound yet non-attached. Similarly, in life we must be fully engaged yet non-attached
8 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Complete nonattach yet fully engage?

    For those who had fully transcended attachment,changes in priorities and lifestyles is inevitable...

    Be VERY VERY careful with such high views,or the trap one can fall into is without getting out...


  2. Soh Says:

    Enlightenment implies full integration into activities. Any lack of such insight is not true enlightenment. This is not a high view but the living experience of anyone truly enlightened.

    It is very easy to fall into the abyss of the 'Apparent within the Real', which is an inferior attainment, which Hakuin warned, "He whose activity does not leave this rank sinks into the poisonous sea." He is the man whom Buddha called " the fool who gets his realization in the rank of the Real."

    "Therefore, though as long as he remains in this hiding place of quietude, passivity and vacantness, inside and outside are transparent and his understanding perfectly clear, the moment the bright insight [he has thus far gained through his practice] comes into contact with differentiation's defiling conditions of turmoil and confusion, agitation and vexation, love and hate, he will find himself utterly helpless before them, and all the miseries of existence will press in upon him. It was in order to save him from this serious illness that the rank of " The Real within the Apparent " was established as an expedient."


  3. Soh Says:


    (4:48 PM) Thusness: for ven jue xing, it is the mind body drop and the crystal transparency of our Buddha mind.
    (4:49 PM) Thusness: how old is she?
    and what happen to her?

    (4:53 PM) Thusness: to progress into another phase, it is important to do exercise...hehe
    a healthy body for a healthy mind
    (4:53 PM) Thusness: after maturing of anatta insight, it is even more important.
    one cannot neglect that.
    (4:54 PM) Thusness: the body must also be able to support the realisation :P
    (4:55 PM) AEN: otherwise like wat u said that time too intense or something?
    (4:55 PM) Thusness: yes
    (4:56 PM) Thusness: after maturing of insight anatta and emptiness, sitting meditation becomes not that important but engagement becomes more important
    like practicing the 6 paramitas
    (4:57 PM) Thusness: but still need to sit.
    (4:58 PM) Thusness: that is similar to 'dong zhong xiu' (practice amidst movement)
    the experience becomes maha sort of experience.
    (4:59 PM) Thusness: means her experience of mind body drop is being transform into crystal transparency into maha
    (4:59 PM) Thusness: but it does mean that which state is higher or what...
    (5:00 PM) Thusness: that will be like Zen Master Bernie

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Unrelated q : hv u ever experience 'spiritual chill' , if so how often ?

  5. Soh Says:

    Not familiar with new age terms.

    If you mean bliss, it is a common experience in my meditations.

    If you mean receiving message from "external entities", I have received profound messages and teachings through dreams of clarity. Some of them are prophetic which turns true, some of them are very relevant advice on practice and insights.

    I do not actively practice channeling.

  6. Soh Says:

    By the way I am not discouraging renouncing as a monk. A monk probably has more time to spend studying and practicing dharma. Thich Nhat Hanh is an example of a monk who is dedicated to practice and fully integrated with his activities with the insight of anatta, every step, action, activity for him is peaceful and alive without self/Self.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    It is the experience of 'coldness' felt suddenly throughout the body(or most part of it),and most likely caused by being 'touched' by spirits(dead ancestors etc...)

    For some,it can caused certain overwhelming feelings(sadness,etc...)


  8. Soh Says:

    I do not recall having experienced that.

    If you feel that you can try this practice: