Home » Excerpts » A Monk To A King On Listening To Good Advice

As skilful means,
say the true, beneficial,
and even possibly displeasing 
only at appropriate times. 

If a king acts in a way that contradicts the Dharma
or does something that does not make sense,
most of his subjects still praise him.
Hence, it is hard for him to know what is appropriate and what is not.

If it is even difficult to say something
beneficial but unpleasant to others,
how can I, a monk, hope to do so to you,
the monarch of a large realm?

But because of my affection for you,
and also due to my compassion for all beings,
I myself will tell you what is quite helpful
but not very pleasant.

The Blessed One said that at the right time
one should say what is true, gentle, meaningful,
and useful to one’s disciples out of love.
Hence, I tell you these things.

If you remain steadfast while you listen
to a true statement that is [spoken without] anger,
then you will accept what you hear
as if it were pure water that cleanses you.

Realizing that what I tell you
is helpful in this context and others,
implement it for your own sake
and also for the sake of the world.

– Precious Garland Of Advice To A King (Verses 301-306)
Arya Nagarjuna

Practical Ethics And Profound Emptiness:
A Commentary On Nagarjuna’s Precious Garland
Khensur Jampa Tegchok (Edited By Thubten Chodron)

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