The Eight Things to Remember

By Jetsun Milarepa
Translated by Jim Scott

At the moment you are fond of large estate sites,
You surround yourself with a manor and its grounds,
But when your time to go has come,
You’ll have to leave it behind you like an empty shell.
Are you aware that this is what will happen?
You’d do well to remember and keep it well in mind.

At the moment you are fond of fame and fortune,
You surround yourself with power and pomp,
But when your time to go has come,
Who will you turn to, not a refuge in this sorry world for you.
Are you aware that this is what will happen?
You’d do well to remember and keep it well in mind.

At the moment you are fond of family relations,
You surround yourself with relatives and friends,
But when your time to go has come, you’ll have to leave them,
Kin and dear ones, every last one.
Are you aware that this is what will happen?
You’d do well to remember and keep it well in mind.

At the moment you like admirers and helpers,
You surround yourself with children and good things,
But when your time to go has come, you’ll leave without them,
Empty-handed and stark naked you’ll depart.
Are you aware that this is what will happen?
You’d do well to remember and keep it well in mind.

At the moment you are fond of material comforts,
You surround yourself with the status of success,
But when your time to go has come, your body will fail you,
Then it’s fit for nothing more than to be put in the ground.
Are you aware that this is what will happen?
You’d do well to remember and keep it well in mind.

At the moment you are fond of your good condition,
Your faculties work and your physical state is fine,
But when your time to go has come, it’s another story,
You no longer have any power over your mind.
Are you aware that this is what will happen?
You’d do well to remember and keep it well in mind.

At the moment you are fond of palate’s pleasures,
You surround yourself with delicious food to eat,
But when your time to go has come, your appetite dwindles,
You won’t even manage to get a little water down.
Are you aware that this is what will happen?
You’d do well to remember and keep it well in mind.

By keeping these in mind I practice Dharma,
I know the bliss of having no worldly goods.
This melody on eight things to remember,
Sung at the Karakache Inn in Tsang,
Composed by I the yogi, Milarepa,
May it give you the boost you need to practice well.


Jetsun Milarepa (1052 – 1135) is one of the most widely venerated figures in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. After attaining realization, he became a wandering teacher who expressed the dhamma through poetry and song.
Jim Scott is a long-time student of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and serves as his translator.
Reprinted by permission of the Marpa Institute for Translation.