Letter to a Friend

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Letter to a Friend (Skt. Suhṛllekha; Tib. བཤེས་པའི་སྤྲིང་ཡིག་, shepé tring yik, Wyl. bshes pa'i spring yig) — a shastra by Nagarjuna, which belongs to his Collection of Advice.

Nagarjuna (1st-2nd century A.D.) wrote this celebrated poem as a letter of advice to his friend King Gautamiputra/Satavahana.

This advice gives a concise and comprehensive introduction to the entire path and practice of Buddhism. It guides both householders and the ordained onto the path leading to liberation and enlightenment. The instructions are of special interest to those who wish to take up spiritual activity while continuing to live and work in society; they are meant to convey the whole meaning of the Dharma to the ordinary person in a language and style that are easy to understand.

Despite its short length (123 verses), it covers the whole Mahayana path with unusual clarity and memorable imagery; thus it is widely quoted by Tibet's great masters and scholars in the many commentaries they have written on the Buddhist path.

Tibetan Text



  • Nagarjuna and Lama Mipham, Golden Zephyr: Instructions from a Spiritual Friend, translated by Leslie Kawamura (Dharma Publishing, 1975)
  • Nāgārjuna's Letter with Commentary by Venerable Rendawa Zhön-nu Lo-drö, translated by Geshe Lobsang Tharchin and Artemus B. Engle (Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1979)
  • Nāgārjuna's Letter to King Gautamīputra, with Explanatory Notes Based on Tibetan Commentaries, tr. by Ven Lozang Jamspal, Ven. Ngawang Samten Chophel and Peter Della Santina (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1996)
  • Nagarjuna's Letter to a Friend: with Commentary by Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche, translated by Padmakara Translation Group, (Snow Lion Publications, 2006)


  • Nagarjuna, La Lettre à un ami, traduit par Georges Driessens (Dharma, 1981)
  • Nagarjuna, Lettre à un ami, commentée par Kyabje Kangyour Rinpoché (Editions Padmakara, 2007)


  • Suhṛllekha: Brief des Nāgārjuna an König Udayana / aus dem Tibetischen übersetzt von H. Wenzel. - Leipzig : Voss' Sortiment, 1886 Available for free download here

Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha

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