Letter to a Friend

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Nagarjuna, depicted in thangka by Shawo Thar, 2003

Letter to a Friend (Skt. Suhṛllekha; T. bshes pa'i spring yig བཤེས་པའི་སྤྲིང་ཡིག་; C. Longshu push quanjie wang song 龍樹菩薩勸誡王頌) is a commentary by the Indian pandit Nagarjuna written in the form of advice to a king; scholars speculate this may have been King Gautamiputra.[1] This text belongs to Nagarjuna’s Collection of Advice.

Despite its short length, this text covers the whole Mahayana path with unusual clarity and memorable imagery; thus it is widely quoted by Tibetan Buddhist scholars in the many commentaries they have written on the Buddhist path.

The text provides advice for both householders and the ordained onto the path leading to liberation. The instructions are considered especially useful 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.


Translations with commentary:

  • 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, Snow Lion Publications, translated by Padmakara Translation Group, 2006
  • Letter to a Friend: Nagarjuna's Classic Text, by Traleg Kyabgon, Shogam Publications (July 1, 2017)
  • Advice from a Spiritual Friend: A Commentary on Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend by Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, Dharma Samudra (April 14, 2019)

Translations without commentary:

Tibetan text


Search for videos:

Selected videos:


  1. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Suhṛllekha.


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