" Friends, you already have great knowledge and clear understanding, whereas I am of no importance and have little wisdom. However because you dear friends, whom I cherish from my heart, have requested me, I shall give you this essential advice from my inferior and childish mind.
Until you realize ultimate truth, listening is indispensable. Since you cannot become a Buddha merely by understanding Dharma, practice earnestly with understanding. Avoid places that disturb your mind, and always remain where your virtues increase. Avoid friends who cause you to increase delusions, and rely upon those who increase your virtue. This you should take to heart..
Friends, the things you desire give no more satisfaction than drinking sea water, therefore practice contentment. Avoid activities that are said to be meritorious, but which in fact are obstacles to Dharma. Words of praise and fame serve only to beguile us, therefore blow them away as you would blow your nose.
Generate compassion for lowly beings, and especially avoid despising or humiliating them.
Do not be jealous of others' good qualities, but out of admiration adopt them yourself. Do not look for faults in others, but look for faults in yourself, and purge them like bad blood. Do not contemplate your own good qualities, but contemplate the good qualities of others, and respect everyone as a servant would. Since you cannot tame the minds of others until you have tamed your own, begin by taming your own mind.
Friends, there is no happiness in this swamp of samsara, so move to the firm ground of liberation. If you practice like this you will delight me, and you will bring happiness to yourself and others. I who am ignorant request you to take this advice to heart.
Extracts adapted by Vidyavara from Advice to the Heart, by Atisha. Trans. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.