The Precious Master's Instruction is the outline of the Easy Path and the Quick Path for the practice of the stages of the path to enlightenment  by Lama Je Tsongkhapa [classic masterpiece of Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism of the Mahayana tradition from the root text of Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment] by Kyabje Pabongkha Dorje Chang translated from Tibetan into English by Dagpo Rinpoche Jhampel Jhampa Gyatso

The Precious Master's Instruction

 
Lama Je Tsongkhapa

 

The Lam Rim Chen Mo

The Great Treatise

On The Stages Of The

Path To Enlightenment

by Lama Je Tsongkhapa

 

The Lam Rim Chen Mo - The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment - Lama Je Tsongkhapa

 

The Great Treatise

on the Stages

of the Path

to Enlightenment

 

by Lama Je Tsongkhapa

 

 

Three Aspects of the Path

 

by Lama Je Tsongkhapa

 

 

Lines of Experience

The Abbreviated Points of the Graded Path - Short Lam Rim Chen Mo

by Lama Je Tsongkhapa

 

 

 

 

The Lam Rim Prayer

 

By these virtuous deeds

may i quickly attain the state of a lama Buddha,

and thus place all migrators

in his enlightened stage.

From my two collections, vast as space,

that i have amassed from working with effort

at this practice for a great length of time,

may i become the chief leading Buddha

for all those whose mind's wisdom eyes

is blinded by ignorance.

In all my lives before i reach this state

may i be held in your loving compassion, O Manjushri.

May i find the best of complete graded paths

of the teachings,

and may i please all the Buddha by practicing.

Using skilful means drawn by the strong force

of compassion

may i clear the darkness from the minds of all beings

with the points of the path as i have discerned them.

May i uphold the Buddha's teachings for a very long time.

With my heart going out with great compassion,

in whatever direction the most precious teachings have not

yet spread,

or once spread have declined,

may i expose this treasure of happiness and aid.

May the minds of those who wish for liberation

be granted bounteous peace,

and the Buddha's deeds be nourished for a long time

by even this graded course to Enlightenment,

completed due to the wondrous virtuous conduct of the

Buddhas and their Spiritual Sons.

May all human and non-human beings who eliminate

adversity,

and make things conducive for practicing the excellent paths,

never be parted in any of their lives

from the purest path praised by the Buddhas.

Whenever someone makes effort to act

in accordance with the ten-fold Mahayana virtuous practices,

may he always be assisted by the Mighty Ones.

And may oceans of prosperity spread everywhere.

 
   
 Teachings

 of the

 Buddha

 

 

 

Lamp for the

Path to Enlightenment

by Jowo Atisha

 

Heart Sutra

Prajna Paramita Hrdaya Sutra

Buddha Dharma on the doctrine on emptiness (sunyata) and dependent arising of the five aggregates and emptiness

Diamond Cutter Sutra

Arya Vajracchedika Nama Praj˝aparamita Mahayana Sutra

Buddha Dharma on the realization of the illusory nature of all phenomena. This wisdom which realizes the true nature of all phenomena is like a diamond, which cuts through our wrong conceptions and brings liberation

         

 

   
PRELIMINARIES
 

The Dhammapada

An anthology of verses, probably the most popular Buddhism scripture belonging to the part of the Theravada Pali Canon of scriptures known as the Khuddaka Nikaya

       

Oh precious and excellent master

of great universal compassion,

with profound respect I bow to your feet

and take refuge in you.

Out of your compassion

i pray you to care for me

at all times and in all circumstances!

   

 

   
   

The exposition of the stages of the path to enlightenment has four parts:

 

Sixty Songs of Milarepa

 

by Jetsun Milarepa

 
    1. To demonstrate the purity of the teachings' source, the greatness of its author  
    2. To generate respect for the instructions, the greatness of the teaching  
    3. How to listen to and explain the teaching with the two aspects of greatness  

Eight Verses on

Transformation

of the Mind

 

[Lojong Tsigyema]

 

Geshe Langri Tangba

    4. How the disciples are guided by the actual teaching  
       
    The first has three parts:  
    1. How [Atisha] took rebirth in an excellent family  
    2. How in that life he acquired good qualities  
    3. Having acquired these, how he furthered the teachings:  
    a. How he furthered them in India  
    b. How he furthered them in Tibet    
         
    The second, to generate respect for the instructions, the greatness of the teachings, has four points:  

The Four

Noble Truths of

Buddha Sakyamuni

 

from Samyutta Nikaya LVI

    1. The greatness of its allowing you to realize that all of the teachings are free of contradictions  
    2. The greatness of its allowing you to recognize all the scriptures as instructions [for practice]  
    3. the greatness of its allowing you to easily discern the Conqueror's main ideas  
    4. The greatness of its allowing you to automatically avoid grave misdeeds  
       
    The third, how to listen to and explain the teaching with two aspects of greatness has three parts:    
    1. How to listen to the the teaching.  

 

    2. How to explain it.  
    3. The way to conclude common to both [teacher and disciple]  
       
    The first has three parts:  
    1. Contemplating the benefits of hearing the teaching  
    2. Generating respect for the teaching and for the teacher  
    3. How actually to listen    
         
    The later has two points:    
   
  • Removing unfavorable conditions similar to a vessel's three vaults
  • Availing oneself of favorable conditions : the six recognitions
   
         
    The second, how to explain the teachings has four points:    
    1. Contemplating the benefits of explaining the teaching    
    2. Generating respect for the Teacher and for the teaching    
    3. With which state of mind and which behaviour to teach    
    4. Differentiating between whom to teach and whom not to teach    
         
    The third, the way to conclude common to both is to dedicate the virtue to perfect enlightenment.    
         
    The fourth, how the disciples are guided by the actual teaching, has two parts:    
    1. How to rely upon a spiritual master, the root of the path    
    2. Having relied upon them, how to progressively train your mind    
         
    The first has two parts:    
    1. What to do in the actual meditation sessions    
    2. What to do between meditation sessions    
         
    The first has three parts:    
    1. The preliminary practices    
    2. How to conduct the actual meditation    
    3. What to do to conclude    
         
    First, there are six preliminary practices    
         
    Second, the actual meditation has four parts:    
    1. The benefits of relying on a spiritual master    
    2. The disadvantages of not relying on one or of a breach of reliance    
    3. The way to rely upon one in thought    
    4. The way to rely upon one in deed    
         
    Firstly, there are eight benefits of relying upon a spiritual master    
   
  • coming closer to attaining Buddhahood
  • Pleasing all conquerors
  • Being invulnerable to demons and misleading friends
  • The automatic reduction of disturbing mental factors and incorrect behaviour
  • The increase of all levels, paths and realizations
  • Never being deprived of a master in all future lives
  • Not falling into lower rebirths
  • Effortlessly achieving all temporary and ultimate goals

 

   
   

Second, the eight disadvantages of not relying on a master are the opposite of above.

The eight disadvantages of a breach of reliance upon a master:

  • Scorning the guru is equivalent to scorning all conquerors

  • Feeling angry with your guru destroys your virtue and leads to rebirth in the hells for as many aeons as the number of moments of anger

  • Despite practicing tantra, the supreme realization is not achieved

  • Even practicing tantra assiduously amounts to cultivating [a rebirth in] a hell and so forth

  • Qualities as yet undeveloped do not arise and those already developed decline

  • In the lifetime unwanted illness and so forth torment you

  • In future lives you wander endlessly in lower rebirths

  • In all future rebirths you are deprived of a spiritual master

   
    Thirdly, the way to rely [upon a master] in thought has two parts:    
    1. Cultivating faith, the root    
    2. Having recalled his kindness, developing veneration for him    
         
    The first has three parts:    
    1. The reasons why you should consider the guru a Buddha    
    2. The reasons why it is possible to consider him so    
   

3.

How to consider him so, with four points:

  • Vajradhara stated that the gurus are Buddhas

  • Gurus accomplish all the Buddha's activities

  • In the present age as well, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas work for living beings' sake

  • Your impressions are unreliable

   
         
    The second, having recalled his kindness, developing veneration, has four points:
  • the guru's kindness is greater than that of the Buddhas
  • the kindness of explaining the teaching
  • the kindness of blessing your mind stream
  • the kindness of bringing you closer to him through material assistance
   
         
    The fourth, the way to rely upon [a guru] in deed has three points:
  • Making material offerings
  • Serving and honoring him
  • Practicing according to his words
   
         
    For each and every one of the subsequent topics of meditation, except for the way to do the actual meditation, the preliminary, actual and concluding stages, what to do in between sessions and so forth will be the same as explained above.    
         
    The second, having relied upon [a spiritual master] how to progressively train your mind, has two parts    
    1. Exhortation to draw full advantage from a [human] rebirth with freedom    
    2. How to draw full advantage from it    
         
   

The first has three parts:

  • Identifying freedom and fortune

  • Contemplating their great potential

  • Contemplating how difficult they are to attain

   
   

The second, how to draw full advantage from it, has three parts:

  • Training the mind on the stages of the path shared with lesser beings

  • Training the mind on the stages of the path shared with intermediate beings

  • Training the mind on the stages of the path of great beings

   
     

 

   
   

The golden wheel symbolises the auspiciousness of the turning of the precious wheel of Buddha's doctrine, both in its teachings and realizations, in all realms and at all times, enabling beings to experience the joy of wholesome deeds and liberation.

   
     

 

   
   
THE PATH SHARED WITH LESSER BEINGS
   
         
    The first, [training the mind on the stages of the path shared with lesser beings] has two parts:    
    1. Developing a feeling of concern for future lives    
    2. Relying on the method for happiness in future lives    
         
    The first has two parts:    
    1. Thinking about death, that this life will not last long    
    2. Reflecting on how your future lives will be: the joys and sufferings of the two kinds of beings    
         
    The first has three parts:    
    1. The disadvantages of not thinking about death    
    2. The advantages of thinking about it    
    3. How to actually think about death    
         
    The first has six points:
  • The disadvantage of not recalling the teaching
  • The disadvantage, although you recall it, of not practicing it
  • The disadvantage, although you practice it, of not doing so purely
  • The disadvantage of lacking assiduity in your practice
  • The disadvantage of behaving badly
  • The disadvantage at death of having to die in full of regrets
   
         
    The second, the advantages of thinking [about death] has six points:
  • The benefit of great purpose
  • The benefit of great strength
  • The benefit of its importance at the beginning
  • The benefit of its importance in the middle
  • The benefit of its importance at the end
  • The benefit at the time of death of dying joyfully and gladly
   
         
    The third, how to actually think about death, has two parts:    
    1. the ninefold contemplation of death, and    
    2. Meditation on the dying process    
         
    the first has three parts:    
    1. Contemplating death's certainty, has three points:
  • It is certain that the lord of death will come and that nothing whatsoever can turn him back
  • Life span cannot be extended and shortens unceasingly
  • You die without having had the time to practice the teaching while alive
   
    2. Contemplating the uncertainty as to the time of death, has three points:
  • In this world in general and in the age of degeneration in particular life span is uncertain
  • As the causes of death are many and those of life few, there is no certainty as to the time of death
  • As the body is extremely fragile, there is no certainty as to the time of death
   
    3.

Contemplating that at the time of death everything but the teaching is useless, has three points,

Contemplating that:

  • Wealth

  • Friends and relatives

  • and even your body are useless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second, reflecting on how your future lives will be, the joys and sufferings of the two kinds of beings, has three parts:

Contemplating the sufferings:

 

 

 

 

1.

Of hell-beings, has four parts:
  • Contemplating the sufferings of living beings of the great hells
  • Contemplating the sufferings of the adjacent hells
  • Contemplating the sufferings of the cold hells
  • Contemplating the sufferings of the occasional hells

 

 

 

 

2.

Of hungry spirits, has three points:
  • Contemplating the sufferings of hunger and thirst
  • Contemplating the sufferings of fatigue and fear
  • Contemplating the sufferings of heat and cold

 

 

 

 

3.

Of animals, has five points:
  • The suffering of eating one another
  • The suffering of ignorance and stupidity
  • The suffering of heat and cold
  • The suffering of hunger and thirst
  • The suffering of being used and put to work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second, relying on the method for happiness in future lives, has two parts:

 

 

 

 

1.

Training in taking refuge, the excellent gateway to the teaching, has five parts:

  1. The causes on which to rely for taking refuge

  2. The objects in which to take refuge, has two parts:

    • Actually identifying the objects of refuge

    • The reasons for their being worthy of refuge

  3. The measure of taking refuge, has four points:

    • Taking refuge through awareness of the good qualities [of the objects of refuge]

    • Taking refuge through awareness of what distinguishes them

    • Taking refuge through profession

    • Taking refuge through refusal of other [objects of refuge]

  4. The benefits of taking refuge, has eight points:

    • It makes you a Buddhist

    • It establishes the basis for all vow taking

    • it consumes previously accumulated karmic obstructions

    • It ensures an easy accumulation of vast merit

    • It makes you invulnerable to the harm of humans and non-humans

    • You will not fall into a lower realm

    • All goals will be realized according to your wishes

    • You will quickly realize Buddhahood

  5. The precepts that follow taking refuge, has two parts, specific precepts and general precepts.

    Specific precepts. Precepts concerning what is to be avoided and precepts concerning what is to be practiced.

    General precepts, has six points:

    1. Recalling the three jewels' qualities, take refuge again and again

    2. Recalling their kindness, offer them the first portion of whatever you eat or drink

    3. Encourage others to take refuge

    4. Recalling the benefits, take refuge three times a day and three times a night

    5. Whatever activity you undertake, do it only after having put your trust in the jewels

    6. Be it in jest or to save your life, never forsake the Three Jewels

 

 

 

 

2.

Developing the faith of conviction regarding karma and its effects - the root of all happiness and goodness, has three parts:

 

 

 

 

Contemplating karma and its effects in general, has two parts:

  1. The actual contemplation of karma and its effects in general, has four parts:

    • Karma's certainty

    • Karma's great growth

    • Not experiencing the result of karma that is not accomplished

    • Once accomplished [karma] does not go wasted

  2. Contemplating the different kinds separately, has three parts:

    • Contemplating black karma and its effects, has three parts:

      the actual black karmic paths, the differences in seriousness, explaining their effects (maturation effects, effects concordant with causes, environmental effects).

    • Contemplating white karma and its effects, has two parts:

      the actual white karmic paths and their effects.

    • A brief explanation of powerful karma

Contemplating them in particular.

  1. The good qualities of full maturation [effects]

  2. Their function

  3. Producing their causes

Having contemplated them, how to turn from [non-virtue] and practice [virtue].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This concludes the outline of how to train the mind on the stages of the path shared with lesser beings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The precious umbrella symbolises the wholesome activity of preserving beings from illness, harmful forces, obstacles and so forth in this life and all kinds of temporary and enduring sufferings of the three lower realms, and the realms of men and gods in future lives. It also represents the enjoyment of a feast of benefit under its cool shade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PATH SHARED WITH INTERMEDIATE BEINGS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondly, training the mind on the stages of the path shared with intermediate beings has two parts:

 

 

 

 

1.

Developing the aspiration to liberation

 

 

2.

Establishing the nature of the path leading to liberation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first has two parts:

 

 

 

 

1.

Contemplating the sufferings of samsara in general, has six points:

  • the flaw of uncertainty

  • the flaw of dissatisfaction

  • the flaw of abandoning your body repeatedly

  • the flaw of taking rebirth repeatedly

  • the flaw of constantly changing status

  • the flaw of having no friends

 

 

 

 

2.

Contemplating specific sufferings

  • Contemplating the sufferings of lower realms

  • Contemplating the sufferings of higher realms, has three parts:

    1. Contemplating human suffering, has seven points:

    • contemplating the suffering of birth

    • contemplating the suffering of ageing

    • contemplating the suffering of illness

    • contemplating the suffering of dying

    • contemplating the suffering of separation from that which you care for

    • contemplating the suffering of meeting that which you do not care for

    • contemplating the suffering of not getting what you want despite seeking it

    2. Contemplating demigods' suffering

    3. Contemplating gods' sufferings

 

 

 

 

The second, establishing the nature of the path leading to liberation, has two parts:

 

 

 

 

1.

Contemplating the origins of suffering, the process that propels you into cyclic existence, has three parts:

  • How disturbing mental factor arise, has four parts:

    a. Identifying disturbing mental factors,

    b. The order in which they arise,

    c. The causes of disturbing mental factors,

    d. The disadvantages of disturbing mental factors

  • How through these you accumulate karma

  • How you die and are reborn, has three points:

    a. How death occurs

    b. How after death you reach the intermediate state

    c. How [the intermediate beings] is conceived in a new life

 

 

 

 

2.

Actually establishing the nature of the path leading to liberation, has two parts:

  • With which form of life you overcome cyclic existence

  • With which path you overcome cyclic existence

 

 

 

 

This concludes the outline of how to train the mind on the stages of the path shared with intermediate beings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The golden fish symbolises the auspiciousness of all living beings in a state of fearlessness, without danger of drowning in the ocean of sufferings, and migrating from place to place freely and spontaneously, just as fish swim freely without fear through water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GREAT BEINGS' PATH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirdly, training the mind on the stages of the path of great beings has three parts:

 

 

 

 

1.

Showing the benefits of the spirit of enlightenment as the sole gateway to the Mahayana and so forth

 

 

 

 

2.

How to develop the spirit of enlightenment

 

 

 

 

3.

Having developed the spirit of enlightenment, how to train in bodhisattva practice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first has ten points:

  • Showing that the spirit of enlightenment is the sole gateway to the Mahayana

  • Earning the title "conquerors' child"

  • Surpassing hearers and solitary Buddhas

  • Becoming an excellent object of offerings

  • Easily completing the accumulations

  • Quickly purifying misdeeds and obstructions

  • Fulfilling all goals

  • Being invulnerable to harmful spirits and obstacles

  • Quickly completing all levels and paths

  • Becoming the object in relation to which living beings realize all their joys

 

 

 

 

The second, how to develop the spirit of enlightenment, includes :

 

 

 

 

1.

Actual mind training, has two parts:

  1. How to train your mind according to the seven-point instruction, causes and effect, has eight points:

    • Meditating on equanimity

    • Recognizing [living beings] as your mothers

    • Remembering their kindness

    • [Wishing to] repay their kindness

    • Love

    • Compassion

    • The superior intention

    • Actual meditation on the spirit of enlightenment

  2. How to train your mind in equalizing and exchanging self and others, has five parts:

    • Equalizing self and others

    • Contemplating from many angles the faults of cherishing yourself

    • Contemplating from many angles the advantages of cherishing others

    • The actual thought to transpose self and others

    • On this basis, how to meditate giving and taking

 

 
 

 

2.

The way to maintain the spirit of enlightenment through ritual, has two points:

  • How to take vows for the first time

  • Once taken, how to keep them from declining

 

 
 

 

The third, having developed the spirit of enlightenment how to train in bodhisattva practice, has two parts:

 

 
 

 

1.

How to train in the six perfections in order to ripen your mind, has three parts:
  • How to train in the practices of conqueror's children in general, has six points:
    • Generosity
    • Ethical discipline
    • Patience
    • Enthusiasm
    • Meditative stabilization
    • Wisdom
  • How to train in the last two perfections in particular, has two parts:
    • How to train in meditative serenity (shamata), the essence of meditative stabilization, has six parts:

      a. Relying on the requisites for meditative serenity

      b. How to actually cultivate meditative serenity

      c. On this basis, how to achieve the nine mental states

      d. How they are attained by means of the six forces

      e. In this, how to secure the four attentions

      f. With these how meditative serenity actually arises

       

      The second of these consists of how to rely on the eight applications, antidotes that exclude the five faults.

       

    • How to train special insight (vipashyana), the essence of wisdom, has three parts:

      • Establishing the selflessness of persons,

        How to meditate space-like concentration, there are four key points, namely,  ascertaining the object to be negated, ascertaining the range [of possibilities], the lack of inherent unity and the lack of inherent plurality.

        and subsequently how to see [phenomena] as illusory, has two parts, namely, establishing composite phenomena's lack of true nature [establishing form's lack of true nature, consciousness' lack of true nature and non-associated compositional factors' lack of true nature] and establishing non-composite phenomena's lack of true nature

      • Establishing the selflessness of phenomena

      • On this basis, how to cultivate special insight

  • How to train in the Vajrayana

 

 
 

 

2.

How to train in the four methods of collecting disciples in order to ripen other's mind

 

 

 

 

 

This concludes the outline of how to train the mind on the stages of the path of great beings.

 

 

 

 

 

The white conch which coils to the right symbolises the deep, far-reaching and melodious sound of the Dharma teachings, which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own and others' welfare.

 

 

 

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