The Gelug school, which Lama Tsongkhapa founded, came from the Kadam tradition, where Atisha and other great masters devised a systemized structure of study known as the lamrim the gradual path to enlightenment , laying out the steps a practitioner must take in order to progress to enlightenment. The English translation, published by Snow Lion Publications , has been the work of a team of translators led by Guy Newland. Volume 1 Volume one covers all practices that are prerequisite for developing the mind of enlightenment Bodhicitta included in the small and medium scope. These include: relying on the teacher, meditation, appreciating the precious human rebirth, understanding death, and taking refuge. Volume 2 Volume two covers attaining the spirit of enlightenment through the seven point cause and effect and exchanging self and other techniques, and how to practice the six perfections.

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First it leads students through the stages of the two lower spiritual motivations — individuals who aspire for a better rebirth, and then those who aspire for individual liberation. It culminates in the presentation of the path for those practicing from the point of view of the highest spiritual motivation, the Mahayana — those who aspire to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings.

Lamrim texts then normally conclude with a brief introductory mention of tantra. It was subsequently adopted by all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The series of smaller and larger Lamrim texts by Je Tsong Khapa are now some of the best-known examples of Lamrim.

In addition to these foundational texts, many Lamrim commentaries have been written by Kadam and Gelug lamas, including the eighteen Lamrim commentaries which His Holiness the Dalai Lama taught during the Jangchup Lamrim Teachings. The primary goal of these teachings is to discipline and transform the mind. These texts have their source in the sutras and the other teachings of the Buddha himself, but their special virtue is that they convey the thought of the Buddha in a format that is easy to apply in actual practice.

The authors of these wonderful texts composed them in order to help all living beings. Since they developed the altruistic attitude to benefit mother sentient beings, we too should follow their example, irrespective of our own weak situation. The Buddha and the great teachers who followed him gave clear instructions on how to proceed from a state of suffering to a state of peace and happiness.

Following such teachings of the great masters of the past, Atisha summarized them in his famous text, the Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment. It was then transmitted through the Kadam lineages, finally coming down to Tsongkhapa. He was an unparalleled scholar, who composed the Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, the marvelous text explained here in the manner of the great masters of Nalanda monastic university. We are indeed fortunate after so much time to have access to such a great work and to be able to read and think about what it contains.

The two principal aspects of practice described here are a proper understanding of emptiness and the awakening mind of bodhicitta. A correct understanding of the view of emptiness is very important, for whether you are taking refuge, or cultivating the awakening mind of bodhicitta, all other practices are enhanced by such an understanding.

At the same time, it is extremely important that our insight into the ultimate nature of reality is supported by compassion and the awakening mind of bodhicitta. In my own case, regardless of my limited capacity, I try my best to develop these two minds: the wisdom understanding emptiness, and bodhicitta—the wish to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Merely trying to approach and cultivate these two minds brings greater peace and happiness. The development of these two minds is really the heart of Buddhist practice.

It is the essential meaning of this Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. If we were to examine all the sutras and words of the Buddha, along with the subsequent treatises that are commentaries to them, we would find that they can be summed up in these two practices.

Therefore, we should study these teachings motivated by an aspiration to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Today, Buddhism is spreading throughout the Western world, encountering new cultures and new languages. During such a period of transition it is very important that the Dharma be transmitted by scholars and practitioners who possess a deep and vast understanding of the teachings, because that is the only way to protect the authenticity and purity of the teachings.

Atisha exemplified this role by bringing the pure teachings from the great monastic centers of North India and establishing them in Tibet in an authentic and complete form that was, at the same time, suitably adapted to the Tibetan personality. He reestablished monasticism in Tibet and emphasized ethical conduct as the heart of Buddhist training.

He dispelled the many misconceptions and erroneous customs that had entered the practice of the Dharma in Tibet. In this way he reestablished the pure Buddhadharma in many places where it had been lost, and enhanced it where it survived. This text inaugurated the grand tradition of the study and practice of the stages of the path method in Tibet.



The author, Tsong-kha-pa, completed it in , and it soon became one of the most renowned works of spiritual practice and philosophy in the world of Tibetan Buddhism. Tsong-kha-pa took great pains to base his insights on classical Indian Buddhist literature, illustrating his points with classical citations as well as with sayings of the masters of the earlier Kadampa tradition. In this way the text demonstrates clearly how Tibetan Buddhism carefully preserved and developed the Indian Buddhist traditions. This first of three volumes covers all the practices that are prerequisite for developing the spirit of enlightenment bodhicitta. It expounds the entire path from the way one should rely on a spiritual teacher, which is the very root, right up to the attainment of buddhahood, which is the final fruit. The various stages of the path are presented so clearly and systematically that they can be easily understood and are inspiring to put into practice. An indispensable work for Buddhists of all stripes.


The Lamrim Tradition

Megis Of the many works of the Tibetan master Tsongkhapa, none compare in terms of popularity and breadth of influence with his Great Treatise on the Chnemo of the Path to Enlightenment Lamrim Chenmowhich has been treasured by practitioners and scholars alike for centuries. Serenity and Insight 2. Volume 3 Volume three contains a presentation of the two most important topics to be found in the Lamrim Chenmo: The teachings, given open-handedly in this key text, are essential for anyone hoping to enter into or attain success in the higher Tantric stages of the path. Read it Forward Read it first.


Lamrim Chenmo

The transcripts have been published in a wonderful book, From Here to Enlightenment , edited by Guy Newland and published by Shambhala Publications. We encourage you to buy the book from your local Dharma center, bookstore, or directly from Shambhala. Indeed I am very, very happy to be here to lecture on the Lamrim Chenmo. So when we say with Mongolian, this includes Kalmyk, Buryat, all these Mongolian types. There is a very unique sort of relation. Then also in my own case, one of the best Tsenshap [study partner], Ngodrub Chowanyi, was Mongolian.

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