Lamrim outline: Foundation

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  • I. Preeminent qualities of the compilers
    II. Preeminent qualities of the teachings
    III. How the teachings should be studied and taught
    IV. How to guide students to enlightenment

      A. How to rely on spiritual teachers as the root of the path
        1. What to do during the actual session
          a. The six preparatory practices
          b. How to cultivate reliance on our teachers
          c. How to conclude the session

        2. What to do between sessions to develop reliance on our teachers

      B. Stages for training the mind

        1. Being persuaded to take advantage of our precious human life

    Foundations of the path

    A. How to rely on spiritual teachers as the root of the path

      1. What to do during the actual session

        a. The six preparatory practices
        b. How to cultivate reliance on our teachers

          1) Advantages of relying on a teacher

            a) We become closer to enlightenment
            b) We please all the buddhas
            c) Harmful forces and misleading friends can’t affect us
            d) Our afflictions and faulty behavior decrease
            e) We gain meditative experiences and stable realizations
            f) We won’t lack spiritual teachers in future lives
            g) We won’t take a lower rebirth
            h) All our temporary and ultimate goals will be realized

          2) Disadvantages of improper reliance or abandoning the teacher

            a) It’s like showing contempt for all the buddhas
            b) We will be reborn in lower realms for same number of eons as number of moments we were angry with our teacher
            c) Although we try to practice tantra, we won’t attain enlightenment
            d) Although we may put great effort into tantric practice, it will amount to actualizing hellish rebirth
            e) We won’t develop any new qualities or siddhis and what we have developed will decline
            f) Many unwished for things, like sickness and calamities, will befall us in this life)
            g) In future lives we will roam endlessly in lower realms
            h) We will lack spiritual teachers in future lives.

          3) How to rely on our teachers with our thoughts

            a) Developing confidence that our teachers are buddhas

              1′: Why it is necessary to regard our teachers as buddha
              2′: Why it is possible to regard our teachers as buddha
              3′: What to think to do this

                a': Vajradhara asserted high teachers are buddhas
                b': Our teachers are the media for conveying the buddhas’ enlightening influence to us
                c': In this degenerate age, the buddhas and bodhisattvas still work for the benefit of beings
                d': Our opinions aren’t always reliable

            b) Developing loving respect for our teachers by remembering their kindness

              1′: Their kindness exceeds that of the Buddha
              2′: Their kindness in teaching us the Dharma
              3′: Their kindness in inspiring us
              4′: Their kindness in including us in their circle of students and providing for us materially

          4) How to rely on our teacher through our actions

            a) Offering material
            b) Paying respect and offering our service and help
            c) Practicing according to our teachers’ instructions

        c. How to conclude the session

      2. What to do between sessions to develop reliance on our teachers

    B. Stages for training the mind

      1. Being persuaded to take advantage of our precious human life

        a. Recognizing the eight freedoms and the ten richnesses

          1) The eight freedoms

            a) The four non-human states with no chance for Dharma study

              1′: Life forms experiencing continual pain and fear
              2′: Life forms experiencing continual frustration and clinging
              3′: Animals
              4′: Celestial beings

            b) The four human situations with no chance for Dharma study

              1′: Barbarian among uncivilized savages or in country where religion was outlawed.
              2′: Where Buddha’s teachings are unavailable, where a Buddha hasn’t appeared and taught
              3′: Mentally retarded, deaf, dumb, blind
              4′: Having instinctive wrong views

          2) The ten richnesses

            a) The five personal factors enriching our lives

              1′: Born as a human
              2′: Living in central Buddhist region
              3′: Having complete and healthy sense and mental faculties
              4′: Not having committed any of the five five heinous actions; not doing actions against the Dharma such as being a butcher
              5′: Having instinctive belief in things worthy of respect: the Dharma, the value of ethics, the path to enlightenment, etc.

            b) The five richnesses from society

              1′: Living where and when a buddha has appeared
              2′: Living where and when a buddha has taught the Dharma
              3′: Living where and when the Dharma still exists
              4′: Living where and when there’s a sangha community following Buddha’s teachings
              5′: Living where and when there are others with loving concern: patrons, teachers, so we have clothes, food, other conditions to practice

        b. Considering the importance of a precious human life

          1) From the viewpoint of temporary goals
          2) From viewpoint of ultimate goals
          3) In every moment our precious human life is valuable

        c. Considering the difficulty of obtaining a precious human life

          1) From the viewpoint of its causes (ethics, practicing the other far-reaching attitudes, pure prayers)
          2) From the viewpoint of analogies
          3) From the viewpoint of its nature, numbers

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