The lamrim (stages of the path) presentation of Buddhist teachings has become a core topic of study at many Buddhist centers in the West. For busy practitioners, the lamrim gives a concise and comprehensive picture of the Buddhist path leading to awakening.
In this volume, Venerable Thubten Chodron provides clear explanations of the stages of the path, while the audio tracks on the accompanying CD contain guided meditations on each of the topics covered in the text.
The meditation teachings of lamrim, says Venerable Chodron, are like ready-made clothes that are easy to wear: they’re systematized so that we can wear them right away, so we can learn and practice them in an organized fashion.
The story behind the book
Venerable Thubten Chodron reads an excerpt
Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I am very happy to learn that Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron has undertaken to record the analytical meditations on the lamrim. As a bhikshuni, it is all the more encouraging to see that she has undertaken such an important task. As I often tell people, the analytical meditations on the points of the lamrim will transform our minds and enable us to become more compassionate and wise. I encourage people to do these meditations as part of their daily practice. February 9, 2001
Read an excerpt
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During his forty-five years of teaching throughout ancient India in the sixth century B.C.E., the Buddha had numerous discussions about spiritual views, conduct, and practice with those he encountered, be they Brahmins (who composed the religious hierarchy of his day), practitioners from other sects, or his own disciples. These teachings, or sutras, were passed down orally for centuries until the first century B.C.E., when they were written down. In subsequent centuries, Indian scholar-practitioners compiled and systematized the important points of the sutras by writing treatises. As Buddhism spread from India throughout Central, East, and Southeast Asia, the scholar-practitioners in these areas also wrote commentaries in order to clarify and make the principal points of the original sutras and Indian commentaries more accessible to the people of those times. The Indian sage Atisha (982-1054), in his short but profound text “Lamp of the Path,” organized the teachings into three levels of practice – initial, middle, and advanced – according to the gradual development and expansion of a person’s spiritual motivation.
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“Listen and learn as the light-hearted, happy, kind voice of Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron guides us along the gradual path to enlightenment. Yes, this wonderful 224-page book is accompanied by a 14-hour MP3 CD with no less than 46 meditations! How often have we heard a teacher describe the teachings of the lamrim and gone away wondering how to put them into practice – and here is a way to actually experience them. No more excuses: Soon the rhythm of meditating becomes as habitual and essential as the morning cuppa. Are you working with distractions? Dealing with mental afflictions? Distinctly possible under this gentle, kindly guidance.”
“I have found few guides through the sometimes complex practices of Tibetan Buddhism that are this thorough, accessible, and practical. The questions Chodron presents throughout the book and CD are the types of questions you might want to tape to your bathroom mirror, and she provides enough of them that you could easily start your day contemplating a different question for months. This is not the sort of book that requires a sequential reading; it is superbly organized to provide quick and easy access to any of the concepts you are currently working with, and there is plenty for those at each stage of the path. Even if you are not strictly a student of Tibetan Buddhism, there are enough core spiritual and ethical concepts covered in this book as to make it a worthwhile read for anyone who seeks to develop her mind and spirit, and enlarge her compassion and wisdom, whatever your primary spiritual practice.”
—The Feminist Review
“[Thubten Chodron] has spent more than 30 years studying Tibetan Buddhist techniques… The lamrim teachings are easily accessible and because of this they have become popular in the frenetic Western pace. In “Guided Meditations,” Chodron provides clear explanations of the stages presented in the lamrim. An accompanying CD includes guided meditations on each of the topics covered in the book.”