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Three levels of Dharma practitioners

Three levels of Dharma practitioners

Part of a series of teachings on Essence of Refined Gold by the Third Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Sonam Gyatso. The text is a commentary on Songs of Experience by Lama Tsongkhapa.


  • Continuation of the commentary on the three levels of Dharma practitioners
  • Why those of higher capacity also do the practices in common with the initial level and intermediate level practitioners

Essence of Refined Gold 12 (download)

Questions and answers

  • Was Atisha the first to conceptualize the three levels of practitioner?
  • Can you explain the idea of “practice in common with”?
  • Does the intermediate level practitioner practice insight meditation?
  • Is it important to contemplate the hell realms?
  • How can we be more aware of the suffering of others?

Essence of Refined Gold 12: Q&A (download)

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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