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A glance meditation on all the important points of lamrim

A glance meditation on all the important points of lamrim

Statue of a Buddha near Gotami House at Sravasti Abbey.
Photo by Traci Thrasher.

I take refuge in all magnificent pure gurus, who are the nature embodying all the Buddhas, the source of all the pure Dharma of transmission and realization, and the principal among all the arya Sangha.

Please bless me so that my mind becomes Dharma, the Dharma becomes the path, and the path is free of all hindrances. Until I achieve enlightenment, may I, like the bodhisattvas Shonnu Norsang and Taktungu practice pure devotion to my guru in thought and action, see all the actions of my guru in excellence, and fulfill whatever he or she advises. Please bless me with the potential to accomplish this.

(This is relying on the spiritual friend.)

Knowing that this highly meaningful perfect human rebirth is difficult to obtain and easily lost, and realizing the profundity of cause and effect and the unbearable sufferings of the lower realms, I take refuge from my heart in the three precious sublime ones. I will abandon negativity and practice virtue in accordance with the Dharma. Please bless me with the potential to accomplish this.

(This is the path of the initial level practitioner.)

In dependence on these, I am able to attain only the higher rebirths of humans and gods. Not having abandoned the disturbing attitudes, I will have to experience uninterrupted, limitless cyclic existence. By contemplating well how cyclic existence works, may I train, day and night, in the principal path of the three precious higher trainings—the means of attaining liberation. Please bless me with the potential to continuously train like this.

(This is the path of the middle level practitioner.)

In dependence on these, I am able to attain only self-liberation. Because there is not one sentient being in all the six realms who has not been my mother or father, I will turn away from this lower happiness and generate the wish to fulfill their ultimate purposes. By contemplating the path of equalizing and exchanging self for others, I will generate the precious bodhicitta and engage in the bodhisattva’s actions, the six far-reaching attitudes. Please bless me with the potential to train in this way.

(This is the common path of the being of the higher level practitioner.)

Having trained like this in the common path, I myself will not have aversion to experiencing the sufferings of cyclic existence for a long time. Nevertheless, may I, by the force of extraordinary unbearable compassion for sentient beings, enter the quick path of Vajrayana. By observing purely my vows and pledges even at the cost of my life, may I quickly attain the unified state of Vajradhara in one brief lifetime of this degenerate age. Please bless me with the potential to attain this.

(This is the secret mantra vajra vehicle of the being of highest capacity.)

Click here for Lamrim outline and teachings

About this glance meditation

Since the Buddha taught a wide variety of audiences, beginners are sometimes confused about where to start and how to progress. In the early 11th century, the Indian sage Lama Atisha extracted the essential points from the Buddha’s teachings and ordered them into a gradual path. This text is called The Lamp of the Path. Lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), an important Tibetan master expanded on the points of Lama Atisha’s text and wrote The Great Exposition on The Gradual Path to Enlightenment (Lamrim Chenmo).

The lamrim teachings set out in a clear manner the steps to realize enlightenment. We can gradually become familiar with the attitudes and actions contained within these steps through the Glance Meditation on All the Important points of the Lamrim and make our lives more meaningful.

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.