10. The Greatness of allowing you to Easily Discover the True Thinking of the Victorious One.
Suppose the great classics were an ocean. The thoughts of the Victorious One – the three fundamentals of the path, for example – would be the jewels within the ocean; the lamrim is like the boat; the guru who teaches the lamrim is like the captain.
Depend on a guru, the skillful captain, get on board the boat, the lamrim, and you will easily find the jewel in the great ocean of the classics: the ultimate thought of the Victor.
11. The Greatness of Allowing you to save yourself from the Worst Misdeed.
You would save yourself from holding some of the Dharma to be good and some bad – the biggest contributing factor to abandoning the Dharma. Also, if you think over the ways to devote yourself properly to your spiritual guide, you will rid yourself of any karmic obscurations you may have in relation to him or her.
12. The Lamrim is Complete Because It Contains All The Subject Matter of Sutra and Tantra.
Thus, the great
Image via Wikipedia
‘It condenses the essence of all scripture.
By teaching and studying this system for a session,
One gains the benefit of discussing and studying all holy Dharma.
Contemplate its meaning, for that is certain to be powerful.’
When you perform even a single sequence of retrospection meditations on the lamrim, you are practicing the meaning of the scriptures and commentaries.
Image via Wikipedia
7. The Greatness of the Dharma, Given to increase One’s Respect for the Instruction
- the greatness of allowing you to realize that all teachings are without contradiction
- the greatness of allowing all the scriptures to present themselves to you as instructions
- the greatness of allowing you to easily discover the true thinking of the Victorious One
- the greatness of allowing you to save yourself from the worst misdeeds
8. The Greatness of Allowing you to realize that all the teachings are without contradiction.
“Realizing that all the teachings are without contradiction” means that one person should understand them as practices in order to be enlightened.
“To be without contradiction” means “to be harmonious.” The Mahayana, Hinyana, Vinaya, and tantras, etc. seem to contradict each other from a literal point of view; but they are all nothing but the main practice to take us to enlightenment or a branch of its attainment.
9. The Greatness of allowing all the scriptures to present themselves to you as intructions.
An analogy: Suppose a person who has no store of rice, wheat, beans, and so on, happens to find a handful of rice, say. He will not know what to do with it and will undoubtedly just throw it away. So if you have not grasped the full structure of the path and you see some scriptural text, because you don’t know where that scripture applies, you will not know how to put it into practice. If you happen to have just one pound each of rice, wheat, and beans, and you acquire another handful of rice, you can add that rice to what you have already. If you have a complete grasp of the framework of lamrim meditation topics, you will readily apply any scripture at all to a particular [lamrim heading].
Image via Wikipedia Atisha /!\
“To trace a river back to its source, you need to go right back to the snow line. so too must you trace a Dharma back to the Buddha, our Teacher.” pg 27 of “Liberation..”
It is always wise to know where your information comes from…validating information allows faith to grow. And we need faith…for our practice to flourish. Practice without faith is wasted.
Here we learn of Atisha‘s family background…why he is an entirely reliable source for lamrim (graded teachings). We have now traced the river back to Atisha.
There are many wondrous signs marking Atisha as being more than a mundane Prince. Please read for yourself.
Yet today….these two sections jumped out at me…
“It is hard for us even to give up the things in our pokey little rooms, let alone the power of a price. Contrast this with great Atisha , who gave up his royal position, treating it like spittle left in the dust,…”
Also, this…”Atisha had already become a great scholar and a adept. As we have said, when only eighteen months old he had without any prompting spoken words that proved he was already conversant with bodhichitta. And yet he willingly underwent these hardships [to reach Indonesia], which must convince us that nothing is more fundamental in the Mahayana then precious bodhichitta.”
I cannot say it better…”nothing is more fundamental in the Mahayana then precious bodhichitta”. Bodhichitta is the reason your practice flourishes. Bodhichitta is the reason your eyes open to new understandings. Bodhichitta.
Many people might wonder…. ‘Why do we need preliminaries? This is just reading, right?’
My case for preliminaries is this: What we take in to our studies will determine what we get out. Think about this. If we bring a calm and open mind….we will have room for peace and for instruction. When our minds are ‘full’ then what can enter? Full of everyday trivial, full of the busyness of our lives, full of scattered emotions. If the glass is filled with water even one drop will cause it to overflow.
Take time before you read and study to ‘ practice breathing meditation for a few minutes in order to empty your mind of distracting thoughts, and bring your mind to a neutral state.’
Due to all my own merits of the three times
And the merits of all the Buddhas, bodhisattvas and sentient beings,
May the altruistic wish to achieve enlightenment be generated in my mind
And in the mind of all sentient beings without delay for even a second,
And may that which has been generated be increased.