From Here to Enlightenment: An Introduction to Tsong-kha-pa's Classic Text The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment
When the Dalai Lama was forced to go into exile in 1959, he could take only a few items with him. Among these cherished belongings was his copy of Tsong-kha-pa’s classic text The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This text distills all of the essential points of Tibetan Buddhism, clearly unfolding the entire Buddhist path to enlightenment.
In 2008, celebrating the long-awaited completion of the English-language translation of The Great Treatise, the Dalai Lama gave a historic six-day teaching at Lehigh University to explain the meaning of this classic text and to underscore its importance. It is the longest teaching that he has ever given to Westerners on just one text, and Westerners have never before had the opportunity to receive such a complete teaching that encompasses the totality of the Buddhist path from the Dalai Lama. From Here to Enlightenment makes the teachings from this momentous event available for a wider audience.
About one thousand years ago, the great Indian pandit and yogi, Dipamkara Shrijnana (Atisha), was invited to Tibet to re-establish the Buddhadharma, which had been suppressed and corrupted for almost two centuries. One of Atisha's main accomplishments in Tibet was his writing of the seminal text, A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, in which he extracted the essence of all 84,000 teachings of the Buddha and organized them into a clear, step-like arrangement that makes it easy for any individual practitioner to understand and practice the Dharma. This genre of teachings is known as lam-rim, or steps of the path, and forms an essential part of every school of Tibetan Buddhism.
In this book, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives a commentary to not only Atisha's revolutionary work but also to Lines of Experience, a short text written by Lama Tsongkhapa, who was perhaps the greatest of all Tibetan lam-rim authors. In bringing together Atisha, Lama Tsongkhapa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this book offers readers one of the clearest and most authoritative expositions of the Tibetan Buddhist path ever published, and it is recommended for those at the beginning of the path, the middle and the end.
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Steps on the Path to Enlightenment: A Commentary on Tsongkhapa's Lamrim Chenmo, Volume 3: The Way of the Bodhisattva
It begins with an explanation of what distinguishes the Mahayana practitioner from other Buddhists and goes on to describe the nature of bodhichitta. Geshe Sopa then provides a detailed commentary on the two methods to develop this awakening attitude: the techniques of sevenfold cause-and-effect and exchanging self and other.
While bodhichitta's significance in Mahayana Buddhism is universally known, Geshe Sopa illustrates how bodhichitta can motivate a devoted practitioner toward complete enlightenment and how this is accomplished through the performance of the bodhisattva perfections. Whether engaged in a scholarly study or personal practice of the Lamrim Chenmo, Geshe Sopa's guiding voice leads readers to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the bodhisattva way.
The Dalai Lama explains the principles of meditation in a practice-oriented format especially suited to Westerners. Based upon the middle section of the Bhavanakrama by Kamalashila, a translation of which is included, this is the most extensive commentary given by the Dalai Lama on this concise but important meditation handbook. It is a favorite text of the Dalai Lama, and he often takes the opportunity to give teachings on it to audiences throughout the world. In his words, "This text can be like a key that opens the door to all other major Buddhist scriptures." Topics include the nature of mind, how to develop compassion and loving-kindness, calm abiding wisdom, and how to establish a union of calm abiding and special insight.
Tara, the feminine embodiment of enlightened activity, is a Buddhist deity whose Tibetan name means “liberator,” signaling her ability to free beings from the delusion and ignorance that keep them trapped in ever-recurring patterns of negativity. She embodies a challenge, but one that is profoundly nurturing: to transform our minds and become like her, reflecting the tranquility, compassion, and wisdom that make her so beautiful.
Thubten Chodron describes a simple meditation on Tara, explaining its benefits and its application to daily life. She also presents two well-loved praises—“Homage to the Twenty-one Taras” and “A Song of Longing for Tara, the Infallible”—together with reflections on their meanings for modern practitioners.