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  • The Great Path

    of Awakening

    '-""' .

    The Classic Guide to Lojong,

    a Tibetan Buddhist Practice

    for Cultivating the

    Heart of Compassion

    J amgon Kongtrul Translated by Ken McLeod


    Hoton & London

  • Shambhala Publications, Inc. Horticultural Hall 300 Massachusetts Avenue Boston, Massachusetts 021 1 5

    UJWU: shambha/a. com

    OI987, 2005 by Ken Mcleod

    Translation of The Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind I 98 I, I 986 by Chogyam Trungpa; revised translation I993 by Diana]. Mukpo and the Nalanda Translation Committee.

    All rights reserved. No part of chis book may be reproduced

    in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any informacion storage

    and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

    9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 I

    Printed in che United States of America

    @ This edition is printed on acid-free paper that meets the American National Standards Institute z39-48 Standard.

    Distributed in the United States by Random House

    and in Canada by Random House of Canada Ltd.

    The Library of Congress catalogues the previous edition of chis

    book as follows:

    Kon-sprul Blo-gros-mtha' -yas, I 8 I 3-I 899. T he great path of awakening: The classic guide to lojong, a Tibetan Buddhist practice for cultivating the heart of compas


    Translated from Tibetan. Bibliography: p. m. I. Mahayana Buddhism-Doccrines . (Buddhism) I. Mcleod, Kenneth J. BQ740..Z.K66 1987 l94.'4448 ISUN 1-')706..:!-')87-5 (pbk.)

    ..z. Spir itual life II . Tide.


    ISBN 1-590 30-.214-1 (Shambhala Classics)

  • To my teacher, Kalu Rinpoche,

    who originally gave me this book

    and, with it, the opportunity

    to help others

  • Contents

    Preface tx

    Translator's Introduction Xtll

    The Great Path of Au,akening I THE SOURCE OF THE TRANSMISSION 3



    The Explanation of the Seven Points of Mind Training 7

    The Groundwork: Instruction on What Supports

    Dharma 8

    The Actual Practice: Training in Bodhicitta I o

    The Transformation of Adversity into

    the Path of Awakening I 7

    The Utilization of the Practice in One's Whole Life 2 5

    The Extent of Proficiency in Mind Training 29

    Commitments of Mind Training 30

    Guidelines for Mind Training 3 7

    Concluding Verses 4 5

    Addit ional I nstruct ions from the

    Transm ission Li neage 4 6


  • Contents


    Notes 5 5

    Appendices 87

    The Seven Points of Mind Training (McLeod) 89

    The Root Text of the Seven Points of Training

    the Mind (Nalanda Translation Committee) 93

    Soothing the Pain of Faith: A Prayer to the

    Mind-Training Lineage 99

    The Seven-Branch Prayer I o 5

  • Preface


    since the first translation of this text was printed by Kalu Rin

    poche 's center i n Vancouver, Canada. Buddhism in the West

    has developed considerably during that t ime. In particular,

    many people have been i ntroduced to this teachi ng and have

    had an opportunity to practice i t . Despite the many shortcom

    ings in my original translation , Kongtrul 's work has been the

    focus of study and i nterest for many students of the dharma.

    Other works on this topic-Advice from a Spiritual Friend, for instance-have also appeared .

    In 1979, a French translation of the E nglish text was pro

    posed . Well aware by then of the numerous corrections and im

    provements that should be made , I took that opportunity to

    revise the original translation and expand the footnotes . This

    new translation was subsequently published by Kagyu Li ng in

    France under the t itle L'alchemie de souffram:e. Circumstances pre

    vented me then from prepari ng a proper English manuscript


  • Preface

    for publication. Thanks largely to the kindness of Rick Rova

    and Sue Forster, this essentially new translation is now com

    plete. Many new resources were available for this translation

    that were not available before. In particular, the Vidyadhara,

    Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, taught extensively on this sub

    ject, and his comments and explanations have been extremely


    A few of the changes warrant explanation . The origi nal En

    glish title was The Direct Path to Enlightenment. Trungpa Rin

    poche noted that this rendering was somewhat misleading in

    chat the Tibetan indicated a main road or h ighway rather than

    a shortcut . The present t i tle , i t is hoped , reflects that idea more

    accurately. Further, in the previous edit ion, "The Seven Poi nts "

    were originally attributed to Atisha . It is possi ble that all or

    parts of the text that Chekawa composed came from Atisha .

    Yet there is l i ttle direct evidence to j ustify that attribution and

    some evidence (for example, the dialect i n which i t is written)

    to suggest that it was principally Chekawa's composit ion .

    What is clear, however, is the importance that Atisha placed on

    this method as well as the wonderful power in his t ransmission

    of these teachings .

    With respect to the translation i tself, every attempt has

    been made to render the text in natural Engl ish rather than

    transposed Tibetan . Much of the latter part of the book (points

    six and seven) are written in a Tibetan d ialect . I am grateful to

    Cyrus Stearns , who worked with Dezhung Ri npoche, for giving me the benefit of his research on these phrases . Wri tten as they are in idiomatic Tibetan , I have attempted to translate them into id iomat ic Engl ish . Trungpa Ri npoche 's own render

    ing has also been helpful and has been i ncluded in the Appendix for comparison.


  • Preface

    Finally, I would l ike to thank Jane Gray, Tom Quinn , Eric

    Lawton , and others for their ass istance in edi t ing and improv

    i ng the text .

    Ken McLeod

    Los Angeles, I 987

  • Translator's Introduction


    Tibet was reestabl ish i ng i tself i n the wake of the attempted

    suppression by Langdarma .1 It was a t ime of i ntense interest in

    the Buddha's teachings . Numerous Tibetans undertook the

    long and hazardous j ourney to India to study with Buddhist

    masters , and Tibetan kings and rulers i nvi ted Indian masters to

    Tibet . Among those i nvited was Atisha,2 one of the leading

    teachers of his day. Rinchen Zangpo, known as the Great

    Translator, had repeatedly urged him to come, both on his own

    in itiative and as a representative of kings i n western Tibet . In

    I 042, Atisha finally accepted the i nvitation .

    In Tibet , Atisha worked to establ ish a proper perspective

    and understandi ng for spi ri tual practice by teaching a synthesis

    of three l ineages of Indian Buddhism : the li neage of Profound

    Ph ilosophy, which origi nated with Shaky amuni Buddha and

    was taught by Nagarjuna3 through the i nspiration of the bo

    dhisattva Manjugosha;4 the li neage of Vast Activity, which

    came from Shaky amuni B uddha and was taught by Asanga "


  • Translator's Introduction

    through the inspiration of Mai treya, 6 and the lineage of Bless

    ing and Practice from Buddha Vaj radhara/ transmitted by Tilopa. 8 Particularly crucial i n Atisha's presentation were the roles of refuge9 and bodhicitta .10 His insistence on refuge as the

    basis for all practice of dharma earned him the epithet "The Refuge Scholar."

    Earlier in his l ife Atisha had experienced numerous vis ions

    and dreams that consistently pointed out the necessi ty of bo

    dhici tta for the attainment of buddhahood . He was led to em

    bark on a long sea journey to Indonesia to meet Serl ingpa, 11

    from whom he recei ved the teachings of mind train ing in the

    mahayana tradi tion. In this system , one 's way of experiencing

    situations in everyday life is transformed into the way a bo

    dhisattva might experience those s ituations . Serli ngpa himself

    composed texts on this method , one of which is i ncluded in the

    work translated here . Atisha gave these teachings to his c losest

    disciple , Drom-ton Rinpoche, 12 the founder of the Kadampa13

    lineage . They were not taught widely at first and became gen

    eral ly known only with the Kadampa master Chekawa Yeshe

    Dor je 1 4 (II02-II76). Chekawa had come across them quite

    by accident . During a vis i t to a friend , he caught sight of an

    open book on a bed and read these l i nes :

    Give al l victory to others ;

    Take defeat for yourself .

    Intrigued by this unfamiliar idea , he sought out the author and learned that the lines he h ad read came from Eight Verses of !\lind Training1., by Langri-cangpa ( 1054- I I 2 3). Although Langri-tangpa had already d ied , Chekawa was able to find Sharawa, another Kadampa teacher, who had also received chis


  • Tran.rlator's I ntrod11ction

    transm ission . For twelve years , Chekawa studied and practiced mind trai n ing and summarized the teachi ngs in The Set'cn Points of A1ind Training. In later years , these teach i ngs spread widely, and many teachers were inspi red or u rged by th


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