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Dharma Materials: The Three Principles of the Path

Homage to all the Venerable Gurus

The essential meaning of all the discourses of the Victors,
The path that has been praised by the sublime sons of the Victors,
And the gateway of the fortunate ones yearning for Liberation--
These I will explain according to my ability.

You, who do not cling to the pleasures of the world,
And you, who by striving to give meaning to this precious human birth,
Rely firmly on the Path that pleases the Victors--
You, oh fortunate ones, listen with pure attention!

Without immaculate renunciation of worldliness there is no way
To subdue the fervor for fruits of pleasure of the ocean of existence.
And further, since the passion for the round of existence
completely ensnares all living beings,
Seek first of all renunciation of worldliness.

Developing awareness of the difficulty of obtaining this precious human rebirth
And the short span of its duration turns us away from fantasies about this life,
Reflecting again and again upon the immaculate relationship
between actions and their results and the sufferings of the round of existence
Will change our fantasies about the hereafter.

By such training, when the mind is no longer attracted
Even for an instant to the bounties of the round of existence
And day and night the mind continually yearns for Liberation,
At that time, renunciation of worldliness has arisen.

Furthermore, if renunciation of worldliness is not sustained
by the development of pure Bodhicitta,
It will not lead to the wonderful bliss of supreme Enlightenment.
For this reason, perceptive beings develop the supreme Bodhicitta.

Violently swept along by the current of the four rivers,
Tightly bound by the hardened chains of karma,
Deeply trapped in the iron net of self-identification,
And completely shrouded by the dark gloom of ignorance

In birth after birth in the round of existence
Endlessly, without pause being tormented by the three types of suffering--
Contemplate on the state of our mothers who exist in such a condition,
Then cultivate the sublime mind of Bodhicitta.

Even if renunciation of worldliness and Bodhicitta have been cultivated,
But the wisdom that realizes the nature of phenomena is lacking,
One is unable to cut the root of the round of existence.
Therefore, exert yourself in the means of comprehending
interdependent origination.

One who sees that the relatioship between the causes and effects
Of all transitory and transcendental phenomena never changes,
And who entirely dissolves all projections of his phantasies--
It is he who enters the Path pleasing to the Buddhas.

As long as the immutability of the interdependent origination of apparent reality,
And our understanding of Voidness transcending the intellect,
Appear to be disconnected,
We have not yet realized the thought of the Mighty Ones.

When simultaneously, rather than successively,
The mere seeing of the immutability of interdependent origination
Eliminates the projected, self-existent object grasped by ignorance,
Then the investigation of the philosophy has been brought to fulfillment.

Furthermore, when our understanding of appearances
dispels the positive extreme,
Our understanding of Voidness dispels the negative extreme,
And we understand the manner in which Voidness manifests
as causes and effects,
Then we cannot be carried away by the views that cling to extremes.

Thus, when you have properly realized
the essentials of the three principles of the Path,
Devote yourself to solitude, and by developing the power of enthusiasm
Fulfill your eternal longing--swiftly, my son!

By Je Tsong Khapa Lozang Dragpa

Translated by Gonsar Tulku Rinpoche and Gelong Jampa Kelsang under the compassionate guidance of the Venerable Geshe Rabten Rinpoche in April 1976.

Published here with kind permission of Gonsar Rinpoche.