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Lamrim: the Gradual Path to Enlightenment


About this section:
The Buddha gave teachings in order to share with us the path to enlightenment that he had actualized himself. These teachings are practical, give us the tools to deal with difficulties, and show us how to live a meaningful life.

The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-fold Path are one way of formulating these teachings. The Gradual Path to Enlightenment is another. These two are compatible, and knowing both enables us to look at the same thing from different perspectives. In the early eleventh century, the Indian Buddhist master, Atisha condensed essential points from the sutras and ordered them into the text, Lamp of the Path. These were then expanded upon in the fourteenth century by the Tibetan Buddhist master, Lama Tzong Khapa into the text The Great Exposition on the Gradual Path to Enlightenment (Lam Rim Chemmo). Venerable Chodron comments on this text and relates these practical teachings to our daily lives.

 


Lamrim Outline in:
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Help with listening to audio recordings

Tapes of teachings given at DFF in Seattle can be ordered from DFF. Pls refer to: www.dharmafriendship.org


 
 

4.B.2.A.2.a. Taking Refuge as the Superior Gateway for Entering the Dharma


Note: parts of the teachings were lost due to change of tape during recording.

*These are from a series of Lamrim teachings that Ven. Chodron gave at Dharma Friendship Foundation, Seattle, fr 1991 to 1994. The audio files were previously available on this website in realplayer format. These have been converted to mp3 format. The contents remain the same. The audio files and transcripts have also been renamed to run in sequence and to match the transcripts with their corresponding audio files. Another round of light editing has been done to most transcripts (revised on 5 Jan 2006).


Guidelines for the Practice of Refuge (article)

Q&A on Refuge & Precepts (audio)


*Taking Refuge - Part 1 of 10. Dharma Friendship Foundation, Seattle. 1991/92. [Transcript in PDF format]

What it means to take refuge [6 min]: Download

Why take refuge? [19 min]: Download

Objects of refuge - the Buddha
[24 min]: Download

Q&A [12 min]: Download

Objects of refuge - the Dharma and the Sangha
[13 min]: Download

Q&A; the relevance of all these information
[10 min]: Download

*Taking Refuge - Part 2 of 10. DFF, Seattle. 1991/92.
[Transcript in PDF format]

Review: Causes of refuge; objects of refuge; 2 bodies of the Buddha; conventional & ultimate refuge; causal & resultant refuge [26 min]: Download

Why the Buddha is a reliable guide: 4 qualities
[28 min]: Download

The 3 kinds of confidence/faith; review; Q&A
[17 min]: Download

*Taking Refuge - Part 3 of 10. DFF, Seattle. 1991/92.
[Transcript in PDF format]

Review of the 3 types of faith/confidence
[6 min]: Download

Different views of the Buddha in the Theravada and Mahayana schools: how to use each to help us on the path [20 min]: Download

Qualities and skills of a Buddha's body, speech and mind:
a) Qualities and skills of a Buddha's body

[15 min]: Download

b) Qualities and skills of a Buddha's speech
[14 min]: Download

Question-and-Answer session [22 min]: Download
Among the topics discussed:

    • Attachment to the Buddha's good qualities
    • Interdependence of the Buddha's qualities and the listener's qualities
    • If the Buddha always manifests in ways that will benefit others, how come others aren't always benefited?
    • It's mentioned that negative karma created in relation to the Buddha is much heavier. Is the Buddha's setting us up?
    • What is the role of faith when we hear things that don't make complete sense to us?
    • We are told Buddha is not an inherently existing personality but so much of the language seems to describe the Buddha as a personality. Why is this so?
    • How seeing our own Buddha nature help us to relate to the Buddha in a healthy way.

*Taking Refuge - Part 4 of 10. DFF, Seattle. 1991/92.
[Transcript in PDF format]

c) Qualities and skills of a Buddha's Mind:
- i) Compassion & Wisdom
[19 min]: Download
- ii) The 10 Powers [29 min]: Download

Question-and-Answer session [24 min]: Download

*Taking Refuge - Part 5 of 10. DFF, Seattle. 1991/92.
[Transcript in PDF format]

d) Qualities and skills of a Buddha's enlightening influence. Two basic qualities: Effortless, Uninterrupted.
[17 min]: Download

The good qualities of the Dharma. True path directly destroys ignorance; True cessation prevents disturbing attitudes from re-arising. [11 min]: Download

The good qualities of the Sangha. Hearer aryas, solitary realizer aryas, arya bodhisattvas; The five paths of each vehicle; The 10 Bhumis/Grounds and the corresponding 10 perfections; The qualities of the bodhisattvas. [17 min]: Download

The good qualities of the Sangha - Cont'd
[18 min]: Download

Question-and-Answer session [13 min]: Download

*Taking Refuge - Part 6 of 10. DFF, Seattle. 10 Feb 92
[Transcript in PDF format]

Recognizing that spiritual practice transforms us
Taking refuge (in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) by knowing their differences in terms of:
1. Characteristics
2. Enlightening influence
3. Aspirations or fervent regard we have for each

[27 min]: Download
[Note: The rest of the talk was not recorded.]

[Note: Part 7 of 10 was not recorded.]

*Taking Refuge - Part 8 of 10. DFF, Seattle. 1992.
[Transcript in PDF format]

Benefits of having taken refuge:
a. We become Buddhists
b. We establish the foundation for taking all further vows
c. We can eliminate results of previously accumulated negative karma.
d. We can quickly accumulate great positive karma

[25 min]: Download

Question-and-Answer I [21 min]: Download

Question-and-Answer II [16 min]: Download

*Taking Refuge - Part 9 of 10. DFF, Seattle. 1992.
[Transcript in PDF format]

Benefits of having taken refuge - Cont'd:
- Review of first four benefits
- The next four benefits:
e. We can't be harmed by humans and non-humans.
f. We won't fall to unfortunate rebirths
g. In general our virtuous purposes and temporal goals will be fulfilled
h. We will quickly attain Buddhahood

[18 min]: Download

Specific guidelines for the practice of refuge
1. Having taken refuge in the Buddha:
a. do not turn for refuge in worldly deities.
b. respect all images of the Buddha

2. Having taken refuge in the Dharma:
a. avoid harming any living being
b. respect the written words which describe the path
[17 min]: Download

Specific guidelines - Cont'd
3. Having taken refuge in the Sangha:
a. do not cultivate the friendship of people who criticize the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, who teach wrong views or who act unruly
b. develop respect for monks and nuns

[23 min]: Download

*Taking Refuge - Part 10 of 10. DFF, Seattle. 1992.
[Transcript in PDF format]

Common Guidelines for the practice of refuge
1. Being mindful of the qualities, skills, and differences between the Three Jewels and other possible refuges, repeatedly take refuge in them
2. Remembering their kindness, make offerings to them
3. Mindful of their compassion, encourage others to take refuge
4. Remembering the benefits of taking refuge, do so 3 times each morning and evening
5. Do all actions by entrusting yourself to the Three Jewels.
6. Do not forsake your refuge at the cost of our life or as a joke

[20 min]: Download

More Guidelines
1. In analogy to taking refuge in the Buddha, commit yourself whole-heartedly to a qualified spiritual teacher.
2. In analogy to taking refuge in the Dharma, listen to and study the teachings as well as put them into practice in your daily life.
3. In analogy to taking refuge in the Sangha, respect the Sangha as your spiritual companions.
4. Train in accordance with the good examples set by the Sangha.
5. Avoid being rough and arrogant, running after any desirable object you see and criticizing anything that meets with your disapproval. Be friendly and kind to others and be more concerned with correcting your own faults than with pointing out those of others.
6. As much as possible avoid the ten non-virtuous actions, and take and keep precepts.
7. Have a compassionate and sympathetic heart towards all other sentient beings.
8. Make special offerings to the Three Jewels on Buddhist festival days.
[Note: This 8th point was not recorded.]
[21 min]: Download

Questions and answers
[7 min]: Download

Refuge Practice. April 30, 1995, DFF, Seattle, WA, USA

Venerable Chodron explains some of the practices for purifying the mind and accumulating positive potential or merit.
Download mp3 file
Download pdf file

Taking Refuge. April 2003, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Part 1 [46 min] : Download mp3 file
Part 2 [48 min] : Download mp3 file
Venerable Chodron explains refuge and the three objects of refuge: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. She explains the different "bodies" of the Buddha and talks about the meaning of taking refuge in the guru. She discusses the benefits of taking refuge and guidelines for practicing refuge.

Refuge and Bodhicitta. 17 April 2005, Mahabodhi Society of USA, Sunnyvale, CA

Part 1 [57 min] :
Download mp3 file
Download pdf file

Venerable Chodron talks about the benefits of taking refuge and developing bodhicitta. Explaining the three objects of refuge, their qualities and the difference between inner and external objects of refuge, she explains how to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. The causes of refuge, and the three types of faith or confidence in the Three Jewels are also discussed.

Questions and Answers [26 min] : Download mp3 file

    • What kind of practice can we use to deal with what we hear on the news?
    • Can you speak about conflict between religions?
    • What can I do when friends ask for advice on marital problems?
    • How can we deal with marital problems?

Taking Refuge. September 2006, Sravasti Abbey, Washington, USA

Part 1 [62 min] : Download mp3 file
Venerable Chodron explains the benefits of taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Part 1, Questions and Answers [26 min] : Download mp3 file

    • How will I know if I really care about a person if I let go of
      opinions of them?
    • How do you have compassion for yourself?
    • What is the difference between compassion for your self and
      self-indulgence?
    • How can you deal with craving and fear?

    Part 2 [28 min] : Download mp3 file
    Venerable Chodron explains the three objects of refuge, including the
    ultimate and conventional aspects. She also explains the signs and marks
    of a Buddha.

    Part 3 [26 min] : Download mp3 file
    Venerable Chodron explains the qualities of the Buddha's speech and mind.

 

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