Foundation of Good Qualities

by Je Tsongkhapa

(This prayer by Lama Tsongkhapa outlines the basic Lam Rim teachings, the graduated path to enlightenment.)

  • The kind and venerable spiritual master is the foundation of all good qualities. Seeing that dependence on him or her is the root of the path, may I rely on him or her with great respect and continuous effort — inspire me thus!
  • A human life with leisure is obtained this once. Understanding that it has great value and is hard to find, may I produce unceasingly the mind that takes hold of its essence day and night — inspire me thus!
  • The fluctuation of our body and life is like a bubble of water; remember death, for we perish so quickly. After death, the effects of black and white karma pursue us as a shadow follows a body. Finding certainty in this, may I always be careful to abandon even the slightest negative action and to complete the accumulation of virtue — inspire me thus!
  • There is no satisfaction in enjoying worldly pleasures. They are the door to all misery. Having realized that the fault of samsaric perfections is that they cannot be trusted, may I be strongly intent on the bliss of liberation — inspire me thus!
  • That pure thought to attain liberation produces great conscientiousness, mindfulness and awareness, may I make the essential practice, keeping the vows of individual liberation, the root of the doctrine — inspire me thus!
  • Having seen that all beings, my kind mothers, have fallen like myself into the ocean of cyclic existence, may I train in the supreme heart dedicated to enlightenment, assuming the obligation to free all migrating beings — inspire me thus!
  • Generating the altruistic intention alone, without cultivation of the three moral practices, does not lead to enlightenment. Having realized this, may I practice with intense effort the vows of the conquerors and their spiritual children — inspire me thus!
  • By quieting distraction to false objects, and analyzing the meaning of reality, may I quickly generate within my mindstream the path uniting calm abiding and special insight — inspire me thus!
  • When, trained in the common path, I am a suitable vessel, let me enter with ease the great gateway of the fortunate ones, the Vajrayana, the highest of all vehicles — inspire me thus!
  • The basis of achieving the two powerful attainments is the pure vows and commitments that I have pledged. Having found true understanding of this, may I keep them even at the cost of my life — inspire me thus!
  • Having realized the significance of the two stages, which are the essence of the tantric path, may I steadfastly practice without laziness the four sessions of yoga, and realize what the holy beings have taught — inspire me thus!
  • May the spiritual teachers who lead me on the sacred path and all spiritual friends who practice it have long life. May I quickly and completely pacify all outer and inner hindrances — grant such inspiration, I pray!
  • In all my rebirths may I never be separated from perfect spiritual masters, and enjoy the magnificent Dharma. Completing all qualities of the stages and paths, may I quickly achieve the stage of Vajradhara.