In this way, through Lamrim practice we can transform all adverse conditions into opportunities for developing realizations of the spiritual path that will bring us pure and everlasting happiness.
Whenever Lamrim practitioners experience difficulties and suffering they think, ‘Countless other living beings experience greater suffering and difficulties than I do’, and in this way they develop or increase their compassion for all living beings, which leads them quickly to the supreme happiness of enlightenment.
Kadam Lamrim is the supreme medicine that can permanently cure all the sufferings of sickness, ageing, death and rebirth; it is the scientific method to improve our human nature and qualities, and to solve our daily problems.
Kadam Lamrim is the great mirror of Dharma in which we can see the way things really are; and through which we can see what we should know, what we should abandon, what we should practise and what we should attain. And it is only by using this mirror that we can see the great kindness of all living beings.
The Preciousness of Kadam Lamrim
Atisha wrote the original Kadam Lamrim based on Ornament of Clear Realization by Buddha Maitreya, which is a commentary to the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras that Buddha Shakyamuni taught on Massed Vultures Mountain in Rajagriha, India. Later, Je Tsongkhapa wrote his extensive, middling and condensed Kadam Lamrim texts as commentaries to Atisha’s Kadam Lamrim instructions, and through this the precious Buddhadharma of Kadam Lamrim flourished in many countries in the East and now in the West.
The Kadam Lamrim instructions, the union of Buddha’s teachings and Atisha’s special instructions, are presented in three stages: the instructions on the stages of the path of a person of initial scope; the instructions on the stages of the path of a person of middling scope; and the instructions on the stages of the path of a person of great scope. All Buddha’s teachings, both Sutra and Tantra, are included within these three sets of instructions.
Buddha’s teachings are the supreme medicine that permanently cures both physical sickness and the sickness of delusions. Just as doctors give different medicine for different sicknesses, so Buddha gave different Dharma medicine according to people’s different capacities. He gave simple teachings to those of initial scope, profound teachings to those of middling scope, and very profound teachings to those of great scope. In practice, all these teachings are part of Kadam Lamrim, which is the main body of Buddha’s teachings; there is not a single teaching of Buddha that is not included within Kadam Lamrim.
For this reason, Je Tsongkhapa said that when we listen to the entire Lamrim we are listening to all Buddha’s teachings and when we practise the entire Lamrim we are practising all Buddha’s teachings. Kadam Lamrim is the condensation of all Buddha’s teachings; it is very practical and suitable for everyone and its presentation is superior to other instructions. Through gaining experience of Lamrim we shall understand that none of Buddha’s teachings are contradictory, we shall put all Buddha’s teachings into practice, we shall easily realize Buddha’s ultimate view and intention, and we shall become free from all mistaken views and intentions.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso