Kadampa Buddhism

The official site of the New Kadampa Tradition -
International Kadampa Buddhist Union
Founder: Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Lamrim - The Stages of the Path

The stages of the path to enlightenment, or Lamrim in Tibetan, is the backbone of Kadampa Buddhism.

Lamrim is a special set of instructions that includes all the essential teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni arranged in such a way that all his Hinayana and Mahayana teachings can be put into practice in a single meditation session.

It was compiled by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha, who was invited to Tibet by King Jangchub Ö in AD 1042, and who spent the rest of his life there spreading pure Dharma.

Unbroken lineage

There is a completely pure and unbroken lineage of these Lamrim instructions from Buddha Shakyamuni up to our present day Spiritual Guides.

Many great Kadampa Teachers have said that it is far more important to gain experience of Lamrim than it is to attain clairvoyance, miracle powers, or high social status.

This is true because in previous lives we have often possessed clairvoyance and potent miracle powers, and many times in the past we have been in the highest positions in the human and god realms, but despite this we continue to experience uncontrolled rebirth and physical and mental suffering caused by anger, attachment, jealousy, and confusion.

Freedom from all suffering

If we gain deep experience of Lamrim there will be no basis for these problems; we shall be completely free of all of them.

First we must understand the value of Lamrim. Then by joyfully and patiently doing the meditations we shall gradually experience the fruits of Lamrim practice.

Eventually we shall attain freedom from all suffering and the unchanging peace and happiness of enlightenment.

Twenty-one meditations

There are 21 Lamrim meditations, which are usually practiced in a three-week cycle as a daily meditation practice:

  1. Our precious human life
  2. Death and impermanence
  3. The danger of lower rebirth
  4. Refuge practice
  5. Actions and their effects
  6. Developing renunciation for samsara
  7. Developing equanimity
  8. Recognizing that all living beings are our mothers
  9. Remembering the kindness of living beings
  10. Equalizing self and others
  11. The disadvantages of self-cherishing
  12. The advantages of cherishing others
  13. Exchanging self with others
  14. Great compassion
  15. Taking
  16. Wishing love
  17. Giving
  18. Bodhichitta
  19. Tranquil abiding
  20. Superior seeing
  21. Relying upon a Spiritual Guide

These meditations, along with instructions on how to practice them and essential background material, can be found in The New Meditation Handbook.

An extensive presentation of Lamrim can be found in Geshe Kelsang’s book Joyful Path of Good Fortune.

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