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Selections from “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment - Chapter 3: How to Listen to and Explain the Teachings," Part 1 of 2

2020-08-07
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Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa was also known by the honorific title Je Rinpoche. Along with founding the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa also wrote several books, including “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.” This volume highlights a unified message from all Buddhist teachings as well as explaining how to put them into practice. Now we are going to present selections from Chapter 3 of “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment - How to Listen to and Explain the Teachings.” How to Listen to a Teaching in Which Both the Teaching and Its Author Are Great: 1. Contemplating the Benefits of Hearing the Teaching “The ‘Verses about Hearing’ in the ‘Collection of Indicative Verses’ says: ‘Through hearing, phenomena are understood. Through hearing, wrongdoing is overcome. Through hearing, what is meaningless is eliminated. Through hearing, Nirvana is attained.’” “Also, the ‘Garland of Birth Stories’ says: ‘Through hearing, you become faithful And your delight in virtue becomes steadfast; Wisdom arises and delusion will vanish — This is worth buying even with your flesh. Hearing is a lamp that dispels the darkness of delusion. The supreme wealth that cannot be carried off by thieves, A weapon that vanquishes the foe of confusion; IT IS THE BEST OF FRIENDS, REVEALING PERSONAL INSTRUCTIONS, THE TECHNIQUES OF METHOD. It is the friend who does not desert you in times of need, A harmless medicine for the illness of sorrow. The supreme battalion to vanquish the troops of great misdeeds. It is the best fame, glory, and treasure. It is the supreme gift when you meet with noble beings. Among an assemblage, it delights the wise.’” 2. Developing Reverence for the Teaching and the Instructor “‘The Sutra of Ksitigarbha’ says: ‘Listen to the teachings with one-pointed faith and respect. Do not censure or deride the speaker; Honor your instructors — Develop the idea that they are like a Buddha. Thus, as this says, view the instructor as being like a Buddha. Eliminate disrespect; honor him or her with homage and goods by offering a lion throne and the like...’” 3. How You Actually Listen Abandoning the Three Faults of a Vessel “Similarly, even though you are staying in a place where the teachings are being explained, there is no great purpose in your hearing the teachings if you do not pay attention; or, though paying attention, misunderstand what is heard or listen with a bad motivation such as attachment; or, though lacking these faults, do not solidify the words and meanings taken in at the time of hearing but let them fade due to forgetting them and so forth. Therefore, free yourself from all of these faults. The remedies for these three faults are indicated in the sutras in three phases: ‘Listen well, thoroughly, and hold it in mind!’ Moreover, as the ‘Bodhisattva Levels’ sets forth, listen while wanting to understand everything, staying one-pointed, attentive, with your mind focused, and reflecting with complete composure.”
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