Lama Tsongkhapa: Foundation of all good qualities

The Foundation of All Good Qualities

By Lama Tsongkhapa

The foundation of all good qualities is the kind and perfect, pure guru;
Correct devotion to him is the root of the path.
By clearly seeing this and applying great effort,
Please bless me to rely upon him with great respect.

Understanding that the precious freedom of this rebirth is found only once,
Is greatly meaningful and difficult to find again,
Please bless me to generate the mind that unceasingly,
Day and night, takes its essence.

This life is as impermanent as a water bubble;
Remember how quickly it decays and death comes.
After death, just like a shadow follows the body,
The results of black and white karma follow.

Finding firm and definite conviction in this,
Please bless me always to be careful
To abandon even the slightest of negativities
And accomplish all virtuous deeds.

Seeking samsaric pleasures is the door to all suffering;
They are uncertain and cannot be relied upon.
Recognizing these shortcomings,
Please bless me to generate the strong wish for the bliss of liberation.

Led by this pure thought,
Mindfulness, alertness and great caution arise.
The root of the teachings is keeping the
pratimoksha vows;
Please bless me to accomplish this essential practice.

Just as I have fallen into the sea of samsara,
So have all mother migratory beings.
Bless me to see this, train in supreme bodhicitta,
And bear the responsibility of freeing migratory beings.

Even if I develop only bodhicitta, without practicing the three types of morality
I will not achieve enlightenment.
With my clear recognition of this,
Please bless me to practice the bodhisattva vows with great energy.

Once I have pacified distractions to wrong objects
And correctly analyzing the meaning of reality,
Please bless me to generate quickly within my mind-stream
The unified path of calm abiding and special insight.

Having become a pure vessel by training in the general path,
Please bless me to enter
The holy gateway of the fortunate ones:
The supreme vajra vehicle.

At that time, the basis of accomplishing the two attainments
Is keeping pure vows and
As I have become firmly convinced of this,
Please bless me to protect these vows and pledges like my life.

Then, having realized the importance of the two stages,
The essence of the Vajrayana,
By practicing with great energy, never giving up the four sessions,
Please bless me to realize the teachings of the holy guru.

Like that, may the gurus who show the noble path
And the spiritual friends who practice it have long lives.
Please bless me to pacify completely
All outer and inner hindrances.

In all my lives, never separated from perfect gurus,
May I enjoy the magnificent Dharma.
By completing the qualities of the stages and paths,
May I quickly attain the state of Vajradhara.

Colophon: This lam-rim prayer by Lama Tsongkhapa, translated by Jampäl Lhundrup, comes from Essential Buddhist Prayers: An FPMT Prayer Book, Volume 1, 2001.

Lama Tsongkhapa: Foundation of all good qualities

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.