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Three Principal Paths!

The three principal paths are renunciation, the wish for enlightenment (or bodhichitta), and
correct view of emptiness. According to Pabongka Rinpoches commentary, The three principal
paths are like the main beam that supports all the rest of the roof; your mind must be filled with
these three thoughts if you hope to practice any dharma at all, whether it be the open or the secret
teachings of the Buddha. A mind caught up in renunciation leads you to freedom, and a mind filled
with hopes of becoming a Buddha for the sake of every living being brings you to the state of
omniscience. A mind imbued with correct view, finally, serves as the antidote for the cycle of life. [/
note]!
written by Tsongkapa the Great, King of the Dharma[note]The author of Three Principal Paths is Je
Tsongkapa (1357-1419), whose monks name was Lobsang Drakpa, or Pure-Minded One of Wide
Renown. [/note]!

Ibow to all the high and holy lamas[note]The very first thing a person should do when he composes
a commentary is!
to bow to his lord of lords. As Master Dandin said,!
The benediction, bow, and the essence!
Must be written: they are the door.!
And we read as well that, One should bow to the one he holds his lord.[/note] As far as I am able
Ill explain!
The essence of all high teachings of the Victors,!
The path that all their holy sons commend,!
The entry point for the fortunate seeking freedom.!
Listen with a pure mind, fortunate ones!
Who have no craving for the pleasures of life,!
And who, to make leisure and fortune meaningful, strive!
To turn their minds to the path which pleases the Victors.!

Theres no way to end, without pure renunciation,!


This striving for pleasant results in the ocean of life[note] Renunciation is the true understanding
that everything about your life!
is suffering. If you dont believe that your life is suffering, you will not!
try to escape it. Once you have understood how you are suffering, you!
can think of how others must be suffering the same way. This then!
leads to the wish to free them from this suffering, and bring them to!
every happiness. This is the relationship!
between the first 2 of the 3 principal paths: renunciation and the wish to achieve enlightenment for
all beings.[/note] Its because of their hankering life as well that beings!
Are fettered, so seek renunciation first.!

Leisure and fortune are hard to find, lifes not long;!


Think it constantly, stop desire for this life.!
Think over and over how deeds and their fruits never fail[note]The four principles of karma are as
follows: 1) Actions are certain to produce similar results, 2) The consequences are greater than the
actions, 3) One cannot meet a consequence if he or she has not committed an!
action, and 4) Once an action is committed, the consequence cannot be lost.[/note] And the cycles
suffering: stop desire for the future.!

When youve meditated thus and feel not even!


A moments wish for the goods things of cyclic life,!
And when you begin to think both night and day!
Of achieving freedom, youve found renunciation.!

Renunciation though, can never bring!


The total bliss of matchless Buddhahood!
Unless its bound by the purest wish; and so,!

The wise seek the high wish for enlightenment.!

Theyre swept along on four fierce river currents,!


Chained up tight in past deeds, hard to undo,!
Stuffed in a steel cage of grasping self,!
Smothered in the pitch-black ignorance.!
In a limitless round theyre born, and in their births!
Are tortured by three sufferings without a break;!
Think how your mothers feel, think of whats happening!
To them: try to develop this highest wish.!

You may master renunciation and the wish,!


But unless you have the wisdom perceiving reality!
You cannot cut the root of cyclic life.!
Make efforts in ways then to perceive interdependence.!

A persons entered the path that pleases the Buddhas!


When for all objects, in the cycle or beyond,!
He sees that cause and effect can never fail,!
And when for him they lose all solid appearance.!

Youve yet to realize the thought of the Able!


As long as two ideas seem to you disparate:!
The appearance of thingsinfallible interdependence;!
And emptinessbeyond taking any position.!

At some point they no longer alternate, come together;!


Just seeing that interdependence never fails!
Brings realization that destroys how you hold to objects,!
And then your analysis with view is complete.!

In addition, the appearance prevents the existence extreme;!


Emptiness that of non-existence, and if!
You see how emptiness shows in cause and effect!
Youll never be stolen off by extreme views.!

When youve grasped as well as I the essential points!


Of each of the three principal paths explained,!
Then go into isolation, my son[note] This text was written by Je Tsongkapa for one of his students
named Ngawang Drakpa, Tsako Wongpo [/note], make mighty!
Efforts, and quickly win your ultimate wish.!