The Wisdom Blog: Classic & Contemporary Buddhism

Foundational Verses of Seven-Point Mind-Training

by Kestrel Slocombe
March 18, 2015
Wed, 03/18/2015 - 10:00 -- Kestrel Slocombe

Homage to great compassion.

These instructions, the essence of nectar,
are the lineage from Serlingpa.
They are like a diamond, the sun, and a medicinal tree.
Understand the point and so forth of these texts.
Transform the worsening fivefold degeneration into the path
to enlightenment.

I. Foundational Practices to Build Your Capacity

First, train in the preliminaries.

II. Training the Mind in the Path to Enlightenment

Put all the blame on one.
Meditate on everyone as very kind.
Train alternately in taking and giving.
Begin the sequence of taking with yourself.
Mount the two astride the breath.
There are three objects, three poisons, and three roots of virtue.
These are the condensed instructions for the post-meditation period.
Be mindful of them in order to admonish yourself.
Train with the words in all activities.
Having achieved stability, learn the secret.
Regard phenomena as dreamlike.
Examine the nature of unborn awareness.
The antidote itself is also free right where it is.
Focus on the nature of the basis of all, the entity of the path.
Between sessions be an illusionist.

III. Using Adversity on the Path to Enlightenment

When the container and its contents are filled with negativity,
transform adverse conditions into the path to enlightenment.
Immediately apply whatever you encounter to meditation.
To possess the four practices is the best of methods.

IV. A Lifetime’s Practice Summarized

The summarized essence of the instructions is:
apply yourself to the five powers.
The Mahāyāna instructions for transferring consciousness
are precisely these five powers; cherish this conduct.

V. The Measure of a Trained Mind

Gather all Dharmas into one intent.
Of the two witnesses uphold the main one.
Always rely on a happy mind alone.
The measure of being trained is to no longer regress.
The sign of being trained is to be great in five ways.
If this can be done even when distracted, you are trained.

VI. The Commitments of Mind Training

Constantly train in three general points.
Change your attitude while remaining as you are.
Don’t speak of others’ defects.
Don’t reflect on others’ shortcomings.
First purify whatever affliction is strongest.
Give up all hope of reward.
Discard poisoned food.
Don’t hold a grudge.
Don’t mock with malicious sarcasm.
Don’t lie in ambush.
Don’t strike at the heart.
Don’t put a horse’s load on a pony.
Don’t sprint to win a race.
Don’t misuse this practice as a rite.
Don’t turn a god into a demon.
Don’t seek suffering as a means to happiness.

VII. The Precepts of Mind Training

Do all yogas single-mindedly.
Overcome all misguiding influences with one.
There are two acts: one at the beginning and one at the end.
Bear whichever of the two arises.
Guard two at the cost of your life.
Train in three difficulties.
Adopt three principal causes.
Cultivate three without allowing them to deteriorate.
Possess three inseparably.
Train in purity and impartiality with respect to objects.
Train inclusively and profoundly: cherish all.
Ever acquaint yourself with special cases.
Don’t depend on other conditions.
Take up what is most important right now.
Avoid understanding wrongly.
Don’t be sporadic.
Train with decisiveness.
Free yourself with the duo of investigation and analysis.
Don’t boast.
Don’t be bad tempered.
Don’t be fickle.
Don’t wish for gratitude.


Disregarding suffering and slander
I sought out instruction in taming selfishness
because of my many aspirations.
Now I have no regrets even when I die.

By Chekawa Yeshé Dorjé. Excerpted from Seven Steps to Train Your Mind by Gomo Tulku.

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