The Three Primary Elements of the Path by the Great Lord Tsongkhapa, King of Dharma
I prostrate to the venerable masters, the lamas!
1. As far as I am able, I shall explain
The essential meaning of all the excellent teachings of the Buddha,
The path acclaimed by genuine bodhisattvas,
The route for the fortunate who yearn for freedom!
2. Those unattached to the pleasures of existence,
Who strive to make the freedoms and assets meaningful,
Fortunate ones with confidence in the path that delights the Buddha—
Listen with sincere faith!
3. Other than pure renunciation, there is no way to pacify
The quest for happy results in the ocean of samsaric existence.
Because lust for existence completely shackles all creatures,
From the very start, pursue renunciation.
4. Habituating the mind to the rarity of the freedoms and assets and that in life there is no time to waste
Reverses preoccupation with this life.
Repeatedly contemplating the unerring process of action and result and the sufferings of samsara
Reverses preoccupation with future lives.
5. Accordingly, when, due to habituation, the prosperity of samsara
Does not elicit even a moment's longing,
And the mindset that strives for freedom at all times, day and night, emerges,
At that point, renunciation has indeed arisen.
6. Nevertheless, if renunciation is not embraced by bodhicitta,
It will not serve as the cause
For the bliss of perfect and complete unsurpassed enlightenment.
Therefore, the wise generate the supreme mind of awakening.
7. Carried off by the raging currents of the four rivers,
Bound by the tight fetters of karma, so hard to undo,
Enmeshed in the iron net of self-clinging,
Completely shrouded in the pitch-black darkness of ignorance,
8. Tormented by the three sufferings without respite
Through birth after birth in the infinite round of existence—
Such is the condition of your mothers!
Contemplating their plight, rouse the supreme motivation!
9. Lacking the prajna that realizes the basic nature,
Even if habituated to renunciation and bodhicitta,
One is powerless to sever the roots of cyclic existence.
Therefore, exert yourself in the methods for realizing interdependence.
10. Whoever sees that cause and result never errs
In the context of all the phenomena of samsara and nirvana
Vanquishes all conceptual reference points whatsoever.
Such a one engages the path that delights the buddhas.
11. The unerring interdependent arising of appearances
And emptiness free of assertions—
As long as you experience these two understandings independently,
You have not yet realized the intent of the Buddha.
12. Eventually they are simultaneous rather than alternating,
Such that, at the mere glimpse of undeceiving interdependence,
Certainty subdues all conceptual perspectives regarding objects.
That is when you have indeed perfected the analysis of view.
13. In addition, when appearances eradicate the extreme of existence,
Emptiness eliminates the extreme of nonexistence,
And you know how emptiness manifests as cause and result,
You will not be captivated by extreme views.
14. When you have accurately realized the key points
Consisting of the three primary elements of the path in this way,
Take up solitude, my child, exerting yourself mightily
To swiftly accomplish the ultimate aim!
The extremely learned monk, the glorious Lobsang Drakpa, taught this to Ngawang Drakpa, a leader of the Tsakpo region.
Translation from Tibetan by Ivonne Prieto Rose