Freeing the Heart and Mind - Preface

Introduction to the Buddhist Path

Preface

Every structure needs a strong foundation. So, too, study and practice of the precious Dharma needs a strong foundation in order to progress through the various stages and levels. Without a strong foundation, it is very difficult to understand and achieve the levels of the Dharma. The Vajrayana—or tantric—path has foundations that it shares with all Buddhist paths, and it has foundations that are unique to Vajrayana. Of these, it is most essential to master the shared foundations.

The mind is like an untamed horse galloping aimlessly in the wilderness of cyclic existence. Contemplation is the saddle to train the mind, and the holy Dharma is the rein to guide it upon the path to enlightenment. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to study and reflect upon the foundational teachings of Lord Shakyamuni Buddha and the commentaries on those teachings that were taught by great accomplished masters in ancient times.

At the same time it is also essential to learn the life stories of these great masters and to absorb the valuable principles within them into our daily lives. This will help us to turn our minds toward the Dharma and to set out steadfastly on the Dharma path, thereby enabling us to help other mother sentient beings achieve peace, happiness, and liberation.

I am very pleased to offer this first book of a Buddhist curriculum prepared for English-speaking students who wish to study the authentic Dharma from the great masters of Tibet just as it has been taught for centuries by the Sakya order’s greatest teachers. Although students may live at a distance in time or space from these great masters, careful study of this book will provide them with a strong foundation.

The Dharma teachings chosen for this curriculum are authentic and very traditional, yet they are offered in a modern format, with a study guide available at www.hhthesakyatrizin.org. After thoroughly studying these great teachings, you may wish to take the online examination on the website to measure your progress.

Learning about the Dharma proceeds through the stages of study, contemplation, and then meditation. After learning these teachings and thinking carefully about them, it is important to practice the meditations described here again and again. I believe this book will prove very beneficial for those who wish to learn about Buddhadharma in depth on their own, in their leisure time.

I thank Khenpo Kalsang Gyaltsen and Ani Kunga Chodron for editing this book and compiling the study guides, and Reverend Jamyang Tharchin for additional assistance. I wish this project every success and pray that these teachings will help to open the minds of those who seek the Dharma.

May the blessings of the Triple Gem be with you now and always.

His Holiness the Forty-First Sakya Trizin

 

How to cite this document:
© His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, Freeing the Heart and Mind (Wisdom Publications, 2011)

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