Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand - Introduction

A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment

Introduction
by Trijang Rinpoche

Prasārīn paraṇa syakluṭaki yanta
Trayam guhyaṇaṭā tigolama eka  
Sudhī vajradharottarā muni akṣha
Prayachchha tashubhaṃ valāruga koṭa

O Lama Lozang Dragpa,
One with Śhākyamuni and Vajradhara,
O sum of every perfect refuge,
O maṇṇala guise complete
With three mysteries of enlightenment:
Rain upon us ten million goodnesses.
O my guru, my protector,
Who, through the Supreme Vehicle,
Vanquished the extreme of selfish peace,
Who, unattached to worldly comforts,
Upheld the three high trainings
And the teachings of the Victor,
Whose noble good works remained
Untarnished by the eight worldly concerns:
You were the very fountainhead of goodness.

Everything you said was medicine
To drive out hundreds of diseases;
Our childish minds were unfit vessels
For so vast an ocean of teachings,  
So precious a source of qualities.

How sad if these teachings were forgotten!

Here I have recorded but a few.

Immeasurable, countless numbers of buddhas have come in the past. But unfortunate beings such as myself were not worthy enough to be direct disciples even of Śhākyamuni, the best of protectors, who stands out like a white lotus among the thousand great buddhas, the saviors of this fortunate eon. First we had to be forced into developing even a moment’s wholesome thought; this took us to the optimum physical rebirth as a human. We have been taught this most unmistaken path, which will lead us to the level of omniscience, at which time we shall gain our freedom.

But, to be brief, I was saved time and time again from infinite numbers of different evils, and was brought closer to an infinity of magnificent things. My glorious and holy guru did this. His kindness is without equal. He was—and now I shall give his name in view of my purpose—Jetsun Jampa Taenzin Trinlae Gyatso Paelzangpo. Although people like me are immature, uncultured, and unregenerate, there was a time when I feasted on his oral instructions into the Mahāyāna [the Supreme or Great Vehicle] at Chuzang Hermitage, a solitary place that was blessed by the presence of great meditators.

He started the following informal teaching on the thirtieth, the newmoon day of the seventh month of the Iron-Bird Year [1921], and it lasted twenty-four days. People braved great hardships to get there from the three major monasteries in Lhasa, from the Central Province, from Tsang, Amdo, and Kham just to taste the nectar of his oral teachings, as the thirsty yearn for water. There were about thirty lamas and reincarnations of lamas, and many upholders of the three baskets of the teachings—in all a gathering of over seven hundred. The practical teaching he gave combined various traditions on the lamrim: the stages of the path to enlightenment. There were the two oral lineages related to the lamrim text Mañjuśhrī’s Own Words. One of these lineages was quite detailed and had developed in the Central Province; another lineage of a briefer teaching flourished in the south of Tibet. He also included the concise teaching, the Swift Path lamrim; and in the part of the great-scope section that deals with the interchange of self and others, he taught the Seven-Point Mind Training.

Each part of the teaching was enriched by instructions taken from the confidential oral lineages. Because each section was illustrated by analogies, conclusive formal logic, amazing stories, and trustworthy quotations, the teaching could easily be understood by beginners, and yet was tailored for all levels of intelligence. It was beneficial for the mind because it was so inspiring. Sometimes we were moved to laughter, becoming wide awake and alive. Sometimes we were reduced to tears and cried helplessly. At other times we became afraid and were moved to feel, “I would gladly give up this life and devote myself solely to my practice.” This feeling of renunciation was overwhelming.

These are some of the ways in which all of his discourses were so extraordinary. How could I possibly convey all this on paper! Yet what a pity if I were to forget all the key points contained in these inspiring instructions. This thought gave me the courage to write this book. As my precious guru later advised me, “Some of the people present could not follow the teaching, and I cannot teach them again. I’m afraid I do not trust all the notes people took during the classes. I therefore ask you to publish a book. Put in it anything you feel sure of.”

In this book I have recorded my lama’s teachings without any changes in the hope that this book, while no substitute for his speech, may still benefit my friends who wish to succeed in their practice.

 

How to cite this document:
© Michael Richards, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand (Wisdom Publications, 1991, 2006)

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