In our Thursday afternoon class, we’re currently studying Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, the classic handbook for traveling the path to buddhahood from A to Z. Since September we’ve completed the first three chapters, the three prerequisites for traveling the path: 1) the cause, buddha nature; 2) the basis or support, the precious human existence; and 3) the condition that brings about the fruition of the first two, the spiritual friend or dharma teacher. During the last two classes before our holiday break, Lama Jinzang led us through the five topics of chapter 3: why we need a teacher to guide us along the path, the different types of dharma teachers, how to recognize an authentic teacher, how to work with a teacher, and the benefits of doing so.
We are now on hiatus for the holidays until early January, at which point, having gathered the prerequisites, we will step directly onto the path with an eye-opening explanation of everyone’s favorite topic: impermanence. It is summarized in one of the most evocative quotations, in my opinion, from OPL or any other source:
“The three worlds
are as fleeting
as autumn clouds.”
It’s been an unusually busy fall for me, but I expect to get class notes up for these initial topics very soon (at least by January), and after that, I’ll post the notes every week, as I did for the 37 practices. More on the Gampopa OPL class is here (and above, under “About the Gampopa study guide“).
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