The Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva

The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattva

Commentary by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

Instytut Marpy w Polsce
རྒྱལ་སྲས་ཐོགས་མེད་བཟང་པོ། མཁན་ཆེན་ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ།
Ngolchu Togme Sangpo, Khenpo Tsultrim Gjamtso Rinpocze
Suzanne Schefczyk
Print Length
May the virtue that arises from working with this text
Contribute to the liberation and happiness of all beings.

Let us begin by developing the enlightened attitude—that we want to attain the perfect state of Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, in number as vast as the sky. To accomplish this state, we must diligently engage in listening, reflecting, and meditating upon the genuine teachings. In general, the tradition of the Mahayana contains two types of practices: one purifies obscurations of the mind; the other develops a sound motivation, a good attitude. The former practice, in which we purify our mind of mental obscurations and stains, is the Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness, about which I wrote a book of that name. These progressive stages progressively lead the meditator from the relative to the ultimate. This text fits into the latter category. Its title in Tibetan is The Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva: a Summary of the Heart Essence of a Bodhisattva’s Conduct. This full title indicates two points: first that the text condenses all the Mahayana sutras, which teach the conduct of a Bodhisattva; and second, that it summarizes the heart essence of a Bodhisattva’s conduct, of which there are thirty-seven main practices. In Tibetan, the word for “practice” literally translates as “to bring into experience.” So, 37 practices can actually be brought into experience.
While The Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva contains a few stanzas on the progressive stages of meditation on emptiness, the text deals primarily with meditation on the relative.
Its purpose is to help us with our motivation!
Aspiration of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
Beginning of Text
Author’s intention
Practice 1: Commitment
Practice 2: Detaching from passion, aggression, and hatred
Practice 3: Relying on solitude
Practice 4: Abandoning attachment to this life
Practice 5: Giving up negative friendships
Practice 6: Relying on a spiritual friend
Practice 7: Seeking refuge
Practice 8: Relinquishing negative actions
Practice 9: Striving for unchanging liberation
Practice 10: Developing bodhichitta
Practice 11: Exchanging happiness for suffering
Practice 12: Responding to theft
Practice 13: Responding to injury
Practice 14: Returning praise for slander
Practice 15: Responding to theft
Practice 13: Responding to injury
Practice 14: Returning praise for slander
Practice 15: Responding to public humiliation
Practice 16: Responding to ingratitude
Practice 17: Responding to spite
Practice 18: Abandoning discouragement
Practice 19: Counteracting arrogance
Practice 20: Taming the mind
Practice 21: Relinquishing attachment to sense pleasures
Practice 22: Transcending dualistic appearances
Practice 23: Seeing pleasant objects as rainbows
Practice 24: Seeing unpleasant circumstances as delusions
Practice 25: The First Perfection Giving generously
Practice 26: The Second Perfection Guarding discipline
Practice 27: The Third Perfection Practicing patience
Practice 28: The Fourth Perfection Cultivating joyous effort
Practice 29: The Fifth Perfection Attaining meditative stability
Practice 30: The Sixth Perfection Cultivating nonconceptual superior knowledge
Practice 31: Analyzing delusion
Practice 32: Not criticizing other Bodhisattvas
Practice 33: Relinquishing attachment to households
Practice 34: Abandoning harsh speech
Practice 35: Eliminating mental afflictions
Practice 36: Remaining mindful and aware
Practice 37: Dedicating merit
Epilogue A: Relying on scripture and oral teachings
Epilogue B: Confidence in basis of the practices
Epilogue C: Supplication to the genuine masters
Epilogue D: Final dedication and aspiration
Epilogue E: Place of composition


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