Entering the Buddhist Path

37 Stages of Instructions Curriculum

According to the extraordinary key instructions and practices of the lineage masters, it is extremely important for those who wish to practice the Buddha’s teachings to begin by creating a stable foundation for the spiritual path with the preliminary practices (ngöndro) and mind training (lojong). One may then proceed to the other elements of this profound path. Progressing through these levels in a step-by-step manner will bring one to a precise realization of the view of the Great Perfection—the ultimate, true nature of things. The following curriculum is designed to gradually immerse the mind of the student in these contemplative practices. The ten seminars of the 37 Stages of Instructions curriculum guide students through the various stages of the spiritual path. The first seminar contains teachings suitable for practitioners of all spiritual backgrounds. Seminars two through ten are designed for those who have entered the Buddhist path by taking refuge vows and who intend to complete their preliminary practices (ngöndro) under the guidance of Khenpo Sherab Sangpo.

Refuge Vows

The refuge vow marks the moment that one determines to follow the Buddhist path by taking refuge in the Three Jewels of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Refuge vows are a prerequisite for practicing the preliminary practices (ngöndro) in Seminar 2: Outer Preliminaries—The Chariot of Liberation and Seminar 3: Inner Preliminaries—The Chariot of Liberation of our 37 Stages of Instructions Curriculum. Refuge vows are given by Khenpo Sherab Sangpo at our meditation retreats upon request.

The motivation for taking refuge is the thought: In order to bring all sentient beings to happiness and to free them from suffering, I will accomplish the final stage by becoming an omniscient Buddha.

Refuge Vows Ceremony

Bodhisattva Vows

The bodhisattva vow is the commitment to become a bodhisattva who guides all living beings to perfect enlightenment. Bodhisattva vows are given by Khenpo Sherab Sangpo generally after students have received teachings on the meaning of the vow.

Just as the buddhas of the past
Aroused bodhicitta
And established themselves by stages
In the training of a bodhisattva.

Just so, for the benefit of beings,
I will arouse bodhicitta
And likewise I will train
Progressively in those practices.


Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life

Bodhisattva Vows Video Series


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