A Direct Meditation on the Graduated Path, Containing all the Important Meanings

By Vajradhara Losang Jinpa

This prayer was composed by Dorje Chang Losang Jinpa Pal Zangpo, the glorified holy being. Translated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, Jan 12-16, 2013. Scribed by Merry Colony. Updated with Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice by Ven. Sarah Thresher, Merry Colony and Tom Truty, 2014. The short introduction is summarized from a commentary given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in October 2010, at Shedrup Ling, Mongolia.

See also The Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness (Including Enlightenment), a compilation by Lama Zopa Rinpoche of essential daily prayers and practices, now available from FPMT’s Foundation Store.

Note: The Tibetan text is available for download as a pdf file.


This short lam-rim prayer contains the essence of the whole path to enlightenment and reciting it mindfully leaves a positive imprint in the mind to actualize all the realizations. It also directs your life to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings as quickly as possible by practicing the path of the three capable beings and especially Highest Yoga Tantra.

A Direct Meditation on the Graduated Path, Containing all the Important Meanings

Essence encompassing all the buddhas,
Originator of all the holy Dharma of scriptures and realizations,
Principal of all those aryas intending virtue,
To the glorified holy gurus, I go for refuge.

Please Guru, bless my mind to go into the Dharma,
The Dharma to go into the path,
And to not have obstacles to the path.1

Please bless me until enlightenment is achieved,
Like the youthful Norsang and the Bodhisattva Always Crying One,
To be able to devote to the virtuous friend with pure thought and action,
See whatever is done as pure,
And to be able to accomplish whatever is said and advised.

This is how to rely on the virtuous friend, which is the root of full enlightenment.

Please bless me to see that this greatly meaningful body with eight freedoms and ten richnesses is difficult to find and easily perishes,
That action and result are so profound, and the suffering of the evil transmigratory beings is so difficult to bear,
And therefore to go for refuge from the depths of my heart to the Three Rare Sublime Ones,
Abandon negative karma, and accomplish the practice of virtue according to the Dharma.

This is the graduated path of the lower capable being.

Please bless me [to see that] in dependence upon that,
Even though I achieve the mere higher rebirth of a deva or human,
I will have to experience suffering endlessly in this samsara
Because of not having abandoned, and being under the control of, the disturbing thought obscurations.

And therefore, by reflecting well upon the way of cycling in samsara,
Be able to follow continuously day and night the path of the three types of precious trainings,
which is the principal method liberating from that (samsara).

This is the graduated path of the middle capable being.

In dependence upon that,
Even though I achieve mere liberation,
Please bless me [to see that]
There is no sentient being of the six types
That has not been my father and mother.
And therefore, thinking I must fulfill their purpose,
May I be able to reverse the mind [seeking] the lower happiness (of nirvana),
And by way of equalizing and exchanging myself for others,
Generate the precious mind of enlightenment (bodhicitta),
Follow the conduct of the Conquerors’ children (bodhisattvas),
The six paramitas, and so forth.

This is the graduated path of the great capable being.

By having trained my mind in the common path like that,
Experiencing the sufferings of samsara for a long time will not upset me.
By regarding sentient beings with extraordinary unbearable compassion,
Please bless me so that I may enter the quick path of the Vajrayana teachings,
Protect my vows and samaya more than my life,
And quickly accomplish the unified Vajradhara state in one brief lifetime only of this degenerate time.

This is the graduated path of the secret mantra vehicle of the greatest capable being.


This contains the 84,000 teachings taught by the Buddha, which includes the Hinayana teachings and the Mahayana teachings of Paramitayana and Tantra. All those teachings are combined into the Lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, which is divided into the graduated paths of the lower, middle and higher capable beings. These three contain the whole Lam-rim and that is contained in the three principal aspects of the path to enlightenment.  [Return to text]