The three principles of the path

English Root Text
Je Tsongkhapa

Jé Tsongkhapa performs the extraordinary feat of condensing the “essential meaning of the Conqueror’s entire teaching” into just fourteen stanzas while speaking to us directly, giving vivid, concrete guidance, like touchstones for practitioners to use along the way.

We are advised to begin by generating the wish to be free, and to that end which mental factor we need to cultivate, how to counter attachment to this and future lives, and how we will know when we really have generated this wish.

Given that our final goal is the supreme enlightenment, we are then advised to create its cause - The aspiration to liberation must be “conjoined with authentic bodhichitta”. For this purpose, two dramatic verses confront us with the horrific situation of our fellow sentient beings, our mothers, inspiring us to generate the intention to become enlightened for their sake.

Yet, how can we actually “cut the root” of samsara? Brilliantly weaving emptiness and interdependence, and their relation to karma and its effects, Jé Tsongkhapa shows us vividly when “our analysis of the view is complete”, and then sends us off to practise with “great enthusiasm”.

This flowing and authoritative translation, supported by beautiful layout and artwork, is a joy to read. The Tibetan and English versions are on facing pages and are crisply arranged in four-line stanzas.


The Three Principles of the Path by Jé Tsongkhapa Losang Drakpa, root text translated by Rosemary Patton, ETET 3rd edition (October 2022), 15pp

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