The Bodhisattva Path
This topic is the combination of two of the traditional shedra curriculum topics. The first is the presentation of paths, travelers on those paths, qualities developed, and stages of maturity as presented in the text Abhisamayalankara, or The Ornament of Higher Realization. By studying the nuances of the path, we are able to pull ourselves along the path more quickly and by studying the qualities to be nurtured we are more easily able to develop them.
Along with this text, and in the spirit of the rime tradition, we study the paths and their stages as presented in the abhidharma manuals of the early "Theravadin" schools; and as presented in the Lamrim literature of Tibet, especially Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment and Jigme Lingpa’s Treasury of Precious Qualities; and as presented in encyclopedic compilation texts such as Jamgon Kongtrul’s Treasury of Knowledge.
The second topic that is included here is that of the Pratimoksha vows of the monastic practitioner, however instead of focusing on this topic and studying the traditional core text of this topic, the Vinayasutra by Gunaprabha, here we follow the tradition as it was transformed in Tibet and expand the topic into the study of the three vows, understanding them as precepts for practice by lay practitioners as well as monastic practitioners. The three vows in our version are the refuge vow, the bodhisattva vow, and the samaya vow.
The root texts for the three vows are Sakya Pandita’s A Clear Differentiation of the Three Codes and Pema Wangi Gyalpo’s Perfect Conduct. Additionally, we focus on the traditional rules for the bodhisattva as presented in Shantidevi’s Bodhicharyavatara, Atisha’s Seven Points of Mind Training, and Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva by Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo.