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Seven Points of Training the Mind

by Geshé Chekawa (1101-1175)

Homage to great compassion.

Point One: The preliminaries, which are the basis for Dharma practice.

First, train in the preliminaries.

Point Two: The main practice, which is training in bodhicitta.

(Absolute bodhicitta)

Regard all phenomena 1 as dreams. Examine the nature of unborn awareness. Self-liberate even the antidote. Rest in the nature of ālaya, the essence. In post-meditation, be a child of illusion.

(Relative bodhicitta)

Sending and taking should be practiced alternately. These two should ride the breath.

1 The Nalanda Translation Committee (NTC) translation uses “dharmas” instead of “phenomena.”


Three objects, 2 three poisons, 3 three roots of virtue 4 . In all activities, train with slogans. Begin the sequence of sending and taking with yourself.

Point Three: Transformation of Bad Circumstances into the Way of Enlightenment.

When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi. Drive all blames into one. Be grateful to everyone. Seeing confusion as the four kāyas 5 is unsurpassable śunyatā protection. Four practices are the best of methods. 6 Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation.

  • 2 objects that are pleasant, unpleasant and neutral.

  • 3 attachment, aversion and ignorance.

  • 4 the opposites of the three poisons.

  • 5 dharmakāya (reality-body), sabhogakāya (enjoyment-body), nirmanakāya (emanation body) and svābhāvikakāya (essence-body).

  • 6 striving in virtue, confessing negativities, offering to obstructing spirits, offering to Dharma-protectors.


Point Four: Showing the Utilization of Practice in One's Whole Life.

Practice the five strengths, 7 the condensed heart instructions. The mahāyāna instruction for ejection of consciousness at death is the five strengths: how you conduct yourself is important.

Point Five: Evaluation of Mind Training .

All Dharmas 8 agree at one point. Of the two witnesses, hold the pri ncipal one. Always maintain only a joyful mind. If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained.

Point Six: Disciplines of Mind Training .

Always abide by the three basic principles. 9

  • 7 force of resolution, familiarization, virtuous seeds, rejection and aspiration-prayers.

  • 8 The NTC translation uses “dharma” here.

  • 9 do not transgress the commitments, do not be reckless and do not be partial.


Change you attitude, but remain natural. Don't talk about injured limbs. Don't ponder others. Work with the greatest defilements first. Abandon any hope of fruition. Abandon poisonous food. Don't be so predictable. Don't malign others. Don't wait in ambush. Don't bring things to a painful point. Don't transfer the ox's load to the cow. Don't try to be the fastest. Don't act with a twist. Don't turn gods into demons. 10 Don't seek others' pain as the limbs of your own happiness.

Point Seven: Guidelines of Mind Training .

All activities should be done with one intention. Correct all wrongs with one intention. Two activities: one at the beginning, one at the end. 11 Whichever of the two occurs, be patient. 12

  • 10 The NTC translation has this line as “Do not make gods into demons.”

    • 11 motivation and dedication.

    • 12 desirable conditions and undesirable conditions.


Observe these two, even at the risk of your life. Train in the three difficulties. 13 Take on the three principal causes. 14 Pay heed that the three never wane. 15 Keep the three inseparable. 16 Train without bias in all areas. It is crucial always to do this pervasively and wholeheartedly. Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment. Don't be swayed by external circumstances. This time, practice the main points. Don't misinterpret. Don't vacillate. Train wholeheartedly. Liberate yourself by examining and analyzing. Don't wallow in self-pity. Don't be jealous. Don't be frivolous. Don't expect applause.

When the five degenerations 17 occur, 18

  • 13 difficult to identify the afflictions in the beginning, difficult to avert them in the middle, and difficult to cut them in the end.

  • 14 external cause (guru), internal cause (a matured mind) and gathering of conducive conditions.

  • 15 devotion to guru, enthusiasm for practice and possession of two aspects of bodhicitta.

    • 16 physical, verbal and mental engagement with virtue.

    • 17 degenerations of time, sentient beings, afflictions, life span and views.

    • 18 The original NTC translation reads: “When the five dark ages occur,”


This is the way to transform them into the path of bodhi. This is the essence of the amta of the oral instructions, Which were handed down from the tradition of the sage Serlingpa (Suvaradvīpa). Having awoken the karma of previous training And being urged on by my intense dedication, I disregarded misfortune and slander. And received oral instruction on taming ego-fixation. Now, even at death, I will have no regrets.

This is the way to transform them into the path of bodhi. This is the essence

This translation of Seven Points of Training the Mind was done by the Nalanda Translation Committee (except for the minor changes noted).

Urban Dharma

Asheville, NC