The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lamrim Chenmo) is one of the great classics of Buddhism, or in fact of any religious tradition.
The Gelug school, which Lama Tsongkhapa founded, came from the Kadam tradition, where Atisha and other great masters devised a systemized structure of study known as the lamrim (the gradual path to enlightenment), laying out the steps a practitioner must take in order to progress to enlightenment.
Using Atisha’s Lamp of the Path as his base, Lama Tsongkhapa created this masterpiece in 1402, and it would soon become one of the most renowned books of spiritual practice and philosophy in Tibetan Buddhism.
The English translation, published by Snow Lion Publications, has been the work of a team of translators led by Guy Newland.
Volume one covers all practices that are prerequisite for developing the mind of enlightenment (Bodhicitta) included in the small and medium scope.
These include: relying on the teacher, meditation, appreciating the precious human rebirth, understanding death, and taking refuge.
Volume two covers attaining the spirit of enlightenment through the seven point cause and effect and exchanging self and other techniques, and how to practice the six perfections.
Volume three contains a presentation of the two most important topics to be found in the Lamrim Chenmo: meditative serenity (shamatha) and supramundane insight into the nature of reality (vipasyana).
Speaking about Lamrim Chenmo His Holiness the Dalai Lama says:
Of the many works of the Tibetan master Tsongkhapa, none compare in terms of popularity and breadth of influence with his Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lamrim Chenmo), which has been treasured by practitioners and scholars alike for centuries.
What distinguishes it as one of the principal texts of Mahayana Buddhism is its scope and clarity.
It expounds the entire path from the way one should rely on a spiritual teacher, which is the very root, right up to the attainment of Buddhahood, which is the final fruit.
The various stages of the path are presented so clearly and systematically that they can be easily understood and are inspiring to put into practice.