Ven. Choden Rinpoche

Broadcast Live at Gyalwa Gyatso Buddhist Center, Saratoga, CA
September 21 & 22, 2002


The Three Principal Paths (Lam-Tzo Mam-Sum) is a very concise presentation of the entire Lam Rim path composed by Je Tsongkapa Lobsang Drakpa (1357-1419). Je Tsongkhapa is often considered the greatest philosopher and most eloquent writer Tibet has ever produced. His poem in fourteen verses, the Three Principal Paths, was originally composed as a letter to a close disciple. This text is universally recognized as a concise yet eloquent presentation of Renunciation, Bodhicitta, and Correct View -- the three essential Buddhist knowledges that a practitioner must develop to follow the Mahayana path.


The Three Principals of the Path

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Three Principals of the Path - Part 1 - Sept 21, 2002 - 16k version
Three Principals of the Path - Part 2 - Sept 22, 2002 - 16k version


Venerable Choden Rinpoche is one of the greatest living masters of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in 1933 in eastern Tibet in a family of great practitioners and recognized at the age of 3 as an important reincarnate lama. From that age onwards, he began his studies in Buddhism. He took ordination with the great master Pabongka Rinpoche at the age of 6, and received many teachings from him.

At the age of 15, Rinpoche entered the monastery of Sera Je near Lhasa and over the next 14 years mastered all the philosophical teachings required for highest monastic title of Geshe Lharampa - a qualification that normally requires 30 years of study. When His Holiness the Dalai Lama completed his studies in 1959, Choden Rinpoche was one of the official examiners chosen from many thousands of monks to debate with His Holiness.

When the Chinese occupied Tibet in 1959, Rinpoche was arrested and spent several months in prison. Eventually, as a result of some sickness he was able to persuade the Chinese that he was an invalid and spent 19 years in a small room with no window, doing retreat with his mind, without the support of any ritual objects or texts. In 1985, Rinpoche left Tibet to settle at Sera Monastery in India and pass on the teachings.

He is considered one of the last great masters - particularly famed for his pure moral conduct - and has traveled worldwide at the request of Lama Zopa Rinpoche to pass on his insights. In the West, he has inspired many Western students to ordain and follow his example.