The outline below is based on Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand by Pabongka Rinpoche.


Dedicating our life to achieving lamrim realizations is the most important thing we can do. (Lama Zopa Rinpoche)

Going through the main points of the lamrim outline gives us a wonderful overview of the Buddha’s teaching. From it we can see the full array of subjects dealt with by Buddhism and understand the path that all the buddhas followed on their way to enlightenment.

Also, as we look at the various divisions of the teaching as shown in the lamrim outline, we can see that everything the Buddha taught is in there; everything we need to receive enlightenment ourselves. Thus, great faith in the teaching arises within us. When we have faith in the teaching of the Buddha, listening to it is much more beneficial.

The great meditators, the highly realized yogis, all followed outlines in their practice. This was their skill; this was how they attained enlightenment quickly. And this is the great treasure that they passed on to their disciples, to people like us. Thus, they have made it easier for us to gain realizations quickly, with less hindrance.

When we first encounter the lamrim teachings, neither the teachings themselves nor the outline make much sense to us.

But, as we continue to practice analytical meditation on the various topics and gain experience of them, even just remembering the outline will give us a fantastic feeling. The entire path, everything the Buddha taught, will come home to us without our having to go through all the countless words. Just bringing the outline to mind will be such a strong, powerful experience.

At the moment, even when we do read the many detailed words, it takes a long time and we don’t feel much, but we have to be patient. If we persevere, all will come in time.

Summary of the Key Points

■ The lamrim outline gives us an overview of all the Buddha’s teachings

■ All the great meditators of the past used this outline to quickly gain realizations

■ We need to be patient: with perseverance we will definitely make progress

Source: Yeshe, Lama; Zopa Rinpoche, Lama. Lamrim Year: Making Life Meaningful Day by Day (pp. 18-19). Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. Kindle Edition.

Outline of Lamrim Topics: Main Points

The following Outline of Lamrim Topics has these main points:

(1) Guru Devotion

(2) The Perfect Human Rebirth

(3) Impermanence and Death

(4) The Lower Realms

(5) Refuge

(6) Karma

(7) The Suffering of Samsara

(8) The Evolution of Samsara

(9) The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination

(10) Bodhicitta

(11) Emptiness



1 Devoting to the guru (Days 4-9)

1.1 The power of the guru

1.2 The qualities of the guru

1.3 The qualities of the disciple

2 The benefits of correct devotion to a guru (Days 10-21)

2.1 We become closer to enlightenment

2.1.1 We become closer to enlightenment by practicing the advice given by our guru

2.1.2 We become closer to enlightenment by making offerings to our guru 2.1.3 We become closer to enlightenment by serving our guru

2.2 We please all the buddhas

2.3 We are not harmed by maras or evil friends

2.4 All our delusions and negative actions naturally cease

2.5 All our realizations of the paths and bhumis increase

The story of Geshe Chayulwa

2.6 We will never lack virtuous friends in all our future lives

2.7 We will not fall into the lower realms

2.8 We will effortlessly achieve all our temporary and ultimate wishes

3 The disadvantages of incorrect devotion to a guru (Days 22-32)

3.1 If we criticize our guru, we criticize all the buddhas

3.2 Anger toward our guru destroys our merit and causes rebirth in the hells Purifying our mistakes

3.3 Even though we practice tantra, we will not achieve enlightenment

3.4 Even if we practice tantra with much hardship, it will be like attaining hell and the like

3.5 We will not generate any fresh realizations and those we have will degenerate

3.6 We will be afflicted even in this life by illness and other undesirable things

3.7 In future lives we will wander endlessly in the lower realms

3.8 In all our future lives we will lack virtuous friends

4. Devoting ourselves through thought (Days 33-53)

4.1 The root: training our mind in devotion to the guru

4.1.1 Why we should look at the guru as a buddha

The story of the old woman and the dog’s tooth

4.1.2 Why we are able to see the guru as a buddha

The story of the two disciples and the cold tea

4.1.3 How to see the guru as a buddha There is nothing to trust in our view

The story of Asanga, the dog and the maggots All the buddhas and bodhisattvas are still working for sentient beings The guru is the agent of all the buddhas’ good works Vajradhara stated that the guru is a buddha

4.2 Developing respect by remembering the guru’s kindness

4.2.1 The guru is kinder than all the buddhas The guru is kinder than all the buddhas in general The guru is kinder than Shakyamuni Buddha in particular

4.2.2 The guru’s kindness in teaching Dharma

4.2.3 The guru’s kindness in blessing our mindstream

4.2.4 The guru’s kindness in inspiring us to practice Dharma through material gifts

5 Devoting ourselves through action (Days 54-63)

5.1 Carrying out the guru’s advice

5.2 Offering respect and service

5.3 Making material offerings

5.4 Guru yoga