One topic that His Holiness the Dalai Lama encourages practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism to study is “Ornament for Clear Realization“, which is essentially a complete roadmap to enlightenment. ” While this topic is fairly extensive and complex, he encourages everyone to study “Ornament for Clear Realization” in this lifetime, both lay and monastic. The text can be further broken down into 70 main topics, making it easier to study and digest.
While many of the 70 topics relate to practitioners who have already high realizations, I’ve found that studying this topic really helps deconstruct what enlightenment is and how to get there. It removes a great deal of the “mysticism” that is sometimes related to the concept of enlightenment, which I find sometimes occurs more often from not understanding it from a deeper level and its various angles. The 70 topics also deals extensively not only with the method side of the path, but the wisdom side. As Yangsi Rinpoche points out in a series of teachings on 70 topics, its very important to keep pushing and expanding our wisdom as much as possible.
For those interested in studying 70 topics, here are some resources I found useful and might also be of help in your studies:
- Geshe Ngawang Drakpa of Tse Che Ling did a course on 70 topics that lasted several months. You can download copies of his talks here from the audio library
- 70 Topics – 11 DVD set with Yangsi Rinpoche
- Gelong Namgyal Wangchen teaching on Abhisamayalamkara – Ornament for Clear Realization