By Richard Sherburne
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Additional resources for A Lamp for the Path and Commentary
It is solid because it masters perfectly all roots of virtue. It is permanent because it knows well that all composite things are impermanent. It rises without hesitation because it embraces correctly all teachings of the Buddha. It is without distress because it uses no false powers. It rises continually because it is unshakeable. lt is like a diamond cutting through all appearances. [289b] It is infinite, storing up immeasurable merit. It rises with equal [love] toward all creatures. It is perfectly pure because it is completely without corruption.
With mind like a pup, not easily provoked.
3 ibid. 4 Explanation of" Treasure of Phenomenology", Ot. 5591, Vol. 1. The quotation is of paramount importance because it is evidently Atlsa's doctrinal and literary source for the "Three Persons" distinction of spiritual qualities he introduces to all the later Tibetan lam-rim ("Steps on the Path") writings. The teaching device of triads in presenting qualitative degrees - lowmedium-high - is common enough in all literature (aller guten Ding sind drei), and eminently so in Buddhism. But the three types of person presented here by Vasubandhu (and Atisa following him) are not to be taken as the same triple division of Paths (Hearer, Solitary Buddha, Bodhisattva) that the Perfection of Wisdom literature uses, since the inferior person is not even concerned about liberation- as the Hearer would be.
A Lamp for the Path and Commentary by Richard Sherburne