But to arrive at this State of Liberation we must apply ourselves to following a Path which shows us how to end Suffering by stopping the causes of this suffering, mainly by employing methods for the purification of accumulated negative potential, by meditating on Non-Self and on Emptiness, but also by avoiding committing the Ten Non-Virtues (see p. 9) and by doing our utmost to accumulate positive energy and attaining the highest possible Wisdom.
The various meditations on the impermanence of events, on Death, on the fact that after we die (which can happen at any moment) we will be forced out of our control by our accumulated karma to take another birth - all these are means by which we can achieve a better understanding of the nature of phenomena and of impermanence. By using our reason we should generate a certain fear of what could happen to us if we were to die now. This should lead us to take Refuge, which is the first step on the Path, from which everything else develops.

     In Taking Refuge we recognise the Buddha as the Doctor who has identified the illness; the Dharma, or the Teaching of the Buddha, as the right Medicine which is able to cure us; and the Sangha, or the Community of those who follow the Teachings of the Buddha purely, as those who are able to offer us the Medicine.

     Refuge is a recognition of the fact that we do not have the capacity, as we are now, to offer truly effective help to the vast numbers of beings who, like us, are living in suffering, and that we have a lot to learn in order to develop Wisdom. Thus we should engage in a spiritual Path in order to make progress in the right direction.
     Implied here also is the search for a Spritual Guide, someone who can give appropriate teachings as we need them, and who can understand and evaluate the progress of his pupil. This search can take time. We don't just accept anybody as our Guide, not just because they have a good reputation, or because they look good or are " nice " to us or because they have dark skin and oriental eyes. We seek our Master in the same way as we seek a rare and precious object. We examine the teachings we receive in the same way that we make sure that an object is pure gold and not fake.
The Buddha himself said that we shouldn't believe in what He said simply because He was the Buddha but because we ourselves have carefully analysed what he has said, passed it through the sieve of our reason and found that it is true and able to guide us to Liberation and Wisdom. It is better to take our time before deciding to approach a Guide and requesting him to consider taking us as his pupil, rather than walking out on a Lama and speaking ill of him at the first remark from him which might not meet with our approval. If we decide, after a cer-tain number of years, that such and such a person is a suitable Guide, we must be able then to accept his advice to us, accepting that he has Right View and the necessary clairvoyance to enable him to guide us.

     To proceed on the Path we must mainly follow eight forms of conduct which make up the Noble Eightfold Path

     In order to be able to deploy such stable attention, in order to develop the meritorious qualities and the conditions for Awakening, one engages in the Path of the Sutras and/or the Tantras.

    The Tantras are divided into four main classes :
Kryatantra, or Action Tantra. This deals mainly with outer acts (washing, physical practices, rules of behaviour and dress), but also with meditation and contemplation.
Uppatantra, or Behaviour Tantra. This also deals with exterior acts, but puts more emphasis on meditation practices, with less emphasis on exterior acts; there is more of a balance.
Yogatantra, or Tantra of Union. This is concerned mainly with spiritual union in meditation, with less emphasis on exterior acts.
Anuttarayogatantra, or Tantra of Unsurpassable Union, which refers exclusively to meditation practices involving the union of Method and Wisdom.

     Through practice and effort the practitioner follows the Path which leads him to Buddhahood. These are five stages known as The Five Paths :
The Path of Accumulation, during which one accumulates merit, deepens one's wisdom and purifies negative karma. This is a time of gathering the positive causes and conditions necessary for the development of the practice.
The Path of Preparation, which links the period of accumulation and one's attainment of experience, and whose purpose is to lead us to the Path which follows. We are purified to the point where our negativities are no longer an obstacle to practice. At this level the practitioner can no longer take a lower rebirth.
The Path of Vision (Sight) is obtained at the first moment of direct experience of Emptiness. The gross level of emotion is eliminated.
The Path of of Meditation. This is when sustained concentration is developed on the direct perception of Emptiness. The subtlest levels of afflictive emotions, which are part of basic Ignorance, disappear.
The Path of No-More-Learning. This the Path beyond which there is nothing more to learn. During this stage the "Vajra-like" meditative state cuts through the final veil which separates the practitioner from Omniscience. Buddhahood is thus attained.

     On the various Paths the practitioner makes efforts to follow and develop the Six Perfections, or Paramitas.

     In the Mahayana you will often hear people talking about Bodhisattvas. These are beings who have developed Bodhicitta, or the Awakening Mind.

     The key word in the Teachings of the Great Vehicle is Bodhicitta, the Awakening Mind. At its heart is the wish to help others, not simply in material ways, which of itself is no bad thing, but also in spiritual ways. It is the commitment of oneself to the Enlightenment of others.

     There we are, this was just an overview of the Four Noble Truths, an attempt to give a broad view of various concepts within Buddhism, and especially Tibetan Buddhism.