The Foundation of All Excellence presents the stages of the path from the viewpoint of reliance on a spiritual teacher and the mind-practice of the three levels of being. Tsong-kha-pas poem serves as a root text for a later commentary written by Kushri Kabchu Sudhi.

In this case the author made a line-for-line commentary on the root text and at the end of each section quoted sutras as a scriptural authority. In order to make this process clear, we have inserted the lines of the root text in italics in the appropriate places. Also, many of the sutras have been omitted to limit the length of this selection.

The Foundation of All Excellence is usually recited last during the chanting of prayers, as it is a prayer to achieve the object of ones meditation or prayer. When the text is recited in this way, the last line of each verse is repeated.

The Foundation of All Excellence

The kind Reverend Lama is the foundation of all excellence.

Seeing that dependence on him is the root of the Path,

May I rely on him

With great respect and continuous effort.

A human life with leisure is obtained this once.

Understanding that it is very important and hard to find,

May I produce unceasingly

The mind that takes up its essence day and night.

The fluctuation of life is like a bubble of water;

Remember death, for we perish so quickly.

After death the effects of black and white karma

Pursue us as the shadow follows the body.

Finding certainty in this,

May I always be careful

To do only virtuous deeds

And abandon even the slightest non-virtuous actions.

The door to all misery is seeking satisfaction in pleasure.

Having realised that there is no security

In the pernicious perfections of samsara,

May I be strongly intent on the bliss of liberation.

That pure thought produces

The great heedfulness of remembrance and discernment.

May I accomplish by this means the essence

Of the individual vow, which is the root of the doctrine.

Having seen that all beings, my kind mothers,

Have fallen like myself into the ocean of samsara,

May I practice pure Bodhi-mind,

Which assumes the obligation to free all living beings.

Bodhi-mind alone, without cultivation

Of the three Moral Practices, does not lead to enlightenment.

Having realised this, may I practice

With intense effort the Bodhisattva vow.

By quieting attraction to objects which are false,

And analysing the meaning of Reality,

May I quickly produce within myself

The path that unifies Tranquillity and Insight.

When by this practice I become a vessel of the general Path,

May I soon enter

The great gateway of the fortunate ones,

The Vajrayana, most superior of yanas.

The basis of achieving the two Siddhis

Is the pure vow one takes on entering this Path.

Having found real understanding of it,

May I keep this vow though it cost my life.

Having realised the significance of the Two Stages,

Which are the essence of the Vajrayana,

By unswerving effort in the four sessions of yoga

May I achieve what the Holy Lama has taught.

May the Spiritual Teacher who has shown me the good Path,

And all my spiritual friends who practice it, have long life;

May I at last completely surmount

All inner and outer obstacles.

May I in all births enjoy the glorious Dharma

Inseparable from the perfect Lama;

Having completed the stages and paths,

May I quickly obtain the high state of Vajradhara.

From The Door of Liberation by Geshe Wangyal.