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Outline of the Beautiful Ornament of the Three Visions

The Preliminaries

I. Introduction
II. Faith
III. Refuge
A. The causes of taking refuge.
B. The object of taking refuge.
C. The procedure for taking refuge.
D. The benefits of taking refuge.
E. The precepts of taking refuge.

The Main Teaching

I. The instructions on the impure vision to produce renunciation.
A. The instructions on the faults of worldly existence to produce renunciation.
1. The suffering of suffering
a. The suffering of the hells
1. the eight cold hells
2. the eight hot hells
3. the neighboring hells and minor hells
b. The suffering of the hungry ghosts
1. external obscurations
2. internal obscurations
3. the obscuration of obscurations
c. The suffering of the animals
1. those who dwell in outer oceans
2. those who dwell in the darkness between continents
3. those who are scattered in the highest realms

2. The suffering of change
a. The general suffering of change
b. The suffering of human change
1. the suffering of birth
2. the suffering of old age
3. the suffering of disease
4. the suffering of death
c. The suffering of the gods' and demigods change

3. The suffering of conditional phenomena.
a. The suffering that activities are never-ending
b. The suffering of not being satisfied by desire
c. The suffering of never being wearied of birth and death

B. The instructions on the difficulty of obtaining the prerequisites to evoke diligence.
1. The difficulty of obtaining this human body endowed with the prerequisites.
a. the difficulty of obtaining a human body from the viewpoint of cause
b. the difficulty of obtaining a human body from the viewpoint of number
c. the difficulty of obtaining a human body from the viewpoint of nature
2. The great benefit of this body which has been obtained.
3. The prerequisites obtained will not last long
a. The reflection on the impermanence has inconceivable benefits
1. it checks attachment for things
2. it is a goad that stimulates vigor
3. it is an antidote to suffering
4. it is a helper in realizing emptiness, the ultimate truth
b. How to contemplate impermanence
1. reflect on the certainty of death and thus relinquish grasping at permanence
a. death is certain because, having been born, one does not have the power to remain
b. death is certain because the body is insubstantial
c. death is certain because life is not permanent
2. reflect on the uncertainty of the time of death and thus shorten the range of one's plans
a. there is no certainty about the time of death because there is no fixed life span
b. there is no certainty about the time of death because the causes of death are manifold
i. body and life are easily separated
ii. the Lord of Death has no love
iii. there are many hostile forces, diseases, and malignant spirits
c. there is no certainty about the time of death because the causes of life are few
3. reflect that nonreligious activities are not beneficial, and thus practice the holy Dharma
a. the holy Dharma should be practiced because food and wealth are useless
b. the holy Dharma should be practiced because kinsmen and associates are useless
c. the holy Dharma should be practiced because eloquence and power are useless
C. The instructions on virtuous and nonvirtuous deeds and their results to clarify what is to be accepted and what is to be rejected.
1. Produce the desire to discard nonvirtue by reflecting on nonvirtuous deeds and their results
a. nonvirtuous deeds
b. the result of nonvirtuous deeds
1. the ripened result
2. the result similar to its cause
a. experience similar to its cause
b. action similar to its cause
3. the result of ownership
c. discarding nonvirtuous deeds
2. Produce the desire to practice virtue by reflection on virtuous deeds and their results
a. virtuous deeds
b. the results of virtuous deeds
1. the ripened result
2. the result similar to its cause
a. experience similar to its cause
b. action similar to its cause
3. the result of ownership
c. performing virtuous deeds
3. Transform neutral deeds into virtues by reflecting on them
a. neutral deeds are fruitless
b. neutral deeds have no results
c. transforming neutral deeds into virtues

II. The instructions on the vision of experience to produce noble aspirations
A. Meditate until the common experience arises in one's mindstream
1. Loving kindness, the desire to benefit other beings
a. loving kindness for one's mother
1. think of one's mother
2. think of her kindness
a. think of her kindness in giving one's body and life
b. think of her kindness in giving instructions of acceptance and rejection
c. think of her kindness in bearing hardships in order to bring one up
3. think of the need to repay her kindness
b. merge that meditation with other relatives
c. merge that meditation with ordinary beings
1. meditate on neighbors and the like
2. meditate on one's enemies
3. meditate on all sentient beings
2. Compassion, the desire to destroy the suffering of others
a. compassion in reference to sentient beings
b. compassion in reference to Dharma
c. compassion in reference to no object
3. The enlightenment thought, the desire to gain buddhahood for the sake of others
a. the wishing enlightenment thought, the desire for the result for the sake of others
b. the entering enlightenment thought, the training on the path for the sake of the result
1. equality between self and others
2. exchanging self with others
3. training in the conduct of equality and exchanging
a. training in the general conduct of the Bodhisattvas
b. training in the six Perfections to ripen oneself
i. the defining characteristic of the six Perfections
ii. the method for accomplishing the six Perfections
-the four qualities to be practiced
-the seven attachments to be discarded
iii. the benefits of the six Perfections
c. training in the four practices of gathering to ripen others
i. giving
ii. speaking pleasantly
iii. purposeful conduct
iv. acting with a harmonious purpose
c. the ultimate enlightenment thought, the combination of calm abiding and insight wisdom
1. the nature of the ultimate enlightenment thought
2. the methods for producing the ultimate enlightenment thought in the mind
3. the manner in which to practice whichever method has been taught
a. calm abiding
i. the five faults and eight antidotes (or corrective measures)
ii. the nine placements of the mind
iii. the five experiences of meditation
b. insight wisdom
i. recognize the nature of appearances
ii. keep the mind in the state free from extremes
iii. develop the unshakable understanding that the nature of mind is inexpressible
c. the merging of calm abiding and insight wisdom
B. Meditate with unshakable understanding that an extraordinary experience in the Vajrayana path will arise.
III. The instruction on the pure vision to produce enthusiasm.
A. The ornamental wheel of inexhaustible enlightened body.
B. The ornamental wheel of inexhaustible enlightened voice.
C. The ornamental wheel of inexhaustible enlightened mind.

(Excerpted from The Beautiful Ornament of The Three Visions, Snow Lion Publications, Copyright 1991 Jay Goldberg)

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