After his attaining realization, Lama Tsongkhapa developed unsurpassable confidence in emptiness and an irreversible faith in Buddha Shakyamuni arose within him. As a result, he wrote In Praise of Dependent Origination, which was his first composition after his enlightenment, and which, upon completion, became very famous.
In Praise of Dependent Origination
Among all of the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, the teaching of dependent origination is the supreme and ultimate nectar. In the Buddhabhumi Sutra Shastra it is said that if one sees the truth of dependent origination, one sees the nature of all phenomena; and if one sees the nature of all phenomena, one sees all buddhas.
In Praise of Dependent Origination is an outstanding and profound work, composed by Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug school. It explains the deep meaning of dependent origination and emptiness. Considering its profundity and excellence, this short text is treasured by many Tibetan masters from different schools.
When His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche was alive, he often spoke highly of the brilliance of this composition. He expressed that, “As a follower of the Buddha, even if one is unable to extensively study all of Lama Tsongkhapa’s supreme writings, one should at least study his short and pithy treatises, such as In Praise of Dependent Origination and Three Principal Aspects of the Path.” Therefore, this precious teaching of Lama Tsongkhapa has been included in the curriculum of Buddhist studies at Larung Gar for many years.
Actually, it is the tradition of His Holiness to embrace all profound teachings that illuminate the truth. Following in the footsteps of His Holiness, practitioners at Larung Gar, including Khenpo Sodargye himself, value any teachings or instructions that reveal the reality of all phenomena, regardless of the school from which they originate. This demonstrates the faithful practice of the spirit of Rimé or non-sectarianism.
In brief, Lama Tsongkhapa’s In Praise of Dependent Origination is an excellent text produced from the depth of the master’s wisdom mind. It is not only an essential text of study for Buddhists from all schools, but also beneficial for people from all walks of life. By learning this great text, one will develop insight into the qualities of Buddha Shakyamuni and gain a deep understanding of his Dharma teachings. If one delves further, carefully reflecting and meditating on its meaning, one will be able to attain a definite level of spiritual realization.
Over the course of Buddhist history, there have been many renowned Buddhist practitioners who have attached great importance to In Praise of Dependent Origination. An excellent example is the great Tibetan scholar Gendün Chöphel, who it is said, just before passing into nirvana, asked his attendant to read two poems to him, Lama Tsongkhapa’s In Praise of Dependent Origination and Ju Mipham Rinpoche’s Prayer to the Indivisible Basis, Path, and Fruit of the Great Perfection of Manjushri.