My spiritual path, reflected on this website, consists of eight foundations or aspects:

Four Realities (Causes)

The following four realities are also four reminders about the true nature of life. They remind one of: (1) precious human birth, (2) impermanence and death, (3) karma and (4) the suffering of samsara.

When reflected upon, these reminders help turn one’s mind away from being attached to samsaric existence, and towards the practice of dharma. (Ponlop, Dzogchen. Mind Beyond Death. Shambhala Publications.)

[1] Precious Human Life: Appreciate deeply the preciousness of my human life.

[2] Impermanence and Death: Accept the impermanent and transitory nature of all life – and that death can unexpectedly occur at any time during any given day.

[3] Karma: Understand the nature of causality – how cause and effect unfailingly work throughout one’s life.

[4] Suffering: Recognize that life in this world is inherently unsatisfactory with its pain, suffering, and dissatisfaction.

Four Outcomes (Effects)

The four reminders may be followed by four spiritual aspirations or outcomes:

[5] Preciousness of human life inspires appreciation and love: to have equal love for all beings, not swayed by attachment or aversion.

[6] Impermanence and death prompts urgency: to be prepared for dying and death.

[7] Cause and effect elicits personal responsibility: to practice responsible stewardship in all of life.

[8] Inherently unsatisfactory worldly life motivates seeking a higher vision: to find and earnestly embark on a genuine spiritual path.

Embarking on a spiritual path will entail certain practices to achieve a state of full enlightenment or awakening. (The specific nature of these practices will vary depending on one’s faith tradition.)

Four Realities (Causes)Four Outcomes (Effects)
[1] A Precious Human Life[5] Equal Love for All Beings

Spiritual Practice:
Taking Refuge
Altruistic Love and Compassion
[2] Impermanence and Death[6] Prepared for Dying and Death

Spiritual Practice:
[3] Karma[7] Responsible Stewardship in Life

Spiritual Practice:
Merit and Wisdom
[4] Suffering[8] A Spiritual Path

Spiritual Practice:
The Spiritual Master
Human life is precious, with great potential. But it is impermanent and full of dissatisfaction. So we must take full advantage of it by spiritual training now.
(Tulku Thondup)