The first step is to listen to the teaching. Then, what is the first step of listening to the teaching? It is preparation. What is the first step of preparation? It is to contemplate. What to contemplate about? It is to contemplate the benefits of listening to the teaching. Actually, there are various detailed steps within the general framework of the order.
Global Lamrim 2, Lecture 0022
Is it necessary to follow the sequential order of stages?
Sequential order is about stages. Sometimes when we think about stages, we tend to think only about the stages of the path. So the first stage is relying on the teacher, then after that, contemplate on leisure and opportunity etc. Then we think about the small capacity, medium capacity, great capacity, these are the stages that we are familiar with, that we will usually think of when we think of stages. But actually, Teacher says that there are various detailed steps within the general framework of the order. So actually within a certain stage, there are actually detailed steps that we need to follow.
One which we will usually overlook is contemplating, that means doing preparation, for example, contemplating the benefits, at least that is how I observe myself. When I listen to a discourse, I sit down, take out the MP3 player, I turn it on and listen straightaway, I didn’t do any preparation. That is why Teacher says “I would think that one needs to continue studying further with patience in order to thoroughly understand the sequential order.” What Teacher is saying is that we really should not take for granted that we have already understood what stages are. If we really understand, then every step that we take, we will really think whether it is in the correct sequence.
So which is the first step? Is it turning on the discourse on the MP3 player? Or is it contemplating first? So this is something that we need to pay attention to. Teacher also said, “If we are able to pay more attention to the preparation prior to listening to the teaching, then this class will be very beneficial to you.” Of course it doesn’t mean that if we don’t follow the stages, it doesn’t have any benefit, but if we do it according to the stages then we will get the full benefit.
What is the full benefit? Here it says that, “Upon hearing the teaching, you will be fully prepared, your state of mind is conducive immediately.” That means you are already very proficient and will not be distracted by noises or any tasks you are pre-engaged in, our sense of direction and motivation will be very pure, and that means the purpose is to attain only supreme enlightenment, to achieve Buddhahood.