ACI Course 1 is a thorough study of the three great realizations (commonly known as the “three principal paths”) needed by every practitioner of Buddhism—which is why it’s the first of the 36 courses. These three are:
- Renunciation, or dismay at the pain of the world;
- the Wish for enlightenment, or wanting to become a Buddha ourselves so that we can help every living being in the universe; and
- a correct view of the world, or seeing that there is no person, and no object, which does not come the seeds in my own mind.
This course is founded in the fifth topic, Middle Way (See the summary below of the 18 Foundation Courses of the Asian Classics Institute). It relies on a very famous poem by Je Tsongkapa (shown here), itself entitled The Three Principal Paths. The course also contains the complete text of a jewel of a commentary upon this poem by Pabongka Rinpoche (1878-1941), the most illustrious Tibetan lama of the early 20th century, and root teacher of Trijang Rinpoche (1901-1981), root teacher of Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin.