So far we have looked at the source of this instruction and its qualities. This section shows how the teacher should lead students through the instruction. Because the text explains the practice in seven sections, it is called the Seven-Point Mind Training.
The first of the seven points is stated in the line
First, train in the preliminaries.
While mind training is a practice of the person of great scope, it depends upon the preliminaries, which are practices explained mainly for persons of small and middle scopes. There are four. The practices for a person of small scope are thinking about
(a) the precious human life—how difficult to achieve and valuable it is;
(b) impermanence—in the sense of meditating mindfully on death; and
(c) refuge and karma—the explanation of karma and its results is the advice we should follow after going for refuge.
The practices for a person of middle scope, which are based on the above, are mainly
(d) meditating on the faults and sufferings of cyclic existence.
However, we don’t have time here to discuss all these small and middle scope preliminary practices in detail.8
8For detailed teachings on all three scopes see, for example, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand.