The Foundation of All Good Qualities

By Lama Tsongkhapa

The Foundation of All Good Qualities is a concise prayer by Lama Tsongkhapa that teaches the entire graduated path to enlightenment. You can read a commentary on this text by Khunu Lama Rinpoche. The prayer is available in ebook format from FPMT Foundation Store.

Lama Tsongkhapa. Photo courtesy of FPMT.
The Foundation of All Good Qualities
Yön tän zhir gyur ma

The foundation of all good qualities is the kind and perfect guru;
Correctly following the guru is the root of the path.
By my clearly seeing this and applying great effort,
Please bless me to rely upon the guru with great respect.

When I have discovered that the precious freedom of this rebirth is found only once,
Is extremely difficult to find again and is greatly meaningful,
Please bless me to unceasingly generate the mind
Taking its essence, day and night.

This body and life are changing, like a water bubble;
Remember how quickly they perish and death comes.
After death, just like a shadow follows the body,
The results of negative and positive karma follow.

When I have found definite conviction in this,
Please bless me always to be conscientious
In abandoning even the slightest collection of shortcomings
And in accomplishing all virtuous deeds.

When I have recognized the shortcomings of samsaric perfections—
There is no satisfaction in enjoying them, they are the door to all suffering,
And they cannot be trusted—
Please bless me to generate a strong wish for the bliss of liberation.

Through my being led by this pure thought
With great remembrance, alertness, and conscientiousness,
Please bless me to make keeping the individual liberation vows,
The root of the teachings, my essential practice.

Just as I have fallen into the sea of samsara,
So have all mother transmigratory beings.
By my seeing this, please bless me to train in supreme bodhicitta,
Which bears the responsibility of freeing transmigratory beings.

Even if I develop only bodhicitta, without familiarizing myself with the three types of morality,
I cannot achieve enlightenment.
By my seeing this well,
Please bless me to keep the vow of the sons of the victorious ones with fervent effort.

By my having pacified distractions to wrong objects
And correctly analyzed the meaning of reality,
Please bless me to quickly generate within my mindstream
The unified path of calm abiding and special insight.

When I have become a [suitable] vessel by training in the common path,
Please bless me to immediately enter
The holy gateway of the fortunate beings—
The supreme of all vehicles, the Vajrayana.

At that time, the basis of accomplishing the two attainments
Is keeping my vows and samayas purely.
When I have gained effortless conviction in this,
Please bless me to protect them even at the cost of my life.

Then, when I have realized exactly the vital points of the two stages—
The essence of the tantric sets—
And am enjoying the yoga of four sessions with effort, without being distracted [by nonmeditation objects],
Please bless me to accomplish these according to the teachings of the holy beings.

Thus, may the virtuous friends who reveal the noble path
And the spiritual practitioners who correctly accomplish it have long lives.
Please bless me to pacify completely
The collections of outer and inner obstacles.

In all my lives, never separated from perfect gurus,
May I enjoy the magnificent Dharma
And, by completing the qualities of the grounds and paths,
May I quickly attain the state of Vajradhara.


The Foundation of All Good Qualities was composed by Lama Tsongkhapa. Excerpted from the Jorcho booklet. Translated by Maureen O’Malley and edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron (Wisdom Publications, 1988). Lightly edited by Ven. Constance Miller and Nick Ribush, April 1999. Small corrections made by Ven. Steve Carlier and Ven. Joan Nicell, FPMT Education Services, 2018. Revised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and edited by Ven. Joan Nicell, Ven. Ailsa Cameron and Ven. Tenzin Tsomo, FPMT Education Services, July 2020.