The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training is crucial. The most fundamental practice in Vajrayana is actually The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training. If you cannot perfect the practice of the The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training, you will not succeed in the highest practices like the Great Perfection (Dzogchen), Kalacakra etc. The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training is the core of spiritual practice.
The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training is a common practice in all the Vajrayana schools. To me, the 1st level, 2nd level, 3rd level, 4th level and Dzogchen empowerments, and all other Zen parables can be put aside. Zen parables only talk about emptiness, which cannot lead one to the ultimate enlightenment. Only when one has perfected his mind-training can he achieve the ultimate enlightenment. So, I feel that The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training is the basis for all spiritual practices.
The Eight Stanzas of
By Langri Thangpa
I shall view all sentient beings as more superior than the Wish-fulfilling Gems. I shall help them and cherish them always.
Regardless of my companionship, I shall always consider myself being lower than others. I shall aspire to benefit others from the depth of my heart, and forever revere others as being more superior than me.
I shall be mindful of my own mental activities and actions, and nip my negative thought in the bud at the very moment it appears in my mind, to avoid harming others and myself.
Sentient beings who are ill-natured are, in fact, suffering in great pains. I shall view them as the Precious Gems, and cherish them always.
When one scolds and humiliates me out of his jealousy, I will accept all the failures and losses, and let him have the victory.
Although I helped someone in the past and wished him the best, he hurt me in return. Nevertheless, I shall still view him as a good spiritual guide.
I wish to benefit all mother-like sentient beings directly or in-directly, and I wish to quietly take over their sufferings.
I wish that all my actions will not be tainted by the Eight Worldly Concerns. I shall discern the illusory nature of all phenomena through great wisdom, and be liberated from all attachments.