The practice of Mahamudra can only be accomplished through the profound blessings of a qualified Lama, and in order to receive these blessings, the disciple must also possess certain qualities of sincere devotion, diligence, and wisdom. Before engaging in the practice of Mahamudra, it is necessary to engage both in the common and uncommon preliminary practices. The Fivefold Path of Mahamudra consists of Refuge and Bodhicitta, Deity Yoga, Guru Yoga, Mahamudra, and Dedication. When Jigten Sumgon received the teachings from Phagmo Drupa, Jigten Sumgon wanted only to practice Mahamudra and nothing else. Phagmo Drupa told Jigten Sumgon that this was not enough, saying " Mahamudra is like a lion, but the fivefold path is his eyes."
From the Summer 2002 Teachings by His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche.