Geshe Chekhawa was born into a family that practiced the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. However, he was not satisfied with his Nyingma practice and sought teachers from other traditions. He received teachings from Rechungpa (one of Milarepa's main disciples) and later from Kadampa Geshes. After reading the text Eight Verses of Training the Mind by Geshe Langri Tangpa he immediately set out to Lhasa in search of Langri Tangpa. When he arrived in Lhasa, he discovered that Geshe Langri Tangpa had died. So he searched for his disciples and found Geshe Sharawa who was one of his main disciples.
When Geshe Chekawa met Geshe Sharawa, he asked him "How important is the practice of accepting defeat and offering the victory to others?" Geshe Sharawa replied, "If you want to attain enlightenment, this practice is essential." Geshe Chekhawa then requested full instructions on this practice and Geshe Sharawa said "If you stay with me for several years I will teach you." Geshe Chekhawa stayed with Geshe Sharawa for 12 years until he mastered the practice of training the mind. He had to face many different kinds of ordeals: all sorts of difficulties, criticism, hardships, and abuse. And the teaching was so effective, and his perseverance in its practice so intense, that he completely eradicated any self-grasping and self-cherishing.
At this time in Tibet, leprosy was very common in Tibet, because doctors were unable to cure it. When Geshe Chekhawa ecountered lepers, he developed heartfelt compassion for them and wished to help them. He gave them teachings on training the mind, especially the teachings on Tonglen or taking and giving. Through these practices many lepers were able to cure themselves. After overhearing Geshe Chekhawa's teaching to lepers on training the mind, his brother who strongly disliked Dharma teachings even began to put them into practice and receive great benefit from them.
As a result of these successes, Geshe Chekhawa decided not to keep these teachings secret any longer and he composed Training the Mind in Seven Points. This is one of the essential root texts of the Kadampa tradition and was the basis for Je Tsongkhapa's text Sunrays of Training the Mind, which is regarded as one of the most authoritative commentaries on training the mind. As the founder of the New Kadampa Tradition Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says in his book Universal Compassion:
"Because of his kindness in composing this text and teaching it openly, we now have an opportunity to receive these instructions and put them into practice. Therefore, we should remember with gratitude the kindness of Geshe Chekhawa."
Geshe Chekhawa's conclusion of Training the Mind in Seven Points is as follows:
Because of my many wishes,
Having endured suffering and a bad reputation,
I received the instructions for controlling self-grasping.
Now, if I die, I have no regrets.