The Five Slogans of Machig Labdron

The Five Slogans of Machig Labdron

The Buddha prophesied: “When my teaching is thin
like a tea leaf, the embodiment of the Great Mother, whose name is Labdrön will come and her
activity will be far reaching. Anyone who is involved with her activity will be liberated.”

Machig Labdron was a Tibetan Tantric yogini who lived from 1055-1145 CE. She was both a wandering yogini and a mother, having given up a life of privilege to seek the Truth.

One of her major contributions to Tibetan Buddhism was the systemisation of the practice of Chöd which means to cut or sever. She is known as the ”Mother of Chöd”   It is a profound practice of detachment from the physical form, wherein the practitioner ultimately visualises their own body going through the death process (in a tantric feast offering). Practitioners often spend time in graveyards to become comfortable with the transience of all things.Also the practitioner of Chod conjures up painful and difficult situations, pitting themselves internally against their own fears, in order to eliminate the grasping nature of the Ego…Machig Labdron said of Chod…“To consider adversity as a friend is the instruction of Chöd”

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.”

CG Jung

 Chod is based on the scriptures called Prajna Paramita Sutras  which view wisdom as a feminine form, similar to Sophia in Gnostic traditions. A famous sutra connected to Prajna Paramita is the Heart Sutra. Prajna Paramita essentially teaches that all we see is merely a construct of the mind, and that emptiness (shoonyata) is the highest form of wisdom. This emptiness is not viewed as dead state, but as a vibrant awareness. This realisation that we are not individual egos leads to compassion for all beings as they are our very selves.

It is said that when Machig Labdron approached her teacher Dampa Sangye she asked to learn the method to quickest awakening so that she could become awakened for the benefit of all sentient beings.

These are The FIVE SLOGANS that her teacher gave her..
1)  Confess your hidden faults.
2)  Approach what you find repulsive.
3)  Help those you think you cannot help (sometimes translated as those you do not want to help).
4)  Anything you are attached to, give that (up. As in, let it go).
5)  Go to the places that scare you.

He also added the following…

Sentient beings are limitless as the sky.
Be aware.
Find the Buddha inside yourself

The purpose behind these slogans was told later to Machig Labdron by Lama Sonam Drapa (a wandering yogi) and this was to realise the fundamental teaching that..

If you do not grasp with your mind, you will find a fresh state of being.

If you let go of clinging, a state beyond all conceptions will be born. Then the fire of great prajña will grow. Dark self-clinging ignorance will be conquered. The root of the teachings is to examine the movement of your own mind very carefully. Do this!




Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Buddhism, Uncategorized

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