Lojong ~ Mind Training Aphorisms.
These set of 59 slogans or aphorisms were developed between the 9th and 12th centuries CE in Tibet. Atisha, the famous Indian Buddhist, is said to have brought them first to Tibet, and written about them in his book ”Lamp on the Path to Enlightenment”, but in their present form they were written down by Chekawa Yeshe Dorje.
The basic premise is that we can use the difficulties of a normal life to awaken.
The First slogan is to train in the preliminaries or the basics which are…
1 a) Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life.
b) Be aware of the reality that life ends; death comes for everyone.
c) Recall that whatever you do, whether virtuous or not, has a result; what goes around comes around.
d) Contemplate that as long as you are too focused on self-importance and too caught up in thinking about how you are good or bad, you will suffer. Obsessing about getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want does not result in happiness.
The next part of the Slogans are the training in BodhiCitta. BodhiCitta is the desire to become awakened and truly compassionate for the benefit of all sentient beings.
2)Regard all dharma as dreams; although experiences may seem solid, they are passing memories.
Anything that arises in the mind is not solid.
3) Examine the nature of unborn awareness. Find the consciousness you had before you were born.
4) Self-liberate even the antidote. Let the remedy release or fall away naturally.
5) Rest in the nature of alaya, the essence, the present moment. Rest in the basis of all experience. Stay in the Primordial Consciousness.
6) In post meditation, or between sessions, be a child (or a conjuror) of illusion.
7). Sending and taking should be practiced alternately.
This refers to Tonglen, the practice of visualising others in order to develop compassion, including for one’s enemies. Self-Tonglen is a vital adjunct, where we practice compassion for our own wounds.
”As You Breathe in, Take in and Accept All the Sadness, Pain, and Negativity of the Whole World, Including Yourself, and Absorb it Into Your Heart.
as You Breathe Out, Pour out All Your joy and Bliss; Bless the Whole of Existence.”
8) There are Three objects, three poisons and three roots of virtue. The 3 objects are friends, enemies and neutrals. The 3 poisons are craving, aversion and indifference. The 3 roots of virtue are the remedies.
”Understand Your Attachments, Your Aversions, and Your Indifference, and Love Them All”
9) Whatever you are doing, apply the Slogans.
10) Begin Tonglen (Compassion) and Unconditional Acceptance with your Self.
11). When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of bodhisattwa. Treat all disasters, inner and outer, as a means to WAKE UP!
12.) Drive all blames into one.
”Everyone is looking for someone to blame and therefore aggression and neurosis keep expanding. Instead, pause and look at what’s happening with you. When you hold on so tightly to your view of what they did, you get hooked. Your own self-righteousness causes you to get all worked up and to suffer. So work on cooling that reactivity rather than escalating it.”
13.) Be grateful to everyone. Meditate on the Kindness of Others. (Everyone you meet is your teacher, they will show you where you are stuck.)
14) Meditate on the four kayas which are… a)Thoughts have no birthplace, b) thoughts are unceasing, c) thoughts are not solid, and d) these three characteristics are interconnected. The result of this meditation is Shunyata..the Void. The Void means Complete Openess.
15) This slogan describes the best methods for spiritual clarity – these include laying down past evil deeds, accumulating merit in the present and making offerings of thanks to the ”dons” which are those attacks of neurosis which afflict us all, and which arrive out of nowhere to prove we have yet to master our minds. And also giving thanks to the Dharma Protectors who are the Guardians of Awareness.
16)No matter what you encounter in life, be faithful to the practice. Even and especially when things are going badly. Interrupt the tendency towards habitual reaction. Treat the unexpected as a meditation.
17). Practice the five strengths, the condensed heart instructions. The 5 strengths are: strong determination, familiarization, the positive seed, reproach, and aspiration.
”Strong determination involves connecting with joy, relaxing, and trusting. When you wake up in the morning, you can say “I wonder what’s going to happen today. This may be the day that I die. This may be the day that I understand what the teachings are all about…. What familiarization means is that the dharma no longer feels like a foreign entity, ……The Seed of Virtue is Buddha Nature or Basic Goodness…. Reproach. This one requires talking to yourself: “Ego, you’ve done nothing but cause me problems for ages. Give me a break. I’m not buying it anymore.”….. The notion of aspiration is simply that you voice your wishes for enlightenment. Aspiration is much like prayer, except that nobody hears you. Aspiration, yet again, is to talk to yourself, to be an eccentric Bodhisattva. It is a way to empower yourself”
18) The mahayana instruction for ejection of consciousness at death is the five strengths. By practising these five strengths you are ready to die at any moment.
19) All dharma agrees at one point — All Buddhist teachings are about lessening the ego, lessening one’s self-absorption. All universal teachings have the same goal.
20). Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one — You know yourself better than anyone else knows you. Trust your INNER witness.
21) Always maintain only a joyful mind.
22) If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained. It is good training to practice when things are not going well.
23). Always abide by the three basic principles — Dedication to your practice, refraining from outrageous conduct, developing patience.
24). Change your attitude, but remain natural.– Reduce ego clinging, but be yourself.
25). Don’t talk about injured limbs — Don’t take pleasure contemplating others defects.
26.) Don’t ponder others — Don’t take pleasure contemplating others weaknesses. Do not worry about other people.
27). Work with the greatest defilements first — Work with your greatest obstacles first.
28). Abandon any hope of fruition — Don’t get caught up in how you will be in the future, stay in the present moment. Abandon the desire for results. Act without attachment to the fruits.
29.) Abandon poisonous food.
30). Don’t be so predictable — Don’t hold grudges.
31.) Don’t malign others. Do NOT gossip.
32.) Don’t wait in ambush — Don’t wait for others weaknesses to show to attack them.
33). Don’t bring things to a painful point — Don’t humiliate others. Do Not strike at the heart.
34). Don’t transfer the ox’s load to the cow — Take responsibility for yourself.
35). Don’t try to be the fastest — Don’t compete with others.
36.) Don’t act with a twist — Do good deeds without scheming about benefiting yourself. Do not be sneaky.
37). Don’t turn gods into demons — Don’t use these slogans or your spirituality to increase your self-absorption. Do not abuse divine power.
38). Don’t seek others’ pain as the limbs of your own happiness. Do not profit from the misfortune of others.
39) All activities should be done with one intention. Be purposeful on your path.
40). Correct all wrongs with one intention. Accept bad energy without complaint and send out good energy.
41). Two activities: one at the beginning, one at the end. Renew your commitment before you get up and before you go to sleep.
42). Whichever of the two occurs, be patient. Accept both good and bad fortune
43.) Observe these two, even at the risk of your life. Keep to your spiritual vows/aspirations.
44). Train in the three diffiulties. Recognize your neurosis, overcome them, transcend them.
45). Take on the three principal causes: the teacher, the dharma, the sangha. Choose a lifestyle that facilitates spiritual practice.
46). Pay heed that the three never wane: gratitude towards one’s teacher, appreciation of the dharma (teachings) and correct conduct.
47). Keep the three inseparable: body, speech, and mind. Focus on mind, body and spirit on the path.
48). Train without bias in all areas. It is crucial always to do this pervasively and wholeheartedly. Exclude nothing from your practice. Train with a whole heart.
49). Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment.
50.) Don’t be swayed by external circumstances. Do not depend upon how the rest of the world is.
51.) This time, practice the main points: others before self, dharma, and awakening compassion. Otherwise phrased as This time, practice what is most important.
52). Don’t misinterpret. The six things that may be misinterpreted are patience, yearning, excitement, compassion, priorities and joy. You’re patient when you’re getting your way, but not when its difficult. You yearn for worldly things, instead of an open heart and mind. You get excited about wealth and entertainment, instead of your potential for enlightenment. You have compassion for those you like, but none for those you don’t. Worldly gain is your priority rather than cultivating loving-kindness and compassion. You feel joy when you enemies suffer, and do not rejoice in others’ good fortune.
53.) Don’t vacillate (in your practice of LoJong). Do not be inconsistent.
54). Train wholeheartedly.
55). Liberate yourself by examining and analyzing: Know your own mind with honesty and fearlessness. Discern!
56). Don’t wallow in self-pity and do not be boastful
57). Don’t be jealous or irritable
58). Don’t be frivolous or temperamental.
59). Don’t expect applause or acknowledgement
By thinking of all sentient beings
As more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel
For accomplishing the highest aim,
I will always hold them dear.
Whenever I’m in the company of others,
I will regard myself as the lowest among all,
And from the depths of my heart
Cherish others as supreme.
In my every action, I will watch my mind,
And the moment destructive emotions arise,
I will confront them strongly and avert them,
Since they will hurt both me and others.
Whenever I see ill-natured people,
Or those overwhelmed by heavy misdeeds or suffering,
I will cherish them as something rare,
As though I’d found a priceless treasure.
Whenever someone out of envy
Does me wrong by attacking or belittling me,
I will take defeat upon myself,
And give the victory to others.
Even when someone I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hopes
Mistreats me very unjustly,
I will view that person as a true spiritual teacher.
In brief, directly or indirectly,
I will offer help and happiness to all my mothers,
And secretly take upon myself
All their hurt and suffering.
I will learn to keep all these practices
Untainted by thoughts of the eight worldly concerns.
May I recognize all things as like illusions,
And, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage
A poem By Atisha…on Lojong.