History of the practice
Lojong mind training practice was developed over a 300-year period between 900 and 1200 CE, as part of the Mahāyāna school of Buddhism. Atiśa (982–1054 CE), a Bengali meditation master, is generally regarded as the originator of the practice.
Atiśa journeyed to Sumatra and studied with Dharmarakṣita for twelve years. He then returned to teach in India, but at an advanced age accepted an invitation to teach in Tibet, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
A story is told that Atiśa heard that the inhabitants of Tibet were very pleasant and easy to get along with. Instead of being delighted, he was concerned that he would not have enough negative emotion to work with in his mind training practice.
In one account, he went to live with a colony of lepers and did the practice with them. Over time many of them were healed, more lepers came, and eventually people without leprosy also took an interest in the practice.
The Root Text
- The original Lojong practice consists of 59 slogans, or aphorisms. These slogans are further organized into seven groupings, called the '7 Points of Lojong.'
It is emphasized that the following is translated from ancient Sanskrit and Tibetan texts, and therefore may vary slightly from other translations. Some slogans may feel esoteric or difficult to comprehend.
- Slogan 1. First, train in the preliminaries; The four reminders. or alternatively called the Four Thoughts
- 1. Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life.
- 2. Be aware of the reality that life ends; death comes for everyone; Impermanence.
- 3. Recall that whatever you do, whether virtuous or not, has a result; Karma.
- 4. 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 experience suffering. Obsessing about getting what you want and avoiding what you don't want does not result in happiness; Ego.
- Slogan 2. Regard all dharmas as dreams; although experiences may seem solid, they are passing memories.
- Slogan 3. Examine the nature of unborn awareness.
- Slogan 4. Self-liberate even the antidote.
- Slogan 5. Rest in the nature of alaya, the essence, the present moment.
- Slogan 6. In postmeditation, be a child of illusion.
- Slogan 7. Sending and taking should be practiced alternately. These two should ride the breath (aka. Practice Tonglen).
- Slogan 8. Three objects, Three poisons|three poisons, 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.
- Slogan 9. In all activities, train with slogans.
- Slogan 10. Begin the sequence of sending and taking with yourself.
- Slogan 11. When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi.
- Slogan 12. Drive all blames into one.
- Slogan 13. Be grateful to everyone.
- Slogan 14. Seeing confusion as the four kayas is unsurpassable shunyata protection.
- Slogan 15. Four practices are the best of methods.
- Slogan 16. Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation.
Point Four: Showing the Utilization of Practice in One's Whole Life
- Slogan 18. The mahayana instruction for Phowa|ejection of consciousness at death is the five strengths: how you conduct yourself is important.
- When you are dying practice the 5 strengths.
- Slogan 19. All dharma agrees at one point -- All Buddhist teachings are about lessening the ego, lessening one's self-absorption.
- Slogan 20. Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one -- You know yourself better than anyone else knows you
- Slogan 21. Always maintain only a joyful mind.
- Slogan 22. If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained.
- Slogan 23. Always abide by the three basic principles -- Dedication to your practice, refraining from outrageous conduct, developing patience.
- Slogan 24. Change your attitude, but remain natural.-- Reduce ego clinging, but be yourself.
- Slogan 25. Don't talk about injured limbs -- Don't take pleasure contemplating others defects.
- Slogan 26. Don't ponder others -- Don't take pleasure contemplating others weaknesses.
- Slogan 27. Work with the greatest defilements first -- Work with your greatest obstacles first.
- Slogan 28. Abandon any hope of fruition -- Don't get caught up in how you will be in the future, stay in the present moment.
- Slogan 29. Abandon poisonous food.
- Slogan 30. Don't be so predictable -- Don't hold grudges.
- Slogan 31. Don't malign others.
- Slogan 32. Don't wait in ambush -- Don't wait for others weaknesses to show to attack them.
- Slogan 33. Don't bring things to a painful point -- Don't humiliate others.
- Slogan 34. Don't transfer the ox's load to the cow -- Take responsibility for yourself.
- Slogan 35. Don't try to be the fastest -- Don't compete with others.
- Slogan 36. Don't act with a twist -- Do good deeds without scheming about benefiting yourself.
- Slogan 37. Don't turn gods into demons -- Don't use these slogans or your spirituality to increase your self-absorption
- Slogan 38. Don't seek others' pain as the limbs of your own happiness.
Point Seven: Guidelines of Mind Training
- Slogan 39. All activities should be done with one intention.
- Slogan 40. Correct all wrongs with one intention.
- Slogan 41. Two activities: one at the beginning, one at the end.
- Slogan 42. Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.
- Slogan 43. Observe these two, even at the risk of your life.
- Slogan 44. Train in the three difficulties.
- Slogan 45. Take on the three principal causes: the teacher, the dharma, the sangha.
- Slogan 46. Pay heed that the three never wane: gratitude towards one's teacher, appreciation of the dharma (teachings) and correct conduct.
- Slogan 47. Keep the three inseparable: body, speech, and mind.
- Slogan 48. Train without bias in all areas. It is crucial always to do this pervasively and wholeheartedly.
- Slogan 49. Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment.
- Slogan 50. Don't be swayed by external circumstances.
- Slogan 51. This time, practice the main points: others before self, dharma, and awakening compassion.
- Slogan 52. Don't misinterpret.
You have compassion for those you like, but none for those you don't.
- Slogan 53. Don't vacillate (in your practice of LoJong).
- Slogan 54. Train wholeheartedly.
- Slogan 55. Liberate yourself by examining and analyzing: Know your own mind with honesty and fearlessness.
- Slogan 56. Don't wallow in self-pity.
- Slogan 57. Don't be jealous.
- Slogan 58. Don't be frivolous.
- Slogan 59. Don't expect applause.
Two significant commentaries to the root texts of mind training have been written by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (founder of the New Kadampa Tradition) and form the basis of study programs at NKT Buddhist Centers throughout the world.
[[image:Atisha.JPG|frame|Jowo Jé Glorious Atisha)]
These teachings, which emphasize the practice of bodhichitta and especially relative bodhichitta and the 'exchanging oneself for others', were introduced to Tibet by Lord Atisha in the eleventh century.
Unlike the lamrim teachings, which were also introduced by Atisha at the same time, and which can be practiced by anyone, the lojong teachings are intended primarily for disciples of the highest capacity and were not taught widely until the time of Geshe Chekawa.
The wisdom methods, such as meditative analysis, lead to the realization of selflessness,
while the skilful means focus on the development of great compassion,
through the meditative practices of equalizing ourselves and others (bdag gzhan mnyam pa),
exchanging ourselves and others (bdag gzhan brje ba)
and considering others as more important than ourselves (bdag las gzhan gces pa).
- Alak Zenkar Rinpoche, Haileybury, 12 April 2012
- Geshe Thupten Jinpa (translator), Mind Training: The Great Collection (as part of an anthology of early lojong texts), Wisdom Publications, 2005
- Eight Verses of Training the Mind
- Seven Points of Mind Training
- The Wheel Blade of Mind Transformation