Highlights from last week’s gathering: LOJONG

Enryu shared some teachings from the Lojong practice: Lojong was originally brought to Tibet by an Indian Buddhist teacher named Atisha. It is a mind training practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and is based on a set of aphorisms formulated in the 12th century. The practice involves refining and purifying one’s motivations and attitudes. She shared an excerpt from from Norman Fischer’s book, Training in Compassion, where he discusses lojong,and how it involves working with short phrases (called “slogans”) as a way of generating bodhichitta, the heart and mind of enlightened compassion.

Though the practice is more than a millennium old, it has become popular in the West only in the last twenty years or so, and it has become very popular indeed, because it’s a practice that one can fit very well into an ordinary life, and because it works. Through the influence of Pema Chödrön, who was one of the first American Buddhist teachers to teach it extensively, the practice has moved out of its Buddhist context to affect the lives of non-Buddhists too. The 59 proverbs that form the root text of the mind training practice are designed as a set of antidotes to undesired mental habits that cause suffering.

One can’t pick just one…Here are some Slogans shared during our gathering:

  • Don’t be so predictable — Don’t hold grudges
  • Don’t malign others.
  • Don’t wait in ambush — Don’t wait for others weaknesses to show to attack them.
  • Don’t bring things to a painful point — Don’t humiliate others.
  • Don’t transfer the ox’s load to the cow — Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Don’t try to be the fastest — Don’t compete with others.
  • Don’t act with a twist — Do good deeds without scheming about benefiting yourself.
  • Don’t turn gods into demons — Don’t use these slogans or your spirituality to increase your self-absorption
  • Don’t seek others’ pain as the limbs of your own happiness.