Lojong #4 Self-liberate even the antidote

Realization of emptiness/impermanence (shunyata) — the antidote — is helpful in not taking ourselves or anything else too seriously, but it may tempt one to slide into “the poison of shunyatta” attitude: ‘nothing is important, so why bother’. In Zen, this is known as ‘the stink of Zen.’

Trungpa¬†says we must get beyond this naivet√®, stay grounded in practice, and remember: “We are not particularly seeking enlightenment or the simple experience of tranquility – we are trying to get over our deception.”

Again, this is a key point, or barrier to get past. When you realize what your deception consists of, you’re on the path to real liberation, true enlightenment.

In considering all these things – which, by the way, you shouldn’t think about too much! – it’s helpful to remember that a main notion in Buddhism is ‘the middle way.’ As the Thai man said to me, “Buddha say, not too much, not too little, just enough!”

It’s also helpful to remember that non-dualism is an underlying notion in all of this. Beyond this and that, good and evil, wrong and right, deceived and not deceived, enlightened and not enlightened. Just this.


Lojong #3, Examine the nature of unborn awareness

Ah, this is a pithy one!

Simply look at your own basic awareness, mind, noting that if you pursue it to the deepest level (which means spending a lot of very still, silent time) there is nothing there.

No color, no shape, no size, no attributes or qualities – just awareness. Sometimes referred to as “pure awareness.” Awareness that has no content. Essentially, we realize that awareness is simply the potential to be aware of some content. So the mind, in itself, without anything else, is nothing.

Pursuing this, eventually we see that the nature of everything is impermanence, emptiness or shunyata – not that it doesn’t exist, but simply that everything is empty of an independent, abiding nature. So it doesn’t exist in and of itself, it only exists in co-existence with everything else.

As I said, pithy. You might have guessed that this is the essential thing you must get before much else in the Buddhist meditation catalog really works for you…

Lojong #2 Regard all dharmas as dreams


In the interest of developing compassion and openness, it’s perhaps best to regard whatever happens as only phantom… “Nothing ever happens. But because nothing happens, everything happens.” I.E. don’t take this so-called ‘reality’ too seriously. Whatever ‘reality’ is, all we can ever know of it is what our mind-system perceives and conceives. Which keeps everything light and open….

Bodhichitta means enlightened heart or mind… ultimate Bodhichitta slogans are those that are concerned with the absolute nature of reality, as opposed to relative, which is the everyday practical stuff.

Before you get too stuck on this one, be sure you go on to #3 and #4…