Lojong # 9: In all activities, train with slogans

In daily life, use the lojong slogans to help you put words to “the first thought” (as in arising anger, etc.). When the feeling of I-ness hits, Trungpa suggests we think: “May I receive all evils and my virtues go to others; profit and victory to others, loss and defeat to myself.”

Sort of a corrective for the usual tendencies, such as putting self first. A little additional help may come from using something like this with your morning vows: “I vow to pursue Bodhichitta and develop a sense of gentleness toward self and others; I promise not to blame others but to take their pain on myself; I vow to put others before self.”

It may seem impossible, but the nature of the Bodhisattva vow is – simply interpreted – that you vow to do what you know can’t be done. Such as save all the innumerable sentient beings on the planet, extinguish your inexhaustible delusions, master the immeasurable Dhamma teachings, and follow completely the Buddha’s endless way.

In the Japanese, it’s:

Shu jo mu hen sai gan do, (Beings are innumerable, I vow to save them)

Bon no mu gen sai gan dan, (Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to extinguish them)

Ho mon muryo sai gan gaku, (Dharma teachings are immeasureable, I vow to master them)

Butsu do mu jo sai gan jo. (Buddha’s way is endless, I vow to follow it completely)

(Three bows.)

It’s a tall order.

Lojong #3, Examine the Nature of Unborn Awareness

This was Monday’s slogan:

#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. Everything is Anicca, or changing, in the original formulation from Pali.

This is also sometimes referred to as paticca samupada, or the dependent co-arising of phenomena. This is what the Buddha awoke to, as Joanna Macy says.

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… but don’t approach it as an exercise in philosophy to be understood, just stay open, meditate and wait patiently for experience of this reality in your own life.

Lojong #14 Seeing confusion as the four kayas…

…is unsurpassable shunyata protection.

This is one of my favorites. Though it is a very complex slogan that seems obscure at first, a little experience with it begins to make it clear.

The four kayas are:

–Confusion,

–Clarity,

–Relating the two,

–and Seeing the Whole.

These describe the four stages the mind passes through in any situation. Observing this process eventually allows one to see that shunyata is the true nature of mind, and that everything is simply this nowness.

Trungpa says there are no origins, everything is suspended in shunyata.

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

POINT 2A, ULTIMATE BODHICHITTA TRAINING:

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…