Lojong Tester

36. Don’t put exchange value on things

  • This is the Fourteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

Chögyam Trungpa and Khenchen Trangu Rinpoche both translate this one as “Don’t act with a twist.” 

The literal meaning in Tibetan of this instruction is that we don’t undertake hardships motivated by a calculated intent. Of course, it is nice to go to trouble for others, to be willing to suffer so that others are happy, but if our motivation is to help ourselves so that in the end we win material things or receive acclaim from others then we are acting with a hidden motivation.

We might say, “Okay, I agree you won in this case,” with the hidden intent that it is ultimately we who will prevail. Or we might give something to somebody, not out of generosity, but because we hope to get something from them later on. This is the wrong motivation.

The Seven Points of Mind Training by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Silver inlaid with turquoise, copper, brass and gold; gilt bronze lotus; overall: 32.4 cm (12 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva Maitreya: The Future Buddha, 1100s. East India, Bengal, Pala period. Silver inlaid with turquoise, copper, brass and gold; gilt bronze lotus; overall: 32.4 cm (12 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

24. Change your attitude, but remain natural

  • This is the Second Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

Traleg Kyabgon writes,

Lojong practice is about transforming the way we view the world, not changing the way we present ourselves to it. Changes in the way we perceive ourselves and in how we relate to our disturbing thoughts and emotions and our attitudes to other people are far more important than changes in our appearance, mannerisms, or personal attire. To believe otherwise would be like thinking we’ve become more spiritual simply as a result of donning some kind of religious habit. We are trying to transform the unwholesome, self-destructive attitudes of our self-obsession. Whether others perceive us as different or not is irrelevant; our transformation needs to be an internal one.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Bronze with silver overlay and opaque watercolor; overall: 22 cm (8 11/16 in.); base: 12.8 cm (5 1/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Vajrapani, 700s. India, Kashmir. Bronze with silver overlay and opaque watercolor; overall: 22 cm (8 11/16 in.); base: 12.8 cm (5 1/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

 

25. Don’t talk about others’ weak points

  • This is the Third Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

This states that you should never speak of others’ defects— neither their worldly defects, for instance by calling them “That blind person,” nor their spiritual defects, for instance by calling them “That morally degenerate person.”

from “A Commentary on the “Seven-Point Mind Training” by Sé Chilbu Chökyi Gyaltsen, in  Mind Training translated by Thupten Jinpa

Ivory with gold and polychrome; overall: 13 x 8.9 cm (5 1/8 x 3 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Temptation of Buddha by the Evil Forces of Mara, 700s. Northern India, Kashmir. Ivory with gold and polychrome; overall: 13 x 8.9 cm (5 1/8 x 3 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

46. Don’t allow three things to diminish

  • This is the Eighth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

According to Traleg Kyabgon in The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind, the three things are: 2) Interested Humility Toward the Kalyanamitra (“Spiritual Friend”); 2) Joy in Our Practice; and 3) Commitment to the Path.

Ink and watercolor on cotton; overall: 20.3 x 12.7 cm (8 x 5 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Iconographic Drawing of Tantric Enlightened Beings (verso), c. 1500. Tibet. Ink and watercolor on cotton; overall: 20.3 x 12.7 cm (8 x 5 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

1. First, Train in the Preliminaries

This is Point One of seven. Point one has only one slogan/instruction: “Train in the Preliminaries”

The preliminaries (Tibetan ngöndro) referred to are to meditate on:

  1. Your precious human birth;
  2. Impermanence and death;
  3. The unsatisfactory nature of cyclic existence; and 
  4. The inescapable results of cause and effect – karma.

Embroidery; silk and metallic threads; average: 52.4 x 46.4 cm (20 5/8 x 18 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Mandala or Iconographic Panel, 18th century. Tibet. Embroidery; silk and metallic threads; average: 52.4 x x 46.4 cm (20 5/8 x 18 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

5. Rest in the natural state, the basis of all

  • This is the Fourth Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”. 
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in two divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which consists of five instructions, and
      • “Rest in the natural state, the basis of all” belongs to the first division of “Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta”.
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta, which consists of four instructions.

I understood that in general all things related to samsara and nirvana are interdependent. Furthermore I perceived that the source consciousness is neutral. Samsara is the result of a wrong point of view. Nirvana is realized through perfect awareness. I perceived that the essence of both lay in an empty and luminous awareness.

The Life of Milarepa, translated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa

18th century. The Cleveland Museum of Art

Mandara c.1700. Tibet. The Cleveland Museum of Art

54. Train wholeheartedly

  • This is the Sixteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

A wholehearted commitment is about seeing something through to the end. It’s not about making a big splash to see what happens, thinking that all is well and good if things work out and then moving on to something else if they don’t. A total, wholehearted commitment doesn’t involve sporadic outbursts but rather a judicious expenditure of energy over the long term. Courage is also an essential element in our practice, and it’s far better to overestimate what we want to achieve than to underestimate it. We should never think, “I’ll just aim small because I only have the capacity to become a slightly better person.” Our expectations must be realistic and we have to fulfill them in a graduated manner, but we should always set our goals high and do what we can without “hope” or “fear.”

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on cloth; overall: 82.5 x 72.4 cm (32 1/2 x 28 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Twenty-three Deity Nairatma Mandala, c. 1375. Central Tibet, Sakya-affiliated monastery. Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on cloth; overall: 82.5 x 72.4 cm (32 1/2 x 28 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

13. Meditate on the great kindness of everyone

  • This is the Third Slogan/Instruction of Point Three, which consists of six instructions.
  • Point Three is “Transforming Adversity into the Path of Awakening”. 

Traleg Kyabgon points out:

Practically all of the pleasure, joy, and happiness that we experience come to us because of the presence or activities of others. The food we eat is available to us because many thousands of people are involved in producing, packaging, and distributing it. The same applies to the water we drink, the clothes we buy, the electricity and gas we use, and any number of other things. Waiters bring us food in restaurants, hotel receptionists greet us, sometimes even by name, and bus drivers take us to our destination and exchange pleasantries with us. We must rely on others if we are to have any quality of life. It’s not only those near and dear to us toward whom we should feel grateful, although the kindness of our loved ones often goes unrecognized the most.

The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Ivory; overall: 4.8 x 2.8 x 0.6 cm (1 7/8 x 1 1/8 x 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Walking Buddha, 8th Century. India, Kashmir, 8th century. Ivory; overall: 4.8 x 2.8 x 0.6 cm (1 7/8 x 1 1/8 x 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

26. Don’t think about the affairs of others

  • This is the Fourth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

It is inappropriate to ruminate about the shortcomings of sentient beings in general and particularly of those who have entered the monastic order, especially your fellow practitioners. At the least, you should be joyful toward them, for you are training the mind. Even if you happen to feel that certain associations may be inappropriate, since you are training the mind, contemplating others’ shortcomings is inappropriate. If you do happen to lose control and notice another’s shortcoming, think, “This is my own deluded perception; no such flaw exists in them. All sentient beings are endowed with the nucleus of buddhahood.” Reflect in this manner and judge this [perception] to be your own flaw.

from “A Commentary on the “Seven-Point Mind Training” by Sé Chilbu Chökyi Gyaltsen (1121– 89), in Mind Training translated by Thupten Jinpa

Bronze; overall: 13 cm (5 1/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

An Emination of the Buddha Amitabha (VaK?) 900s. Nepal. Bronze; overall: 13 cm (5 1/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

12. Drive all blames into one

  • This is the Second Slogan/Instruction of Point Three, which consists of six instructions.
  • Point Three is “Transforming Adversity into the Path of Awakening”. 

We all suffer in this cycle of existence;
As I search down to its foundation for the root,
I see the king, the thought “I am,” which resides
In the palace of my heart in the midst of false conceptions.

When I banish all blame onto this and combat it, what does it say?
“I have been here since beginningless time.
I pervade everywhere— inner, outer , and in between;
Ask all the chiefs , the six classes of consciousness, whether this is true or false!”

from “The Poison Peacock’s Neutralizing of Poison” (attributed to Dharmaraksita) in Mind Training: The Great Collection, Thupten Jinpa

Color on cloth; overall: 40.6 x 35.6 cm (16 x 14 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Mandala, late 15th century. Nepal,. Color on cloth; overall: 40.6 x 35.6 cm (16 x 14 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

39. All activities should be done with one intention

  • This is the First Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

The purpose of all the scriptures and treatises is to attain liberation, and for this it is necessary to subdue self-grasping. Therefore all activities of study, reflection, and meditation are for the sake of subduing self-grasping.

“Public Explication of Mind Training” by Sangyé Gompa (1179– 1250), in Mind Training: The Great Collection translated by Thupten Jinpa

Copper with traces of gilt; overall: 17.8 cm (7 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva Vajrapani, 700s. Nepal. Copper with traces of gilt; overall: 17.8 cm (7 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

57. Don’t react impulsively with anger or irritation

  • This is the Nineteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

It’s not necessary to always react impulsively, allowing our instinctual responses to get the better of us. We tend to think anger is empowering, but recurrent anger only has a toxic effect on our mind and body and gradually reduces our self-esteem so that we feel more vulnerable, threatened, and prone to pervasive feelings of insecurity.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Ink and slight color on cotton; image: 84.4 x 52.2 cm (33 1/4 x 20 9/16 in.); overall: 111.1 x 69.5 cm (43 3/4 x 27 3/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Lohan (Immortal), 1600s. Tibet, Sino-Tibetan style. Ink and slight color on cotton; image: 84.4 x 52.2 cm (33 1/4 x 20 9/16 in.); overall: 111.1 x 69.5 cm (43 3/4 x 27 3/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

38. Don’t seek others’ pain as a means to happiness

  • This is the Sixteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

Seeking happiness at someone else’s expense is another common human trait, according to the lojong commentaries. We all want happiness, but we tend to look for it in all the wrong places, and as a result, the pleasures and joys we experience can quickly degenerate into suffering and sorrow.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Gilt bronze with turquoise inlay; overall: 36 cm (14 3/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Dakini Vajravarahi, 1300s. Tibet. Gilt bronze with turquoise inlay; overall: 36 cm (14 3/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

49. Always meditate on difficult points

  • This is the Eleventh Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

It’s important to have joy and enthusiasm for our practice, but we should still find it challenging enough to test our capabilities for growth. Difficulties must be welcomed because it’s only by overcoming challenges that we develop. We should gradually introduce into our meditation those areas that we normally find upsetting or difficult, instead of choosing meditations that always ease our minds or make us feel good without requiring much effort on our part. If our practice becomes tedious, unproductive, or painful, we need to correct that instead of blaming the practice or succumbing to a defeatist attitude. The distinctive feature of lojong is the importance it places on topics that challenge our understanding, test our endurance, and stretch our mental capabilities.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on cloth; overall: 111 x 73 cm (43 11/16 x 28 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Tantric Buddha Vairochana, c. 1150-1200. Central Tibet. Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on cloth; overall: 111 x 73 cm (43 11/16 x 28 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

20. Of the two witnesses, rely on the principal one

  • This is the Second Slogan/Instruction of Point Five, which consists of four instructions.
  • Point Five is “Evaluating Mind Training”

Chögyam Trungpa wrote,

In any situation there are two witnesses: other people’s view of you and your own view of yourself. Of those, the principal witness is your own insight. You should not just go along with other people’s opinion of you. The practice of this slogan is always to be true to yourself….

In many cases, people are very impressed by you because you look fit and you are cheerful a great deal and you seem to know what you are doing. A lot of compliments take place. On the other hand, a lot of criticism could come to you from others who do not properly and fully know what is actually happening within you. This slogan says that of the two witnesses, hold the principal one as the actual, authentic one. That authentic witness is you.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Bronze; overall: 46.5 x 15.4 x 13.4 cm (18 5/16 x 6 1/16 x 5 1/4 in.); without base: 35 x 13.8 x 10.5 cm (13 3/4 x 5 7/16 x 4 1/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Standing Buddha, 591. Northeastern India or Nepal, Gupta/Licchavi period. (mid-3rd Century CE to 590 CE) Bronze; overall: 46.5 x 15.4 x 13.4 cm (18 5/16 x 6 1/16 x 5 1/4 in.); without base: 35 x 13.8 x 10.5 cm (13 3/4 x 5 7/16 x 4 1/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

11. When beings and the world are filled with evil, transform unfavorable circumstances into the path of enlightenment

  • This is the First Slogan/Instruction of Point Three, which consists of six instructions.
  • Point Three is “Transforming Adversity into the Path of Awakening”. 

In short, when calamities befall me, it is the weapon , 
of my own evil deeds turned upon me, like a smith killed
by his own sword. From now on I shall be heedful
of my own sinful actions.

from “The Poison Peacock’s Neutralizing of Poison” (attributed to Dharmaraksita) in Mind Training: The Great Collection, Thupten Jinpa

According to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, 

Sometimes it seems that the world is filled with negativity and that living beings have much suffering and many accidents befalling them. We must learn to transform these negative circumstances into the path to enlightenment. This can be done in two ways: through the practice of relying on relative bodhichitta and through the practice of relying on ultimate bodhichitta.

The Seven Points of Mind Training, Khenchen Thrangu

 

Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on cotton; overall: 57.7 x 52 cm (22 11/16 x 20 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Four Seated Masters, c. 1450. Central Tibet, Ngor monastery, 15th century. Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on cotton; overall: 57.7 x 52 cm (22 11/16 x 20 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

14. To see confusion as the four kayas, the protection of emptiness is unsurpassable

  • This is the Fourth Slogan/Instruction of Point Three, which consists of six instructions.
  • Point Three is “Transforming Adversity into the Path of Awakening”. 

Traleg Kyabgon:

The kayas (Tib. sku), or “aspects of Buddha’s being,” help us to maintain an enlightened perspective on our world. The nirmanakaya is the physical appearance of a Buddha’s being, the sambhogakaya is the embodiment of the wisdom qualities, and the dharmakaya is the transcendental aspect. Dharmakaya is inseparable from ultimate reality, because everything that we perceive has the nature of emptiness. Sambhogakaya represents the interconnectedness of all things, because the mental and physical are not totally independent of each other; everything that exists—good or bad, beautiful or ugly, sacred or profane—is part of the pattern of events and processes. Nirmanakaya is how we see everything that is presented to our senses as a manifestation of emptiness. Normally only three kayas are mentioned in Mahayana literature, but sometimes a fourth is included to illustrate the inseparability of these three aspects. This is called svabhavivakaya, which is not a fourth “body” so much as a unifying concept. It signifies the fact that we should not think of the physical, mental, and transcendental aspects of a Buddha’s being as three separate entities, but as an inseparable whole that is interdependently coalescent..

The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Bronze; overall: 16.4 x 13.3 cm (6 7/16 x 5 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Seated Maitreya, late 7th – early 8th century. Nepal, late Gupta style, late 7th – early 8th century. Bronze; overall: 16.4 x 13.3 cm (6 7/16 x 5 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

7. Train in sending and taking alternatively, these two should ride the breath

  • This is the Sixth Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”.
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in two divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which consists of five instructions, and
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta, which consists of four instructions.
      • “Train in sending and taking alternatively, these two should ride the breath” belongs to the second division, “Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta”.

This refers to a practice known as “tonglen” (gtong len), which means “giving and taking”. There are many instructions for this practice. Ken McCleod provides an extremely concise instruction at http://www.unfetteredmind.org/mindtraining/7.php, quoted below:

As you breathe in, imagine all the suffering and negativity of others as thick black smoke coming in through your right nostril and into your heart. As you breathe out, imagine all your own happiness and wellbeing as silvery light coming from your heart and going out through your left nostril to all beings everywhere.

Wood; overall: 45.7 x 25.4 x 12.1 cm (18 x 10 x 4 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Wood; overall: 45.7 x 25.4 x 12.1 cm (18 x 10 x 4 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

40. All corrections are made in one way

  • This is the Second Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”\

Some who are under Māra’s influence fail to develop confidence in this spiritual practice. They experience the false perceptions of misguided meditation practice, with thoughts like: “Since I began practicing mind training, illnesses have increased, harms from demons have increased, people have become more hostile, and afflictions such as self-grasping have increased as well.” Based on such thoughts, or for no particular reason, they lose enthusiasm for mind training and are in danger of turning away. When this happens, you should become aware of it right there and then and think, “A misguided meditative practice has arisen in me.” With a second thought you should reflect, “There must be many beings like me in the universe whose thoughts have deviated from [true] Dharma practice,” and take all of these [deviations] upon yourself and offer your body, wealth, and virtues to others. Imagine that because of this, the thoughts of those others turn toward the Dharma, and these others enter the unmistaken path.

“A Commentary on the “Seven-Point Mind Training” by Sé Chilbu Chökyi Gyaltsen (1121– 89), in Mind Training: The Great Collection translated by Thupten Jinpa

Opaque watercolor and ink on cotton; overall: 94.6 x 69.2 cm (37 1/4 x 27 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Eleven-Headed, Thousand-Armed Bodhisattva of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara), c. 1500. Western Tibet. Opaque watercolor and ink on cotton; overall: 94.6 x 69.2 cm (37 1/4 x 27 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

18. The Five Powers are the Mahayana instructions on how to die

  • This is the Second Slogan/Instruction of Point Four, which consists of two instructions.
  • Point Four is “Practicing Mind Training Throughout Our Lives”. 

The Five Powers (aspiration, confession, transparency, planting good seeds, and dedication), are not only the instructions on how to live, they are also the instructions on how to die.

Brass with silver and copper inlay; overall: 98.1 cm (38 5/8 in.); base: 28.2 cm (11 1/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Standing Buddha, c. 900. India, Kashmir, late 10th-early 11th century. Brass with silver and copper inlay; overall: 98.1 cm (38 5/8 in.); base: 28.2 cm (11 1/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

50. Don’t depend on external conditions

  • This is the Twelfth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

Although your external circumstances may vary, your practice should not be dependent on that. Whether you are sick or well, rich or poor, have a good reputation or bad reputation, you should practice lojong. It is very simple: if your situation is right, breathe that out; if your situation is wrong, breathe that in.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Silver; overall: 10.8 x 7 cm (4 1/4 x 2 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva Vajraraksha, c. 10th Century. Western Tibet. Silver; overall: 10.8 x 7 cm (4 1/4 x 2 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

10. Begin the sequence of exchange with yourself

  • This is the Ninth, Final Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”.
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in two divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which consists of five instructions, and
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta, which consists of four instructions
      • “Begin the sequence of exchange with yourself” belongs to the second division, “Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta”

Those desiring speedily to be
A refuge for themselves and others
Should make the interchange of “I” and “other,”
And thus embrace a sacred mystery.

The Way of the Bodhisattva, translated by Padmakara Translation Group

Ngor Monastery, c. mid 15th century. Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on cotton ; framed: 74.8 x 59.8 cm (29 7/16 x 23 9/16 in.); overall: 57.5 x 50.2 cm (22 5/8 x 19 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Vajradhara, Nairatmya, and Mahasiddhas Virupa and Kanha, c. 1450. Central Tibet, Ngor Monastery, c. mid 15th century. Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on cotton ; framed: 74.8 x 59.8 cm (29 7/16 x 23 9/16 in.); overall: 57.5 x 50.2 cm (22 5/8 x 19 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

42. Whichever of two occurs, be patient

  • This is the Fourth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

If you suddenly come into a great fortune, do not become arrogant or become attached to it; make sure you do not fall prey to the eight mundane concerns. You should take this [fortune] as a basis for your Dharma practice. Some people who attract followers and material gifts become conceited by this; they [then] despise others and do whatever comes to mind. You must discard such behavior.

Likewise, if you experience misfortune such that the only thing that seems beneath you is the water [flowing under a bridge], do not become depressed or demoralized, wondering how “such an unfortunate person like me” could exist. Do not be so downcast you are incapable of training [the mind].

Instead reflect, “Compared to the contrast in degree and intensity between the happiness of the higher realms and the suffering of the lower realms of existence, the contrast between pleasant and unpleasant states of human existence is not so immense. So, without further distraction, I shall focus on my spiritual practices.” For it is taught:

Even if you are prosperous like the gods,
Pray do not be conceited.
Even if you become as destitute as a hungry ghost,
Pray do not be disheartened.

“A Commentary on the “Seven-Point Mind Training” by Sé Chilbu Chökyi Gyaltsen (1121– 89), in Mind Training: The Great Collection translated by Thupten Jinpa. The verse if is from Nāgārjuna, Ratnāvalī

 

Ink and watercolor on cotton; overall: 20.3 x 12.7 cm (8 x 5 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Iconographic Drawing: Vaishravana, Yama, Vsnisavijaya, Tara and Buddha (recto), c. 1500. Tibet. Ink and watercolor on cotton; overall: 20.3 x 12.7 cm (8 x 5 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

31. Don’t react on impulse to critical remarks

  • This is the Ninth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

Traleg Kyabgon writes,

This slogan relates to our anger and the impulsive responses we make when we are completely filled with aggression. Its immediate concern is the ways we lash out at others over derogatory remarks made about us. Words carry enormous power. We must be sensitive to how we express ourselves and resist the temptation to follow our impulses and jump to conclusions about what others say. We should not think our ears are neutral receptors, whose sole purpose is to receive information in an unadulterated fashion. We often hear what we want to hear, or even what we are afraid of hearing, because our receptivity is so intermingled with our fears, desires, and expectations. The very idea that someone said something disagreeable is enough to make us angry. These days we are constantly confronted with phenomena such as road rage, where every little aggression, imagined or not, compels us to become physically or verbally abusive.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Bronze with gilding, pigment, and semiprecious stones; overall: 62 cm (24 7/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Avalokitesvara Padmapani: Bodhisattva of Mercy Bearing a Lotus, c. 1000s. Nepal. Bronze with gilding, pigment, and semiprecious stones; overall: 62 cm (24 7/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

58. Don’t be like an open book

  • This is the Twentieth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

We don’t need to display every passing emotion, as if some kind of drama were going on every minute of the day. That approach is often confusing for other people. This Tibetan phrase literally means “letting everybody know whatever emotion we are feeling.”

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Miniature votive painting (tsai-kali); ink, color, and gold on paper; overall: 11.6 x 10.7 cm (4 9/16 x 4 3/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Preaching Sakyamuni, 1000s. Western Tibet, Toling Monastery. Miniature votive painting (tsai-kali); ink, color, and gold on paper; overall: 11.6 x 10.7 cm (4 9/16 x 4 3/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

53. Don’t fluctuate

  • This is the Fifteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

You should not vacillate in your enthusiasm for practice. If you sometimes practice and other times do not, that will not give birth to certainty in the dharma. Therefore, don’t think too much. Just concentrate one-pointedly on mind training.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Embroidery, silk and gold thread on silk satin ground; overall: 44 x 21.5 cm (17 5/16 x 8 7/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Thangka with the Seventh Bodhisattva, 1368 – 1424, China, Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Embroidery, silk and gold thread on silk satin ground; overall: 44 x 21.5 cm (17 5/16 x 8 7/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

9. Use sayings to train in all forms of activity

  • This is the Eighth Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”. 
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in two divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which consists of five instructions, and
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta,which consists of four instructions.
      • “Use sayings to train in all forms of activity” belongs to the second division, “Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta”

Memorizing pithy sayings can help us to stay on track during out daily lives. Alcoholics Anonymous uses this approach extensively. The Judeo-Christian traditions have the Book of Proverbs. And, according to David Shapiro, Tibet’s vast Epic of Gesar uses proverbs (or sayings) in an unusually extensive manner:

While the use of proverbs is common in other epics, the Gesar epic stands out for the breadth and depth of its proverbs. Their importance to the Tibetan people as well as nomadic people in general cannot be overstated. The proverbs represent the major method by which the cultural, philosophical, and religious knowledge of Tibet is transmitted by the epic.

The Epic of Gesar of Ling, Gesar’s Birth, Early Years, and Coronation as King

Clearly, sayings work for many people. It’s good to use the Lojong sayings, but one need not be limited to them. As Traleg Kyabgon points out, Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara is a good source of sayings that can help keep us on the Mahayana path as we live in the modern world of constant distraction. 

For example,

Let us not be downcast by the warring wants
Of childish persons quarreling.
Their thoughts are bred from conflict and emotion.
Let us understand and treat them lovingly.

The Way of the Bodhisattva, translated by Padmakara Translation Group

Color and varnish on paper (manuscript fragment); overall: 6.8 x 9 cm (2 11/16 x 3 9/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Four-armed Maitreya, c. 1200. Western Tibet [or Kashmir (?)], Guge School (?), c. early 13th century. Color and varnish on paper (manuscript fragment); overall: 6.8 x 9 cm (2 11/16 x 3 9/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

44. Learn the three difficult points

  • This is the Sixth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

According to Traleg Kyabgon in The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind, the three points are 1) Recognizing Conflicting Emotions; 2) Managing Conflicting Emotions; and 3) Eliminating Conflicting Emotions.

Ivory; overall: 12 x 9.5 x 1.5 cm (4 3/4 x 3 3/4 x 9/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Fasting Buddha, 700s. India, Kashmir. Ivory; overall: 12 x 9.5 x 1.5 cm (4 3/4 x 3 3/4 x 9/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

33. Don’t make insincere comments

  • This is the Eleventh Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

 

Although the lojong commentaries vary, this slogan can basically be understood in two different ways. The first way of understanding it is based on the observation that human beings have a tendency to take pleasure in identifying other people’s weak points and exploiting them for their own benefit. …

The second way of understanding this slogan is based on the recognition that since we have the impulse to say hurtful things to others, we often attempt to do it in an underhanded way that doesn’t immediately appear hurtful.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Iron alloy with gold and silver inlay; overall: 17.4 cm (6 7/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Ritual Flaying Knife (kartika/drigug), c. 1407-1410. Sino-Tibetan, Derge School, Yongle period (1403-1427). Iron alloy with gold and silver inlay; overall: 17.4 cm (6 7/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

30. Don’t rely on your good nature

  • This is the Eighth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

This slogan has many interpretations. Traleg Kyabgon provides several of them in The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind.They are too extensive to quote here without stepping into copyright issues. For a more complete picture, consult that work. But Traleg Kyabgon’s introductory paragraph is:

The contradictions implicit in this difficult and enigmatic slogan are reflected in the varying interpretations found in different lojong commentaries. The Tibetan phrase literally means “don’t rely on a dependable object,” but the Tibetan word for “dependable object” implies a friend more than a nondescript thing. The contradiction comes from the fact that it would normally be considered good to rely on a friend. A more accurate English rendition of this term would be “good nature,” and some lojong commentators have understood this slogan to mean that we should not always be constantly shifting our focus to something new. Once we have made up our mind to do something, we must stick to that course of action until we’ve reached our goal.

The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

 

Chögyam Trungpa wrote,

The literal translation of this slogan is “Don’t be consistent,” but it is more like “Don’t be so kind and faithful, so guileless.” That is to say, an ordinary person or man of the world would have some understanding about his relationship with his enemies and his friends and how much debt he owes people. It is all very predictable. Similarly, when somebody inflicts pain on you, you keep that for long-term storage, long-term discussion, long-term resentment. You would eventually like to strike back at him, not forgetting his insult in ten or even twenty years.

Chögyam Trungpa,Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Gilt bronze with silver and copper inlay; overall: 39.4 x 14 x 7.6 cm (15 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 3 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

leven-Headed Bodhisattva of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara), around 1000. Western Himalayas. Gilt bronze with silver and copper inlay; overall: 39.4 x 14 x 7.6 cm (15 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 3 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

43. Observe these two, even at the risk of your life

  • This is the Fifth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

You should maintain the disciplines you have committed yourself to: in particular, [1] the refuge vow and [2] the bodhisattva vow. You should maintain the general livelihood of being a decent Buddhist and, beyond that, the special discipline of the practice of lojong, or mind training. This practice should become a very important part of your life.

For tantric practitioners, this slogan means that in this life and in any future lives, you should keep the three-yana discipline. This applies to dharmic principles in general and to the practice of lojong in particular. You should always keep that bond, or samaya, even at the risk of your life.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Painted wood; overall: 54.6 cm (21 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Seated Buddha, 1000s, Tibet. Painted wood; overall: 54.6 cm (21 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

45. Acquire the three root causes

  • This is the Seventh Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

According to Traleg Kyabgon in The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind, the three causes are: 1) The Spiritual Friend; 2) The Spiritual Instructions; and 3) A Supportive Environment.

Yellow steatite, kaolinite; overall: 7.3 x 4.7 x 2.5 cm (2 7/8 x 1 7/8 x 1 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Manjusri with his Sakti, c. 1100s. Tibet. Yellow steatite, kaolinite; overall: 7.3 x 4.7 x 2.5 cm (2 7/8 x 1 7/8 x 1 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

27. Work on the stronger disturbing emotions first

  • This is the Fifth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”]

Jamgön Kongtrül wrote:

Examine your personality to determine which disturbing emotions are the strongest. Concentrate all dharma practice on them in the beginning, and subdue and clear them away.

The Great Path of Awakening, translated by Ken McLeod

Gilt bronze; overall: 43.6 cm (17 3/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Virupa, early 1400s. Gilt bronze; overall: 43.6 cm (17 3/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

35. Don’t aim to win

  • This is the Thirteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

 

When practitioners begin to develop their understanding of the dharma and their appreciation of the dharma, they sometimes fall into a sort of racehorse approach. They become involved with who is the fastest: who can understand the highest meaning of mahamudra or the greatest meaning of tantra or the highest idea of ultimate bodhichitta, or who has understood any of the hidden teachings. Such practitioners are concerned with who can do their prostrations faster, who can sit better, who can eat better, who can do this and that better. They are always trying to race with other people. But if our practice is regarded purely as a race, we have a problem.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Opaque watercolor and gold on cotton ; overall: 91.5 x 75 cm (36 x 29 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Tsong Khapa, Founder of the Geluk Order, c. 1440-1470. Central Tibet. Opaque watercolor and gold on cotton; overall: 91.5 x 75 cm (36 x 29 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

52. Avoid misunderstandings

  • This is the Fourteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

There are six things that you may twist or misinterpret in your practice: patience, yearning, excitement, compassion, priorities, and joy. It is a misinterpretation of patience to be patient about everything in your life but the practice of dharma. Misinterpreted yearning is to foster yearning for pleasure and wealth but not to encourage the yearning to practice dharma thoroughly and properly. Misinterpreted excitement is to get excited by wealth and entertainment, but not to be excited by the study of dharma. It is twisted compassion to be compassionate to those who endure hardships in order to practice dharma, but to be unconcerned and uncompassionate to those who do evil. Twisted priorities means to work diligently out of self-interest at that which benefits you in the world, but not to practice dharma. Twisted joy is to be happy when sorrow afflicts your enemies, but not to rejoice in virtue and in the joy of transcending samsara. You should absolutely and completely stop all six of those misinterpretations.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Brass or bronze; turquoise; overall: 10.8 x 6.7 cm (4 1/4 x 2 5/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Achala, c 1300s ?. Nepal. Brass or bronze; turquoise; overall: 10.8 x 6.7 cm (4 1/4 x 2 5/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

21. Always have the support of a joyful mind

  • This is the Third Slogan/Instruction of Point Five, which consists of four instructions.
  • Point Five is “Evaluating Mind Training”

Chögyam Trungpa wrote,

The point of this slogan is continuously to maintain joyful satisfaction. That means that every mishap is good, because it is encouragement for you to practice the dharma. Other people’s mishaps are good also: you should share them and bring them into yourself as the continuity of their practice or discipline. So you should include that also. It is very nice to feel that way, actually.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Ivory; overall: 29.2 cm (11 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara), 1647-1648 or 1658. Chöying Dorjé, the Tenth Black Hat Karmapa (Tibetan, 1604-1674). Ivory; overall: 29.2 cm (11 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

15. The four applications are the best method

  • This is the Fifth Slogan/Instruction of Point Three, which consists of six instructions.
  • Point Three is “Transforming Adversity into the Path of Awakening”. 

The four applications referred to are:

  1. Accumulation of merit (Tibetan bsod nams)
  2. Confession (Tibetan bshags pa)
  3. Offerings to obstructing spirits or beings perceived as demons
  4. Offerings to the Dharma Protectors (Sanskrit Dharmapala; Tibetan chos skyong)
Unbaked clay and pigment; overall: 63.5 cm (25 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Dakini Vajravarahi, 1400s. Nepal, 15th century. Unbaked clay and pigment; overall: 63.5 cm (25 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

 

29. Give up poisonous food

  • This is the Seventh Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”]

Chögyam Trungpa wrote,

This is a very powerful slogan for us. It means that whatever we do with our practice, if that practice is connected with our personal achievement, which is called “spiritual materialism,” or the individual glory that we are in the right and others are wrong, and we would like to conquer their wrongness or evil because we are on the side of God and so forth—that kind of bullshit or cow dung is regarded as eating poisonous food. Such food may be presented to us beautifully and nicely, but when we begin to eat it, it stinks.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

And Dza Patrul, quoted by Traleg Kyabgon to illustrate this slogan, 

One day Geshe Ben was expecting a visit from a large number of his benefactors. That morning he arranged the offerings on his shrine in front of the images of the Three Jewels particularly neatly. Examining his intentions, he realized that they were not pure  and that he was only trying to impress his patrons; so he picked up a handful of dust and threw it all over the offerings, saying, “Monk, just stay where you are and don’t put on airs!”

When Phadampa Sangye heard this story, he exclaimed: “That handful of dust that Ben Kungyal threw was the best offering in all Tibet!”

Patrul Rinpoche, Words of My Perfect Teacher

 

Color on cloth; overall: 109.5 x 82.5 cm (43 1/8 x 32 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Thangka with Bejeweled Buddha Preaching, 1648. Nepal. Color on cloth; overall: 109.5 x 82.5 cm (43 1/8 x 32 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

4. Even the remedy is free to self-liberate

  • This is the Third Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”. 
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in two divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which consists of five instructions, and
      • “Even the remedy is free to self-liberate” belongs to the first division of “Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta”.
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta, which consists of four instructions.

The “remedy” refers to the previous two points, “regard all phenomena as dreams” and “examine the nature of unborn awareness. These analyses are the remedy. These also must not be reified and must be let go.

Jamgön Kongtrül wrote:

When we look at the presence of the remedy itself, these thoughts about the absence of true existence, there is nothing for the mind to refer to and they subside naturally on their own.

Jamgön Kongtrül, The Great Path of Awakening, translated by Ken McLeod

Embroidery, silk; overall: 90.2 x 66 cm (35 1/2 x 26 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Embroidery: Yama and Consort, 18th-19th century. Tibet. Embroidery, silk; overall: 90.2 x 66 cm (35 1/2 x 26 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

41. At the beginning and at the end, two things to be done

  • This is the Third Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

Another helpful way to maintain the lojong spirit is to practice bodhichitta meditation at the beginning and end of each day. The Kadampa teachings continually emphasize that no two days are ever the same. We aren’t caught in some kind of eternal recurrence that makes it impossible to take charge of our lives. If we wake up in a bad mood or start the day with the wrong attitude, we’ll only capitulate to our habitual ways of responding to the world. Regular morning practice clears our mental cobwebs and helps us to face the day in a calm and positive frame of mind. We shouldn’t feel as if we were surviving each day with a sense of relief, then drift complacently into the evening without thinking about anything. The lojong spirit discourages the ennui associated with coming home, having a few drinks, and falling asleep on the sofa. Remaining alert and practicing lojong will help relieve our minds of stress as well as give us the opportunity to review the day and reflect on our bodhichitta activities.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Gouache on cloth; overall: 57.8 x 45.1 cm (22 3/4 x 17 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Sakyamuni with a Disciple Thangka, 14th century. Nepal. Gouache on cloth; overall: 57.8 x 45.1 cm (22 3/4 x 17 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

3. Examine the nature of unborn awareness

  • This is the Second Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”. 
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in two divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which consists of five instructions, and
      • “Examine the nature of unborn awareness” belongs to the first division, “Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta”.
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta, which consists of four instructions.

Traleg Kyabgon writes:

Unborn awareness is absolute bodhichitta; it is not a thought, not a feeling, not an idea, not a sensation, and not an experience. To say that absolute bodhichitta is experiential rather than a thought or concept is a step in the right direction, but it is not an experience either. Experiences come and go, but there is a vast, open, and clear spaciousness that does not come and go, that does not have a beginning, middle, or end, which is why it is “unborn.” It never enters the stream of time, turmoil, and pain.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Shell and silver; overall: 29.2 cm (11 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Conch Shell Set in Silver, 1800s. Tibet. Shell and silver; overall: 29.2 cm (11 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

51. This time, practice the important points

  • This is the Thirteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

Of the two aspects of Dharma, exposition and practice, the latter is more important. Compared to all other meditative practices, the practice of training in the awakening mind is more important. Compared to training [the mind] by applying the [two] paddles of scripture and reasoning, it is more important to persistently train in applying the appropriate antidotes on the basis of your teacher’s pith instructions. Compared to other activities, training by remaining seated on your cushion is more important. Compared to avoiding the objects [of your afflictions], it is more important to probe within. It is critical for you to train in these points.

“A Commentary on the “Seven-Point Mind Training” by Sé Chilbu Chökyi Gyaltsen (1121– 89), in Mind Training: The Great Collection translated by Thupten Jinpa

Bronze; overall: 18.6 cm (7 5/16 in.); base: 12.2 cm (4 13/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Seated Maitreya Buddha, c. 1400. Western Tibet. Bronze; overall: 18.6 cm (7 5/16 in.); base: 12.2 cm (4 13/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

55. Find freedom through investigation and examination

  • This is the Seventeenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

[First] investigate which affliction is most dominant in your mind and earnestly apply its specific antidote, striving hard to subdue the affliction. Then analyze the way deluded mental projections arise in relation to the objects that act as their bases. By applying the antidotes, you reduce the force of the afflictions or prevent their arising. By repeatedly thinking “From here on I will never allow my mindstream to be tainted by these afflictions,” you cultivate familiarity with the protective armor for the future. Thus, with these twin methods for applying antidotes to past and future [afflictions], strive diligently to eliminate the afflictions.

“A Commentary on the “Seven-Point Mind Training” by Sé Chilbu Chökyi Gyaltsen (1121– 89), in Mind Training: The Great Collection translated by Thupten Jinpa

Gilt bronze with gold, silver, copper, turquoise, lapis, and coral inlay; overall: 13.5 x 12 x 8.5 cm (5 5/16 x 4 3/4 x 3 3/8 in.); base: 8 x 19 x 14 cm (3 1/8 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Portrait of Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170), 1200s. Central Tibet. Gilt bronze with gold, silver, copper, turquoise, lapis, and coral inlay; overall: 13.5 x 12 x 8.5 cm (5 5/16 x 4 3/4 x 3 3/8 in.); base: 8 x 19 x 14 cm (3 1/8 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

6. In postmeditation, be a child of illusion

  • This is the Fifth Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”. 
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in two divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which consists of five instructions, and
      • “In postmeditation, be a child of illusion” belongs to the first division of “Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta”.
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta, which consists of four instructions.

Traleg Kyabgon writes:

The way to elevate and liberate ourselves on the spiritual path is by maintaining the perspective of the insubstantial nature of things in our everyday activities. Instead of viewing people and things as discrete and unique, we need to bring the understanding of dependent arising to our everyday lives.

Traleg Kyabgon,The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Color on canvas; overall: 128.2 x 82.6 cm (50 1/2 x 32 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Mandala, early 18th Century. Tibet. Color on canvas; overall: 128.2 x 82.6 cm (50 1/2 x 32 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

34. Don’t shift a ’zo’s burden to an ox

  • This is the Twelfth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

Tibetans value their ’zo (female yak) far more than their oxen, so even though a ’zo is stronger than an ox, a Tibetan would typically think, “If the ox dies, I can easily replace it, but a new ’zo would cost me dearly, so I’ll make the ox carry this load, even though it isn’t really strong enough.” We often employ the same logic in our relationships with others.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Bronze; overall: 21 cm (8 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Varahi, c. 1300s. Nepal. Bronze; overall: 21 cm (8 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

23. Always practice the three general principles

  • This is the First Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

Chögyam Trungpa wrote,

This slogan is a general description as to how we can practice the buddhadharma according to the three basic principles of hinayana, mahayana, and vajrayana. It is connected with a sense of keeping the discipline of all three yanas—hinayana mindfulness practice, mahayana benevolence, and vajrayana crazy wisdom—all at the same time.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Traleg Kyabgon wrote,

This commitment relates to our motivation to practice mind training. If we recognize from the beginning that lojong is a powerful and beneficial practice, we’ll commit ourselves in a genuine and continuous way by retaining a sense of impartiality and guarding against distortion.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

The three principles according to Traleg Kyabgon are: 1) Remember to value your commitment; 2) Refrain from distorted forms of thinking; and 3) Refrain from falling into partiality.

Thangka, opaque watercolor and ink on cotton; overall: 52.4 x 43.2 cm (20 5/8 x 17 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Green Tara, c. 1260s. Tibet. Thangka, opaque watercolor and ink on cotton; overall: 52.4 x 43.2 cm (20 5/8 x 17 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

17. A summary of the essential instructions, train in the Five Powers

  • This is the First Slogan/Instruction of Point Four, which consists of twoi instructions.
  • Point Four is “Practicing Mind Training Throughout Our Lives”. 

The Five Powers (Sanskrit pancendriya; Tibetan dbang po lnga) are instructions on how to meditate during both formal sessions and during daily life. The five are:

  1. The Power of Aspiration
  2. The Power of Cultivation
  3. The Power of Planting Positive Seeds
  4. The Power of Transparency
  5. The Power of Dedication
Wood; overall: 14.1 x 8.7 x 2.4 cm (5 9/16 x 3 7/16 x 15/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Sadaksari-Lokesvara Mandala, c. 1475-1525. Tibet.. Wood; overall: 14.1 x 8.7 x 2.4 cm (5 9/16 x 3 7/16 x 15/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

2. Regard all phenomena as dreams

  • This is the First Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”. 
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in Two Divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which has five instructions, and
      • “Regard all phenomena as dreams” belongs to the first division, “Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta”.
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta, which has four instructions.

In the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra in 8,000 Lines we find:

Subhuti: Like a magical illusion are these beings, like a dream. For not two different things are magical illusion and beings are dreams and beings. Any and all objective facts also are like a magical illusion, like a dream. The various classes of saints, from Streamwinner to Buddhahood, also are like a magical illusion, like a dream.

Gods: A fully enlightened Buddha also, you say, is like a magical illusion, is like a dream? Buddhahood also, you say, is like a magical illusion, is like a dream?

Subhuti: Even Nirvana, I say, is like a magical illusion, is like a dream. How much more so anything else?!

Gods: Even Nirvana, Holy Subhuti, you say, is like an illusion, is like a dream?

Subhuti: If perchance here could be anything even more distinguished, of such too I say is like an illusion, like a dream. For not two different things are illusion and Nirvana, are dreams and Nirvana.

Hereupon the Venerable Sariputra, the Venerable Purna, son of Maitrayani, the Venerable Mahakoshthila, the Venerable Mahakatyayana, the Venerable Mahakashyapa, and the other Great Disciples, together with many thousands of Bodhisattvas, said: “Who, Subhuti, are these grasping this perfect wisdom as here explained?”

Hereupon the Venerable Ananda said to these Elders: “Bodhisattvas incapable of falling back grasp this, or beings, persons reaching sound views, or Arhats in whom the outflows are realized as dried up.”

Subhuti: No one grasps this perfect wisdom as here explained [i.e. explained in such a way as really no explanation at all]. For no dharma at all is being indicated, lit up, or communicated. So here too, is not even one grasping it.

http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/Chapter_II_%E2%80%94_Sakra_(RiBa)

Pala Period (750-1197). Chloritic schist; overall: 94 cm (37 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Buddha Calling on Earth to Witness, 800s. Northeastern India, Bihar, Tetravan. Pala Period (750-1197). Chloritic schist; overall: 94 cm (37 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

19. All Dharma has a single purpose

  • This is the First Slogan/Instruction of Point Five, which consists of four instructions.
  • Point Five is “Evaluating Mind Training”

According to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche: 

 The first instruction is that all dharma, all the teachings of the Hinayana and Mahayana, have one common purpose: to reduce or eliminate the clinging to a self. Whatever dharma we practice, whatever mind training we meditate on, the purpose is to diminish that clinging. If our clinging doesn’t diminish, then our practice isn’t working properly. If we notice that the continual thought of ourselves as important is decreasing, it is one sign that mind training is working.
If we want to know whether our dharma practice is working or not, we have to examine it by asking, “Do I still consider myself to be important? Am I still clinging to my self as something precious?” For instance, if we had a piece of gold and wanted to know how much we had, we could not know this just by looking at it. We would have to put it on a scale and weigh it. Similarly, measuring our clinging to self is a way of telling if our dharma practice is working. Is our clinging to the self diminishing or increasing?

It is said there are 84,000 kinds of dharma, which are too numerous to understand and practice fully. For instance, if practitioners in the main vehicles of the Hinayana, the Mahayana, and the Vajrayana do not have a thorough understanding, they may have the impression that the Hinayana or Shravakayana is very different from Mahayana and even more different >from the Vajrayana. This is not a correct view because all of the Buddha’s teachings agree.

The Seven Points of Mind Training

Miniature stone stele; overall: 9.6 x 5.3 cm (3 3/4 x 2 1/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Vajravarahi: Dancing Dakini, 1000s-1100s. Nepal, 11th-12th century. Miniature stone stele; overall: 9.6 x 5.3 cm (3 3/4 x 2 1/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

8. Three objects, three poisons, three seeds of virtue

  • This is the Seventh Slogan/Instruction of Point Two.
  • Point Two is “The Actual Practice”. 
  • Point two consists of nine instructions in two divisions. The two divisions are
    • 1) Cultivating Absolute Bodhicitta, which consists of five instructions, and
    • 2) Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta,which consists of four instructions.
      • “Three objects, three poisons, three seeds of virtue” belongs to the second division, “Cultivating Relative Bodhicitta”

Traleg Kyabgon writes,

This slogan says that we can transform the objects and poisons into virtue. Instead of seeing virtue as something totally unconnected to vice, we can cultivate virtue from the soil of our negative tendencies by relating to the object of our emotions in a different way.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind:

To most of us, there are three types of people and objects: those we like, those we don’t like, and those we’re indifferent to. or some variation of the three. These are the Three Objects. 

Wikipedia has a useful chart of the Three Poisons:

Poison Sanskrit Pali Tibetan Alternate English translations
Delusion moha moha gti mug confusion, bewilderment, delusion
Attachment rāga lobha ‘dod chags desire, sensuality, greed
Aversion dveṣa dosa zhe sdang anger, hatred, hostility

The Three Virtues are the opposites of the Three Poisons. As Wikipedia lists them:

 

15th century. Gilded copper; overall: 42.4 x 16.5 cm (16 11/16 x 6 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva of Wisdom (Manjushri),. Nepal, 15th century. Gilded copper; overall: 42.4 x 16.5 cm (16 11/16 x 6 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

28. Give up all hope for results

  • This is the Sixth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”]

Traleg Kyabgon wrote:

This slogan may sound foreign to Western ears, but it has a long history in Buddhist thinking. The lojong teachings say that whenever we become obsessed with results, we spend our time trying to manipulate the outcome of our endeavor, instead of paying attention to the activity itself. Even though we have no real idea what the result will be, we project a picture-perfect vision of our expectations into the future. This distracts us from doing the task at hand and usually ends in frustration and disappointment because the imagined result is never the same as the eventual outcome. Thus, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with what benefits we’re achieving from our mind training, but should simply focus on our practice with sincerity, for how we engage in the practice is what will determine the end result.

It’s important to have a general notion of what we want to attain, but we shouldn’t get too caught up in specifics or we’ll waste our time and energy in fantasies.

Traleg Kyabgon,  The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Gilded wood with polychrome; overall: 21.3 x 14.6 cm (8 3/8 x 5 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Figure of a Maitreya on a Tiered Pedestal, c. 1200. Nepal. Gilded wood with polychrome; overall: 21.3 x 14.6 cm (8 3/8 x 5 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

56. Don’t expect gratitude

  • This is the Eighteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

Generally speaking, when we are too desirous of something in life, we’re less likely to attain it. Success seems to increase in direct proportion to the diminution of our desires. The same logic applies to our need for recognition. We might want to be appreciated and respected, but we have only a limited ability to influence how other people respond and we can’t make somebody show us gratitude any more than we can force someone to love us.

Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Ink and slight color on cotton; overall: 57.6 x 42.4 cm (22 11/16 x 16 11/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva Padmapani, early 1700s. Tibet. Ink and slight color on cotton; overall: 57.6 x 42.4 cm (22 11/16 x 16 11/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

22. You are proficient if you can practice even when distracted

  • This is the Fourth Slogan/Instruction of Point Five, which consists of four instructions.
  • Point Five is “Evaluating Mind Training”

Jamgön Kongtrül wrote,

A skilled horseman does not fall from his horse, even when he is distracted. In the same way, if you are able to take adverse conditions that suddenly develop as aids to mind training even without expressly directing your attention to do so, then you are proficient in mind training. The two bodhichittas arise clearly and effortlessly along with everything that appears—enemies, friends, troublemakers, happiness, or suffering.

The Great Path of Awakening, translated by Ken McLeod

Gilt bronze inlaid with semi-precious stones; overall: 18.4 cm (7 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Hevajra and Consort, mid-1600s. Tibet. Gilt bronze inlaid with semi-precious stones; overall: 18.4 cm (7 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

48. Train in all areas without partiality

  • This is the Tenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

It is stated that being angry and vengeful toward enemies and adversaries who are right there in your presence comes about on the basis of frequent interactions. Thus, from one angle, there is a real risk of losing your mind training in relation to those who simply appear repulsive, those who harbor ill-will against you even though you have caused them no harm, and those you find undesirable even though they harbor no ill-will toward you. Therefore single these people out for special focus, and train your mind by perceiving them as parts of your own heart. Furthermore, because your spiritual teachers, parents, and bodhisattvas are objects of special significance— the fruitional effects are inconceivably [grave] if you accumulate negative karma in relation to them— single them out [for special focus] and engage in the training.

“A Commentary on the “Seven-Point Mind Training” by Sé Chilbu Chökyi Gyaltsen (1121– 89), in Mind Training: The Great Collection translated by Thupten Jinpa

Wood; overall: 43.8 cm (17 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, 900-1200. Himalyas, probably Tibet. Wood; overall: 43.8 cm (17 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

16. Immediately join whatever you meet with meditation

  • This is the Sixth Slogan/Instruction of Point Three, which consists of six instructions.
  • Point Three is “Transforming Adversity into the Path of Awakening”. 

According to Traleg Kyabgon:

This slogan refers to the practice of transforming adverse circumstances and situations into the path of awakening. It is a reminder not to respond to things in a habitual way, but rather to respond with understanding, openness, and courage by maintaining a sense of awareness. We shouldn’t think of meditation as something we only do if we’re sitting on a cushion, but should treat everyday situations as meditations by focusing our mind on whatever arises. There’s nothing we can’t utilize for our own and others’ benefit if we use both fortunate and unfortunate circumstances to train the mind.

The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Gilt bronze; overall: 78.1 x 67.6 cm (30 3/4 x 26 5/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva of Wisdom (Manjushri), 1400s. Nepal, 15th century. Gilt bronze; overall: 78.1 x 67.6 cm (30 3/4 x 26 5/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

37. Don’t turn gods into demons

  • This is the Fifteenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

This slogan refers to our general tendency to dwell on pain and go through life with constant complaints. We should not make painful that which is inherently joyful.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Gilt bronze and semiprecious stones; overall: 35.6 x 27.9 x 25.4 cm (14 x 11 x 10 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Goddess Uma, 1000s. Nepal. Gilt bronze and semiprecious stones; overall: 35.6 x 27.9 x 25.4 cm (14 x 11 x 10 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

59. Don’t expect people to make a fuss over what you are doing

  • This is the Twenty-first Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

Don’t expect others to praise you or raise toasts to you. Don’t count on receiving credit for your good deeds or good practice.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

 

Thus when I work for others’ sake, No reason can there be for boasting or amazement. For it is just as when I feed myself— I don’t expect to be rewarded.

Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

Thanka: color on fabric; image: 78.2 x 62.9 cm (30 13/16 x 24 3/4 in.); overall: 100 x 66.7 cm (39 3/8 x 26 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Seated Amitabha with Attendants, c. 1100s. Tibet, Western Himalayas, from Tabo Monastery. Thanka: color on fabric; image: 78.2 x 62.9 cm (30 13/16 x 24 3/4 in.); overall: 100 x 66.7 cm (39 3/8 x 26 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

47. Make the three inseparable

  • This is the Ninth Slogan/Instruction of Point Seven, which consists of twenty-one instructions.
  • Point Seven is “Guidelines for Mind Training”

Your practice of lojong should be wholehearted and complete. In body, speech, and mind, you should be inseparable from lojong.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Mineral pigments on cotton; overall: 51.4 x 39.4 cm (20 1/4 x 15 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Portrait of Two Lamas, c. 1300. Central Tibet. Mineral pigments on cotton; overall: 51.4 x 39.4 cm (20 1/4 x 15 1/2 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

32. Don’t wait in ambush

  • This is the Tenth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”

Chögyam Trungpa wrote,

The Tibetan version of this slogan literally says, “Don’t ambush,” that is, wait for somebody to fall down so that you can attack. You are waiting for that person to fall into the trap or problem you want or expect. You want them to have that misfortune, and you hope that misfortune will take place in a way which will allow you to attack.

Chögyam Trungpa, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Brass inlaid with silver and gold; overall: 26.2 cm (10 5/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Bodhisattva Padmapani, 900s-1000s. Western Tibet. Brass inlaid with silver and gold; overall: 26.2 cm (10 5/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Lojong Tester

28. Give up all hope for results

  • This is the Sixth Slogan/Instruction of Point Six, which consists of sixteen instructions.
  • Point Six is “The Disciplines of Mind Training”]

Traleg Kyabgon wrote:

This slogan may sound foreign to Western ears, but it has a long history in Buddhist thinking. The lojong teachings say that whenever we become obsessed with results, we spend our time trying to manipulate the outcome of our endeavor, instead of paying attention to the activity itself. Even though we have no real idea what the result will be, we project a picture-perfect vision of our expectations into the future. This distracts us from doing the task at hand and usually ends in frustration and disappointment because the imagined result is never the same as the eventual outcome. Thus, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with what benefits we’re achieving from our mind training, but should simply focus on our practice with sincerity, for how we engage in the practice is what will determine the end result.

It’s important to have a general notion of what we want to attain, but we shouldn’t get too caught up in specifics or we’ll waste our time and energy in fantasies.

Traleg Kyabgon,  The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

Gilded wood with polychrome; overall: 21.3 x 14.6 cm (8 3/8 x 5 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art

Figure of a Maitreya on a Tiered Pedestal, c. 1200. Nepal. Gilded wood with polychrome; overall: 21.3 x 14.6 cm (8 3/8 x 5 3/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art