What is Lojong or mind training?
It is a mind training practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and is based on a set of 59 slogans formulated in Tibet in the 12th century by Geshe Chekhawa.
Lojong is frequently translated as “mind training,” but the meaning of the term in Tibetan is closer to “refining‚” rather than training.
The practice involves purifying and refining one’s attitudes and motivations, in order to subjugate, transform or tame the mind.
Mind training teachings, originally a secret transmission, were only practiced by a few sincere students, with a proven capacity for practice. Later, it became more widely available and nowadays we are fortunate to have not only the root text and commentary available but many contemporary commentaries, as well.
Dalai Lama explained:
“The lojong tradition stands as the heart of the Buddha’s message of peace. The essential message of these teachings is that if we want to see a better world, we should begin by improving our own mind.”
The 14th Dalai Lama continued:
”We can spend our lives trying to ‘tame’ the world, a task that would never end, or we can take the more practical path of ‘taming’ our own minds.”
The 59 slogans are organized around the seven points that remind us how to awaken our hearts.
The Seven Points of Training the Mind:
I The Preliminaries
Slogan #1 First, train in the preliminaries.
II The Main Practice
Slogan #2 Consider all things and events as dreamlike.
Slogan #3 Examine the nature of unborn awareness.
Slogan #4 Let even the antidote be freed in its own place.
Slogan #5 Rest in the alaya, the essence.
Slogan #6 Between sessions, be a conjurer of illusions.
Slogan #7 Train in the two, giving and taking, alternately. These two are to be mounted on the breath.
Slogan #8 Three objects, three poisons and three sources 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 by applying slogans.
Slogan #10 Begin the sequence of sending and taking with yourself.
III Transforming Adversity into the Path of Enlightenment
Slogan #11 When all the world is filled with evil, transform adversity into the path of enlightenment.
Slogan #12 Drive all blames into one.
Slogan #13 Meditate on the great kindness of all.
Slogan #14 Meditating on delusory perceptions as the four kayas.
Slogan #15 The fourfold practice is the best of the methods.
Slogan #16 Whatever you encounter, apply the practice.
IV Applying the Practice throughout the Whole of Life
Slogan #17 Practice the five strengths, the condensed heart instructions. The 5 strengths are: strong determination, familiarization, the positive seed, reproach, and aspiration.
Slogan #18 The Mahayana instruction for the ejection of consciousness at death is the five strengths: how you conduct yourself is important. When you are dying practice the 5 strengths.
V The Measure of Mind Training
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 rely upon the principal one.
Slogan #21 Always maintain only a joyful attitude.
Slogan #22 If this can be done even when distracted, you are proficient.
VI The Commitments of Mind Training
Slogan #23 Train constantly in three basic principles – dedication to your practice, refraining from outrageous conduct, developing patience.
Slogan #24 Change your attitude but remain natural.
Slogan #25 Don’t speak of injured limbs.
Slogan #26 Don’t ponder others’ flaws.
Slogan #27 Train first with the strongest destructive emotions.
Slogan #28 Abandon any expectations of results.
Slogan #29 Give up poisonous food.
Slogan #30 Don’t be so loyal to the cause.
Slogan #31 Don’t lash out in retaliation.
Slogan #32 Don’t lie in ambush.
Slogan #33 Don’t strike a vulnerable point.
Slogan #34 Don’t transfer the ox’s burden to the cow.
Slogan #35 Don’t be competitive.
Slogan #36 Don’t misperform the rites.
Slogan #37 Don’t reduce gods to demons.
Slogan #38 Don’t seek others’ misery as crutches of your own happiness.
VII The Precepts of Mind Training
Slogan #39 Do everything with a single intention.
Slogan #40 Counter all adversity with a single remedy.
Slogan #41 Two tasks: one at the beginning and one at the end.
Slogan #42 Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.
Slogan #43 Keep the two, even at your life’s expense.
Slogan #44 Train in the three difficulties.
Slogan #45 Acquire the three main provisions: the teacher, the dharma, the sangha.
Slogan #46 Cultivate the three that must not decline.
Slogan #47 Keep the three from which you must not separate: body, speech, and mind.
Slogan #48 Apply the training impartially to all. It is vital that it be deep and all-pervasive.
Slogan #49 Meditate constantly on those who’ve been set apart.
Slogan #50 Don’t be dependent on external conditions.
Slogan #51 This time, practice what’s most important.
Slogan #52 Don’t misunderstand.
Slogan #53 Don’t be inconsistent.
Slogan #54 Train wholeheartedly.
Slogan #55 Gain freedom through discernment and analysis.
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.
Khenpo Sherab Sangpo bio:
Khenpo Sherab Sangpo is a Tibetan monk and professor in the Nyingma lineage (the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism) of Tibetan Buddhism.
He was trained by Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche and Khenpo Petse Rinpoche, two of the greatest masters of the Tibetan Nyingma tradition in recent history, starting when he was 7 years old.
Furthermore, he received the most secret and profound teachings of the Dzogchen tradition (the central teaching of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism), instructions that are forbidden from being written down or transmitted to more than one student at a time. These powerful teachings are known as Nyong-tri, which signifies “experiential instructions.”
In the present day, Khenpo Sherab Sangpo teaches weekly meditation classes in Minneapolis and meditation retreats at his centers in Duluth, Minneapolis, Ely, and Hibbing. He teaches in English and is loved for his kindness, warmth, laughter, and the joy with which he teaches his students to awaken their innate buddha nature.
In the video below, Khenpo Sherab Sangpo gives practical instructions on how to turn our minds towards cultivating loving-kindness and compassion in day to day life via Lojong, the profound Buddhist teachings on mind training.