Mind Training (Lojong)
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Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Texts on so-called mind training (blo sbyong), the system of practical instructions for developing the compassion and wisdom of bodhicitta:
- The Blissful Path to the Ocean of Bodhichitta: A Brief Prayer of Aspiration for Mind Training by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
This prayer of aspiration for training the mind in bodhicitta by exchanging all the world's suffering for genuine happiness is based on Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye's longer text, The Gateway to the Ocean of Bodhicitta.
- The Excellent Path to Enlightenment: An Aspiration Towards the Mahāyāna Mind Training by Ga Rabjampa Kunga Yeshe
This aspiration, written during an unspecified snake year, incorporates the key elements of the Mind Training teachings, such as taking on others' suffering and giving away one's own happiness, and perfecting relative and absolute bodhicitta.
This prayer of aspiration covers the entire Buddhist path, but places special emphasis on the cultivation of bodhicitta in its various forms. For to have bodhicitta, says Patrul Rinpoche, is to have "all that's needed to attain enlightenment."
Eight Verses of Training the Mind
These eight verses, which are now regularly transmitted around the world by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, succinctly convey the compassionate attitude, humility and uncompromising vision of a true bodhisattva—as encapsulated in the text's most famous and most striking lines: "I will take defeat upon myself and give the victory to others.
This short text (Bodhisattvamaṇyāvalī in Sanskrit), which is included in the Middle Way section of the Tengyur (Toh 3951), is regarded as a classic work of the Mind Training (blo sbyong) tradition. With its direct and pithy language, it is not so much a poem as a series of maxims on the bodhisattva path.
One of Jigme Tenpe Nyima's best known works—and indeed one the most famous Tibetan texts of recent times—this is a pithy and practical guide to integrating all experiences, good and bad, happy and sad, into the path to enlightenment. As the text itself puts it, this is “indispensable for leading a spiritual life, a most needed tool of the Noble Ones, and quite the most priceless teaching in the world.”
Taken from a collection called Miscellaneous Sayings of the Saintly Masters of the Kadam Tradition (bka' gdams kyi skyes bu dam pa rnams kyi gsung bgros thor bu ba rnams) edited by the 11th/12th century teachers Chegom Sherab Dorje (lce sgom shes rab rdo rje) and Kharak Gomchung Wangchuk Lodrö (kha rag sgom chung dbang phyug blo gros).
This is a classic work on 'bringing difficult circumstances onto the path' (lam khyer), a subgenre of mind training. Tokme Zangpo reveals what it is like to live beyond hopes and fears, and how to face sickness, poverty and death (as well as good health, prosperity and long-life) with joy.
Longchen Rabjam tells us that he composed these thirty verses of heartfelt advice for himself and others like him, out of a sense of renunciation. In what has become one of his most famous and popular teachings, he advocates simplicity, ethical discipline, humility, and, above all, diligent practice.
One of the great Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa's most famous teachings, this short text highlights the importance of renunciation, the motivation of bodhicitta, and the wisdom that realises the nature of things.
Seven Points of Mind Training
One of the most important and influential works of mind training composed in Tibet, this series of slogans was first composed—that is, written down—by Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1101–1175) according to the tradition of Atiśa Dīpaṃkara (982–1055?). The seven points cover: 1) the preliminaries, 2) main practice, 3) transformation of adversity, 4) lifelong application of the practice, 5) measures of progress, 6) commitments, and 7) precepts.
This is among the best known and most commonly taught commentaries on the popular mind training slogans. The author, famous for his Thirty Seven Practices of the Bodhisattvas, writes in the style of the pith instructions, in plain and simple language.
These notes on the Seven Points of Mind Training appear to derive from the celebrated commentary of Sé Chilbu Chökyi Gyaltsen (1121–1189). Unfortunately the notes do not cover the entire root text and their brevity is suggestive of lecture notes or an aide-memoire.
Jamyang Khyentse composed this prayer for perfecting the Seven Points of Mind Training (blo sbyong don bdun ma) when he was in the presence of the famous Atiśa statue at the Tārā Temple in Nyethang (snye thang). The section headings were added by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
One of the most famous native Tibetan texts on mind training, this classic by Tokme Zangpo summarises the teachings of Śāntideva's Bodhicaryāvatāra and other sources, in order to present the path of the bodhisattva in just thirty-seven four-line verses.