Lojong 12) Drive all blame into one.

3. Using Adversity (11 – 15)

Suffering has no other cause than ego clinging.

    This slogan is pretty dogmatic.  It would only take one example of suffering without ego clinging as a primary component, to undermine it.  Please post an example if you have one.

    The only caveat for posting a counter example is that suffering is not the same as pain or discomfort.  We are all aware that the world is full of pain and discomfort.  Pain transforms into suffering when I demand that it be something else.  This point has been made many times and in many places.  Radical acceptance is not that I change my view to allow that everything is just and right.  There are many things that are not fair, just or right.  The point of a radical acceptance is that suffering results when I fail to accept that the event has occurred or is occurring.

    Radical Acceptance does not mean that as soon as I accept that an event has occurred, I am no longer in a position to make an effort to change it or correct it.  It is argued that I am in a much better position to make an effective effort to change the event because I have accepted its reality.  I am no longer blinded by my demand that things be different than they are.  Examples, of demanding that things be different are things like, “I can't stand it when this happens.”,  “I can't believe he did this to me.” , “I just can't accept this diagnosis.”,  “This just is not fair.”  etc.  Each of these statements represent a barrier to seeing reality clearly and result in suffering in addition to the pain of the event. 

    The root of every demand that things be different than reality is my clinging to “but I do not want it to be this way” and the corollary “things should, must or ought to be the way I want.”

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
 and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
 as it is, not as I would have it; ....

(IMJ: the rest of this slips into Ego Clinging, but the first part is good stuff).

   --Reinhold Niebuhr

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Lojong 10) Begin Taking and Sending with Yourself

2. Formal Practice (2-10)

Until I can do this for myself, I will be unable to do this for another.

The Taking and Sending referred to in this saying is the practice of Tonglen or Loving Kindness Meditation.  This topic is discussed in Logong 7, so the this post addresses why there is an instruction to begin Taking and Sending with yourself.

What do you think of the saying, "Until you love yourself; you will be unable to love another?"  If you understand this correctly, you probably already get this entire post.  Thank you, if you are still willing to read these thoughts on the matter.  If you would be interested here is a link to the stories of Pygmalion and Narcissus.  Love requires the ability to want the best for the other person, and in so doing our benefit is incidental (but probably inevitable).

I can take in my own sufferring and send out love and kindness to myself, whenever sufferring arises in myself; to the extent I become aware of this arising.  No matter how "enlightened" I am, there will be moments when I forget or become blinded to the causes of sufferring.  Hopefully, I can become aware of these moments as soon as they arise (and eventually before that).  If you would like to read more about this, try 42) Train in 3 Difficult Disciplines. The practice of Taking and Sending with Yourself will be particularly helpful as you begin to use Lojong 42 to deal with the recurrent events that we all encounter while working towards "Peace of mind in the real world."

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Lojong 9) Practice every activity with slogans

2) Formal Practice (2 - 10)

The lojong sayings cover the major philosophical underpinnings and practical requirements of the Dharma.

The sayings are helpful in learning about the philosophy and practice of the Dharma, however, it is likely that the sayings will be misunderstood if you don't already know.  Many of the sayings are written to highlight the paradoxes inherent in having a right understanding.  For example, on the surface "26) Give up hope of obtaining results" does not make sense to the traditional western mind.  And if fact, sayings like this one can be a yardstick of right understanding

As you become more familiar with the sayings, you will find that one of these can be applied to every activity you do.  And as you apply the sayings in everyday life, it will move your right understanding from moments of meditation to everyday life. 

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The Lojong Sayings

Tonglen / Lojong:

Tonglen - sending & taking.  Lojong - practice w/ proverbs.


1. Preliminaries

1) First, learn the preliminaries.

a. Appreciate Life & hearing the Buddhadharma,

b. Know the reality of death,

c. Accept Karma,

d. Accept the inevitability of cyclic suffering)


2. Formal Practice (2-10)


2) Think all phenomena are like dreams.  (My reality depends on momentary perception) 


3)  Analyze the unborn nature of awareness.  (There is no "Me" independent of momentary perception)


4)  Let even the antidote vanish of itself.  (Don't cling to the method) 


5) Settle in pure awareness (samadhi - enlightenment / sabbodhi - awareness of things as they are)


6) In post meditation, be a child of illusion.  (Between sessions maintain awareness of the dependent nature of reality)


7) Alternately practice sending & taking.  (Meditation: Breathe in, All Suffering / Breathe out, Everything Good)


8) 3 Objects, 3 Poisons: 3 roots of virtue.  (Objects of attachment, ...of hostility,...of ignorance: into virtue)


9) Practice every activity with slogans.  (Tonglen & Lojong in every act)


10) Begin taking & sending w/ yourself.  (Until I can do for myself, I will be unable to do for another)


3. Using Adversity (11-15)


11) When evil fills the world, change adversity into the path of awakening.  (Each obstacle is a chance to wake up)


12) Drive all Blames into One.  (Suffering has no other cause than Ego Clinging) 


13) Be grateful to everyone.  (Obstacles presented by others are some of the very best opportunities to develop by Lojong)


14) Emptiness comes in meditation on the four Kayas 

a. All is empty,

b. First arising of compassion from emptiness,

c. Compassion w/out conditions;

d. Simply being w/out distinctions, categories, divisions)


15) Whatever you encounter, immediately apply it to meditation. (Meet everything with awareness)


4. Life & Death (16)


16) Practice the five strengths

a. Determination to be egoless

b. Through being mindful & aware

c. So as to cultivate Bodhicitta

d. To release clinging grasping

e. Through prayer for the benefit of all others.


5. Yardsticks (17-20)


17) All dharma has a single goal.  (All lessons are designed to subdue ego-clinging)


18) Of the 2 witnesses, follow the one.  (Be true to myself) 


19) Always have the support of a Joyful mind.  (With help of a joyful mind, difficulty is an aid to Tonglen  - Lighten Up!)


20) Practice even when distracted (Be aware when I am distracted)


6. Commitments (21-36)


21) Abide the three Basic Principles

a. Keep promises,

b. Attend only to the essential,

c. Practice the same way in each situation


22) Transform your desires, & remain who you are.  (Do not be ostentatious in my new attitude of compassion)


23) Do not discuss defects.  (Of others or myself)


24) Do not ponder others.  (It is merely a mirror of myself & "Pray: May all be free of this suffering.")


25) Work on your greatest imperfection first.  (Focus full awareness on the place where I repeatedly stumble.) 


26) Give up hoping for results.  (It creates barriers to earnest practice on the path - Bodichitta)


27) Abandon poisonous food (Even virtuous thoughts & actions, if motivated by Clinging to concrete reality & self-cherishing, are like poisonous food)  


28) Don't rely on consistency.  (As when I am unable to break from the past.)


29) Don't malign others.  (Do not gossip either good or bad.)


30) Don't wait for an opportunity (Either: to engage in practice or to 'ambush' another)


31 Do not strike at weakness (Don't criticize belief, love, trust, etc.)


32) Don't transfer the Ox's burden to a cow.  (Don't shift responsibility for my feelings, blame, or other burdens)  


33) In your practice, don't aim to win.  (The Practice is not a race or competition to be better than others)


34) Don't act with a twist.  (Act without ulterior motive, only be direct & straight, not sneaky, not sideways)


35) Don't make Gods into Demons.  (Avoid inflated ego that may use the practice to avoid real insight)


36) Do not expect advantage from suffering.  (Yearning for another's suffering merely guarantees my own)


7. Guidlines (37-57)


37) Do everything with One intention.  (Transform everything, even obligations into Spiritual Practice w/ "Bodhichitta" intention)


38) One method will correct all wrong.  (Awareness / mindfulness)


39) 2 Actions on 2 Occasions: beginning & end.  (Begin & end each day with a commitment to Bodhicitta practice) 


40) Be patient, whichever of the 2 occurs.  (Don't jump into my habitual pattern in either good or bad fortune) 


41) Observe two precepts even at the risk of life.  (Awareness & compassion - Osho) 


42) Train in 3 difficult disciplines. 

First, become aware when disturbing emotions arise;

Later, as soon as I am aware, turn from it;

Finally, take action to prevent the seed before it is sown)


43) Take on the 3 primary resources.  (Teacher, Environment, Teachings)


44) Don't allow 3 things to weaken.  (Three Jewels / Objects of Refuge: the Buddha, the Sangha, and the Dhamma/Dharma)


45) Keep the 3 Inseparable. (Integrate Practice in Body, Speech, & Mind)


46) Deep & pervasive training: unbiased in every area.  (Without beliefs, without boundary, without holding back: in all 3 objects: #8)


47) Meditate on that which provokes resentment.  (Use resentments as a reminder, not an obstacle) 


48) Do not rely on external conditions.  (All conditions nurture the practice of Lojong/Tonglen)


49) This time, practice the main points. 

a. Benefit others,

b. Experience rather than books,

c. Bodhicitta is most important.


50) Avoid these 6 mistakes


a. Impatience - be patient in all things esp. the practice,

b. To want wealth, happiness, pleasure, etc. at the expense of the practice,

c. To enjoy only pleasures & not the practice,

d. To have only compassion for innocents & not for all - even evil doers,

e. To be 'helpful' in a wrong way,

f.  Inappropriate rejoicing.


51) Do not be erratic. (Practice with steady consistency)


52) Train wholeheartedly.  (After I think I get it, start again to go to the next deeper understanding - again & again)


53) Find freedom by using:  Examination & Investigation.  (Be aware of the strongest clinging, then notice when it arises, again & again)


54) Don't make a fuss.  (Neither brag or wallow in self-pity - every experience is illusion)


55) Don't be jealous.  (It will lead to wrong action)


56) Don't be frivolous or fickle.  (Don't irritate others by my action, such as jealousy or "holier than...")


57) Don't expect thanks.  (Don't do anything merely for the recognition of others)


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An Early Practical Dharma

This book by Champat Rai Jain was published in 1929.  The translated title is The Practical Dharma.  My bookmark is on Chapter IX: Dharma in Practice.  This is the second edition of the book, the orginal went by the title Practial Path.  Unfortunately, you will not be able to buy this book. 

Today I am cleaning up my office.  I moved many of my books upstairs to the attic.  I have a Kindle and think one day, I may be able to release my attachment to books (ha! they'll just be hidden in cyberspace, my attachment will be the same).  At least my office space will look neater.  First we moved our music into digital space and soon I think "writings" (books) will go the same way.  Perhaps using the Kindle is "shaping up my behavior".  By using an eReader, I am letting go of some of my attachment to books.

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