Courtesy of Lojongmindtraining.com, on every odd-numbered day, we will be introduced to Lojong mind training, a Tibetan tradition of mind training.
As mentioned on Wikipedia, Lojong is a practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition based on a set of aphorisms formulated in Tibet in the 12th century by Geshe Chekhawa. The practice involves refining and purifying one’s motivations and attitudes. The proverbs that form the root text of the mind training practice are designed as a set of antidotes to undesired mental habits that cause suffering. They contain both methods to expand one’s viewpoint towards absolute bodhicitta, such as “Find the consciousness you had before you were born.” and “Treat everything you perceive as a dream.”, and methods for relating to the world in a more constructive way with relative bodhicitta, such as “Be grateful to everyone.” and “When everything goes wrong, treat disaster as a way to wake up.”
One seminal commentary on the mind training practice was written by Jamgon Kongtrul (one of the main founders of the non-sectarian Rime movement of Tibetan Buddhism) in the 19th century. This commentary was translated by Ken McLeod, initially as A Direct Path to Enlightenment. This translation served as the root text for Osho’s Book of Wisdom. Later, after some consultation with Chogyam Trungpa, Ken McLeod retranslated the work as The Great Path of Awakening.
Two significant commentaries to the root texts of mind training have been written by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (founder of the New Kadampa Tradition) and form the basis of study programs at NKT Buddhist Centers throughout the world. The first, Universal Compassion is a commentary to the root text Training the Mind in Seven Points by Geshe Chekhawa. The second, Eight Steps to Happiness is a commentary to the root text, Eight Verses of Training the Mind by Geshe Langri Tangpa.
In 2006, Wisdom Publications published the work Mind Training: The Great Collection (Theg-pa chen-po blo-sbyong rgya-rtsa), translated by Thupten Jinpa. This is a translation of a traditional Tibetan compilation, dating from the fifteenth century, which contains altogether forty-three texts related to the practice of mind training. Among these texts are several different versions of the root verses, along with important early commentaries by Se Chilbu, Sangye Gompa, Konchok Gyaltsen, and others.
Geshe Thupten Jinpa (Scholar and chief translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama), as written on http://www.mandalamagazine.org/archives/mandala-issues-for-2008/february/mind-training-the-tibetan-tradition-of-mental-and-emotional-cultivation/, says about Lojong mind training:
Whatever metaphysical explanation we might personally find satisfactory on the fundamental question of why we are here, a fact that is indisputable, at least for a spiritually-minded person, is that we have to use our life in a way that is most constructive. As Buddhists understand it, this is to cultivate the compassionate dimension of our human psyche and engage in compassionate action. There is a wonderful passage in the work of the eighth-century master Shantideva, where he writes that the fully-enlightened Buddhas have for eons reflected on what is the highest and most valuable thing to do, and they have found that other than helping others, there is nothing else. This really captures the key value that is promoted in Buddhism — the welfare of others. What we should seriously think about is that each of us is not an island: Each of us is a being with a history, a family, a social connection, so if you sit down and think through how many lives are interconnected with your life, you will begin to see a network. Then ask yourself: Have I affected these lives in a constructive, positive way? If the answer is “Yes,” then your life is going in a more meaningful direction. If the answer is “No,” then you have a serious and an urgent task at hand.
[…] But in our habitual self-centered way of doing things, instead of accomplishing what we are trying to seek, we achieve the contrary — suffering and pain — and by re-orienting, and re-structuring the way which we see the world and relate to others, then we will be able to fulfill this fundamental aspiration to achieve happiness. Even if you ask people who are not religiously inclined, especially if they are parents, if there is one thing they would like to reach their children, almost everyone says, “I would like the child to be happy and a good person.” Almost everyone!
[…] At some level we all know that if we try very hard to be happy, it just does not work. Happiness is experienced when we lose ourselves, and all of us know this from our experience. I am not just talking about pleasure or sensation, I am talking about that deep sense of fulfillment, that deep sense of satisfaction, and one of the characteristics of that experience is a loss of sense of self or ego. And so I would like to assure you that if we pursue our life in the restructured way that the mind training teachings are recommending, then we will also find what we are all seeking: happiness.