Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness [NOOK Book]

Overview

Warning:
Using this book could be hazardous to your ego! The slogans it contains are designed to awaken the heart and cultivate love and kindness toward others.
They are revolutionary in that practicing them fosters abandonment of personal territory in relating to others ...

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Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness

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Overview

Warning:
Using this book could be hazardous to your ego! The slogans it contains are designed to awaken the heart and cultivate love and kindness toward others.
They are revolutionary in that practicing them fosters abandonment of personal territory in relating to others and in understanding the world as it is.

The fifty-nine provocative slogans presented here—each with a commentary by the
Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa—have been used by Tibetan
Buddhists for eight centuries to help meditation students remember and focus on important principles and practices of mind training. They emphasize meeting the ordinary situations of life with intelligence and compassion under all circumstances. Slogans include, "Don't be swayed by external circumstances," "Be grateful to everyone," and "Always maintain only a joyful mind."

This edition contains a new foreword by Pema Chödrön.

This book presents a series of traditional Buddhist slogans to be used as a study aid for practitioners of meditation, the aim of which is to train the mind, awaken the heart, and cultivate love and kindness toward others. In use by Tibetan Buddhists for 800 years, the slogans are brought here into contemporary usage.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834821231
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 236,204
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Chögyam Trungpa (1940–1987)—meditation master, teacher, and artist—founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, the first Buddhist-inspired university in North America; the Shambhala Training program; and an international association of meditation centers known as Shambhala International. He is the author of numerous books including Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and The Myth of Freedom.

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Read an Excerpt

Editor's
Preface

This book is a translation

by the Nalanda Translation Committee of
The
Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind
by
Chekawa Yeshe Dorje, with a commentary based on oral teachings presented by
Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. In his teaching on this subject, Trungpa
Rinpoche utilized as a central reference the commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul the
Great, entitled in Tibetan
Changchup
Shunglam (The Basic Path toward Enlightenment),
which was included in the collection of the principal teachings of Tibetan Buddhism that the latter compiled, known as
The
Five Treasuries.
(Trungpa
Rinpoche's own teacher, Jamgon Kongtrul of Sechen, was an incarnation of this leading nineteenth-century teacher.)

The seven points of mind training are attributed to the great Indian Buddhist teacher Atisha Dipankara Shrijnana, who was born of royal heritage in Bengal in
982 CE.

Thus,
the list of mind training slogans compiled by Chekawa is often referred to as the Atisha Slogans. Having renounced palace life as a teenager, Atisha studied and practiced extensively in India and later in Sumatra, with his principal teacher, Dharmakirti (also known as Serlingpa in Tibetan), from whom he received the instructions on bodhichitta and mind training. Upon his return to
India, he began to reestablish these once-lost teachings and took a post at
Vikramashila, a famous Buddhist monastic university. Invited to bring the teachings on mind training to Tibet, he taught there for about thirteen years,
until his death in approximately 1054,

having transmitted this body of wisdom to his closest Tibetan disciple, Dromtonpa, the founder of the Kadam lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. For some time, the Atisha slogans were kept secret and transmitted only to close disciples. The first to write them down was the Kadampa teacher Lang-ri Thangpa (1054–1123).

They became more widely known after they were summarized by Geshe Chekawa Yeshe
Dorje (1101–1175) in
The
Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind.
Geshe
Chekawa encountered many lepers in the course of his teaching and instructed them in mind training. It is said that several of them were thereby cured of their disease. His teachings were thus sometimes referred to by the Tibetans as
"the dharma for leprosy." When Chekawa noticed that these teachings even seemed to benefit his unruly brother, who had no interest in the dharma,
he decided that it would be appropriate to make them more widely available.
Atisha's teachings on mind training are thus now practiced by all the major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, and have been for centuries.

The
Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind
is a list of fifty-nine slogans, which form a pithy summary instruction on the view and practical application of mahayana Buddhism. The study and practice of these slogans is a very practical and earthy way of reversing our ego-clinging and of cultivating tenderness and compassion. They provide a method of training our minds through both formal meditation practice and using the events of everyday life as a means of awakening.

This volume is not based on a single seminar, but rather is a compilation of teachings and remarks given over a period of years. The Vidyadhara

first presented the mahayana teachings of the Kadampa slogans in 1975,

at the third annual Vajradhatu

Seminary,
one of thirteen three-month advanced teaching programs he taught between 1973
and 1986. In subsequent seminaries he further elaborated upon the theory and practice of mind training.

Mind training, or slogan practice, has two aspects: meditation and postmeditation practice. In Tibetan, the meditation practice is called
tonglen,
or sending and taking, and is based upon the seventh slogan: "Sending and taking should be practiced alternately. / These two should ride the breath." Trungpa Rinpoche introduced the formal meditation practice of tonglen to his students at the 1979 Seminary and he encouraged them to incorporate tonglen into their daily meditation practice. He also encouraged them to work with the postmeditation practice of joining every aspect of their lives with meditative discipline through the application of the slogans.

In working with his own students, Trungpa Rinpoche placed great emphasis on the practice of formless meditation, the development of mindfulness and awareness,
as the foundation. He initially transmitted tonglen practice only to senior students who already had extensive experience in sitting meditation and the study of Buddhist teachings. When the study and practice of mind training are presented in such a context, the danger of interpreting these teachings in a moralistic or conceptual fashion is reduced.

Later the practice of tonglen began to be introduced to students upon the occasion of taking the bodhisattva vow, a formal statement of their aspiration to dedicate their lives to the benefit of others. Over time, tonglen practice was introduced in a variety of contexts. The Naropa University, a Buddhist-inspired university in Boulder, Colorado, includes tonglen training in its clinical psychology program. This training has also been offered as an aspect of the
Buddhist-Christian dialogues offered at the Naropa University. Participants in one-month-long meditation intensives, called
dathüns
in
Tibetan, are now regularly introduced to tonglen practice, and if they desire more intensive training, they may take part in specialized tonglen dathüns. Tonglen is included in a monthly practice for the sick as well as in Vajradhatu funeral ceremonies.

Through slogan practice, we begin to realize that our habitual tendency, even in our smallest gestures, is one of self-centeredness. That tendency is quite entrenched and affects all of our activities, even our so-called benevolent behavior. The practice of tonglen is a direct reversal of such a habit pattern and is based on the practice of putting others before self. Starting with our friends, and then extending to our acquaintances and eventually even our enemies, we expand our field of awareness to accept others and be of benefit to them. We do this not because we are martyrs or have suppressed our self-concern, but because we have begun to accept ourselves and our world.
Slogan practice opens up a greater field of tenderness and strength, so that our actions are based on appreciation rather than the ongoing cycle of hope and fear.

Coming face to face with this most basic contrast of altruism and self-centeredness takes considerable courage and daring. It gets right to the heart of the spiritual path and allows no room for even the slightest deception or holding back. It is a very basic, nitty-gritty practice.

Tonglen is a particularly powerful way of dealing with pain and loss. In relating to illness or death—our own or another's—tonglen helps us overcome our struggle with and rejection of such experiences and relate more simply and directly.

The formal practice of tonglen, like mindfulness-awareness practice, works with the medium of the breath. In order to begin, it is essential first to ground oneself by means of mindfulness and awareness training. That is the foundation upon which tonglen is based. Tonglen practice itself has three stages. To begin with, you rest your mind briefly, for a second or two, in a state of openness.
This stage is somewhat abrupt and has a quality of "flashing" on basic stillness and clarity. Next, you work with texture. You breathe in a feeling of heat, darkness, and heaviness, a sense of claustrophobia, and you breathe out a feeling of coolness, brightness, and lightness—a sense of freshness. You feel these qualities going in and out, through all your pores.
Having established the general feeling or tone of tonglen, you begin to work with mental contents. Whatever arises in your experience, you simply breathe in what is not desirable and breathe out what is desirable. Starting with your immediate experience, you expand that to include people around you and other sentient beings who are suffering in the same way as you. For instance, if you are feeling inadequate, you begin by breathing that in and breathing out your personal sense of competence and adequacy. Then you extend the practice,
broadening it beyond your personal concerns to connect with the poignancy of those feelings in your immediate surroundings and throughout the world. The essential quality of this practice is one of opening your heart—
wholeheartedly taking in and wholeheartedly letting go. In tonglen nothing is rejected: whatever arises is further fuel for the practice.

Trungpa
Rinpoche stressed the importance of the oral tradition, in which practices are transmitted personally and directly from teacher to student. In that way students participate directly in an unbroken wisdom tradition, going back many generations to the time of the Buddha himself. The essential living quality of practice being conveyed is a very human one and cannot be acquired simply from books. Therefore, it is recommended that before embarking on the formal practice of sending and taking, if at all possible, one should meet with an experienced practitioner to discuss the practice and receive formal instruction.

The postmeditation practice is based upon the spontaneous recall of appropriate slogans in the thick of daily life. Rather than making a heavy-handed or deliberate effort to guide your actions in accordance with the slogans, a quality of spontaneous reminder is evoked through the study of these traditional aphorisms. If you study these seven points of mind training and memorize the slogans, you will find that they arise effortlessly in your mind at the oddest times. They have a haunting quality, and in their recurrence they can lead you gradually to a more and more subtle understanding of the nature of kindness and compassion.

The slogans have a way of continually turning in on themselves, so that any attempt to rely on these sayings as crutches to support a particular moral view is undermined. The approach to moral action here is one of removing obstacles of limited vision, fear and self-clinging, so that one's actions are not burdened by the weight of self-concern, projections, and expectations. The slogans are meant to be "practiced." That is, they need to be studied and memorized. At the same time, they need to be "let go." They are merely conceptual tools pointing to non-conceptual realization.

As is usual in Buddhist teachings, there is an element of playfulness and irony in the way one slogan often undermines its predecessor and thereby enlarges one's view. They form a loop in which nothing is excluded. Whatever arises in one's mind or experience is let go into the greater space of awareness that slogan practice generates. It is this openness of mind that becomes the basis for the cultivation of compassion.

The view of morality presented through the Kadampa slogans is similar to that of
Shakespeare's famous lines, "The quality of mercy is not strained, it falleth as the gentle rain from heaven." There is no notion of moral battlefield in which we ward off evil and fight for the right. The traditional
Buddhist image for compassion is that of the sun, which shines beneficently and equally on all. It is the sun's nature to shine; there is no struggle.
Likewise, compassion is a natural human activity, once the veils and obstacles to its expression are removed.

The
Vidyadhara encouraged his students to include tonglen in their daily meditation practice and to memorize the slogans. He would have individual slogans beautifully calligraphed and posted at Vajradhatu seminaries. You never knew when you might come across one. For instance, you might find "Be grateful to everyone" posted in the kitchen, or "Drive all blames into one" hanging from a tree. The slogans are meant to be contemplated—one by one. For that reason the Vidyadhara encouraged students to use printed slogan cards as daily reminders and provocateurs.

In their earthiness and simplicity, may these teachings inspire us to cultivate kindness and compassion, and not to give up on ourselves or others. May they provoke fearlessness in overcoming the tenacious grip of ego. May they enable us to put into practice our most heartfelt aspirations to benefit all sentient beings on the path of awakening.



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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Editor's
Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction

1

POINT
ONE

The
Preliminaries, Which Are a Basis for Dharma Practice
5
1. First,
train in the preliminaries. 5

POINT
TWO

The
Main Practice, Which Is Training in Bodhichitta
7
[Ultimate and Relative Bodhichitta]
7
[Ultimate
Bodhichitta Slogans]
17
2.
Regard all dharmas as dreams.
17
3.
Examine the nature of unborn awareness.
18
4.
Self-liberate even the antidote.
19
5.
Rest in the nature of alaya, the essence.
21
6.
In postmeditation, be a child of illusion.
24
[Relative
Bodhichitta Slogans]
26
7. Sending and taking should be practiced alternately. These two should ride the breath. 26

8.
Three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue.
35
9.
In all activities, train with slogans.
37
10.
Begin the sequence of sending and taking with yourself.
38

POINT
THREE

Transformation of Bad Circumstances into the Path of Enlightenment
39

[Point Three and the Paramita of Patience]
39
11. When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi.
40
12.
Drive all blames into one.
42
13.
Be grateful to everyone.
48
14.
Seeing confusion as the four kayas, is unsurpassable shunyata protection.
52
15.
Four practices are the best of methods. 55

16.
Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation.
67

POINT
FOUR

Showing the Utilization of Practice in One's Whole Life
70
[Point
Four and the Paramita of Exertion]
70
17. Practice the five strengths, the condensed heart instructions.
71
18. The mahayana instruction for ejection of consciousness at death, is the five strengths: how you conduct yourself is important.
75

POINT
FIVE

Evaluation of Mind Training
79
[Point
Five and the Paramita of Meditation]
79
19.
All dharma agrees at one point.
80
20.
Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one.
81
21.
Always maintain only a joyful mind.
84
22.
If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained. 86

POINT
SIX

Disciplines of Mind Training
89

[Point Six and Prajnaparamita]
89
23.
Always abide by the three basic principles.
90
24.
Change your attitude, but remain natural.
91
25.
Don't talk about injured limbs.
92
26.
Don't ponder others.
93
27.
Work with the greatest defilements first.
93
28.
Abandon any hope of fruition.
94
29.
Abandon poisonous food.
95
30.
Don't be so predictable.
95
31.
Don't malign others.
96
32.
Don't wait in ambush.
97
33.
Don't bring things to a painful point.
97
34. Don't transfer the ox's load to the cow. 98

35.
Don't try to be the fastest.
98
36.
Don't act with a twist.
99
37.
Don't make gods into demons.
100
38. Don't seek others' pain as the limbs of your own happiness.

POINT
SEVEN

Guidelines of Mind Training
101
[Point
Seven and Postmeditation]
101
39.
All activities should be done with one intention.101

40.
Correct all wrongs with one intention.
102.
41.
Two activities: one at the beginning, one at the end. 102

42.
Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.
103
43.
Observe these two, even at the risk of your life.
104
44.
Train in the three difficulties.
104
45.
Take on the three principal causes.
105
46.
Pay heed that the three never wane.
106
47.
Keep the three inseparable.
106
48.
Train without bias in all areas. It is crucial always to do this pervasively and wholeheartedly.
107
49.
Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment.
107
50.
Don't be swayed by external circumstances.
107
51.
This time, practice the main points.
107
52.
Don't misinterpret.
108
53.
Don't vacillate.
108
54.
Train wholeheartedly.
108
55.
Liberate yourself by examining and analyzing.
109
56.
Don't wallow in self-pity.
109
57.
Don't be jealous.
109
58.
Don't be frivolous.
109
59.
Don't expect applause.
109

CONCLUDING
VERSES
111

Appendix: The
Forty-six Ways in Which a Bodhisattva Fails
113
Notes 117
Glossary 119
Transliterations of Tibetan Names and Terms
124
Bibliography 126
About the Slogan Cards
127
About the Author
128
Resources 132
Index 135

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