"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about progressively opening your heart and calming your mind enough to engage Life directly, to be more fully Present in a kind, clear, and helpful way."

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call! Musings on Life and Practice by a long time student of meditation.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Lojong: Training the Heart and Mind

"True compassion does not come from wanting to help out those
less fortunate than ourselves but from realizing our kinship with all beings."
---Pema Chödrön, Awakening Loving-Kindness

"Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation."
---The 16th Mind Training Slogan of Atisha

I've had my nose buried in books a lot this past week.  No longer on the road with Partner, Daddy and GrandPapa duties predominating, my time had opened up again.  Of course, I seemed to fill it right back up.

Although, admittedly, some of that time has involved taking long morning walks amidst fall splendor, and observing a personal Day of Mindfulness each week for Fall Ango, I've also been diving into a stack of books again on Lojong Practice.

Although the 59 slogans of this Tibetan Buddhist system of training the Heart/Mind were passed on as secret teachings in Tibet by the ninth century emigre Indian teacher, Atisha, they were codified and then opened to a wider audience in the 12th century by Tibetan teacher Geshe Chekawa.

Now, in the 21st century, that audience is worldwide.  Here, in the melting pot of American Buddhism, there are numerous translations and commentaries on these Teachings in English -- and not only those of teachers in the Tibetan tradition like Pema Chödrön and her teacher Chögyam Trungpa.  In fact, my favorite book on Lojong is that of Zen teacher, Sensei Norman Fisher.  His book, Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong, rocks!

In print, in digital media and on the web, accessing the vast array of material on Lojong available today is like peering at the rainbow facets of a diamond while slowly spinning it around in the sunlight.

How cool is that?

Of course, studying is one thing.  Unlearning a lifetime of habit is another.  The effort to uncover our natural compassion and wisdom takes commitment, energy, and patience.  It takes Practice.

At one point years and years ago, after having been struck by a suggestion by Ram Dass's in Be Here Now,
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