Lojong Cards and Booklet

Lojong Cards and Booklet
This self-published deck and booklet are the intellectual property of Beverly King. Please do not copy or reproduce any photos or blog posts without permission.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Slogan Forty-eight

Train without bias in all areas.
From the Lojong for the Layperson booklet: 
           Humans are apt to put labels on everything. Our work week might be stamped "boring" while the weekend is labeled "fun." We might call one group of folks "judgmental" and another crowd "understanding." These labels clearly define who or what we prefer, yet this slogan tells us to train without such preferences. Tonglen meditation isn't just for the people we love and care about. The lojong slogans aren't meant to be picked through like a Russell Stover's box of chocolates, taking only those we like. If we are committed to our practice, we'll have no times, places or people who are off limits.
Photo: A retaining wall divides land from lake.

            When I was in my thirties, I became a spiritual seeker. I was a participant of many weekend seminars on subjects ranging from kabbalah to drumming circles. Amazon was constantly delivering books that covered a wide variety of philosophies and religions. I sought out discussions with people whose practices were divergent from my own. I thoroughly enjoyed the learning process, but the knowledge I acquired rarely left my reading chair or the venue of the seminar. My ego expanded but my spiritual practice did not.  Consequently, my attitude and lifestyle changed very little. The forty-eighth slogan is a nudge to actively apply lojong - in all situations with all people. Every moment of my life is a suitable arena for mind training. Instead of a weekend hobby, the slogans can become a way to live with compassion and awareness.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Slogan Forty-seven

Make the three gates inseparable.
From the Lojong for the Layperson booklet:
            The "three gates" refer to the body, mind and speech; they are the three ways we relate with others. Often they work at cross-purposes instead of in sync. We might tell a friend we'll be happy to help her move (sincerely intending to follow through), but we get busy working on a project and fail to show up. Or if we do help, we're wondering how she's going to repay us the whole time we're carrying boxes. In both these situations, the mind, body and speech aren't on the same page. Lojong teaches that what we do, say and think should be inseparable and originate from a heart filled with loving-kindness. Gentleness, awareness and openness will characterize our interactions when we function in such a wholehearted way.
Photo: Three blooms of a pink woodsorrel (Oxalis debilis).

                My mind, body and speech can be either exits from or entrances to an awakened state. If I use thoughts, emotions, actions or words to validate my sense of identity (“me”), then I function as if these things are permanent and unchanging. When the natural course of life (reality) upends my expectations and chips away at this identity, I suffer. Yet something amazing can happen when I add mindfulness and compassion to these three gates. They begin working together to create an experience of being that is ungrasping and benevolent, an experience that transforms chaos into unconditional calm. What I think, feel, do and say will be of benefit to myself and others. As Tenzin Wangyal expressed, “No matter where we are or what we are doing, we can enter through the body into the higher experiences of eternal body, through speech into ceaseless speech, and through mind into undeluded mind.” What was originally my undoing now becomes a doorway to awareness.

Body and speech doggedly follow the mind without fail; they do as they are told. The behavior of the body and speech can have far-reaching consequences. Watch yourself during everyday situations and notice how the state of your mind has control over your speech and body and how it expresses itself.
~ Dagsay Tulku Rinpoche

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Slogan Forty-six

Don’t allow three things to diminish.
From the Lojong for the Layperson booklet:
            We often start lojong full of enthusiasm with an intention to persevere in our practice. But then we get frustrated or bored, craving something new and more exciting. Our gratitude wanes, and we no longer cherish our teacher, the instructions or the personal commitment we made. Our mind training becomes just another experience to add to our spiritual resumé. This slogan counsels us to continually renew our appreciation for the opportunities and resources we’ve been given. Our devotion and respect will grow for our mentor as we see his or her commitment in teaching us. Joy will naturally develop when we realize the usefulness of lojong in the prevention of suffering. And when we treasure the freedom to practice provided by social support and an economic foundation, it can help us stay dedicated to our purpose.
Photo: Southern magnolia cones and leaves surround a single-flowered rose.

            At age sixty-six, my husband bought his first brand-new car. If a squashed bug or bird droppings get on it, he immediately cleans it off. He carries Windex and a roll of paper towels in the trunk of his car specifically for this purpose. When we go shopping, he chooses a parking spot in the outer area of the lot. He believes this will prevent the dings caused by other car doors and shopping carts. If any warning lights appear on the dashboard, he doesn’t hesitate to call the Honda service center and have the engine checked out. The owner’s manual for the car is about as thick as the Oxford English Dictionary, but he is doggedly making progress in reading it. He has worked hard to buy this car, and so he enthusiastically cares for it. With spiritual training, it is easy to take the available resources for granted when I have nearly effortless access. My respect, appreciation and dedication and can wane for my mentor, the teachings and my commitments. Yet without these three things, I won’t learn how to be compassionate towards myself and others. I will begin to feel separated rather than connected. And when challenges come, I will react emotionally rather than respond with wisdom.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Slogan Forty-five

Take on the three principal causes.
From the Lojong for the Layperson booklet:
            The principal causes are those things that help us awaken and develop loving-kindness. They create the strong base needed for practicing lojong.
  • Teacher – The Sanskrit word used for a mentor in mind training is kalyanamitra, or spiritual friend. This is a person who can impart knowledge, offer advice and serve both as a guide and example. Such a mentor is not just there to encourage us, but to expose our true natures.
  • Spiritual instructions – The dharma helps us recognize that mind training is not only important but possible. We hear the instructions, contemplate their meaning, and integrate the wisdom into our daily lives.
  • Supportive environment –To create the conditions that permit us to practice, we must have adequate social and economic support. Such a system enables us to maintain our dedication.
Photo: Multi-stemmed trunk of crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica).

            If I were to go backpacking in a wilderness area, there are a few things I would make sure I had with me besides the basics of shelter, food and water. The first must-have would be someone to accompany me who was intimately familiar with the terrain, flora and fauna. His wisdom would helpful in such matters as what water sources were safe to drink from and whether the snake with the yellow stripes was harmless. The next items of great value would be a map and a compass. Hiking trails in the deep woods occasionally cross deer paths or old logging trails, and it is easily to mistake one for the other. If we suddenly discovered we’re not where we should be, these tools can help us get back on track. The last essential would be friends with whom to share the experience. We could encourage each other when the climbing got tough, and if someone got hurt, a couple could go for help while the others tended the injured person. In the same way, a mentor, instructions and support can help us successfully travel along our spiritual path.