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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Working with the Slogans

As I was corresponding with someone this morning about lojong, I realized I have never shared how I practice with the slogans on a daily basis. I have a card stand that I use for a different card each week. When I write in my journal each day, I try and connect what is going on in my life to the wisdom of the slogan. It never ceases to amaze me how spot on the slogans often are!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi (awakening).

Emergence - photo by Jimmy Hoffman

          The traditional phrasing of this slogan begins with "When the world is filled with evil," followed by "transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi." Intolerance and hate seem to be surging upward again in the world; even on a community level, injustices abound. When we see or hear of inequity or mistreatment, most of us are instinctively filled with righteous indignation. We feel energized to stop or change the situation, yet our emotional reactions might be more hurtful than helpful. Our perceptions are influenced by personal assumptions, limited knowledge, and self-interest. Instead of seeing the situation and possible solutions with clarity and openness, we are restricted to the tight confines delegated by the ego. Meditation can help us be aware of the narrowness of our presumptions and opinions. We can look with curiosity at our feelings and see what lies beneath them. We can emerge from the constriction of our personal viewpoint and rest in the spaciousness of the luminous mind, drawing wisdom and compassion from it. 

Effective action starts with self-knowing, self-understanding of where we're caught. You don't want to start helping people out of your up-tightness, out of your strong sense of you're going to get revenge, because it escalates the aggression. And even though you might have short-term successes, basically someone has been so provoked by your aggression that the retaliation comes back. ~ Pema Chodron

For more information about the eleventh slogan, go here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Begin the sequence of sending and taking with yourself.

Photo by Andrea Booher
          Shortly after 9/11, I remember reading about the many Search and Rescue dogs who explored the maze of twisted metal and rubble from the Twin Towers. Not only did these animals search for survivors, they also provided comfort to the first responders who worked tirelessly at the site. Yet as the days turned to weeks, the dogs continually found bodies rather than anyone alive. Though they were well taken care of, several of them began to lose their fur and appetites as well as show signs of depression. Like any professional, their biggest reward was a job well done - in their case, finding a live person. Some of the handlers got a few workers to hide among the debris to allow the dogs to feel the excitement of a live rescue again. This break from routine gave them some positive reinforcement for the endless, hard work they had been doing. In the same way, practicing tonglen for ourselves can help uncover the spring of compassion that flows within; nourished by it, that feeling of tenderness and kindness can overflow to others.

There is a difference between self-absorbed, narcissistic behavior and sound internal self-care. Self-care is about taking good care of our own feelings so we don’t project them onto others, act badly, or cause problems in relationships. When we are in touch with our own feelings, we can then reach out more effectively to others and show love and empathy to them also. ~ Karyl McBride

For more information on the tenth slogan, go here.

Monday, March 14, 2016

In all activities, train with the slogans.

Sweetgrass Braids - Photo by Marylene Lynx

          It's interesting to discover as an adult what an influence other people have had in one's life. My father-in-law always hated shopping and frequently attempted to persuade his wife to make haste with the phrase, "Get it and let's go!" I tend to dither when picking out a gift for someone else, and my husband often uses the same expression on me. As a child, my mother had a rule that all the holiday decorations had to be packed away before January 1st. She gave the impression that it was bad luck to do otherwise (though I think she was just tired of the holiday excitement). Now that I have my own home, I make sure to put away all evidence of the holiday before New Year's Day too. What we hear, see and do on a regular basis tends to become woven into the normality of our lives. The ninth slogan is an encouragement to take the wisdom of lojong and likewise braid it into our everyday experiences. It invites us to become so familiar with the slogans that certain events or emotions trigger the thought of one like a fragrance that brings back fond memories.

Transformation doesn't come from changing our mannerisms or our way of talking; it comes from learning to think about things differently. ~ Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche

For more information on the ninth slogan, go here.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Three objects, three poisons, three seeds of virtue.

 Alder Catkins Kaleidoscope - photographed and created by Trina Stephenson

          A kaleidoscope's tube contains a collection of small, loose objects, such as beads, confetti and bits of colored glass. Patterns are created with these objects through multiple reflections. Usually three mirrors are attached together inside the scope, creating a triangular shape with the objects at one end. Peering through the eyehole at the other end of the cylinder, a colorful mandala can be seen, formed by the reflections. As the tube is turned, the objects are rearranged in various positions; no pattern is ever exactly the same as before. The objects in our lives are the people and things we categorize: friend/asset, enemy/affliction and nobody/insignificance. Our feelings about these groups are like the mirrors; each one reflects how our emotions color our perceptions. They create the poisons of attachment (craving), aggression (aversion), and indifference (ignorance). Like a kaleidoscope's design, they create a pattern too - of behavior and thought. Instead of being helpful, these reactions become entrenched and cause suffering. As the scope creates numerous designs, so we have many habitual responses. Awareness of how our beliefs arise and result in perpetual reaction can transform the poisons into seeds. We can pause and look at what stains our viewpoint. Instead of simply reacting, we can aspire to act with compassion. Breathing in the emotion (rather than the story around it) and breathing out with tenderness, we send out a wish that all beings be free from craving, aversion and ignorance. Without an object to focus on, the emotional energy dissipates on its own.
For more information on the eighth slogan, go here.