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.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Abandon any hope of fruition.

Sunprint photo by Emily Longbrake

  Sunny days when nature’s growth is at its height make me think of a creative craft I enjoyed with my daughter – Sunprints. Based on the cyanotype process, it uses sun-sensitive paper that undergoes a chemical change when exposed to ultra-violet light. Lovely prints can be made by laying fern fronds, flowers, feathers or other objects on the paper and then placing it outdoors in the sunlight. After several minutes a reaction takes place; the print is then soaked in water to stop the chemical process. The result is a precise pattern of the objects on a beautiful, blue background. Unlike Sunprints, life rarely produces such an exact blueprint of what we anticipate. We lay out our plans, apply energy behind them, then fully expect to see what we desire to unfold. But what happens when we attach our joy and peace of mind to an outcome that never materializes? This slogan teaches us to abandon such clinging, otherwise we will only perpetuate our cycle of suffering.

Everything we need is present inside us, not somewhere ahead of us.
~ Ringu Tulku

For more information on the twenty-eighth slogan, go here.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Work with the greatest defilements first.

Photo by Liz West

There is a quote often used by writers and conference speakers in the business world: "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."* Their analogy is not meant to be taken literally but as an encouragement to work on one’s most challenging task first, because it will likely reap the most benefits and have the biggest impact. Lojong training uses the same logic by advising to start where we feel most stuck in our spiritual practice. To find our 'frog,' Pema Chodron suggests looking for a feeling of righteous indignation; upon finding it, we can "let go of the story line, let go of the conversation, and own our feeling completely." We do this with an attitude of unconditional friendliness and acceptance rather than judgment. By attending to our strongest habitual pattern with a willingness to change it, we often eliminate a lot of smaller ones. As Chogyam Trungpa colorfully expressed it, "You do not just want to work with chicken shit, you want to work with the chicken itself."
*Though this quote is usually attributed to Mark Twain, it is more likely a rendering of the words of Nicolas Chamfort.

Our greatest obstacles are also our greatest wisdom. ~ Pema Chodron

For more information on the twenty-seventh slogan, go here.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Don't ponder others.

Bluebird - Photo by Cloe Poisson

          During the spring and summer months, it's not uncommon to see the side-view mirrors of cars adorned with garbage bags or cut-off shirt sleeves. This warm weather look is due to the nesting of songbirds. The males stake out their territory by flashing their bright feathers and singing from high among the trees. But occasionally an interloper will appear who refuses to respect boundaries, even when met with a direct attack. The problem is one of perception; the intruder is really the male's own reflection, not another bird. The twenty-sixth slogan advises us not to ponder others for the same reason. What we think we understand about another's motives is likely a reflection of our own mind. The assumptions we make about the intentions of another person is based on our analysis of their actions. Logic and reasoning will never give us an actual view inside their mind or heart; it's probable that what we imagine to be true is wrong. We'd be better off paying attention to the feathering of our own 'nest' instead of trying to figure out someone else.

We judge ourselves by our intentions; we judge others by the effects of their actions on us. ~ Jack Himmelstein

For more information on the twenty-sixth slogan, go here.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Don’t talk about injured limbs.

Photo by Marlon du Toit

          Animal behavior expert Aubrey Manning relayed an occurrence witnessed by the warden of a wildlife park in South Africa. His story is a tender and touching example of animal empathy and altruism:
One particular evening, he was watching a group of elephants drinking at a waterhole when one unusual-looking elephant pushed to the front. It had almost no trunk at all, clearly having lost most of it in a fight or accident, or possibly through infection. Such a disfigured elephant should have died very quickly, but instead the game warden watched in genuine amazement as several elephants - one after the other - used their own healthy trunks to suck up water and then squirted that water into the mouth of the elephant who couldn't drink for herself.
Unlike the elephants, most humans tend to be less helpful when someone's shortcomings or failings are exposed. We gossip, making cutting or condescending remarks, hoping to bolster our self-esteem or erase a pain for which we hold the other accountable. Yet we get no lasting satisfaction from our belittling statements, and we create more suffering for ourselves. As B. Alan Wallace explains, "The more passion one has about the faults of others, the more agitated the mind becomes." Lojong training can help us explore such tendencies, showing us the illusions our habitual patterns often hide behind.

Taking responsibility for your own actions is another way of talking about awakening bodhichitta, because part of taking responsibility is the quality of being able to see things very clearly. ~ Pema Chodron

For more information on the twenty-fifth slogan, go here.