The Lojong Mind Training Slogans

Category: Buddhist Path | Recent Meditation Posts

An image of a beautiful stone wall with multiple colors, symbolizing the Lojong practice of many slogans

The Lojong Mind Training Slogans (Mahayana Buddhist Practice)

The lojong mind training slogans are brief, pith statements that serve as mindfulness reminders. Together, they form a mind training practice for integrating the wisdom of meditation into our daily lives and walking the bodhisattva path.

What Is Lojong Mind Training?

Lojong (a Tibetan word meaning mind training) is a contemplative Tibetan Buddhist practice, based on 59 aphorisms that serve as slogans for mindfulness. These short statements of truth map the bodhisattva path and encourage us to cultivate the thoughts and actions that bring us closer to enlightenment. By distilling profound Buddhist teachings into catchy proverbs, lojong offers us a practical means of remembering what matters.

Referred to as Mahayana mind training slogans, lojong helps us break free from the unconscious habits that keep us in a cycle of suffering. They remind us to cultivate the selfless, beneficial habits of a bodhisattva, summarized by the idea of exchanging ourselves for others. By contemplating lojong slogans in awareness meditation, we increase the likelihood that when needed, these reminders will arise for us in daily life.

It is our habit, for example, not to meditate until conditions are just right. We might wait until our to-do list is complete, until we feel calm, or until the mind is settled. Of course, this habit keeps us from progressing in our practice. What if, at the moment we decide to put off our meditation until later, lojong slogan number 50 came to mind? Don’t be swayed by external circumstances.

As the slogan pops up, we find ourselves in a moment of awareness, our habit interrupted. The slogan invites us to linger in this moment and bring awareness to our choice. Do we really want to skip our meditation, or will we choose a different path? Each time we select to go with the meaning of the slogan, versus the momentum of habit, we strengthen the neural pathways that promote a new, more beneficial way of moving through the world.

And so, we sit down to meditate, despite the imperfect circumstances. This one act, prompted by the slogan, has far-reaching effects. By training the mind to think differently, we speak and act differently, too. In other words, the mind becomes more like that of a bodhisattva.

The Seven Points of Mind Training Slogans

Lord Atisha, the 11th-century meditation master, is most often credited with creating the lojong practice and introducing it to Tibet. The 59 aphorisms most widely practiced today, organized into 7 points of mind training, are the work of the 12th-century master Chekawa Yeshe Dorje. He wrote a commentary on Atisha’s practice titled Training the Mind in Seven Points. His lojong 7 point mind training is organized in the following way:

  • Point One: The Preliminaries
    • Slogan 1: Train in the preliminaries to practice, the four reminders
  • Point Two: Training The Mind in the Path to Freedom
  • Point Three: Transforming Unfavorable Circumstances by Bringing Them onto the Path
    • Slogans 11-16
  • Point Four: Integrating the Practices into Daily Life
    • Slogans 17-18
  • Point Five: Evaluating the Trained Mind
    • Slogans 19-22
  • Point Six: The Commitments of Mind Training
    • Slogans 23-38
  • Point Seven: Advice for Mind Training
    • Slogans 39-59

How To Practice With Lojong Slogans

To practice with the slogans, you could work with one per day, or per week. Meditate on the slogan in the morning, then do your best to remain aware of it throughout the day. Observe what arises. Here are four examples you could use as guides:

  • Slogan 2: Regard all dharmas as dreams
    • Meditate on impermanence and the meaning of emptiness
    • Throughout the day, entertain the idea that everything exists in multiple ways, from many different perspectives
  • Slogan 13: Be grateful to everyone
    • Meditate on gratitude and what gratitude feels like in your body
    • Throughout the day, practice bringing gratitude to even your most challenging moments.
  • Slogan 29: Abandon poisonous food
    • Meditate on what you are consuming. This may include food, media, conversation, or material goods.
    • Throughout the day, make a point to consume only that which nourishes your physical and spiritual health.
  • Slogan 39: All activities should be done with one intention.
    • Meditate on what your single most meaningful intention may be. (Hint: Is it to be of benefit to others?)
    • Throughout the day, question whether each of your thoughts and actions is in alignment with this intention, or if it brings you further from it.

To become a bodhisattva is a mighty task. We won’t get there by merely wishing it true. But by practicing the six paramitas and following the path of the lojong slogans, we make becoming a bodhisattva real. In little moments throughout each day, we train the mind to think, speak and act as an enlightened being would. Eventually, we become what we do.

About the Author: Sara-Mai Conway

Sara-Mai Conway writes articles about Buddhist meditation based on her practice and experience
Sara-Mai Conway is a writer, yoga and meditation instructor living and working in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Her writing and teachings are informed by her personal practice and Buddhist studies. When not at her desk, she can be found teaching donation-based community classes in her tiny, off-grid hometown on the Pacific Coast. Learn more about Sara-Mai Conway here.

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