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Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
buddhadharma| 39 |fall 2005 buddhadharMa: what does lojong mean? Ken MCLeod: although lojong is often translated as “mind training,” the meaning of the term in Tibetan is closer to “refining‚” rather than train- ing. That puts a different slant on it. aLan waLLaCe: i would agree. The term most com- monly translated as “mind” from sanskrit is citta, which is rendered as sem in Tibetan. Here the word for mind is lo in Tibetan and mati in sanskrit. it doesn’t refer to mind in general; it refers more to attitude. lojong, then, is largely a matter of refram- ing our perspective on the phenomena and events that arise before us. we perceive them from a fresh perspective. so, rather than taking the usual tack of trying to transform our external circumstances, we shift and refine our way of viewing, experiencing, and engaging with whatever reality presents itself to us from moment to moment. Ken MCLeod: lojong is counterintuitive in the sense that it’s opposed to our ordinary way of relating to the world. it is intended to create friction between our habitual patterns and the experience of the compassion takes up the space that is left. rather than simply telling ourselves that we need to be a good boy or a good girl, the teaching embodied in the slogan can counteract our tendency to cling, right on the spot, where the rubber meets the road. The archetypal practice of cultivating relative bodh- icitta is tonglen, the practice of sending and taking, where we take in all negativity and send out all that is nourishing and life-giving. it reverses the basic direction of energy that supports ego. no english term adequately captures the nature of the “sayings” that form the backbone of the seven-point mind training. Chögyam Trungpa rinpoche chose the term “slogan” to describe these pithy phrases that enjoin us to act, but others find the association with advertising and commer- cialism misleading. whatever we call these apho- risms, they have a power to arouse compassion on the spot in a way that no amount of good inten- tion has been able to accomplish. Perhaps these teachings and practices can even reach beyond the community of committed Buddhist practitioners to help a troubled world, or perhaps they require a Buddhist context to function. our panelists differ on this question. —Barry Boyce judithliefbyAddisonthompson;b.AlAnwAllAcebyVesnAA.wAllAce.