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Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
buddhadharma| 41 |fall 2005 to pick up a good text on mind training and follow that as carefully as one can. whether you have a teacher or not, i feel one important element is required. Just as Vajrayana has its root system deeply embedded in the Mahayana, so does the Mahayana tradition have its root system deeply embedded in the early teach- ings of the Buddha. Mind training is not an intro- ductory teaching, or at the very least, it would be a very steep step to be making at the outset. For the lojong teachings to make much sense, they need to rest on the fundamental framework of the four noble truths and the basic constituents of the practice: sila, samadhi, and prajna; that is, ethics, meditation, and wisdom. Judith Lief: i never present lojong without present- ing at least some preliminary ground of shamatha- vipashyana. You need to let the mind settle and rest with uncertainty – get down to the bare bones. it helps to have a sense of the logic of the sutrayana, and without a basic meditation practice, lojong can easily become just a way to be goody-goody. Ken MCLeod: i’d like to offer a little different per- spective from what alan and Judy just said. what i’ve found in talking about lojong, and particularly taking and sending, is that for many people it is an immediate way to get in touch with compassion. Therefore, i’m not so sure that it can’t be used as an introduction. if it is presented as a natural expression of innate compassion, people can con- nect with it quite easily and quite deeply. lojong can take them right to the heart of bodhicitta, the intention to be awake. it can allow one to be com- pletely awake to all aspects of one’s experience in order to correct our basic imbalances, imbalances that involve the whole world. The practice of ton- glen, sending and taking, has that kind of power. aLan waLLaCe: Putting tonglen into a secular con- text can be helpful, but certainly lojong is more than the practice of tonglen. i don’t see how one could properly work with the meaning of bodhi- citta – the achievement of perfect enlightenment of a buddha for the sake of all sentient beings – with- out having a sense of who the Buddha is, what the four noble truths are, and so forth. These are not isolated meditative practices. They come to us as very theory-laden, textured, multifaceted disci- plines of practice. i don’t see how they really make any sense without the whole package. Judith Lief: i’ve certainly presented tonglen as a very practical thing to do, separated out from the context of lojong. For example, it’s very helpful michAeldAVidmurphy