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Lo-jong, or mind-training, is a specialty of the Kadampa denomination ("Gelugpa,") but it is used by all denominations of Tibetan Buddhism.   This is a method that develops the basis for the Mahayana, which is bodhicitta.   It stirs the mind to awaken to compassion and helps maintain it, weakening notions of self-importance so that the roots of suffering are overcome.

The training is accomplished by means of verses or slogans that we can use as corrections or reminders when we are caught up in habitual, often negative, ways of reacting.

Lojong has a sound basis in the sutras, deriving from Buddha Shakyamuni himself.  The methods were transmitted in an unbroken chain of accomplished Indian meditation masters and were eventually compiled by the great Bengali pandit, Atisha.

Atisha

"Jowo" Atisha (982-1054) who is also known as Shri Dipamkara ("Lord Lamp-bearer,") was a teacher at Vikramashila University.  Searching out the essence of the Buddha's teachings from more than 150 teachers, he eventually traveled as far across the eastern sea as Sumatra to meet his spiritual mentor, Dharmakirti, known also as Serlingpa.  There he remained for 12 years, receiving extensive training on the development of bodhichitta -- "awakened mind."

When he finally returned to the mainland, he traveled through the Himalayas to Tibet, where he spent the last 17 years of his life.  There, he transmitted the teachings on mind-training to Dromton, his closest Tibetan disciple.  The lojong system and methods come down to us mainly through  Kadampa geshes such as Potowa, Langri Tangpa, and Sharawa; then to Chekawa (1102-1176), who compiled them into a popular 60 or so verse-form.

Atisha is the founder of the Sarma, or new, tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (as compared with Nyingma.)

The Seven Points of Mind-Training

Geshe Chekawa Pabongka wrote the text motivated by the line in Langri Tangpa's Thought Transformation in Eight Stanzas that says one should accept all blame and suffering, and give away all profit, gain, and happiness.

Chekawa's text begins with a homage to Chenrezi in the standing form of Lokeshvara (Lord of the World,) whose distinctive attribute is the noose that pulls us back to compassion for all beings.  Covered in 60 verses are seven main points.

 

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