I’ve studied through the slogans a dozen times in my life;
these are my musings on the slogan currently, what comes up on the day that
I am posting the slogan, not a formal interpretation.
For that reason they are less about straight Buddhist teachings,
and I think able to be shared with most practitioners of other faiths or no faith
(unless yours doesn’t allow you to read any other tradition.)
If you have time and the inclination, I published the WHOLE thang here!
You’ll notice that I’ve paraphrased this slogan on my image.
“#43: Observe these even at the risk of your life.”
The reason is that I’ve read several books on the Mind Training over the years, and it seems that there are many interpretations of how many items there are to “observe at the risk of your life.” I am okay with that now, as I don’t care much about numbers.
That said, this one I will linger on for a couple weeks, I am sure…
partly because of the times we are living in, the potential of war, the collapsing
of our generous and lovely planet, so that it feels like danger is imminent.
Lives are at stake, not just human, but all sentient beings.
I am afraid. Others are too.
In general, my zenny interpretation is not to
lose your head and heart even in danger and confusion.
But to be true to these teachings, and not in any order, adhere to the following:
The Bodhisattva Vow, praṇidhāna, has many translations:
“The many beings are numberless; I vow to save them.
Greed, hatred, and ignorance rise endlessly; I vow to abandon them.
Dharma gates are countless; I vow to wake to them.
Dharma is unsurpassed; I vow to embody it fully.”
from Roshi Robert Aiken
This vow sang to me when I first heard it, and I took it alone standing in the Boddhi Tree on Melrose Boulevard (Lojong 32: Boddhisattva Vow and more, Lojong 33: Boddhisattva Vow.) I was suffering, knew others were suffering, and this
selfless vow seemed a path to stopping the endless suffering.
It is about committing to clearing all your obstacles and poisons and bad habits,
in order that you may serve all sentient beings to free them from suffering.
Many Christians think this is about proselytizing, but it is in fact very bad karma
to try to make a person stray from their chosen spiritual path.
It is instead about working the dharmic teachings to become very very clear (enlightened),
and you do this to be in service to all sentient beings, of which you are one.
It brings up the whole discussion of enlightenment, which I have released entirely, thankfully. I am happy when I can look back at the end of a day and have not caused suffering to those I encountered, to not have harmed anyone. I am happy when I breath fully, when I practice tonglen, when I have released my monkeymind, which is oh-so-hard these days. I am having to endlessly release worry, worry about our planet,
about the homeless, about our personal futures.
Practice is the only way, and a huge part of that is the practice of gratitude.
To remember to BE HERE NOW (RIP Ram Dass), present for what is.
For right here, right now, I can still practice, I have a warm safe place to lay my head,
a loving husband, critters I love and delight in, and am safe and fed.
I offer that up to those who do not have that, everywhere.
When I am in fear of the medical profession, I breathe in that fear and send out health to all those who are in the hands of doctors as we speak. When I am in fear of fires I send out cooling rain to the Australia, the very embodiment of fiery suffering right now.
These monkeymind thoughts of fearful futures, even if they are quite possible,
are checked by tonglen, and offering the antidotes to every one.
This slogan will be continued. There is a lot for me to say on this, and
that usually occurs when it is near and dear to me and not an easy slogan.
Next week, part two.
In this weekly commentary on the lojong, I am not open comments becoming
a debate for people to nitpick Buddhism or my interpretations of Buddhist concepts.
(There are lots of places for debates.) I am more interested in hearing about
YOUR life or how the lojong affected you or your practice awakening in some manner.
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