Napa Valley Insight Meditation Message Board › A new Twist on Lojong: Readings for August 14th NVMG Meeting
At this week's meeting (Wednesday Aug. 14th), I would like to reexamine the Lojong slogans we’ve been discussing from a slightly different perspective. Norman Fischer, the founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation, has recently written a very accessible book on Lojong entitled “Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong.” I think that Norman does a great job of adopting Buddhist teachings to western culture, and his take on the subject may help clear up some confusion we’ve had regarding the meaning of various slogans and the concept of “absolute bodhichitta.”
The reading comes from the 2nd chapter of his book and can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
Please bring a copy of the reading with you to Wednesday’s gathering.
The reading is rather long, so we won’t be able to cover the entire chapter during our discussion. I would like to start on page 14 and read through the description of the second slogan, ending at the top of page 20. If you have time before the meeting, please try and read the first couple of pages of the chapter (pages 9 – 14), in which Norman briefly explains the organizational structure of the practice.
While the purpose of Lojong is to awaken our compassion and joy, it begins by focusing on how we relate to the experiences in our lives. From a Buddhist perspective, our mistake, and the reason we often suffer, is that we keep insisting that it is our experiences that are going to make us happy. They cannot; however, our relationship to our experiences can. That is to say, the quality of being present and kind, over and over again to whatever arises in the moment, is the foundation from which our happiness and compassion arise.
The first slogans on absolute bodhichitta are intended to give us insights into how to connect with our experiences. By seeing our experiences as passing moments and by examining what it means to be aware, we are attempting to cultivate a deeper connection to the center of life - to the mystery of life itself. With time and practice, this awareness gives rise to a love and joy that comes from holding the unsatisfactoriness of our experiences with equanimity. This is what ultimately brings us into a profound relationship with our life and all life, and opens up our capacity for compassion for ourselves and all beings.