June 04, 2010

Judy Lief on Absolute and Relative Bodhichitta

We're very lucky to have Acharya Judy Lief writing commentary on the lojong (mind-training) slogans at tricycle.com. As she writes in her introduction to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's classic Training the Mind, "Through slogan practice, we begin to realize that our habitual tendency, even in our smallest gestures, is one of self-centeredness." She also writes that the slogans "form a loop in which nothing is excluded." The playful and sometimes ironic tone of the slogans should not fool us: Lojong is a complete path of practice all on its own.

She has a new post up today discussing absolute and relative bodhichitta, in which she writes:

The mind training slogans are all about loving kindness or bodhichitta. They are about how we can live more sanely and with more effective compassion for others. But they do not immediately launch into the practical application of mind training, or relative bodhichitta. Instead, they begin with what is seemingly impractical, with the recognition of the empty and insubstantial nature of our experience. They begin with absolute bodhichitta. That is the focus of slogans 2-6. But why start there?

In general, we prefer to just get on with it. If the slogans are about cultivating virtues and helping others, why not just go ahead and do it? Why the emphasis on first establishing a certain view of things? Why start with absolute bodhichitta? How does that change things?

Read her whole post to find out why. You'll find links there going back to her original posts on beginning with the preliminaries.

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