October 22, 2010

Don't ponder others

Every Friday, Acharya Judy Lief, a senior teacher in the Shambhala tradition of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, comments on one of Atisha’s 59 mind-training (Tib. lojong) slogans, which serve as the basis for a complete practice.

Atisha (980-1052 CE) was an Indian adept who brought to Tibet a systematized approach to bodhicitta (the desire to awaken for the sake of all sentient beings) and loving-kindness, through working with these slogans. Judy edited Chogyam Trungpa’s Training the Mind (Shambhala, 1993), which contains Trungpa Rinpoche’s commentaries on the lojong teachings.

Each entry includes a practice. See the previous slogans and commentaries here.

26. Don’t ponder others.

From Acharya Lief's commentary on this slogan,

There is an old blues song with the line, “Before you ’cuse me, take a look at yourself.” In mind training that is the focus: taking a good look at yourself. However, the point is not to dwell on your own faults—or your own virtues, for that matter. It is to see yourself and others in a clear and unbiased way. It is to see, but not to dwell on the seeing, as though you were a cow chewing its cud.

The point of this slogan is that you should trust your own experience, and not always have to compare it to that of other people. It is to loosen the tendency to be so fascinated with what is wrong with everybody else that you are unable to see what is right and good about them. Instead of covering up your own faults and highlighting the faults of others, you should do the exact opposite.

Read her complete commentary here, as well as the accompanying practice.

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