Train Your Mind: Keep the three inseparable

Judy Lief

The Mind-Training Slogans, Slogan #47

Each Friday, Acharya Judy Lief, 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 ("mind-training") teachings.

Each entry includes a practice.

Read all the lojong slogans here.

47. Keep the three inseparable.

It is easy to think of lojong practice as just a mental exercise, after all, lojong is translated as “mind training.” But according to this slogan, lojong practice should engage our whole being: our body, our speech, and our mind.  The idea is that we should be so thoroughly and completely permeated with mind training that there is no separation whatsoever.

When you practice wholeheartedly, it shows in your body. The way you handle yourself physically and the way you relate to the even the most ordinary objects in your life reflects in a very concrete way the depth of your practice. So working with the body is a very powerful way to practice lojong. The idea is not to force your body into shape as if you were working out or doing yoga or going on a diet. Instead, no matter what condition your body is in, you can still manifest in your physical presence the qualities of gentleness, awareness, and openness.

When you practice wholeheartedly, it shows in the way you relate to your speech and emotions. In the phrase, “body, speech, and mind,” speech refers not only to talking or expression, but to the world of emotions as well. When emotions arise or when you are about to speak, you can apply lojong. Through lojong, instead of speaking impulsively and being driven by emotional habits, you can express yourself simply and directly.

When you practice wholeheartedly, it shows in your thinking patterns. Part of lojong training has to do with simply noticing how your mind works. What do you do with your mind? What do you think about most often? By applying lojong to your mind, you can begin to reverse the habits of preoccupation and self-absorption that take up so much mental energy. As a result, your mind becomes less tight. It begins to relax and turn outward.

This slogan points out that lojong applies to whatever we do, feel, think, or say. It is a way of bringing our whole system into harmony.

Today’s practice
When you think about your lojong practice, does it seem balanced and wholehearted or one-sided and limited? What helps you come into harmony in your body, speech, and mind and what tends to make you lose that feeling of harmony?

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bevnelder's picture

Dear Judy,
I too wish to thank you, and Tricycle, for this weekly practice post. I am familiar with a book by Dilgo Khyentse -- Enlightened Courage (An Explanation of Atisha's Seven Point Mind Training) from Snow Lion Publications. For Cindy and other readers who may not be familiar with it, this is a translation by the Padmakara Translation Group of a talk given by Rinpoche in 1990. I have found it very interesting and thought provoking to compare your translations and comments with the version I know well. I frequently work as a translator and am aware of how different tranlations reflect different nuances present in the original - in this case, the light cast by different sources points to the seed idea behind the slogans or maxims.
Thank you again.

Cindy Collins's picture

Archarya Judy, thank you for sharing this practice! Until this, I have not found anyone or anywhere to discuss lojong slogans, and they are valuable to my daily practice. So thank you so much!