Train Your Mind, Slogan 4

Atisha's 59 Lojong Slogans with Acharya Judy Lief

Judy Lief

The Mind-Training Slogans: Slogan #4

Acharya Judy   LiefEach Friday, Acharya Judy Lief, teacher in the Shambhala tradition of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, will comment 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 will include a practice.

Read all the lojong slogans here.

4. Self-liberate even the antidote.

Judy Lief logong slogansThe problem this slogan addresses is the tendency to cling to the insight uncovered by the previous two slogans. That is, you may have recognized the dreamlike nature of the world and the ungraspable nature of awareness, but you still cling to that recognition itself, and the sense of having figured all this out.

The need to find solid ground is so strong that you can even make the groundless nature of inner and outer experience into some kind of ground. You can make emptiness into a catch-all explanation for everything. It is almost instantaneous—as soon as one thing slips away, you have already grasped onto something else. You may have all sorts of realizations, but as soon as you make a realization yours, it is no longer a realization, but another obstacle to overcome.

A rather shallow hanging on to the notion of emptiness is quite common. It can be an excuse for a kind of nihilistic laziness, since if everything is empty, why bother? It can be used to deny painful emotions by imagining that the realization of emptiness can take away their sting. It can serve as a source of pride based on the feeling that you are tuned into something profound that other people are missing.

The point of self-liberating the antidote is that you don’t need to do anything to liberate it. You just need to realize that there are no antidotes. When you do so, the antidote liberates itself. It is because we keep trying to latch on to each and every meditative experience, realization, or insight that arises that this slogan is so important. It is a reminder not to do that.

Today’s Practice
Pay attention to what antidotes you cling to, to take the bite out of experience. When you have a spiritual or meditative experience, how do you relate with it, and what is the result?

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garryhawkin's picture

Simply we lived in a world of perceptions, reality and deceiving... however, we are here to make the life we have and see the truth.

Garry (see our portfolio book at

qpla's picture

No self. No problem. No self. No problem. No self. No problem. Refocus energy to your third eye for a moment and exhale. Lather, rinse, repeat.'s picture

My thought is this is difficult. Our minds evolved to make our perception of reality solid, so we can survive physically. And here we are being asked to do the opposite.

The teaching that's helpful here is raising wind horse, lungta. When I am grasping for solid ground, I can experience what that feels like, put space and warmth around it, and proceed. Make my whole life a meditation, touch and go, lightly.

That's all I can think of that helpful in practicing this slogan. Now, to practice it,

iamuami's picture

I'm not sure that the/my realizations are so profound that clinging to them is an issue. But i do tend to cling to the realizations of others. I now fear that this is probably the same thing...clinging is clinging is clinging. It's all a search for solid ground. I think I've decided that the only way out of this dilemma is thru it, and I'll be very gentle with myself...I hope