Filed in Lojong

Train Your Mind, Slogan 3

Atisha's 59 Lojong Slogans with Acharya Judy Lief

Judy Lief

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The Mind-Training Slogans: Week 5

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.


Slogan 3: Examine the nature of Unborn Awareness.
Judy Lief logong slogans

In the previous slogan, “Regard all dharmas as dreams,” we looked outward, at our perception of the world. With this slogan we look inward—we look at the looking itself.

What is awareness and how does it arise? What does it mean to perceive a world? The question of consciousness is one that has puzzled scientists and philosophers as well as meditators and mystics. It seems to be intimately connected with the physical brain, yet not identical to it—and when you are aware of something, it doesn’t seem to be the brain that is perceiving, but you! But who or what is that you?

Consciousness can be considered philosophically or studied scientifically, but in this slogan the idea is to examine it personally and directly. It is to look at your own experience. When you look, what do you see? And where does that seeing come from? What is its nature? Where does it abide? Where does it go?

Over and over look at your own mind, and then look again. Don’t think too much but keep it simple, nothing but dispassionate, inquisitive observation. Is it inside you? Outside you? Both?

If the unnerving experience of dharmas being dreamlike is not unsettling enough, when you try to examine the nature of unborn awareness, it is beyond unsettling. These two slogans undermine our attempts to establish inner and outer solidity, and liberate the energy we invest in that pursuit. So whether we are applying slogan practice to meditation and in our daily lives, it comes from a fresher place.

Today’s Practice
When you become aware of a thought or an object of perception, notice how solid and separate the perceiver and what is being perceived seem to be, and the seeming solidity of this and that, here and there. Then look at the nature of the awareness itself, before the arising of “this” and “that.” Keep questioning. What is it exactly and where does it come from?

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qpla's picture

What you are looking for is what is looking.

lynncornish@pacbell.net's picture

When I examine of the nature of unborn awareness, I enter a meditative state spontaneously. I experience awareness as something arising. Before it arises , it is unborn. The idea of that feels very open.

wendyyee's picture

oct 25,2012 nh.[ life context] reviewing lojong after hearing "unborn awareness" term several times lately--most recently: at 'day of mindfulness' workshop last wk. 2 nights ago, had a dream showing me symbol of "unborn awareness". my perception came right away as dream- story- awareness popped clarity. maybe thats like the "bubble" u mentioned..
The symbol was an absraction of academic -type young adult female student, observed from a loft,[by older, teacher, dream character] the young, student character was energetic and vivacious...glowing with readiness and patience.

wendyyee's picture

oct 25,2012 seacoast, nh. //[ life context] reviewing lojong after hearing "unborn awareness" term several times lately--most recently: at 'day of mindfulness' workshop last wk. 2 nights ago, had a dream showing me symbol of "unborn awareness". my perception came to consciousness right away as dream- story- awareness popped clarity. maybe thats like the "bubble" u mentioned..
The symbol was an absraction of academic -type young adult female student, observed from a loft,[by older, teacher, dream character] the character was energetic and vivacious, glowing receptively with readiness and patience.

petermkemp's picture

Thankyou thankyou thankyou for these commentaries, Acharya Judy Lief. This is my second traverse through the slogans. My first was at the Buddhist Centre in Nelson New Zealand, with a lay teacher, Keith Rowan. Supplementing his teaching with your commentaries feels auspicious.

When I 'examine the nature of unborn awareness', I sense it something like a clear globe or bubble around my head. Any comments on that?