7 Points of Mind Training- books and resources

sky-birdCommentaries on the The Seven Points of Mind Training are numerous, written by both Eastern and Western teachers, most, but not all, in the Tibetan tradition. I have listed several of them on this page.  All the books are organized by the seven points and their related lojong slogans.   For the Open Circle group for 2021, I have suggested Pema Chodron’s Start Where You Are, and Norman Fischer’s Training in Compassion.  Both writers are western, and many find their writings to be accessable and easily understood.  Chodron’s Tibetan practice and Fischer’s Zen backround make for interesting, mutually supportive perspectives. I also suggested The Great Path of Awakening by Jamgon Kongtrul, as this was the starting point for all the other modern commentaries.

My personal favorite is The Practice of Lojong – Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche.  Very rich, more in the traditional Tibetan mode of looking at the Mind Trainings

The other books listed bring varying perspectives.

Book list:

The Great Path of Awakening: The classic guide to Lojong, a Tibetan Buddhist practice for Cultivating the Heart of Compassion by Jamgon Kontrul (1813-1899).  This is the commentary on Geshe Chelawa’s (or Chekawa Yeshe Dorje, 1102-1176) root text on the 7 Points of Mind Training on which all the following commentaries are based.

Start Where You Are – A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron.  Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, is well known for her capacity to present the teachings in a way that resonates strongly with western students.  Very available and often humerous,  she always encourages a gentle and compasssionate approach to the practice.  She has 2 companion publications on Lojong.  One is The Compassion Book, in which each Slogan is printed on its own page, with a brief commentary on the facing page.  Excellent for quick reference and inspiration.  The other is a set of 6 x 4 inch cards with the slogans printed on them, which can be displayed on a stand to help keep the focus during the day.  One can also practice “pick a card, any card,” (best done after you’ve practiced with them all.)

Training in Compassion – Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong by Norman Fischer.  Norman Fischer is an American poet, writer, and Soto Zen priest, teaching and practicing in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki.  Born 1946.

The Practice of Lojong – Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind by Traleg Kyabgon (1955-2012)  Born in Tibet and recognized as a tulku, he was moved to India in 1955 with the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans  to escape the Chinese.  He later left the monastic life and married, continuing teaching and writing about Dharma practice all his life.  He was instrumental in bringing the Tibetan practices to Australia.

Buddhism with an Attitude – The Tibetan Seven-Point Mind Training by Alan Wallace.  He brings a western scientific background to his Buddhist practice (ordained as a Buddhist monk by the Dalai Lama.)  Born in 1950, he has an undergraduate degree in physics, a Ph.D in religious studies from Stanford, and has been an interpreter for the Dalai Lama.

Enlightened Courage by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991.)  A principle teacher of the current Dalai Lama.  His student Matthieu Ricard, who spent many years with him as translator and eventually documented his life and teachings in words and film, said this when he died: “His disciples were as numerous as stars in the autumn sky…we felt that the sun had vanished from the world.”

Some additional information: the first two of the following links bring you to short articles about Lojong by some American Buddhist teachers. The 3rd is a link to a Florida Community website page that has links to Dharma talks on the Lojong slogans.

http://www.alanwallace.org/BDfall2005.pdf  This includes a description of the origins and practice of lojong, and a wonderful panel discussion with 3 well known and highly regarded teachers (who don’t always agree with each other!): Ken McLeod, Alan Wallace and Judith Lief.

http://judylief.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/SUN_July12_Lief.pdf  This is a lovely Shambala Sun article by Judith Lief describing the lojong practice.

Dharma talks by Fred Eppsteiner on several of the Lojong slogans can be found here: http://www.floridamindfulness.org/page-1861102