Our shared focus in the groups for the next few months (or perhaps longer) will be the 7 Points of Mind Training and the associated 59 lojong slogans. We will also continue our ongoing focus on calm abiding meditation, and meditative reflection and inquiry. Please see the “Current Topic” section in the main menus for thoughts on this practice from Pema Chodron, Norman Fischer, and Jamgon Kongtrul. Here’s another, from Buddhism with an Attitude, by Alan Wallace: “Lojong…is designed to shift our attitudes so that our minds become pure wellsprings of joy instead of murky pools of problems, anxieties, fleeting pleasures, frustrations, hopes and fears.”
The trainings are described as a very direct way to cultivate well-being and compassion.
Here is the final paragraph from Pema Chodron’s book on Lojong, Start Where You Are: “For those who feel prepared to practice sitting meditation and tonglen meditation and to work with the lojong slogans in an ongoing way, doing so may be the the beginning of learning what it really means to love. This is a method for allowing a lot of space, so that people can relax and open. This is the path of unconditional compassionate living. It is especially designed for people who find themselves living in times of darkness. May it be of benefit.”
What a wonderful invitation! She starts the paragraph with “For those who feel prepared to practice.” Although you can use our groups to simply learn about the 7 Points and the lojong slogans, (worthy in itself,) I encourage you to be really whole-hearted about it, committing yourself to a daily meditation practice and a daily reading practice, as well as doing all you can throughout the day to return frequently to a mindful state, and to the eyes of compassion. The support and energy of our little community can also be of great benefit, and I hope that you will make attending the weekly groups a priority.