Atisha

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Lojong Online uses the Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche translation as revised by Diana J. Mukpo and the Nālandā Translation Committee. However it is in no way affiliated with any Chögyam Trungpa group. All definitions of terms are my own unless otherwise stated, condensed from a number of sources. Chögyam Trungpa's excellent commentary, Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness can be found as a paperback or e-book (Kindle, Apple or Nook formats) on Shambhala. Amazon carries the paperback, audio book (through Audible) or e-book (Kindle only). As of as of January 2020, Amazon still stocks my favorite, the Shambhala Library edition — a 4 1/2 X 7 inch (11.43 X 17.78 cm) hardback with a sewn-in ribbon bookmark.

What is Lojong?

The Tibetan word Lojong consist of lo (mind, attitude, perspective, intelligence) and jong (train, purify, remedy, clear away). Thus it can be translated as attitudinal training, or more commonly mind training. There have been many Lojong systems devised by various Tibetan lamas over the last thousand years, but the best known, and the one this set of virtual Lojong cards is based on, comes from the oral teachings of the Indian Buddhist sage Atisha Dipankara Shrijnana (pictured above) who was a major figure in the Tibetan Buddhist Renaissance of the 11th century, CE. These teachings were later written down as The Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind by Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1101-1175); the Lojong presented here is a translation of Chekawa's book.

This virtual Lojong card set consist of 59 proverbs or "slogans", accompanied by short explanations (they are often referred to as "slogans" because, like political or commercial slogans, they are condensed, easy to remember sayings that encapsulate an important idea.) Memorizing and studying the slogans and putting their wisdom into action, helps the practitioner become less neurotic, more compassionate and ultimately reach enlightenment. As we read, contemplate, and meditate upon each card its meaning becomes — through repetition — an automatic part of our thinking and how we react to events in our lives. As a friend of mine put it "It's like having your own personal Buddha who will pop up in the back of your head to remind you of a slogan that applies to the situation you are in and help you make the right decision."

More specifically, the slogans train the mind in absolute and relative bodhichitta. Literally translated, bodhichitta means "mind of enlightenment" or "mind of the Buddha". Absolute bodhichitta refers to the direct perception of the Buddha nature within all sentient beings and the compassion that inevitably flows from that experience. Relative bodhichitta refers to specific thoughts, words, and actions that express compassion.

A list of all fifty-nine slogans organized according to topic, with a link to the corresponding card, can be found here.

The Lojong Practice

To practice Lojong you need a set of the slogan cards and some good volumes of commentary. The Lojong Online set of virtual cards are based on the Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche translation as found in his book Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness (first edition) which also contains his excellent comments. Another good resource is Pema Chödrön's Start Where You Are which is her take on the same translation of the slogans. The comments at the bottom of the Lojong Online cards are meant to be very concise, bare-bone expanations — more like reminders that primary sources. You really need to study the commentaries to understand the slogans.

The more you read about, think, and meditate on the sayings the better. My idea with Lojong Online was to allow the practitioner easy access to the cards throughout her or his day. Whenever you have a minute you can look at a card on your computer, tablet, smart phone or other device. Also having some set times to view the cards each day is good. I make a habit of reading the Card of the Day right before my morning meditation, at lunch, and right before my evening meditation. If you prefer a random card, and want to read the same one at different times of the day, you can leave your browser and the tab of the Random Card page open or you may find it easer to open the page in a new window and minimize it when you are not using it. It is particularly important to find time to read them when you can really think about the meaning and study the commentaries.

An accompanying practice, refered to in several of the slogans, is Tonglen. It comes from the Tibetian tong ("sending out" or "letting go" ) and len ("receiving" or "accepting"), often translated as "sending and taking". It is a breathing meditation technique in which you visualize taking on the suffering of sentient beings (all sentient beings or specific ones, may include yourself) as you breathe in and giving away your positive qualities (happiness, virtuous states of mind, positive energy, wisdom, compassion, etc.) to others as you breathe out. It seems counterintuitive — generally we want to avoid suffering and hang on to good things as tight as we can — but once you start doing it you realize that your ability to feel compassion for others and your reservoir of positive qualities are infinite. Instead of being draining, Tonglen is actually very empowering. It is a great aid for developing compassion and can be done during meditation, on the spot when you encounter someone in need or when you feel negative emotions.

We all have habitual ways we react to situations that bring suffering to us and those around us. Open your mind and heart and you will find slogans that talk directly to you and can help you develop new habits that will allow you to lead a happier life. Practice Tonglen and you will increase your ability to feel compassion and lessen feelings of want. Continue in these practices and you will always find new challenges. It's a lifelong adventure!

How Lojong Online Works

There are three ways to access the cards in Lojong Online.

Table of cards. Click on any of the card slogans in the table below. Read the paragraph just above the table for more information.

Card of the Day. This page presents the Lojong cards one at a time, in order, a new one each day. Once it cycles through all 59 it starts over at card 1. The Card of the Day is shown from midnight to midnight, local time for each user. It does this by reading each user's computer's clock, so if you find it changing at a different time check that your computer is set to the correct time and correctly to AM or PM if your computer is in 12 hour mode. Although each card has different text and graphics, they are all generated by a JavaScript program and appear on the same web page. This means if you bookmark the page and return to it the next day, you will not see the same card but the next one in the sequence. Clicking the Close link at the bottom of the card will bring you back to this page. For those interested, an uncondensed copy of the code I wrote to change the cards daily can be found here. I've added extensive comments.

Random Card. This page simulates shuffling the cards. It picks a card at random* every time you open, refresh, or open another page on the same tab then go back to the Random Card page. It will also pick a new card if you go back to it by reopening your browser and clicking the Restore Previous Session menu option (if your browser has one). If you want to be able to refer back to the same card later in the day, there are several ways to do it depending on your device. On a desktop or laptop, the easiest thing to do is to open the Random Card page in a new window and minimize the new window when you are not using it. In smartphone and tablet browsers you may have to experiment. You may need to open a new tab, bring up the page on it then open another new tab when you want to navigate to another page. Since the program picks a card at random, it is possible that you will get the same card two times in a row, just as you might if you shuffled physical cards (chances are one in 3,481 so not a big problem). If you want a different random card, just hit the refresh button in your browser. Clicking the Close link at the bottom of the card will bring you back to this page.

Table of Cards

Click on a slogan below to see its card. Click Close at the bottom of the card to return to this listing. To facilitate reading the cards in order, you will be returned to the point in the listings where the last slogan you clicked will be at the top of your screen. Exceptions are number 22 which is at the bottom of the left hand column and 59 at the bottom of the right hand column, both of which take you back to the top. Clicking saffron colored words on cards will pop-over a little window with a definition of the word. If you are using a smart phone or tablet, the table (as well as the cards and the whole site for that matter) will be much easier to read and tap if you hold your device horizontally. Make sure you have Auto Rotate turned on.




 The Preliminaries

 Training in Absolute Bodhichitta

 Training in Relative Bodhichitta

 Transforming Negative Circumstances into the Path of Enlightenment

 Utilizing the Practice in One's Life

 Evaluating Progress in Mind Training

 The Disciplines of Mind Training

 Guidelines for Training the Mind


Credits

I would like to thank Jelle and Dale from the Gulf Breeze, Florida branch of Palyul Changchub Choling for introducing me to Lojong and e-mailing me the Word files that allowed me to print my first set of cards. I thank my friends at the Pensacola branch of Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Center (now closed) who so helped me grow in my practice. A shout-out to Gary Highberger, who suggested the Random Card page — I think it really adds to the site and it wouldn't have happened without your kind e-mail, Gary! I thank Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche for his excellent translation and encourage anyone who is serious about Lojong to read his book Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness. I especially want to thank my good friend Joe Kirkwood, with whom I co-create www.flamingrose.org, for his unfailing encouragement and many useful suggestions.

Thanks to all the photographers whose images added eye appeal to the cards. (All photographs are either not copyrighted or are used in accordance with their license).

In creating this site I made extensive use of the JavaScript programing language. I would like to thank the creators of the JavaScript library jQuery which I used to generate the cards and the creators of the FancyBox library I used to make the pop-over definitions of Buddhist terms.

Most of all, I am deeply indebted to the sage Atisha Dipankara Shrijnana for creating this set of Lojong cards that have so greatly enriched my life.

May all beings be happy!


M. Lee DuBose
Pensacola, Florida USA
( webmaster@flamingrose.org)

July 25, 2013
revised May 5, 2014. Major revision June 6, 2016. Major revision and Random Card page added January 23, 2020.