Lojong Point 5: Evaluation

This group of slogans is connected with the perfection of meditation. We are beginning to develop great awareness and mindfulness.

19. All Of The Teachings Are Really One

All of the teachings are rooted in taming the mind and managing the ego. That is the point of this slogan. We tame our wandering minds with mental discipline and we cultivate awareness to cut through our egoic minds. Then we start cultivating bodhicitta. But really these are tied together. We think of developing wisdom and compassion as separate, but they aren’t separate. Compassion develops from an understanding of Emptiness, because once we realize we have nothing to hold on to we aren’t trying to be against the world all the time. The one teaching is really opening up to the world instead of closing ourselves off.

20. Hold The Primary Witness

It’s said that in all situations there are two witnesses: other people’s point of view of you and your point of view of yourself. The primary witness is your insight. This slogan represents being true to yourself. Only you really know yourself and you know yourself at every moment. The only one who can judge how you are doing with your lojong practice, or with Buddhist practice in general, is yourself.

21. Maintain A Joyful Mind

This slogan means we want to maintain a sense of joyfulness and humor, in spite of all the little difficulties in life. We have the power to take unfortunate events as encouragement to our practice. We can maintain a sense of joy because we are on the path, because we are doing something to transform ourselves.

22. If You Can Practice Even While Distracted, Then You Are Well Trained

We have all kinds of distractions in life. The idea behind this slogan is that when situations come up that distract us, we should be able to bring awareness to them instead of getting frustrated. We can come to realize that we can practice in any situation, in spite of distractions and our wandering thoughts.

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About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project. He also runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center.
Daniel received a BA in English from KU.
Once a Novice Zen Monk, Daniel dropped out of monk school to become a regular person. He takes his inspiration mainly from Buddhist teachers who were renegades and madmen, like Ikkyu and Han Shan.
Daniel has taken Bodhisattva Vows.

Find out more about Daniel on his website and connect with him on Facebook.