This group of slogans is connected with the perfection of wisdom, prajnaparamita. They are connected with sharpening our awareness to help us work with ourselves. Wisdom cuts through ignorance. We are cultivating a sense of awareness and mindfulness that will develop us on the bodhisattva path. It’s our sense of wisdom that allows us to carry these slogans through our lives. As we go forward with the slogans, you’ll notice they are increasingly more straightforward. The first 22 provided a solid foundation for us.
23. Always Abide By The Three Basic Principles
These are the three basic principles:
Keep the two vows: this refers to refuge and bodhisattva vows, keeping them completely.
Refrain from outrageous action: this means we aren’t using our practice as a means to gain attention. We aren’t trying to be martyrs here. We are just trying to be.
Develop patience: don’t be in a hurry to become something. People have a tendency to learn teachings like these and to want to become great saints or sages. We are just trying to be.
24. Change Your Attitude
The point of this slogan is to change our point of view. We want to change our attitude so that we focus on others before ourselves. This refers to our attempts to control others and to always cherish ourselves first. We want to tame our minds so we aren’t pushing people around all the time.
25. Don’t Talk About Injured Limbs
Injured limbs refers to someone else’s physical or psychological defects. It’s simply the realization that we don’t have a reason to point out the faults of others. We’re all human and we all have flaws.
26. Don’t Ponder Others
This is connected to number 25. Pondering others means picking on their shortcomings after they wrong us. We can obsess about it when someone does something wrong, or we can get on with our lives.
27. Work With The Greatest Defilements First
The defilements are the obstacles to our growth that are within us. Whatever our greatest defilement is would be the one we want to work on the most. Our greatest defilement could be anger, attachment, pride, jealousy, etc. Working with the greatest defilements means working with the most important problems that we have. The idea is that we are doing whatever work is hardest first, rather than avoiding our most difficult issues thinking we will deal with them later.
28. Abandon Any Hope Of Fruition
We don’t want to think of our lojong practice as goal oriented. Forget about the possibility of transforming yourself to the best person in the world because of your training. We aren’t practicing so that we can become masters and get some kind of fame and adoration. We are practicing just to practice.
29. Abandon Poisonous Food
If we are practicing as another way to feed our ego, giving up your ego to build your ego, then it’s like we are eating poisonous food. Thinking that you’re doing this so you can become the best meditator ever is a mistake. If the practice is motivated by a wish for personal achievement, then we are thinking of things in the wrong way.
The point of this slogan is to give up our history and the way we perceive ourselves. If I think of myself as someone with anger problems, then we something goes wrong I will probably react in anger. In this slogan we are trying to put that down. We are trying to not be so predictable all the time.
31. Don’t Malign Others
Saying bad things about others is often rooted in showing how great we are. We sometimes tend to think our virtues can only show if we tear others down.
32. Don’t Wait In Ambush
This means we don’t want to wait for someone to fall down so we can attack them. We don’t want to be opportunistic and attack others when they are most vulnerable. That would be a very negative action.
33. Don’t Bring Things To A Painful Point
Don’t blame all your problems and suffering on others. This slogan means that we should encourage others on the path, rather than humiliating them by placing blame.
34. Don’t Transfer The Ox’s Load To The Cow
This means don’t unload on everyone all the time. Transferring the load means not wanting to deal with anything on our own. We want to think about our problems honestly. We want to deal with our issues because no one else really can.
35. Don’t Try To Be The Fastest
We don’t want to view our practice as a race. That can happen sometimes. If we view our practice in that way, then it becomes a sort of game or competition. Don’t be in a hurry. Just be.
36. Don’t Act With A Twist
This is about dropping the attitude that we are going to get personal gain from the practice. Acting with a twist means volunteering for the worst in each situation with the knowledge that it makes you look the best. We need to strive to practice without having an ulterior motive.
37. Don’t Make Gods Into Demons
This refers to our tendency to dwell on the negative and go through life unhappy. Making gods into demons is turning the path into a burden, into something to complain about.
38. Don’t Seek Others’ Pain As Your Happiness
We shouldn’t build our happiness on the failures of others. We don’t want to hope for others to experience misfortune. It might come up that we benefit from the misfortune of someone else, but we don’t want to wish for that. A striking example is wishing for someone to die so that we can receive an inheritance. Everyone will agree that this is not okay, I’m sure. But we can apply this to all sorts of wishes we might have.