Lojong 16, Lojong 17 & Break

My how the last two months have flown. The end of the school year was a blur, and somehow I’ve managed not to update the site since April. Let’s fix that!

In May, we wrapped up the third of the seven Lojong points (or categories), Transform Bad Circumstances Into The Path, with the 16th slogan, Whatever You Meet Is The Path. This one brings to a fine edge the idea that no matter what we encounter, we shouldn’t put off applying our practice, and we should engage it right away, head on. Engaging it might mean patient forbearance, direct action, or something in between, but by no means should we forgo opening the Dharma gate before us.

That last slogan transitions us nicely into point four, Make Practice Your Whole Life. This one asks a lot of us, but the longer we sit, the more it naturally occurs, like a seed breaking through soil. Making practice our whole life means not trying to confine our practice to the cushion, or to practice discussion, or to what goes on in the zendo. We make practice our whole lives by realizing that our whole lives are, as Peg likes to say, training modules. We no sooner encounter and move through one situation than another arises, challenging us again, keeping us a little unsure. This is good. The point of practice is not to resolve our difficulties and bliss out. We are constantly trying to open to the lives we’ve been given and to try to help others do the same.

So, into this fourth point we step with our 17th slogan, Cultivate A Serious Attitude. This does not mean to take up scowling or to lose our sense of humor. It means that we should take our practice seriously, earnestly. It is our means of crossing the river, and we must care for it. Traditionally, this slogan was called, Practice The Five Strengths. They are:

  1. Strong determination – Take yourself seriously as a practitioner of the way; you are a spiritual superhero in disguise.
  2. Familiarization – Study yourself, know your habits, cultivate new ones based on your intention, your vow.
  3. Seed of virtue – Recognize your noble worth as a human being
  4. Reproach – Refuse to buy into your old, bad habits; recognize they  are not you. Don’t just go along to get along.
  5. Aspiration – Remember and orient yourself towards the Bodhisattva Vow:
    Beings are numberless, I vow to free them
    Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them
    Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them
    Buddha’s way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it

Have questions? Bring them to our Wednesday sit at 6:10pm

Speaking of sits, just a heads up that we will be closed for summer travel on Wednesday, June 20th.

Stay cool!

Vaughn

 

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