A Commentary on the Eight Verses for
Training the Mind (Lo Jong) by
the Bodhisattva Lang-ri Thang-ba,
together with root verses by Chekawa Yeshi Dorje
the determination to accomplish
the highest welfare for all sentient beings, who surpass even a wish
fulfilling gem, may I learn to hold them dear!
In general, with respect to the practice of
all sentient beings
as wish fulfilling gems, sentient beings and wish fulfilling gems act
similarly as subjects [in the following analogy]: When a wish
fulfilling gem [or sentient being] falls into the mud [of cyclic
existence], it is unable to extract itself from the mud. However,
the time of the full moon, it is cleansed by the good odor [of the
practice of Dharma]. Then, just as all the needs of this world
necessarily arise, [the wish fulfilling gem symbolizing a sentient
being's awakening mind] is raised to the peak of the victory banner.
When sentient beings cycle through existence they
unskillful propensities, are unable to release themselves from their
own cycling, and are unable to clear away their suffering and the
sources [of suffering]. However, if we assist them, all temporary
final virtues arise. If there were no sentient beings, where
find even temporary happiness? Also our final bliss and cessation
suffering] depends on sentient beings. For, in dependence upon
these sentient beings we are able to attain the sublime state of
I associate with someone, may
I think myself the lowest among all and hold others supreme in the
depths of my heart!
Wherever one stays, whoever one befriends,
whatever one's situation,
practice viewing oneself as low and being respectful to others from the
depths of ones heart.
Friends higher than ourselves are [for instance]
lamas. [Two] monks
[see each other] as equal. Lower are beggars, and so forth.
Having imagined oneself as lower from the point of
view of situation,
caste, mental force, and faults, one thinks, "It is unsuitable to be
proud of my caste, [situation, intelligence, etc.]. All these are
castes, akin to the butchers' caste".
Moreover, [if one] takes pride in ones body,
[think:] "It is not
suitable [to be proud of my body since] it does not have the golden
hued beauty [of a Buddha's body] and cannot aid beings". Also,
the power of imagination, all [of our bodies come to be seen] as ugly.
If we take pride in the intelligence of our mind,
[reflect that] we do
not even know one of the five sciences [of grammer, epistomology, art,
philosophy, and medicine], and even the little we have heard of these
is flawed so that we do not have actual knowledge of them. Also,
respect to our superficial actions, although we might claim, "I act
virtuously", since our minds are generating the three poisons, there is
now not even an example of our not doing badly. Also, since most
activities of our body and speech are impure, in the next life we will
find it hard to achieve high status, let alone nirvana!
Such actions of mine
Will not achieve the body of a human.
If I do not achieve the body of a human,
There will be only evil, no virtue.
One should reflect thusly: "Considering all my
faults, what could be
lower than myself?" One might well answer: "Only the subterranean
waters." Practice cutting through pride by respecting
their actual good qualities, and think thusly: "Considering that I have
such a faulty nature, I am greatly astonished at seeing that others
have such good qualities. For instance, their caste, beauty,
their devotions to Dharma, and their practice of the six perfections."
Furthermore, with respect to those who do not
actually possess such
good qualities, we should reflect: "From amongst all [the manifold
qualities of others] I really don't know what good qualities they
possess." For example, the oral tradition relates the tale of an
Arhat [whose good qualities were not appherent].
When real results—not mere words—arise from this
practice from the
depths of ones heart, Chenrezig speaks thusly: "Well done, my child!"
Regarding this, just as water flows downhill to the
ocean, a person
without pride in his or her continuum generates the supramundane
qualities. The sdud pa (Compendium of Sutra) says:
Abide in activities which give
to all beings.
Moreover, the purpose of the sde snod gsum is
destroy this pride. If
one has pride, even in this life one cannot get along with others, and
in the future, through the force of ones misdeeds, obscurations, and
pride, one will go to the lower realms. Should one achieve the
form, one will be blind, helpless, miserable, and ugly. Bad
predispositions will thicken. Fierce afflictions will produce all
negative situations. Due to these weights, one will be unable to
achieve final enlightenment, for a proud Bodhisattva is far from
Furthermore, our not passing beyond sorrow, misery,
and all suffering
arises from the conception: "I am great". Since all the temporary
happiness of this world, as well all the bliss of nirvana, arises from
sentient beings, seeing sentient beings as having excellent qualities
cuts through pride.
The third abandons such actions through not
following after the
all actions may I search into my
mind, and as soon as an afflictive emotion arises, endangering myself
and others, may I firmly face and avert it!
Reflect thusly: "I must train in instantly
as soon as they arise during all activities of my continuum. I
able to] abandon them as soon as they arise if I am always mindful of
the arising or non arising of afflictive emotions such as desires,
neurotic fixations, etc., whether I am walking, sitting, reposing, or
sleeping." Also, the thought that very small desires are
acceptable needs to be abandoned. Act as if these [small desires
were similar to a thief entering our parents home [who must instantly
be ejected]. If we accustom ourselves [to desire] we will not
become pure. Should desires increase in our continuum, all other
afflictive emotions—anger, and so forth—will greatly increase. A
Just as persons who, desiring
come to have slothful
personalities, which then become yet more slothful, so it is that
persons with great desires or even a longing for beer acquire these
types of personalities.
All lesser beings must necessarily experience
great weight and
great suffering which are produced from their fierce afflictive
emotions. However, if one abandons the afflictive emotions, one's
propensities become thinner. Previous evil propensities also
thin. Exalted individuals do not develope any but the most subtle
propensities. The subtle fruitions of these are necessarily
experienced, and by viewing the afflictive emotions as the enemy, the
power of the antidote is generated. Shantideva states:
Kill me, burn me in the flames,
The above verse indicates that a worldly enemy
not able to have
harmed us from the very beginning of time, but the afflictive emotions
have harmed us since the beginning of time. Our worldly enemies
like that, for they do not last from the beginning to the end of time,
as do our other enemies [i.e., the afflictive emotions], but are unable
to last a long time.
Or cut the head [of my evil] nature.
I will not pay respect to the enemy
The many aspects of the afflictive emotions.
If one befriends a worldly enemy he will not harm
one and will help one
instead, but if one acts thus toward the afflictive emotions they grow
more powerful. If one continually befriends worldly enemies, they
all help and comfort one. If one befriends the afflictive
harm one with suffering.
The worldly enemy can merely harm our bodies, lives,
whereas the afflictive emotions produce endless suffering in cyclic
existence. Should all the gods and demi gods rise up as enemies
one, they would be unable to place us in the deepest fires of hell.
Wherever I meet with those enemies possessing powerful afflictions
[i.e., the afflictive emotions], even on Mount Meru, without exception
may I cast these aside one by one!
Abandon the afflictive emotions in this way by
seeing them as the
enemy. When the worldly enemy departs, he may return later to do
harm. However, once the afflictive emotions are abandoned, they
be generated again later. This is like burning the seeds.
of abandoning them are: (1) by action, (2) by meditation and (3) by
correct view [of emptiness]. Since these [three methods] have
antidotal powers at first, when the afflictive emotions arise it is
difficult to reverse them. A meditation which abandons by actions
said [to require] an antidote for each afflictive emotion.
of any of the beings of the three capacities are suitable since they
are verging toward an antidote for all the afflictive emotions [i.e.,
the awakening mind].
The measure of an improving mind is that there is no
need to abandon
the afflictions, since there are no objects of the afflictions due to
the fact that one has gained appropriate knowledge of them. This
because one abandons the afflictive emotions by observing the
afflictions with wisdom.
Fourthly, the training in cherishing those of very
bad nature and those
pressed by fierce sins and suffering as being [like precious treasures
which are] extremely hard to find.
I see beings of bad nature,
pressed by fierce sins and sufferings, may I cherish them as if I had
found a precious treasure, difficult to find!
With respect to this, a being of bad nature
to one who has not
accumulated merit and who cannot control the arising of the
afflictions. For instance, there was a person to whom Prince
gave a meal of cooked meat and vegatables. After burning his
the meal, this person threw the meal, along with the pot, and began
Sins refers to the five heinous crimes, the
degeneration of vows, utter
selfishness, and so forth. Those pressed by fierce sufferings are
lepers, those with terrible illnesses, and so forth. Because such
people are difficult even to look at, others hold them to be enemies
after sending them away. [Upon encountering such persons] the
thing to do is to offer them the following advice: "Do not act like
that. Rather, have compassion for those who live with suffering,
those taken away by the king of hangmen. Similarly, when one
those with faulty ethics, seeing that they cannot gain rebirth to the
higher realms, one ought to shed tears."
If those [beings pressed by sins and sufferings] do
not listen [to this
advice], change them through giving food and money. If this does
help them, after reflecting [on the two attempts to give help, some
people think:] "He is unhelpable. I will stop before I become
[i.e., if I continue trying to help, I may lose my temper].
with mouth and nose covered [in self protection], such persons flee
from all those pressed by their sufferings.
[Rather than acting in this fashion, reflect:] "If I
act thusly, in the
future I may become like that". Rather, meditate that one is
such persons by giving them food and medicines, etc. It is also
suitable [to meditate upon] taking whatever sufferings beings have to
ripen within ones own continuum. This is mind training.
Training in holding sinful beings as [being a
treasure which is]
difficult to find means that, for example, because it is difficult to
find a wish fulfilling gem, such are not thrown out but are held on to,
and, just as one cherishes these, such [sinful] persons are refered to
as difficult to find, for one generates compassion in dependence on
these, and one also generates the awakening mind in dependence on
these. Therefore, such as these are difficult for us to find, and
the objects of observation that produce the paths of the Great Vehicle.
If one asks why, it is because Superiors and highly
persons are unable to help one to generate compassion and to increase
the awakening mind. They cannot assist one in attaining
Just this awakening mind is the opportunity not taken by those who have
not realized Buddhahood.
The fifth is about accepting the blame for problems
whenever the bad
fault of slandering me, and so forth, occurs.
others out of jealousy treat me
unreasonably, with abuse, slander, and so on, I will learn to take all
loss and offer the victory to them.
When any type of deserved or undeserved
prompted by jealousy,
and so forth, and unpleasant verbal abuse [comes to one], do not lose
patience. Keep a peaceful mind. Further, when problems
arise, do not
say "It is his fault, not mine!" Accept the blame, as did Geshe
thang pa. [Reflect:] "Whoever created this mess, it includes
me! I have
[a hand in it] also." The reason for this is that we must
toward generosity and the various modes of ethical behavior, for the
sake of purifying our many misdeeds and completing the accumulations
[of merit and wisdom].
Therefore, when one shows kindness to slanderers,
even if one does not
deserve the abuse and slander, it is said to be necessary for purifying
our misdeeds when problems arise. Taking all blame on ourselves
prevents our evil karma from arising.
Geshe Lang ri thang pa speaks of a person from the
Valley of Phan who
sometimes gave a little butter cake to the Lamas, and at other times
slandered them for no reason. The Lamas regarded him with great
kindness. This cleansed their misdeeds and helped their
the two collections. They claimed that his slanderous talk was
Shantideva's bodhisattvacaryavatara (Entering the Deeds of Bodhisattvas) says:
Therefore, since patience can be
More correct even than this statement is that
and patience lead
to great merit, and to the end of misdeeds such as anger.
is said that the hardest practice is patience. [Learn] the
that is keeping still no matter what happens.
In dependence upon a very hate filled mind
And because it is the cause of patience,
Make offerings to it as if it was the most excellent doctrine!
Sixthly: the patience that accepts suffering.
those whom I have
benefitted with great hope deceive me, I should attribute to such
persons an attitude of great kindness, and consider such persons as
virtuous spiritual guides.
one, whom I have benefited with
great hope, unreasonably hurts me very badly, may I view him as my
Speaking of hope, there was a person with a
nature who went to
visit She rab bar chan. He went, thinking, "since I am a friend
close as a relative to him, he will give me a welcoming banquet."
there was no banquet. Therefore] he took the gift he was bringing
She rab bar chan], and hid it under the bed.
Is this the practice of love and compassion or not,
and from these
actions will sufferings or nothing but happiness ripen in
[Reflect,] 'May nothing but happiness ripen for myself!', and so forth.
Here it is clear whether this is lying [behavior] or not. This
analysis] is not open to criticisms, since one can calculate which
[actions] will keep lower karma from accumulating for oneself.
[Reflect,] "Previously I have hurt sentient beings in this way, and
this is the reason that they are hurting me [now]." From calming
mind through thinking, "I accept [all blame]", we will be happy
ourselves. By not boasting [about the help one gives to others],
may also become happy. [Reflect, "this will be] my karma".
Superiors (those on the bodhisattva path of seeing and path of meditation)
who have abandoned misdeeds are established as being unable
to be harmed by anyone.
May I protect others from suffering the hellish pit
by [repeating the
following meditation]: "The reverses I receive from others are my own
bad karma, and when others are besmirched because of harming me, they
will go to the lower realms in dependence on me. I answer to
Having been goaded by my karma, others harm me. May I therefore
in that way." Or one might pray: "When others criticize me or
or find it suitable similarly to spread slander, may they all be
blessed with enlightenment!"
Or one might reflect: "When harm is returned for
answering with great compassion. The finest beings answer evil
good. With an attitude of great kindness, [practice viewing
persons] as virtuous spiritual guides, since punishment from these kind
and virtuous spiritual guides is a gift like a commentary on
[Reflect:] "The great kindness which is the basis of
the path of
liberation has not been practiced by me. Without practicing it, I
not make progress on the path. After these [wicked persons] give
[the opportunity to practice kindness] my misdeeds will be cleansed.
Therefore they teach me with great kindness the path to liberation.
After completing the accumulations [of merit and wisdom] with their
help, those who are like textbooks on meditation and are
undistinguishable from virtuous spiritual guides, just these [will
sing] the Song of Happiness:
Enemies are those who have not yet
become beloved friends.
If one generates an attitude in accordance with
these statements, then
since one is purified, even though others are not, one is able to enter
the path of enlightenment. This is like, for example, not finding
clean person from Ser-ling. An example would be a man who became
hero, since no one could make him unhappy or cause him suffering, even
if they aroused the appearance in his mind without their being external
objects of gods, men, and ghosts raising up as his enemies.
Those who see the objects of their afflictions as their Lamas,
Abide in happiness.
Seventh, in brief, directly and indirectly, may I
give all the best
help and happiness to our old mothers, and may I, respectfully from the
depths of my heart, take their harm and suffering.
short may I, directly and
indirectly, give all help and happiness without exception, and may I
respectfully, from the depths of my heart, take upon myself all harm
and suffering of our mothers.
The brief indication is a compendium of
"Respecfully" means by way of remembering the kindness of our mothers.
"From the depths of my heart" means this is not just words, that I
should practice taking and giving from the depths of my heart.
"Directly" means giving my comforts—food, medicines
and so forth—and
taking [upon myself] the origins of the suffering of sentient beings.
This will be the cause of attaining high status in later lives, and the
cause of attaining definite goodness. Persons who cannot directly
[the suffering from others] may take it indirectly through meditation
on giving and taking and by prayers dedicating the happiness of this
life [to others]. Shantideva's bodhisattvacaryavatara says:
May my happiness cleanse others of
I express this from the bottom of my heart by
saying, "In cyclic
existence there is no happiness".
"When I do not practice pure Bodhisattva behavior
I cannot become Buddhafied.
Eight: Since it is possible for evil to harm all
these [practices], may I be undefiled by even slight conceptuality in
this life, and may I train in the awareness seeing all phenomena as
like illusions and have no attachment to any phenomena whatsoever.
all these practices remain
undefiled by the stains of the eight worldly conceptions; may I—by
perceiving all phenomena as like illusions—be released from the bondage
This is the antidotal method. When I have
phenomena are pure,
etc., this is mixed with conceptuality. When I act in my own
with the eight worldly conceptions, I am lost in desiring phenomena.
After realizing these as illusory, may I try to keep these practices by
reflecting that since [all phenomena] have been abandoned primordially,
and are not established as existing as they appear, how can these
things which are empty in this way be gained or lost? Whatever
assistance we might give—and whatever is given to us, ie., the comfort
or suffering which is our karma, and which we might like or dislike—all
these phenomena are like space, and I am also like that.
Request all. Make prayers, also. Make
to the Lama and the Triple Gem. Ask for the blessings of the
Buddhas of the three times, and all the Bodhisattvas. Thank them,
also. I pray to the ten wrathful Protectors and their ten
Consorts, and to
the powerful and capable Wisdom Dakinis (Sky-goers; female deities). May I generate the
these Eight Verses in myself. I pray to have all the sufferings
sources of suffering of all being ripen in me. May the fruits of
enlightenment allow me to ripen all these [fruits] in all sentient
beings. The above statements can be applied and developed with
No matter what other virtuous practices besides
these one is doing,
afterwards make the prayer of these Eight Verses. By so doing,
establishes the seeds of enlightenment. I should be establishing
roots of such virtue every moment of the year and month. In the
one will meet with one's Lama through such virtue, as well as with ones
friends. Think and pray in this way.
This Commentary on the Eight Verses of the
Bodhisattva Lang ri thang
ba, and the root commentary by Chekawa Yeshi Dorje, is the profound
oral instruction in Training the Mind.
May I generate this in my continuum.