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Life is tough, six ways to deal with it

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran
edited June 2017 in Buddhism Today

I came across this article today... six slogans each embodying a Buddhist lesson about how to deal with the world when things become difficult. I thought it was a good article, about Buddhism and how to use it when the rubber hits the road. Practical teachings which you can take with you in meditation, and which will help you in the real world once the mind is trained.

Transforming bad circumstances into the path is associated with the practice of patience. There are six mind-training (lojong) slogans connected with this:

Turn all mishaps into the path.
Drive all blames into one.
Be grateful to everyone.
See confusion as buddha and practice emptiness.
Do good, avoid evil, appreciate your lunacy, pray for help.
Whatever you meet is the path.

These are the six slogans, perhaps you will recognise some. The article gives a detailed explanation of each one.

Which strikes you as being the most useful? Which do you connect with?


  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Whatever you meet is the path - is what I hope will be most useful. I'm feeling very burnt out spiritually and not very enthused by anything, including the Dharma ?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I use all of the Lojong slogans, it is one of my favorite practices and I do one each day and just keep cycling through them. Sometimes I feel a need to hang with one for a longer period of time. I actually find "of the 2 witnesses, hold the principal one" to be one of the most helpful for every day life. Of yourself and others you can only truly understand yourself, so do your best to do so and work with it. Rely on your understanding and judgment. When things are chaotic at the surface, deep down you always know what is going on. Figure it out.

    Of the ones you listed, I agree that my favorite is "whatever you meet is the path"

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    I have read about these. Pema Chodron and Trungpa Rinpoche have written books about these and tonglen (which goes with these).

    Trungpa said they were like 'Training' mind rather than 'Taming' which is usually done in the wide pasture of meditation. Once you have tamed mind a bit I guess then you can train its to greater virtue? I guess.

    My teacher said the slogans were concepts that you could use skillfully to work on other concepts, but that you had to be careful. It is like you have a rod or sweeper to unclog your eaves troughs of debris but you have to be careful that you are only sweeping out the leaves that are blocking the drain and don't get the brush or rod itself also clogged in the drain. So it is concepts to unblock other concepts or work with them somehow.

    But these lojong had a history. I guess someone long ago heard about them and somehow took a trip to Indonesia I think from Tibet or India and learned them from the teacher in Indonesia and then returned and taught them.

  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    I like that. I'm not quite sure what it means about "Drive all blames into one". Anyone have any thoughts about that one?

    I'm also not clear why one should be "grateful" to everyone, although what I have been trying to do more in the past week is to be mindful of how I am interacting with each person. I think that un-mindfulness in interacting with others is an issue most of us suffer from; I know I do.

    The last few days I have been thinking about the 5 Precepts. While we may struggle to meet them, the idea that they are difficult to understand se

    Thanks for posting that, Kerome!ems plain silly. I actually talked about this with 2 Thai Theravada monks yesterday.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @vinlyn the Lojong slogans, there are actually 59 of them.
    My notes for "drive all blames into one" say (this is from a retreat with my teacher, everyone has slightly different takes. Pema has done her own book on them I believe, so has Trungpa and I think there are a few others)

    "Always finding someone to blame allows us to avoid looking at our roles and responsibilities. Blame yourself instead of others and see what you find, even if you aren't at fault. This does not mean participating in self-shaming. Notice your blaming patterns and reverse them to see how experience changes and what you observe."

    The slogans are meant to be each a practice of some sort. As far as the gratefulness one, they (the slogans) do specify everyone. "Be grateful - everyone offers teaching opportunities if you bother to seek them. Without challenges we'd have no path."

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    ths is what Pema says about those 2:
    Drive all blames into one.

    This is advice on how to work with your fellow beings. Everyone is looking for someone to blame and therefore aggression and neurosis keep expanding. Instead, pause and look at what’s happening with you. When you hold on so tightly to your view of what they did, you get hooked. Your own self-righteousness causes you to get all worked up and to suffer. So work on cooling that reactivity rather than escalating it. This approach reduces suffering—yours and everyone else’s.

    Be grateful to everyone.

    Others will always show you exactly where you are stuck. They say or do something and you automatically get hooked into a familiar way of reacting—shutting down, speeding up or getting all worked up. When you react in the habitual way, with anger, greed and so forth, it gives you a chance to see your patterns and work with them honestly and compassionately. Without others provoking you, you remain ignorant of your painful habits and cannot train in transforming them into the path of awakening.

    And Judith Lief, who mostly reiterates what Trungpa says in his Training the Mindbook:

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    There was a quote I read one day that really struck me. I cannot remember what it was. Paraphrasing,

    Your life is not something you make or build up to. Your life is what is happening to you right now. Everything you encounter is your life. Nothing more or less, and nothing else.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    Trungpa says sometimes blame is like a hot (smelly disgusting) potato that everyone is trying to pass off. So you can transform the situation sometimes by saying "oh that was my fault" and then everyone kind of relaxes and now can go forward. I think that was on a different slogan though than "drive all blames into one". But I think the sayings are not 'truths' but they are ways to change the polarity of a situation. The potato example the polarity was "that is not my potato" and now it is "ok that is my potato and my fault... now no need to worry it is your potato and now we can go forward"..

    Here is link to one of Trungpa's students talking about the "drive all blame into one slogan"

  • ownerof1000oddsocksownerof1000oddsocks Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2017

    Most of the article resonates with me. It doesn't strike me as a panacea~ or cure all~ but more so a brand of quid-pro-quo in Buddhist form. Still, maybe we could say life isn't as tough as we think. Perhaps we should not feel so badly treated. A poor artist blames their tools etc, etc.

    Personally, I don't so much concentrate on the allowances offered by others anymore but moreso the allowances I offer to others. I suppose that ties in with the second point about taking responsibility. Ie Giving others a lift or a better hand in life despite not having a straightforward (orthodox) hand myself.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Wonderful original post and some helpful responses.

    Go sangha! <3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Do good, avoid evil, appreciate your lunacy, pray for help.

    I bags this one....

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