Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Image & file uploads are now fixed. Thanks for your patience.
Welcome home! Please contact if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Lojong and the Seven Points of Mind Training

Lojong and the 7 points of mind training.

I thought that this might make a good topic for discussion here, where we can all learn and find out how we can put these teachings into practice in our every day lives. In a nutshell, the idea of lojong practices are to change our habitual way of thinking away from our normally ego-centric mode of being.

Here we will be discussing the "7 Points of Mind Training", which is a text that is generally attributed to a Tibetan Master named Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1102-1176) who was a student of the great Indian Master Atisha.

The 7 main points are:

  1. The Preliminaries, which teach the support for dharma.

  2. The actual practice, training in bodhicitta.

  3. The transformation of adverse conditions into the path of awakening.

  4. The utilization of the practice in one's whole life.

  5. The extent of proficiency in mind training.

  6. Commitments of mind training.

  7. Guidelines of mind training.

These are further broken down into 59 slogans. There have been numerous commentaries in this classic text and the one I will be mainly referring to was written by Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899) and was given the title "The Great Path to Awakening". Many modern day contemporary Masters have written their own explanations of the 7 points in the form of books, and these include Pema Chodron, Ringu Tulku, Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche and others.

It is my wish that some may gain benefit from these discussions, and may even inspire some to receive these teaching themselves someday.

In the following posts I will begin with the slogan, which will be bolded. I encourage anyone to join in on the discussion, including how we can (or do) put each slogan into our everyday experiences. After all, this is the purpose of these teachings!

Please be patient, as I will try to update new slogans and thoughts when I can. I am married, have a 2 year old and a daily practice which takes up a good deal of




  • Ugyen_YesheUgyen_Yeshe Toronto New

    The first slogan:

    "First, train in the preliminaries."

  • Ugyen_YesheUgyen_Yeshe Toronto New
    edited July 2018

    @Ugyen_Yeshe said:
    The first slogan:

    "First, train in the preliminaries."

    The first slogan here instructs us to train in the preliminaries, which is a two-fold instruction. The first, which instructs us on preliminaries to our meditation session, and the second which instructs us meditating on the actual "preliminaries" which here refer to the "Four Mind Turnings", sometimes also called "The Four Thoughts That Turn The Mind to Dharma".

    These four thoughts that are to be meditated upon are:

    1) The difficulty in finding these conditions with which to practice dharma.

    2) Impermanence.

    3) The flaws of Samsara.

    4) Karma/Cause and Effect.

    There are so many great teachings on the vast topic of the "Four Mind Turnings".  Mindrolling Kandro Rinpoche wrote a good book just on these 4 thoughts called "This Precious Life: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on the Path to enlightenment."

    Each topic can be broken down into many different aspects to be meditated upon, and often one spends a good amount of time reflecting and contemplating on these four thoughts. I was told by one Western Lama who finished 2 separate 3 year retreats, that the first few months of those retreats were spent solely on these four topics. So for us, they are very important and should be reflected on time and time again so it can really sink into the core of our being.

    These 4 thoughts help to foster diligence in our practice, faith in the dharma, a general disgust if Samsara,and so-on. For a practitioner, I feel that they really do provide a strong foundation for an ongoing practice. In fact, several of my questions to my teachers have resulted in them reminding us that we really need to take these four turnings to heart.

    When you begin to study and contemplate these 4 thoughts, you will notice how so many things over the course of our days can remind us of these very things. For example, how lucky we are to meet with the dharma and how someone in an oppressed country will have a very difficult time doing so; or how many things or events can remind us of the impermanent nature of everything around us. There are endless examples in our every day lives that being us back to these very four thoughts.

    In many liturgies in the Tibetan tradition, these four thoughts are present just as a constant reminder.

    This first slogan is the only one for the first of the seven points, which is "The Preliminaries, which teach the support for dharma."

    The following slogans deal with the actual practice of bodhicitta, and will come soon!

    Feel free to discuss, or ask questions on the first slogan.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I think the first slogan could easily be amended to First, and continually, train in the preliminaries.

    There's a lot of beneficial wisdom in the rest of the slogans, so it makes sense to move on to the rest before having mastered the preliminaries.

  • Ugyen_YesheUgyen_Yeshe Toronto New

    @person said:
    I think the first slogan could easily be amended to First, and continually, train in the preliminaries.

    There's a lot of beneficial wisdom in the rest of the slogans, so it makes sense to move on to the rest before having mastered the preliminaries.

    I agree with both of your points. As far as the slogans go, I will be providing the direct translation from the Tibetan into English. In the case of the first slogan, I have referenced a few commentaries and they both translate to simply "First, train in the preliminaries". But I agree that one needs to recall the 4 mind turnings again and again.

    Absolutely correct, that there is so much wisdom in the rest of the slogans and I don't think it is to be taken that one must "master" one before moving on to the next. They thoughts really help to provide a solid foundation for any further practice one engages in,which is why I think so much emphasis is given towards the topic in the Tibetan tradition. But for those who have not taken the four turnings to heart, it is quite beneficial to study and reflect upon them in order to build a strong foundation.

    We should also keep in mind that the first slogan is two-fold, as I had mentioned. As well, it is an instruction on the preliminaries for each of our meditation sessions also. The commentaries do go into some detail on this, but I think it may vary by lineage, etc.

    The next slogan will delve into the "meat" of the actual topic at hand. Coming soon...

    Thanks for your thoughts and insight!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    In dervish dharma, everything is about 'remembrance'. The Buddhist equivalent is attention or being heedful to useful/skilful teachings such as mind training.

    ... and now back to preliminaries ...

  • @Ugyen_Yeshe said:
    "First, train in the preliminaries."

    It iz all prelimaries. ;)

    Yes I iz smartass :3

Sign In or Register to comment.