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Lojong: Think Nothing About the Other Side

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  • Kindnsruls@aol.com
    Think Nothing About the Other Side This next pledge takes the preceding text a step further, moving to an even more subtle level of practice. What does it mean
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 18, 2006
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      Think Nothing About the Other Side
       
       
      This next pledge takes the preceding text a step further, moving to an even more subtle level of practice. What does it mean not to think about the other side? We are encouraged here not to dwell mentally on the faults of sentient beings in general, and more specifically, not to dwell upon the faults of those engaging in spiritual practice. Even more specifically, do not dwell on the faults of dharma friends.

      As we enter into spiritual practice and become more sensitive to our own faults, it is probably inevitable that we also become more sensitive to the faults of others. As many of us have experienced, this can be quite an unpleasant phase of practice. We simply seem to be slogging through our own and other people's shortcomings. We set ourselves ideals and we see how we fail to live up to them, and also how other people fail-at least in our own eyes. Now we are being told not to even think of anyone's faults, and particularly not those of dharma practitioners and our own companions on the path. It is tremendously refreshing for the mind to simply drop this habit.

      When we do observe a fault, what should we do? Regardless of whether we are hunting for faults, they can simply present themselves, as if from the other person's side. An intelligent response is immediately to check the extent to which we are projecting our own faults and past conditioning onto the other person. This is especially effective if we are imputing some mental fault, such as pride, arrogance, or thoughtlessness, upon this person.

      When we see faults in others, especially mental faults, let us first simply acknowledge that we are making an assumption rather than a necessary inference. It may be accurate, and it may not. Even such ostensibly unwholesome actions as slander, lying, or harming others physically may in fact be appropriate if the motivation is compassion. A parent, for example, may need to punish an unruly child in order to teach a lesson that will prevent the child from coming to grief later on. The word here is caution. Stand back from judgment, and certainly do not dwell on the faults of others. Doing so is a very unpleasant affliction of our own minds.

      This applies also to our relationship with a spiritual mentor. The great scriptures of the Bodhisattva path encourage us to look upon our teacher as if he or she were a Buddha. Note the precise phrasing, which underlines the difference between this sutra practice and tantra: Look upon the spiritual mentor as if he or she were a Buddha. A Buddha has no faults, no obscurations, no distortions, no afflictions. In practice, this means that whenever we see a fault in our spiritual mentor, we should be willing to consider that what we see may actually be a projection of our own mind.

      To realize this is a tremendous boon requiring continual practice, and we should apply it to ourselves as well as others. When we start to belittle ourselves for our own faults, recognize that they are simply afflictions obscuring our own essential purity and our capacity for full awakening. These temporary distortions are not who we are, and we do have the means for overcoming them. This is what Buddhadharma is all about: the dispelling of distortions and obscurations. If we can develop a sympathy and gentleness towards ourselves - not complacency but self-love in the best sense of the term - then, when we see faults in others we can transfer to them the wisdom we have acquired internally. Even if a fault seems quite blatant, instead of responding with agitation and intolerance, we can recognize it sympathetically as an affliction similar to those we suffer ourselves. Rather than disparaging the sufferer, the yearning can then easily arise out of kindness: "May that person be free of this fault, which so evidently brings unhappiness to them and to those around them."

      Excerpted from: The Seven-Point Mind Training(first published as A Passage from Solitude : Training the Mind in a Life Embracing the World), by B. Alan Wallace. Copyright 1992 by Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York 14851.

    • sanpadro@sbcglobal.net
      Thank you. The timing of this one is wonderfully appropriate for me, I can never re-read this teaching enough... I have GOT to get my hands on this book
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 18, 2006
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        Thank you. The timing of this one is wonderfully appropriate for me, I
        can never re-read this teaching enough... I have GOT to get my hands on
        this book already, I've dawdled long enough.

        Just for sharing and possible discussion, I find it difficult to know
        when to continue argument, if at all, and when it's just best to let it
        all slide... and this helps a LOT.

        _()_

        Lori
      • nancy lemke
        ... i hear you on when to bow out of an arguement. when i was in real estate i encountered a lot of could be arguements w/clients...especially the ones that
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 22, 2006
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          ---
          i hear you on when to bow out of an arguement. when i was in real
          estate i encountered a lot of could be arguements
          w/clients...especially the ones that thing they know more than i did
          about the subject. i was trained and went to school and had a good
          career for 14 years. so, what i learned in a classroom was....the
          first one that speaks is the looser. just stop talking and it goes
          away. simple. works w/hubby too! namaste, nan
          In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, "sanpadro@..." <sanpadro@...> wrote:
          >
          > Thank you. The timing of this one is wonderfully appropriate for me,
          I
          > can never re-read this teaching enough... I have GOT to get my hands
          on
          > this book already, I've dawdled long enough.
          >
          > Just for sharing and possible discussion, I find it difficult to know
          > when to continue argument, if at all, and when it's just best to let
          it
          > all slide... and this helps a LOT.
          >
          > _()_
          >
          > Lori
          >
        • sanghatasutra02
          ... Yeah! It DOES work great with husbands... I get practice there all the time! LOL _()_
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 23, 2006
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            --- In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, "nancy lemke" <richardlemke@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > ---
            > i hear you on when to bow out of an arguement. when i was in real
            > estate i encountered a lot of could be arguements
            > w/clients...especially the ones that thing they know more than i did
            > about the subject. i was trained and went to school and had a good
            > career for 14 years. so, what i learned in a classroom was....the
            > first one that speaks is the looser. just stop talking and it goes
            > away. simple. works w/hubby too! namaste, nan


            Yeah! It DOES work great with husbands... I get practice there all the
            time! LOL

            _()_
          • Kindnsruls@aol.com
            Think Nothing About the Other Side This next pledge takes the preceding text a step further, moving to an even more subtle level of practice. What does it
            Message 5 of 5 , Aug 4 6:13 AM
            • 0 Attachment
              Think Nothing About the Other Side


              This next pledge takes the preceding text a step further, moving to an even
              more subtle level of practice. What does it mean not to think about the other
              side? We are encouraged here not to dwell mentally on the faults of sentient
              beings in general, and more specifically, not to dwell upon the faults of
              those engaging in spiritual practice. Even more specifically, do not dwell on
              the faults of _dharma_ (http://lojongmindtraining.com/glossary.aspx#Dharma)
              friends.
              As we enter into spiritual practice and become more sensitive to our own
              faults, it is probably inevitable that we also become more sensitive to the
              faults of others. As many of us have experienced, this can be quite an unpleasant
              phase of practice. We simply seem to be slogging through our own and other
              people's shortcomings. We set ourselves ideals and we see how we fail to live
              up to them, and also how other people fail-at least in our own eyes. Now we
              are being told not to even think of anyone's faults, and particularly not those
              of _dharma_ (http://lojongmindtraining.com/glossary.aspx#Dharma)
              practitioners and our own companions on the path. It is tremendously refreshing for the
              mind to simply drop this habit.
              When we do observe a fault, what should we do? Regardless of whether we are
              hunting for faults, they can simply present themselves, as if from the other
              person's side. An intelligent response is immediately to check the extent to
              which we are projecting our own faults and past conditioning onto the other
              person. This is especially effective if we are imputing some mental fault, such
              as pride, arrogance, or thoughtlessness, upon this person.
              When we see faults in others, especially mental faults, let us first simply
              acknowledge that we are making an assumption rather than a necessary
              inference. It may be accurate, and it may not. Even such ostensibly unwholesome
              actions as slander, lying, or harming others physically may in fact be appropriate
              if the motivation is compassion. A parent, for example, may need to punish an
              unruly child in order to teach a lesson that will prevent the child from
              coming to grief later on. The word here is caution. Stand back from judgment,
              and certainly do not dwell on the faults of others. Doing so is a very
              unpleasant affliction of our own minds.
              This applies also to our relationship with a spiritual mentor. The great
              scriptures of the _Bodhisattva_
              (http://lojongmindtraining.com/glossary.aspx#bodhisattva) path encourage us to look upon our teacher as if he or she were a
              Buddha. Note the precise phrasing, which underlines the difference between
              this _sutra_ (http://lojongmindtraining.com/glossary.aspx#sutra) practice and
              _tantra_ (http://lojongmindtraining.com/glossary.aspx#tantra) : Look upon the
              spiritual mentor as if he or she were a Buddha. A Buddha has no faults, no
              obscurations, no distortions, no afflictions. In practice, this means that
              whenever we see a fault in our spiritual mentor, we should be willing to consider
              that what we see may actually be a projection of our own mind.
              To realize this is a tremendous boon requiring continual practice, and we
              should apply it to ourselves as well as others. When we start to belittle
              ourselves for our own faults, recognize that they are simply afflictions obscuring
              our own essential purity and our capacity for full awakening. These
              temporary distortions are not who we are, and we do have the means for overcoming
              them. This is what _Buddhadharma_
              (http://lojongmindtraining.com/glossary.aspx#buddhadharma) is all about: the dispelling of distortions and obscurations. If
              we can develop a sympathy and gentleness towards ourselves - not complacency
              but self-love in the best sense of the term - then, when we see faults in
              others we can transfer to them the wisdom we have acquired internally. Even if
              a fault seems quite blatant, instead of responding with agitation and
              intolerance, we can recognize it sympathetically as an affliction similar to those
              we suffer ourselves. Rather than disparaging the sufferer, the yearning can
              then easily arise out of kindness: "May that person be free of this fault,
              which so evidently brings unhappiness to them and to those around them."
              Excerpted from: _The Seven-Point Mind Training_
              (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1559392223/websiforanewage/) (first published as A Passage from
              Solitude : Training the Mind in a Life Embracing the World), by _B. Alan
              Wallace_ (http://lojongmindtraining.com/Biography.aspx?AuthorID=5) . Copyright 1992
              by Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York 14851.



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