Category Archives: Lodro Rinzler

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pathwithtextTo be honest, I was starting to think maybe I’d picked the wrong word this year. A month has passed already and instead of feeling immersed, focused, clear, I was feeling a little lost. Yoga and writing come more naturally to me, but I was finding it hard to meditate, let alone deepen my study of the dharma. This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, trying to find some direction or distract myself when I saw a post from Lodro Rinzler, “New video teaching up to kick off a year series studying Atisha’s mind training slogans.” I recognized the screen capture from an email I got at the beginning of the week from him, one that I’d filed away like all the others for some later date when I have “more time.”

You can sign up for Lodro’s newsletter and he sends a meditation challenge every Monday. Sometimes I watch, but more often I file it away for later. When I saw the post on Facebook, I actually read what it was about, and I was in.

Three years ago, Susan Piver was focusing her Open Heart Project Practitioner teachings around the lojong slogans. I enjoyed it so much, was learning so much. I have two books from Pema Chödrön about the same topic and was using them to help deepen my understanding. Then Susan made the difficult decision to discontinue the Practitioner program, and we never made it past the 17th one. So I was so happy to see that Lodro was teaching them, that he was committed to the full set of 59.

Lojong (or “mind training”) slogans are from a classical Tibetan Buddhist text, and are described by Pema Chödrön as offering “pithy, powerful reminders on how to awaken our hearts in the midst of day-to-day life, under any circumstances.” The editor of the book by Chögyam Trungpa about these same slogans describes them this way,

The Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind is a list of fifty-nine slogans, which form a pithy summary instruction on the view and practical application of mahayana Buddhism. The study and practice of these slogans is a very practical and earthy way of reversing our ego-clinging and of cultivating tenderness and compassion. They provide a method of training our minds through both formal meditation practice and using the events of everyday life as a means of awakening.

Pithy. Practical. Perfect. I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, kind and gentle reader, but it’s that practical application component that draws me to Buddhism. All the stuff about various deities and realms and karma is interesting to me as an intellectual exercise, but it’s the part where the rubber meets the road that I get excited about. I look to the dharma as a way to understand how to be a better human — how to meet what is beautiful and tender and keep my heart open, how to face what is brutal and terrible and not give up.

And the first lojong slogan is one of my favorites. It presents what are sometimes referred to as the Four Reminders. The slogan is “first, train in the preliminaries,” and those preliminaries or reminders are:

  1. Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life, the luck of a human birth
  2. Be aware of the reality that life ends, death comes for everyone
  3. Know that karma is real, actions have consequences
  4. Contemplate that as long as you are caught up in yearning for pleasure and shying away from pain, the suffering of suffering, you will remain trapped in unhappiness

I’ve written about the Four Reminders before. I was happy to revisit them this morning. Even happier to feel myself back on the path, encouraged by what Pema says about this study, that “when we work with the slogans, ordinary life becomes the path of awakening.”

Something Good

1. Christmas Time Is Here – Daniela Andrade ft. Cutest Dog in the Galaxy. This is from last year, but it’s still my favorite, the video and the song. Daniela’s Christmas album, simply called The Christmas EP, is one of my favorites.

2. THEN & NOW: This Dog Destroys Every Stuffed Animal Except This One. My Dexter had a similar toy, Little D.

dexterwithlittled

Dexter and his Little D

3. Building a Mindful New Year Together with Susan Piver. “6 days, 6 themes, 12 meditations, 9 teachers,” December 26th – 31st, FREE. I did this program last year and loved it.

4. Cats you will fall in love with in under 3 seconds, the cutest, funniest of compilation videos.

5. Wisdom from Geneen Roth, “The purpose of healing is not to be forever happy; that is impossible. The purpose of healing is to be awake. And to live while you are alive instead of dying while you are alive. Healing is about being broken and whole at the same time. Healing is about opening our hearts, not closing them. It is about softening the places in us that won’t let love in. Healing is a process.”

6. Joyful January from Writing Our Way Home. “31 days of joy” which includes 31 daily emails, an essay on joy, four daily joy practices, and a guide to writing small stones. This would make a great last minute holiday gift.

7. Wisdom from Michael Xavier,

So,
You want to be tough.
You want to be rebellious.
You want to be a bad ass.

Then show your heart to everyone…

EVERYONE.

8. Solace, Helene Athanasiadis’s upcoming book, “A poetic study of the beautiful spaces women create for themselves. Rooms of serenity & calm, to retreat from the everyday…solace.” The images she’s shared so far are gorgeous. (Thanks to Pia for the share).

9. Wisdom from Tom Gates, “It’s a lot easier to be angry at someone than it is to tell them you’re hurt.”

10. The 100 Day Promise from Sandi Amorim. “The 100 Day Promise is a practice that guides you through the process of change in an in-depth and soulful way.” An amazing program, a brilliant coach, and a wonderful gift to give yourself.

11. 2015’s Best News Bloopers Are Here And They’re Out Of Control. Couldn’t stop laughing, had to pause the video a few times to let myself catch my breath.

12. What getting your period is like, according to stock photography. This reminds me of Women Laughing Alone With Salad.

13. Week-long Spring Meditation Retreat with Lodro Rinzler. You have to pay travel and room, but the program is FREE.

14. Money Talks with Maya Stein. Love her, love this.

15. A Christmas Carol Starring… You!, a fun contemplation from Positively Present.

16. Brother Reunites With His 2 Siblings By Surprising Them With A New House.

17. Neil Gaiman On Returning To ‘Sandman,’ Talking In His Sleep And The Power Of Comics. Gah, I love him…

18. Hilarious Winners of the First Annual ‘Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.’ Make sure to check out the whole set.

19. The Compassion Collective. “Today’s refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian emergency the world has seen since World War II. Just as the Greatest Generation’s response to the holocaust defined them, so will our response define us. We want to be remembered as the generation that chose Love over Fear.”

20. Living in a high-stakes universe, in which Seth Godin says, “We’re capable of doing great work without the drama. In fact, over time, the lack of drama can enable us to do great work.” *mic drop*

21. You cannot create a more compassionate world if you’re treating yourself like crap. Word. This line really got to me, “View our schedules as a sacred prayer for how we are shaping our lives.”

22. Here’s How To Do Therapy On Yourself, According To A Therapist.

23. Stop Blaming the Alcoholic. This statistic is shocking, even to me who has been so close to this issue, “Eighteen million people in the U.S. suffer from alcohol use disorder.”

24. The Bitterly Honest Gift Guide.

25. Adele Live in New York City. “Multiple Grammy Award-winning singer Adele performs a special one-night only concert in New York at Radio City Music Hall. This extraordinary performance marks the artist’s first concert in the U.S. since fall 2011 and her largest show to date in New York.” Can’t wait to watch this.

26. A Christmas Story from Sunni Chapman. Seriously so sweet. *sniffle*

27. This post from Unofficial: Keanu Reeves Online on Facebook, which makes such an important point, and ends with this,

None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.

28. What Victoria’s Secret taught Me About Worth, Value and Self Care.

29. Good stuff from Karen Walrond’s This Was a Good Week list: The Sixth Annual James Garfield Miracle (The Bloggess doing really really really good stuff), and Hygge! from Danny Gregory.

30. Check out Matt Bellassai’s latest video on his Facebook page, “First Annual Matt’s Least Favorite Things.”