In this 3-week-long course, Khenpo Jorden teaches the spiritual art of Mahayana mind training known as lojong, based on Ga Rabjampa Kunga Yeshe's (fl. 15th cent.) A Stream of Nectar - Pith Instructions for the Cultivation of the Two Bodhicittas. This text is an extensive commentary on the Mind Training in Seven Points by the Kadampa master Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1101-1175). This teaching is highly regarded and practiced in all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism to this day.
As the title of the book suggests, the main topic of this course is bodhicitta, the mind of awakening, the essence of the Mahayana path. Bodhicitta is said to be of two types: conventional and ultimate. On the conventional level, bodhicitta is the resolve to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all beings and the application of this intention. On the ultimate level, it is the mind that knows the true nature of all phenomena. Together, the two aspects of compassion and wisdom form the path leading to perfect awakening.
In the lojong tradition, the main emphasis lies in the cultivation of the extraordinary intent of conventional bodhicitta, rooted in compassion. With skillful means, the practitioner learns to integrate each and every experience into the path, transforming even adverse conditions into stepping stones for spiritual progress.
This specific form of practice goes back to Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana (982-1054) - an Indian master who was instrumental for the spread of Buddhism in Tibet - who himself had received them from his teacher Serlingpa in Indonesia. Among Atisha's many contributions, the lojong teachings hold a special place in that they are regarded to contain the most essential instructions for profound spiritual transformation. Initially, these teachings were given in the form of oral instructions, from master to disciple, when the recipient was deemed spiritually mature enough to practice them. This is due to the radical nature of this practice, which may seem counterintuitive at first. The essence of the practice is expressed in the following verse from Langri Tangpa's Eight Verses on Mind Training:
In brief, directly or indirectly,
I will offer help and happiness to all my mothers,
And secretly take upon myself
All their hurt and suffering.
The teaching itself is comprised of many short phrases, or pithy slogans, meant to guide the practitioner through all circumstances of life, so that they are able to stay on the path of bodhicitta. These slogans are then grouped under seven points:
2. Main practice: the cultivation of bodhicitta
3. Transforming adverse circumstances into the path of awakening
4. The practice of one life condensed
5. Evaluating one's mind training
6. The commitments of mind training
7. The precepts of mind training
This specific commentary on the Mind Training in Seven Points by Ga Rabjampa has been translated by Rigpa Translations and published by Wisdom Publications. It is available here.