Lo Jong
Teaching by Lama Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
January 10, 2000, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Now, when we go through this text, this text, the root text, is written by famous lama, Kadampa lama called Geshe Langri Tongpa Dorje Sengye, Kadampa lama. Kadampa sect is one of the old sects of Tibetan Buddhism, before Gelugpa sect. It was before Kargyu sect, or before Sakya sect there was a sect called Kadampa sect. Actually the Gelugpa sect is sort of following the lineage of Kadampa sect, as well as Kargyu. For example, Gampopa was one of the disciple, chief disciple of Milarepa who was one of the most important teacher in the Kargyu lineage, Karma Kargyu and Dangpo Kargyu lineage. Gampopa himself was a Kadampa geshe before he met Milarepa. Then when he met Milarepa he received tantric initiations and he received the lineage of deities like Hevajra and ?? and Chakrasamvara and so on. So then he become the lineage holder of the Kargyu tradition.

So Kadam teachings is one of the old tradition of Tibet, and in this Kadam lineage Lo Jong is very important practice. Kadam: "Ka" means "the teaching of Buddha"; "Dam" means you take these teachings of Buddha as instruction, as a method. You apply these teachings into everyday life and practice, instead of just philosophical study or kind of philosophical mental stimulation or exercise. You actually practice into everyday life. So the Lo Jong is for practice. It is designed more or less for something that you can practice Dharma. It is a method of integrating Dharma into everyday life.

So this text is called the seven-point thought transformation. It is also called sevenfold cleaning or processing of the mind. Actually sevenfold processing the mind in a spiritual way -- slowly, slowly processing this mind.

And before we go into this sevenfold processing the mind, training the mind, it suggests that first we should learn the preliminaries. There is actually preliminary practice. According to root text of Lo Jong it says, "First train in all the preliminary practices." So there are actually four preliminary practices. It suggests that it is important to accomplish those preliminaries in order to practice Lo Jong successfully. So you can see: the first preliminary practice is cultivating the mind, cultivating the mind which understands the preciousness of human life. And particular good fortune of life in an environment in which you can hear teachings of the Buddha and Dharma. You see the preciousness of human life.

Human life is precious. Of course everybody's life is precious -- animals, insects -- their life is precious. And everybody love their life, cherish their life. Life is very precious. But also from Dharma point of view, […end of tape] more precious, or perhaps you could say more valuable, more important in terms of benefiting all sentient beings. For example, the Dharma, because the Dharma is the source of happiness. Dharma is the path to enlightenment. So when you study, when you understand the Dharma, when you practice Dharma, and when you understand the Buddha, cultivating the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, then you can help so many sentient beings. We can help so many sentient beings. Dharma is the best gift, most valuable gift. Lama Yeshe always said, "Dharma is the best gift of all the gifts." He said, I remember one time he was saying, someone asked, some westerner asked, "What about giving food, clothing and shelter, and so on and so on?" He said, "Yes, yes, yes. They are very good. They are very important. Like immediately you need food, clothing, shelter. If you don't have those necessary things, how could you practice Dharma, right? You need those as well. But the most important gift is Dharma, spiritual gift."

Because food and shelter and clothing you give. And then the more you give, people want more. Sometimes people are more greedy. They want more, more, more, never-ending. Then they take for granted, they take advantage. Then they also waste it. And also it doesn't really go very far in terms of development of mind. You know, how many people do we have in the world, and in the west? So many people have so much and so many people are so wealthy. And we ourselves have lots of things now. And comparing to people in third-world countries like Africa, Bangladesh, and India and Tibet and China, and we have so much.

I sometimes feel myself like, "How do I deserve to have so much like this?" Sometimes you feel, I almost feel kind of bad, I have so much. And then I say to myself, "Well, it's not my fault. It's my karma, you know? And it just happened because I live in the west. And it doesn't help if I go back to India or Tibet somewhere. Then I may get sick, and I can't help. I can't even help myself." So what do you do? So the best thing is I try to help others as much as possible. Maybe might as well enjoy what I have. Try not to have attachment and try not to accumulate too much wealth and money and so on and so forth. So you try to kind of balance those things. So we have so much, but it doesn't really do very much. Wealth and possessions only gives us temporary happiness, and most of the time, doesn't even give happiness. Always so much worry, and the more you have of things, you have more worry, right? Simple living is better, and if possible have wisdom. Cultivating wisdom is the best.

So spiritual, like Lama Yeshe said, spiritual gift is the best, the highest gift, the best gift of all the gifts. So therefore, those who practice spiritual path, Dharma, so then their life is very precious. So I'm not here trying to sort of comparing people. You know, "Spiritual people are more better people than non-spiritual." Or I'm not trying to judge. You can't judge. You don't know, actually, who is spiritual, who is not spiritual. How do we know? We don't know other people's mind, and we can't judge anyone. But what I'm saying is that what we're talking about is preciousness of human life. This is what we're talking about.

So we are the Dharma person. We can't really talk about other people so much. For example myself, I myself, or you yourself, I know we are Dharma people. So we have this precious human body and precious human life. This life is very precious. And so this is the preliminary practice: to recognize that and cherish that, not to waste. It's so easy to waste. Time goes so fast; life is so short. Life is like a dream. So therefore, not to waste this life. So meditate on that, to remind ourselves again and again.

According Kargyu tradition they call in Tibetan word, "Lodok lam zhi." (??) "Lodok lam zhi" means "four reminder." You should remind the four things. First we should remind the preciousness of human rebirth. We must remind ourselves. We have so much potential. We can do so much as a human being. If we really use our resource and potential, we can do so much.

If you're reborn as a tiger or a leopard or very powerful animals, like elephant, and you have a big body, very strong, but you can't do very much for other people, other sentient beings. But we, as a human being, we have very sophisticated mind. And we invent unthinkable things, and technology, and going to the moon, and talking about going to the Mars. So we have so much potential, and we can become Buddha in this very lifetime. We can become Buddha in this very lifetime. We can become Bodhisattva in this very lifetime. We must not waste this life. We must believe that we can become Buddha and Bodhisattva. [Baby in audience says, "Buddha!" Laughter…]

Last month I visited my friend, two families, Vietnamese family. They live in Winsor, Ontario. I haven't seen them for about five years, so I visited and they were very happy. And I stay with them overnight. One of the family, the man said to me, he is very strong, very strong practitioner. So he said to me, he calls me master, he says, "Master, I want my children become Buddhas and Bodhisattvas instead of become doctors and lawyers." [Laughter.] And he said, "I truly believe they can become Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and not so important to become a lawyer or a doctor. And I want them send to the monastery and train them to become good practitioner." So I felt it was very, sort of, I don't know, very kind of moving, and very strong mind and determination. And Vietnamese people suffer so much; so many years suffer from war. And they probably understand more suffering, human suffering, and also understand more Dharma. When you suffer a lot, then you understand more Dharma, and you realize Dharma is so important.

So this is the first preliminary, to remind ourselves the precious human rebirth and we must not waste this life. 

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