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

Then in the Lo Jong also talks about the mind. As I said, Lo Jong means mind training. "Lo" is "mind." And it says, "Examine the nature of unborn awareness." We should exam the nature of our mind. Actually Lo Jong practice actually goes very well with Mahamudra. Lo Jong practice goes very well with Dzogchen. Lo Jong practice goes very well with Vipassana and Zen. It goes very well. If you kind of blended these things together, it goes very well. It makes a very beautiful practice.

So it says, "Examine the nature of unborn awareness." It means we should look at our basic mind, meditate on our mind. Just simple -- develop just simple awareness. So you sit and you observe, and you watch your thoughts. Watch your thoughts. So your mind is watching your mind, and the subject is mind and the object is mind. And then you see the mind is thinking; mind is thinking-process. Mind means "thinking-process within me." Mind is a thinking-process. There is no one mind. There is two mind, or three separate kind of mind. Mind is not like separate thing, sort of put in a different compartments, or different sections like "good mind," "bad mind," "pure mind," "impure mind," like this. They are not always there. They arise. It's a process and a succession of thoughts. Comes and goes and comes and goes, sort of like a parade. You are having a parade, people marching through the streets, go by through avenue and through avenue, and one block to another block, and just keep going like that. So it's a succession of thoughts. You just look at that, look at that thoughts. And exam. Exam doesn't mean analyze mind, sort of intellectually. Basically it means we're observing the mind, watching the mind.

So the mind is called unborn. According Lo Jong it says, "unborn awareness." The reason why it's called unborn awareness, because the mind has no history. Mind has no history, there's no trace saying, "The mind comes from here, or there. Four thousand years ago our mind was born in Amazon jungle or Himalayas or Egyptian desert [laughter] or something like that, or England." There's no history for mind. Mind has no history where it come from. Mind has no beginning. That's why it's called unborn. We cannot say this is the birthplace of the mind. See, we have a birthplace of Buddha, Lambini Park. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. And so on and so forth, but the mind has no birthplace, no beginning. That's why it's called unborn awareness.

Mind is actually awareness. It has no shape, no color, and mind comes and goes, flickers on and off, flickers on and off, all the time. And sometimes the mind is also hibernating, sort of go into deep quiet, hibernating. Sometimes mind goes all over the place. So this is nature of the mind.

And so you meditate on Mahamudra, observing the mind, thought that comes and goes like the clouds that come by. So you observing, observing thoughts. Then some point you realize the observer and what you're observing are the same thing; there is no difference. And then also you realize the mind has no beginning and mind has no end. [Rinpoche laughs.] You cannot actually hold onto it. And mind is not something tangible. So that you then realize the emptiness of the mind; you experience emptiness of mind. You cannot hold onto it. You see this gap, big gap. One mind comes, goes away. Before another thought comes, there's a gap. And sometimes there's no gap.

You see, you cannot hold onto the mind. You realize mind is empty. So there's no good mind; there's no bad mind. And delusions are also temporary. They're like the clouds, just come and go. And then you see, experience, emptiness of the mind, Dharmakaya of the mind. So you gain realization of what we call awareness of the mind. Something like satori, some similar, little satori-experience, and emptiness of the mind. Same time nothingness. It's not like you go into a complete, deep hibernation, or some sort of like state of coma and no mind. According Zen teaching, says no-mind which means emptiness of the mind, I believe. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not an expert on Zen, but I believe, I interpret that way. I think no-mind means mind is empty.

So you begin to experience emptiness of the mind, same time you're also experiencing awareness of the mind. Emptiness of the mind and awareness-mind becomes one. So then that realization -- the emptiness of the mind -- is actually pure awareness of the mind. That pure awareness of the mind then cut through all the defilements, all the delusions and all the conceptions, and the dualistic mind. Dualistic mind. You experience non-duality. So this is mind training. This is how we train our mind to experience realization of emptiness.

And now I'm going to move into next step. I won't talk too long now, it's getting kind of late. So Lo Jong says, "When the container and its contents are filled with evil, change these adverse circumstances into the path to full awakening." Or another translation says, "When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi." So it means like sometimes we feel that this world is no good. This world is filled with evil. So many things happening here, all these teenage people rampage, shooting with no discrimination, just killing people. And people invading homes and killing eighty-year-old ladies and burn down the house. This world is filled with evil, no good, this world is mad. And what is happening with our world? We feel very sort of depressed. You know it's quite depressing and difficult. What do we do? Like that, we have many problems in our lives. So many problems in our own lives. There's so many problems everywhere -- abusing and exploiting the environment, and so much suffering happening. So what do we do? How do we actually survive? How do we live? What is our attitude now?

So the Lo Jong says, "Change these adverse circumstances into the path of awakening, path of enlightenment." Or in other words it says, "When the five degenerations flourish, transform them into the path of full awakening." So this is called Kaliyuga, or we call five degenerations. Five things are happening, degenerating. So many things are degenerating. But we can transform these sufferings into the path of awakening, full awakening, path of enlightenment, path of Buddha. All these mishaps we can transform into the path of bodhi and Buddha, all these different problems.

So the only way really to survive in this world, not only transforming into the path of enlightenment, but basically how do we live in this world? How do we function, how do we survive? We have so many problems in our everyday lives. Everybody has problems, like most powerful people, like the president has so many problems, and the prime ministers. These people are like the kings in old days, have so many problems. And wealthy people, millionaires and famous movie stars, most beautiful man or woman have so many problems. Or famous people, tennis players and hockey players, and so on and so on have so many obstacles and problems.

We have problems; we have problems ourselves in our everyday lives. And we find very difficult -- like money problems, health problems, relationship problems, and we have to do things so much, and we have to look after the sick father and the crazy mother and things like that. So many problems, like ongoing problems. And also on top of that, as human beings we have endless problems, like we have dissatisfaction, and suffering of not obtaining what we want to obtain. Always trying to obtain something, trying to gain something, trying to achieve something. When we achieved what we want to achieve, then we already begin to worry about losing this thing that we achieved.

For example, you try to buy a new car, first time you're buying the car. You saved money for many years, so the first time you find a good car. So you were suffering not having car, always taking the bus and trying to get ride and worrying about the weather and so forth. Then you get the car. So now are you truly happy? [Laughter.] You got the car, or even got a four-wheel drive, a pickup truck. A good one, like Toyota or a Dodge Ram [laughter], or some kind of good car. And are you truly happy? And then you start worrying about insurance or somebody is going to scratch my car, and where do I park the car? Or somebody is going to steal -- Vancouver is very famous place for stealing cars! [Laughter.] And cars end up in Nigeria or China or somewhere, your car. Parked outside, and twenty minute after it's already gone. So you worry about the car. Then you start to think, "I wish I didn't buy this car. Now I worry so much. It was easy just take the bus, go home. Don't have to worry about the car." So you're worrying like that. This is also suffering. So much sufferings are like that.

Now the Lo Jong, actually Lo Jong says that we should transform all these circumstances and sufferings into path of enlightenment, adverse circumstances. And the Lo Jong says we should be positive. This is the most important thing, positive, being positive. And we should learn how to deal with whatever problem we have. And learn how to deal with it and practice mindfulness and awareness, and being positive is very important. That is basically a key thing, as I mentioned before. And being positive and practice mindfulness and awareness.

Meditate inwardly, trying to look for peace and happiness inside of us. Not looking for peace and happiness from outside. If we're looking outside, outwardly always looking for peace and happiness -- perfect happiness, perfect companionship, perfect friend and perfect teacher, perfect relationship and perfect partner -- all these things if we look outwardly, we'll never find one. The perfect friend is inside of us. The perfect relationship is inside of us. Perfect father is inside of us; perfect mother is inside of us. Perfect friend is inside of us. True happiness, perfect happiness comes inside of us. Once we find that, then we can also find lots of good friends outside. We find lots of good friends outside, lots of good things outside. First we have to find inside. So this is the Lo Jong, and this is thought transformation.

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