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

Also in Lo Jong it says, "Drive all blames into one." And also another translation it says, "Banish the one object of every blame." Basically it means like all our sufferings actually come from us, inside of us, not from somebody else. All our suffering, unhappiness, problems come from inside of us. It's all our karma, nobody else responsible. Usually we think, "Ok, it's my mother's fault, my father's fault, my brother's, my boss, my teacher or my landlord and my boss, and so on and so on. Somebody did this to me. This is why I'm suffering, this is why I'm unhappy, this is why I feel abandoned, rejected and so on and so on." All the long list you go through.

And, yes in a way. In many ways, yes, I cannot say no. In many ways, yes, there's no doubt there are lot of things happens due to external conditions, external circumstances. But the primary cause, the ultimate sort of cause, the primary cause of all these problems, the primary cause is ourselves, our karma. Like in Kadampa tradition they have a saying, kind of like proverb or teaching, it's actually sort of like a koan or a haiku. It's saying, "First of all you did not stay alone, now people don't leave you alone." This means first you did this all this for yourself. Now people not leaving you alone.

I should interpret this, because otherwise people probably don't understand, right? For example, let's say you are unhappy with, let's say your job, or your business, like work, whatever. You are a computer programmer or thangka painter, whatever. You're too successful, you're so stressful, you're so unhappy with your job. Too successful, too much money, too many people coming, too much demand. And you feel like you are going to have a nervous breakdown, you can't handle any more. You're too successful, too busy. People don't leave you alone, you're too successful.

Why this happens? Because in the first place you try to become this computer programmer yourself. You did this for yourself. Nobody else did this for you. You try to become a thangka painter; it's because of you. Or let's say you're a lama, [laughter] and people won't leave you alone! That's because you did yourself. So if you're burned-out lama, it's your fault! [Laughter.] It's you, nobody else!

And if you have good karma, you're happy with yourself, what you're doing because you're successful, that's you, nobody else. It's all you, basically. That's why it says, "Drive all blames into one." It says don't blame for other people. We usually blame other people. Say, "Oh, this is Diane Thompson's fault, or Joe Smith's fault, or Edward Kochensky's fault. Or this and that, he did this, she did this." We always blame somebody else.

So Lo Jong says we should look inward, yourself. It's you. And you look inside, inwardly. You correct yourself. So all your happiness come from you, suffering come from you, ultimately. Of course on a temporary base, many things come from outside as well. It's all interdependent. But ultimately come from you.

So then also in Lo Jong teaching talks about, "Meditate on greatness of all. And be grateful to everyone." So this is very important part of Lo Jong meditation. "Meditate on great kindness of all." We should consider all people, all beings, are very kind to us. And thankful, basically means thankful. "Be grateful to everyone." We are all interdependent. I am very thankful for you people here, coming and studying Dharma. I'm very thankful for you, and you are thankful for me. We are all thankful for each other, because we help each other as a Sangha. We practice Dharma together. We can learn, we can share this ancient wisdom of the Buddha and teaching of Buddha. That is very valuable. And this way we can share this wisdom and light with all sentient beings. We are very grateful. And not only we're sharing the Dharma, we're sharing many other things. So we share this teaching and practice.

And then in the Lo Jong teaching it says that we should also practice this method or the teaching called, "giving and taking." The Tibetan word is "Tonglen." We should give and take, and giving and taking are interdependent. We cannot just take, take, take all the time. It is not right. And we have to give back in return. We have to give to all sentient beings. We must give something to the environment and society and the country and the world. We must give to all sentient beings. So then we can also take; we can receive. Giving and taking are interdependent, and without giving, there's no taking. Without taking, there's no giving.

So we go through the meditation, like taking and giving. We take the sufferings and give happiness. You visualize light and shadow, darkness, shadow. Imagine sufferings of all beings coming towards us in the form of shadow or fog or dust, towards us. We take them fearlessly. Visualize as you breathe in, you take in suffering. Then you transform them, and then you send back as a light. Practice loving-kindness. So this is very powerful practice.

This is also very powerful practice when we're sick, become sick. For example, when we're sick, in Lo Jong imagine, visualize the sufferings of all beings coming into us, and imagine, "Now I'm sick, so I would like to prayer this sickness of mine become the substitute of sickness of all sentient beings. Whatever suffering I have, I prayer so that other beings don't have to be sick, don't have to suffer. I prayer this will become the substitute. May the sufferings of others ripening on me. I'm the right person to ripen this, because I can transform these by the mind of loving-kindness." So you imagine the sufferings as a light, and you send to all sentient beings in the form of white light.

So I should stop here now. So the key thing about Lo Jong practice is being positive, I like to say. I like to actually tell you a story, little story. It's called -- you probably know this story. It's in the sutras. It's called, "Good Luck, Bad Luck. Bad Luck, Good Luck." Bad luck becomes good luck; good luck becomes bad luck, and then again it becomes good luck. There's a story, one young man, a farmer, young boy and his family was very poor. So he always want, one of his biggest dream was he would like to have a horse. He would like to ride horse, like young people here, many teenage people their dream's of a motorcycle or a pickup truck. [Laughter.] Or a good truck, good jeep. Like that, in Tibet or in India young people have dreams, like to ride a horse when you become teenage man. So he had this dream that he wants to ride a horse, he like to ride horse.

So one day he went out to the country and he found group of horse, wild horses. And he followed these horses, and they followed him. The horses come with him. So he got so excited, so happy. And his father said, "See, there you go now. Good luck! You found horses." So then he rode the horse, and everybody said, "Good luck!" He was so happy. So he rode a horse, and he fell off from horse and broke his leg. So everybody said, "Oh bad luck! Bad luck! That's terrible, bad luck."

Then couple of days or maybe week after there was a war. War started and the army came and they round up all the boys for the war. And this boy, they left him, because his leg had broken. Then everybody said, "Oh good luck! [Laughter.] Good luck, your leg is broken, good luck!" So: obstacle -- blessing. And that's Lo Jong. Kind of a Lo Jong story.

I like to leave it here. I like to say thank you very much.

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