Lojong Cards and Booklet

Lojong Cards and Booklet
This self-published deck and booklet are the intellectual property of Beverly King. Please do not copy or reproduce any photos or blog posts without permission.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.

          “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes,” was Mark Twain’s tongue-in-cheek way to describe the climate of the northeastern states. The weather is so changeable, Barry Keim and Gregory Zielinski wrote a book in an attempt to examine and explain it. The authors state, “Not only is the weather quite variable from season to season, but it includes extremes of both hot and cold temperatures, droughts, heavy rainfall, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and more.” A look at the map of the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones illustrates the variations, identifying five different hardiness zones in New England. The forty-second slogan also urges us to be patient, because change will come. There’s no need to get obsessed if things are going great or go berserk if things are going terrible. Instead of using these fluctuating circumstances as an excuse not to practice, our commitment to lojong can help us not get swept away. The slogans can teach us how to creatively deal with life in beneficial ways, no matter how conditions may change.

Whichever of the two occurs, keep your mind spacious, maintaining a sense of equanimity no matter what the circumstances. ~ B. Alan Wallace

For more information on the forty-second slogan, go here.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Two activities: one at the beginning, one at the end.

File:Little Gasparilla sunrise.jpg
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

          When the sun sits low on the horizon, sunlight has to travel through more of the Earth’s atmosphere. Along the way, rays of light encounter small particles and gas molecules that change their direction. The shorter wavelengths of blue and violet are scattered in a new direction more often than the longer wavelengths of orange and red. This is the reason sunrises and sunsets are generally red, orange and yellow; clouds act as projection screens for the colors. The skyline’s changing colors at dawn and dusk are a good reminder to practice this slogan. It encourages us to start our morning with intention and end our day with reflection. We begin the day with a cheerful attitude with an aim to keep our heart and mind open no matter what comes. In the evening, we look back on how well we carried out our intention. We don’t use what we find as a reason to gloat or feel guilty, but as information to better guide our thoughts and actions the next day. Such a simple commitment allows us to rededicate ourselves to the cause of compassion on a daily basis.

You can look at each day as a practice period, with a beginning and an end. So every morning you take a fresh start, and every evening you have a chance to appraise how you have done. 
~ Judy Lief

For more information on the forty-first slogan, go here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Correct all wrongs with one intention.

          Bonsai is the Japanese art form of growing miniature trees in pots. Wiring is one technique bonsai artists use to train and reposition the trunk and branches. Copper or aluminum wire can be wrapped around a branch to create a certain shape, change the position of foliage, or suggest movement and age. The wire provides stability until the branches are set into its new form. Just as the wire provides support for the miniature trees, so too can an altruistic resolve help reinforce our practice. When life delivers a series of discouragements or difficulties, we can get off track in our spiritual path. Our meditation period may be shoved to the side as self-interest consumes our attention and time. Yet this slogan suggests we can use our challenges to find our way back: we use our adversity to remember the suffering of other people. When we rededicate ourselves to the service of others, we extract ourselves from the mire of self-pity and lose our sense of isolation. Our altruistic focus becomes the wire that reshapes our self-seeking behavior into benevolence that supports us as well.

If egocentrism is a constant source of torment, it is quite otherwise for altruism and compassion. ~ Matthieu Ricard

For more information on the fortieth slogan, go here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

All activities should be done with one intention.

Photo by Tom Hubbard

          Whether it's a trickling stream or a rushing river, water in nature rarely flows in a straight line. It meanders as it seeks the path of least resistance, preferring to turn and tumble in a new direction when it encounters obstacles. Over long periods of time, it can erode most terrain and may begin to change direction. Yet the one thing that all natural streams and rivers consistently do is flow downhill due to gravity. Even if the force of water is so great as to push it uphill briefly (such as in a flood), water will ultimately be influenced by gravity. What compels us in the same way gravity does water? Usually it is the ego, prompting us to think, speak and act according to its desires. Yet this slogan encourages us to be concerned for everyone, not just ourselves. Patience, kindness and understanding can guide us as we move through our day.

The one intention is to have a sense of gentleness toward others and a willingness to be helpful to others - always. ~ Chogyam Trungpa

For more information on the thirty-ninth slogan, go here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Don’t seek others’ pain as the limbs of your own happiness.

Turkey Vulture - Photo by Arthur Morris

          Turkey vultures are often spotted making wobbly circles in the sky, as they take advantage of rising thermals. These large birds lack a vocal organ and thus produce only grunts and hissing sounds. What they lack in vocalization however, they make up for in olfaction. Turkey vultures are scavengers, feeding almost exclusively on carrion. They forage by smell and are able to use their unusual ability even above a tree canopy. The scent of ethyl mercaptan, a gas produced by animals in the first stage of decay, alerts them to a possible food source. Humans also have a way of sniffing out what is foul and unfortunate – not to be helpful but for the sake of indulgence. Those who have caused us suffering (real or perceived) are the people in whom we’re most interested. Our self-righteous, indignant side would like them to drown in misery, preferably slowly and painfully. But the happiness we seek in their unhappiness won’t bring genuine joy. This fake form of happiness is based in deluded thinking and fueled by our attachment to a memory of hurt. Such a desire only results in dissatisfaction and frustration. Authentic happiness, on the other hand, is self-generating and comes from an open, awakened heart.

Has your heart been kind? ~ Atisha

For more information on the thirty-eighth slogan, go here.