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, November 28, 2016

Don’t allow three things to diminish.

Photo by Sindre Kinnerød (worldwildlife.org)

          Ursus maritimus (‘sea bear’) evolved from terrestrial brown bears (Ursus arctos). Though the fur of the polar bear appears white, it is actually transparent; their black skin allows them to soak up as much of the sun’s rays as possible. These bears are dependent on sea ice for hunting, mating and denning. While their evolution allowed them to thrive as a part of the Arctic ecosystem, rising temperatures from climate change has now created a life of struggle. As more of the pack ice diminishes, it has become increasingly difficult for polar bears to travel, feed and raise young. Whether they survive or become extinct is intricately tied to whether the ice endures. Slogan forty-six cautions that the durability of our practice relies on respect for our mentor, enthusiasm for the teachings and a firm commitment to awaken our mind and heart. If we are interested in more than just a fling with mind training, we will make sure these things don’t diminish. Unlike the polar bear, we do have a choice.

Go forward with curiosity, wondering where this experiment will lead. This kind of open-ended inquisitiveness captures the spirit of enthusiasm, or heroic perseverance. ~ Pema Chodron

For more information on the forty-sixth slogan go here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Take on the three principal causes.

Beaver photo by Joanne Kennedy

          Beavers rely on three resources to build their dams: a slow-moving stream with a mud bottom, hardwood trees, and stones. Trees with small trunks are cut and placed in the water with the butt downstream. The butts of these logs are weighed down with heavy rocks; the weight of the stones and the stream’s current force the ends down into the mud bed. Branches form the superstructure around the logs, layered to construct walls from 2 to 3 feet thick. Openings between the branches are stuffed with mud and vegetation to further seal the structure. Access to the lodge is through an underwater tunnel, which helps protect the beaver from predators. The ‘three causes’ in this slogan are the primary resources needed for a sturdy foundation; these three things are what will support us as we travel our spiritual path. The first is a compassionate mentor who can teach effectively, and whose knowledge and experience make him or her qualified. The second is our devotion to the teachings themselves – we enthusiastically apply ourselves to the principles and practices. The third is the support we find to continue our training – the encouragement of friends and an economic resource. Just as the beaver is constantly repairing its dam, so we must not become complacent in maintaining the strong base that will help us move forward.

To practice this slogan is simply to recall all of this when your get grumpy or dissatisfied: remember your community and teachers, remember the importance of mind training, remember that you have what you need to do it. ~ Norman Fischer

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Train in the three difficulties.

Photo by Mark Lentz

            Striped skunks are generally passive animals, yet they are well-known for their defensive behavior. If these skunks feel threatened, they will raise their tail and stomp their front legs as a warning. Intruders or predators who fail to back off get sprayed with a repulsive-smelling musk that can travel up to 6 meters. The oily spray is difficult to remove and can cause nausea. If sprayed in the eyes, it may cause intense pain and temporary blindness. Most animals only need one such encounter to learn to keep their distance. Fortunately, a skunk’s black and white coloring makes them easy to recognize. Likewise, the three difficulties encourage us to recognize, back off and refuse to engage our kleshas – strong emotions that arise in us and lead to suffering. We don’t need to fight them; we just pull back and don’t react as we normally do. Instead of getting hooked by thoughts which add fuel to our desire, we relax and let the emotional energy move through us. As the emotion dissipates, we experience a sense of freedom rather than misery. Once these intense states begin to lose their seductive appeal, we will make it a practice to avoid them.

Practice paying attention to the tiny little shifts of thought that, like a match to a fuse, cause a big explosion of confusion. ~ Judy Lief

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

Observe these two, no matter what.

Dormice photo by Miroslav Hlavko

          Ethologists use naturalistic observation to study animals. Focusing on behavior patterns, they are interested in the responses that are triggered by the conditions in the animal’s environment. These scientists compile an ethogram, or activity catalog, of a species throughout its life cycle. For each behavior pattern noted, ethologists ask, “How does this impact the animal’s chance of survival and ability to reproduce?” Though staying alive and procreation may be the primary focus of wild animals, the two vows of slogan forty-three asks us to redirect our concerns to encompass more than just self-preservation. The vow of refuge shapes the choices we make through following the example and teachings of Buddha while drawing on the support of our spiritual community. The vow of the bodhisattva shapes our relationships through our commitment to be of beneficial service to others. These two promises give us a reason to stay grounded in reality rather than trying to escape it, which is what waking up is all about.

All vows are included in this one commitment: to be committed to paying attention to our lives, to be honest about what is going on and unflinchingly realistic about how we are behaving and thinking. ~ Norman Fischer

For more information on slogan forty-three, go here.