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THE EIGHT VERSES OF THOUGHT TRANSFORMATION —
A CLOSE CONTEMPLATION OF ONE OF THE DALAI LAMA'S FAVORITE TEXTS!
“Lojong (Mind Training) helps us to come to terms with every illusion and concept, all the mistaken ideas we have about our own nature and reality. There is actually no difference between one illusion and another. They are not good or bad in themselves. Although some illusions are more pleasant than others, they all hinder us. The illusion of suffering is our own idea, we have produced it and we can do away with it.”
— Mind Training by Ringu Tulku, Snow Lion, 2007.
In this class, we will study, contemplate and engage in short meditations on the Mind Training text entitled: "The Eight Verses of Thought Transformation." This text was composed by Geshe Langri Tangpa, (1054–1123) a renowned teacher in the lineage of the Kadampa and Gelug schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
Here is the complete text:
1) With the thought of attaining awakening
For the welfare of all beings,
Who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel,
I will constantly practice holding them dear.
2) Whenever I am with others
I will practice seeing myself as the lowest of all,
And from the very depths of my heart
I will respectfully hold others as supreme.
3) In all actions I will examine my mind
And the moment a disturbing attitude arises,
endangering myself and others
I will firmly confront and avert it.
4) Whenever I meet a person of bad nature
Who is overwhelmed by negative energy and intense suffering,
I will hold such a rare one dear,
As if I had found a precious treasure.
5) When others out of jealousy,
mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on,
I will practice accepting defeat
And offering the victory to them.
6) When someone I have benefited
And in whom I have placed great trust
Hurts me very badly,
I will practice seeing that person as my supreme teacher.
7) In short, I will offer directly and indirectly
Every benefit and happiness to all beings my mothers.
I will practice in secret taking upon myself
All their harmful actions and sufferings.
8) Without these practices being defiled by the stains of the eight worldly concerns,
By perceiving all phenomena as illusory,
I will practice without grasping to release all beings
From the bondage of the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma.
As you can see, these eight verses directly challenge our mistaken concept of a separate, self-sufficient, distinct person. This delusion is a cause of suffering. The Kadampa masters developed and perfected these practices to be used at each moment of life, in all situations, to move effectively toward full wisdom and compassion. With diligent and consistent application of these teachings, we can experience the reality of deep interdependence and move into courage and joy.
For further study, there are a number of short videos (ten minutes or less) commenting on these verses that I was requested to give while I was living at Sravasti Abbey.
If you wish to see them, they can be viewed here. (https://www.youtube.com/user/sravastiabbey)
Once there, search for: Eight Verses of Thought Transformation by Zopa. Enjoy
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Contact Peter Wood with questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you have logistical questions about this class please email KCC Retreats and Events.