Khenpo Jigme agreed to teach on the Seven Points of Mind Training (Tibetan logong) over a series of teachings each month. He began the first teaching by explaining that these teachings came originally from Atisha and are now taught by all four lineages of Buddhism in Tibet. Thrangu Rinpoche has taught on this topic before and there are several translations of these pith instructions (sometimes called slogans).Thrangu Rinpoche worked with Michele Martin on getting the exact translation of the instructions below because different teachers have slightly different interpretations of the meaning of the instructions.
WE HAVE A AUDIO CD OF KHENPO’S FIRST TEACHING WITH JULES LEVINSON TRANSLATING AVAILABLE FOR $ 1.00 FOR ANYONE INTERESTED.
Seven Points of Mind Training in the Mahayana
I. The Preliminaries (Point 1)
1. First, train in the preliminaries.
II. The Main Practice (Point 2)
A. Teachings on Ultimate bodhichitta
2. Consider all phenomena to be dreams.
3. Analyze the nature of unborn awareness.
4. Even the antidote is liberated in its ground.
5. Rest within alaya, the essential nature.
6. In post-meditation, think that people are like an illusion.
B. Teachings on Relative bodhichitta
7. Train in sending and taking alternately. They should ride the breath.
8. Three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue.
9. In all activities, train with these words.
10. Begin the sequence of [sending and] taking with yourself.
III. Transformation of Adverse Conditions into the Path of Awakening (Point 3)
11. When the world is filled with negativity, transform adverse conditions into the path of awakening.
A. Teachings on Relative bodhichitta
12. Drive all blame into one.
13. Be grateful to everyone.
B. Teachings on Ultimate bodhichitta
14. Seeing confusion as the four kayas is the unexcelled protection that emptiness [gives].
C. Teaching on Special Practices
15. Embracing the four applications is the best method.
16. To take unexpected conditions as the path, instantly join with meditation whatever you encounter.
IV. Blending the Practice with Your Whole Life (Point 4)
A. Teaching on what to Do During Your Daily Life
17. Practice the five strengths, the condensed heart instructions.
B. Teachings on What to Do at Death
18. The Mahayana instructions for transferring consciousness at death, is the five strengths. The way you behave is important.
V. The Evaluation of Your Mind Training (Point 5)
19. All Dharma converges in a single purpose.
20. Of the two witnesses, take the principal one.
21. At all times merely rely on a joyful mind.
22. You are well trained if you can [practice] even when distracted.
VI. The Precepts of Mind Training (Point 6)
23. Always train in the three basic principles.
24. Change your attitude and rest within yourself.
25. Don’t talk about weakened limbs.
26. Don’t brood over the [faults of] others.
27. Work with the greatest afflictions first.
28. Discard all hope for results.
29. Give up poisonous food.
30. Don’t be so constant.
31. Don’t get riled by critical remarks.
32. Don’t wait in ambush.
33. Don’t make things painful.
34. Don’t shift the ox’s load to the cow.
35. Don’t aim to be the fastest.
36. Don’t act with a twist.
37. Don’t turn gods into demons.
38. Don’t seek [others’] pain as the limbs of [your] happiness.
VII. Guidelines for Mind Training (Point 7)
39. All activities should be done with one [intention].
40. Correct all wrongs with one [intention].
41. At both the beginning and the end, an activity to be done.
42. Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.
43. Observe these two, even at the risk of your life.
44. Learn the three difficult points.
45. Take up the three main causes.
46. Don’t allow three things to weaken.
47. Keep the three inseparable.
48. Train impartially with all objects. Deep and pervasive training at all times is crucial.
49. Always meditate on whatever makes you boil over.
50. Don’t be swayed by outer circumstances.
51. This time, practice the main points.
52. Don’t misunderstand.
53. Don’t fluctuate.
54. Train wholeheartedly.
55. Liberate yourself through these two: examination and analysis.
56. Don’t wallow in disappointment.
57. Don’t get stuck in irritation.
58. Don’t be temperamental.
59. Don’t expect a standing ovation.
This essential elixir of instruction, which changes the five kinds of degeneration into the path to awakening, is a transmission from Serlingpa. The awakening of karmic energy from previous training, awakened an intense interest in me. Therefore, I ignored suffering and criticism, and sought instruction for subduing ego-clinging. Now when I die, I’ll have no regret.
This translation is gathered from those of the Nalanda Translation Committee and Ken McLeod, with some changes and new translations by Michele Martin, March 2000.
In this first teaching, Khenpo explained in great detail the first instruction and how the preliminaries were extremely important. In this teaching described the four ordinary foundations and how if these were not thoroughly mastered, everything that followed would be of just a little benefit. In the process he mentioned the following categories:
Here are the numbered items mentioned by Khenpo in his first talk to the Thrangu Meditation Center These are taken directly without editing from Thrangu Rinpoche’s Four Foundations of Buddhist Practice.(Available from Thrangu Meditation Center $5.00).
The Eight Freedoms or the Eight Riches
1. The first unfavorable condition from which we are free is birth in the hell realm.
2. The second is free from the hungry ghost realm
3. The third is being free from the animal realm
4. The fourth is being born in a country that has Dharma
5. The fifth is being free from being born in the god realm.
6. The sixth unfavorable condition being born in a place where there is no good dharma or religion
7. The seventh unfavorable condition is to be in a world where no buddha has manifested.
8. The eighth unfavorable condition is being born mentally deficient.
The Ten Assets
The first set of assets, those due to our own circumstances.
The first being that we had the good karma to have been born a human being.
The second asset is to be born in a place where the Buddhist teachings are available.
The third asset is having mental and physical faculties intact.
The fourth asset is not to have an unvirtuous livelihood such as one which involves killing or stealing. The fifth asset in our control is having faith and confidence in the dharma.
The second group of five assets are those provided by someone outside of ourselves.
The sixth of these is that a buddha exists in the world we inhabit.
The seventh is that the Buddha not only entered our world but also gave teachings.
The eighth asset is that these teachings haven’t declined and disappeared.
The ninth asset is that the dharma is actually practiced.
The tenth asset is people who out of kindness are ready to support us in our practice.
Eight Unfavorable Circumstances
In addition to having the eight freedoms and the ten assets we also need to be free from the eight unfortunate or unfavorable circumstances: mental situations which pop up suddenly even in the midst of practice and interfere with or preclude it.
1. The first unfavorable circumstance occurs when the five poisons (Skt. kleshas) of the mind are very strong.
2. The second intrusive circumstance is the influence of bad friends.
3. The third unfavorable circumstance is not recognizing clearly what is a danger and what is a help to one’s practice.
4. The fourth unfavorable circumstance which could arise at any moment is laziness.
5. The fifth unfavorable circumstance is encountering the unfavorable result of previous karma
6. The sixth unfavorable circumstance is not being your own master but being dependent
on someone else.
7. The seventh unfavorable circumstance is practicing because of the impure motivation of wanting to help only ourself.
8. The last unfavorable circumstance also comes from the impure motivation of wanting fame and fortune.