In this series, Lojong Mind Training in Seven Points, you will be listening to lightly edited audio teachings by Gelek Rimpoche given from January through September 1999 in Ann Arbor.

Buddha shared that the actual source for both happiness and suffering lies within our own minds, adding that to free ourselves from suffering we must address our addictive habitual patterns. Among them, the most compelling and difficult to come to terms with is our continual creation of “ego”. In this commentary Gelek Rimpoche provides “nine bullets to target the ego”. When they land their targets, the way is made clear for us to deepen our qualities of innate goodness.

Descriptions for teaching sessions 1-14 follow.

Lojong as a Means to Develop Compassion
Session 1

Has the word “compassion” become a buzz word? In this opening session Gelek Rimpoche reclaims compassion’s rich meaning by bringing it close to the heart. In particular he explains that the mind training of lojong is a means to develop the ultimate love and compassion known as bodhimind. In order to develop bodhimind, Rimpoche suggests that we consider the viewpoint of a mother towards her child.

Deepening Compassion
Session 2

In trying to help others, it can be so easy to burn out, give up or lose interest. However, with compassion as inspiration, we instead are pushed forward. In this session Gelek Rimpoche offers inspiring examples of Buddhist saints who embodied compassion and explains how care grows into compassion, then great compassion and finally, bodhimind. Rimpoche emphasizes following an authentic, tried-and-true method such as Buddha’s teachings in order to successfully nurture and develop compassion on our path to total enlightenment.

Starting with the End – The Goal of Bodhimind
Session 3

Is developing ultimate, unconditioned, unlimited love and compassion beyond us? If bodhimind is the goal, how do we start? Beginning with homage to compassion, Rimpoche presents the goal of bodhimind. To inspire and guide us toward such a goal at the beginning of our spiritual path, he explains the importance of relying on Buddha’s authentic teachings, the tradition, and investing good efforts.

Increasing Our Interest in Developing Bodhimind
Session 4

What are the qualities of bodhimind? Could we sustain it during the degenerated age? Rimpoche shares that the way to gain interest is by reflecting on the qualities of bodhimind. He presents the meanings of the metaphors “diamond”, “sun” and “medicinal tree;” and describes the “five terribles” of a degenerate age, where strong negative emotions and difficulties abound. He ends the session by urging us to consider recognizing difficult circumstances as personal opportunities.

Valuing Our Life: The True Ngöndro
Session 5

When we begin to deepen in appreciation of our life, when our preparation is authentic and true; it builds strong ground for our practice. Rimpoche notes that while traditional preliminary practices are typically understood as preparation (ngöndro), the true preparation for spiritual development involves looking at the importance and value of our life. He urges us to observe and understand our life by using both concentration and analytic meditation. To help gain conviction of life’s value, he suggests several points for reflection.

The Nature of Our Mind
Session 6

What is the nature of our mind and how do emotions affect it? Can we train our mind? How? Rimpoche discusses our typical use of mind to solve problems and suggests that we instead correct our motivation to one of ultimate love and compassion, shift our focus to looking within, and learn something about the mind itself. He describes the luminous mind, and how thoughts and feelings pop up and color the mind. After offering some mental exercises, he concludes this session by stressing our capability of mind, and the preciousness of our life.

Life is a Bubble in Water
Session 7

I will definitely die. I don’t when. What will happen when I die? What can I do to help myself? In this session, Rimpoche explores impermanence and suggests thinking, analyzing and concentrating on gross and subtle aspects of impermanence in order to be free of suffering and ultimately obtain enlightenment to benefit all beings. Because our present mind is automatically colored by negative emotions, we are training our minds to move in the opposite direction so that it will automatically do the right thing at the time of death.

What Is Equanimity?
Session 8

Generally, equanimity refers to impartiality, but within Buddhist practice there
are several specific levels to equanimity. In this session, Rimpoche talks about the equanimity of developing equal
compassion toward all beings, including those we see as our enemies and clarifies the difference between equanimity as it is practiced in the
four immeasurables as well as in the exchange stage method of developing
 Bodhimind. Rimpoche also explores the differing meanings of
equanimity as it relates to all three Buddhist vehicles.

Friends and Enemies
Session 9

Is the experience of having friends and enemies always a form of
self-cherishing? How can we learn to deal skillfully with being hurt
by others? In this second session on equanimity, Rimpoche explores
 these fundamental questions about our everyday relationships, and introduces the nine reasons why it is imperative that we develop the
special mental quality of equanimity.

Give and Take
Session 10

In this third session on equanimity, Rimpoche points out that the teachings coming from this Lojong mind training root text explain how equanimity forms the foundation of the practice. Rimpoche defines this Lojong mind training as the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri’s approach to bodhisattva activities, exploring the meditation method known as “tonglen,” and how it relates to the exchange method of
developing Bodhimind.

Nine Bullets
Session 11

Can we really commit ourselves to help all beings be free of hatred
and attachment? In the fourth session on equanimity, Rimpoche delves into deeper and more profound explorations
of how this process of mental transformation can be achieved. He
 describes in the detail the nine “bullets” that we can use to take aim
against the ego and its delusions, in order to truly convince
ourselves that we can and indeed must aspire to help all beings

The Five Resolutions
Session 12

In this fifth session on equanimity, Rimpoche provides a brief overview
of what has been covered so far, explaining the ways that attachment and hatred create obstacles to equanimity. He then elucidates
“the five resolutions,” logical conclusions we can draw from the
analytical meditations covered in previous lessons. Rimpoche emphasizes that we create our suffering by clinging to a rigid exaggerated sense of self.

Observing the Mind
Session 13

Without awareness, spiritual progress is impossible. In the sixth session on equanimity, Rimpoche continues to shed light on “the five 
resolutions.” He reminds us that we need to carefully observe our
ideas about our own self-importance in order to let go of egocentric 
thoughts, and learn to replace them with equanimity.

Self versus Ego
Session 14

Continuing with equanimity, Rimpoche analyzes the special
equality that cares for others as much as we care for ourselves.
He describes how suffering always comes from our attempts to satisfy ego, as opposed to the true self. He concludes by
acknowledging the difficulty of true spiritual practice, and making a cleardistinction between the self and the ego.

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