Bodhicitta and Lojong

Buddha in profile
Photo: KhrisKa Photos

Bodhicitta is the compassionate wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. At this stage of the path, the teachings and practices on bodhicitta and how to arouse it are explored in greater detail than in the more introductory course on compassion, and lojong, a set of practices unique to Tibetan Buddhism, are introduced for the first time.

One special feature of lojong is the use of slogans, pointed instructions on the view and practical application of the Mahayana. These slogans are contemplated and put into action as a means of transforming the self-clinging, based on a false conception of self, that is at the root of all suffering. Mind training practice is the profound reorientation of our basic attitude both toward our own self and toward fellow sentient beings, as well as towards the events around us. It is a radical transformation of our thoughts and behaviour: from a self-cherishing attitude to an altruistic attitude. At this stage of the path we begin developing bodhichitta, the heart of the enlightened mind.

At this juncture, some people choose to remain with meditation, compassion, and bodhicitta and lojong practices while others choose to continue with ngöndro, the foundation practices of the Vajrayana.